Dear Devs: Have Horror Games Run Their Course?
I love all things horror and have since childhood. I don’t know why but I think a tough life factors in somewhat. I always had shitty circumstances and sacrifices I needed to make and life sucked, but when I watch (or play) horror, I see someone has it worse. I know it seems an insane logic to base the love of horror off of, but that is it for me. Living my shitty life, when I watch horror, even if it is fiction, I realize things could be a LOT worse.
But the problem with horror and exposure to it is, we become sort of numb or accustomed to it over time. That takes away the long term impact these scary moments have on us. So my question is, because there have been so many horror games lately and so many similar titles, do you guys and gals think horror games may have run their course?
Now might be the perfect time for game devs to figure out a way to make games scarier than just jump scares and slimy looking bosses. To redefine the horror game, if I may be so bold.
RE7 High Point
Now THAT was a boss fight!
I think Resident Evil 7 ruined horror games for everyone because it was SO GOOD. Genuinely, they mixed the scares up and didn’t JUST rely on jump scares. Instead, they amped up the tension and made you feel unsafe at all times. It was great. But where do horror games go now?
They have kind of done everything. RE7 was horror games in top form. Where does it go from here?
Reboot the Concept of Horror Game
A non-horror game nailed horror better than most that try.
A good way to make the survival horror game scary and the horror genre scary for gaming again as it reboot it. Find elements that work and work them more, and find cheap elements (like the aforementioned jump scare) try to limit the uses of.
Honestly, the best horror game that could come out right now should do little more than…
Screw With the Player
This game gets it.
Remember when your game crashed while playing the survival horror classic Eternal Darkness? Remember how, for a second, you actually panicked? Well, that move was pulled 20 years ago. Let’s see more of that type of “frontal assault” on the actual player and not their avatar in the game.
The Psycho Mantis boss from the original Metal Gear is another perfect example of how devs could easily do this to gamers and make their sense of comfort in their own life go away. He taunted YOU, he read your memory card and called you out for saving too much or liking one game over the others. It was psychological warfare and it fucked with us. THAT is where horror games need to go so we don’t just keep getting these damned….
Hide and Seek Simulators
See, Bane understands (and I’m sorry, this never gets old).
Sorry, but I have said it before here and will say it again. Hide and seek games like Outlast are fun to an extent, but within an hour of gameplay you know what you are getting. Hide in locker, hope you aren’t found. Walk around a scary place a bit until bad guy appears then begin hiding part again. Sometimes they check under the bed, sometimes they don’t. Yaaawwwwn. Who the shit wants to play hide and seek, virtually?
That is not scary, it is merely inconvenient. If I wanted to play hide and seek I would go play it with my friend’s kids but that would require leaving the house and I am good.
Upgrade Horror Games or GTFO
While there are still a few games set to come out in 2017 that have my horror senses tingling (like Agony featured above) mostly it just looks like more of the same. What we need is some of the crazier and more creative minds in gaming to try to figure out how to make this medium the ultimate medium for horror. It beats both books and movies because in horror games, you play along. You ARE in the horror.
But until the games get rebooted and reworked to actually scare us again, I may be taking a step back from the horror genre for awhile. Hide and seek was never my thing TBH.