The Shape of Horror Games to Come
-Eric Lee Lewis
Horror games are exploding! I don’t mean in the Michael Bay manner either. I mean that the popularity of horror games is on a huge incline. With Amnesia: The Dark Descent shattering everybody’s expectations and indie games like SLENDER making a huge mark in the gaming community, can horror games keep up this momentum or will they crash and burn again?
Over-saturation has been the death of many genres and play styles in games. If we take a look back at the grandfather of horror, Resident Evil, we end up noticing the games that had the same types of scares and control schemes. “Tank controls” added to the horror of Resident Evil. The inability of being able to just turn around and run in the blink of an eye was not an option. While the enemies were not fast, they were still coming at you and all that you knew was that you needed to move while you had the chance.
After the success that RE had with this style, we started to see games like Silent Hill that had the same control scheme and it added to the horror. After multiple releases of horror games that played the same, the genre started to die off. And horror wasn’t the only genre that had this issue. This also affected the fighting game genre and the subsequent death of that genre until recently. Sometimes certain things have to die off to come back better than ever.
A resurgence of many of these dead or almost dead game genres has started to happen, especially with new tools being given to gamers. With gamers creating the types of games that they have missed, we have started to see some games that are better than what the big developers are making. When certain AAA titles start to go into a slump as the series progresses, there is a creative person somewhere modding that game to make it better or even making a new game out of what they had.
This resurgence may not last forever though. As time progresses, horror games will become stale again. No longer will gamers want to play yet another horror game that leaves you completely defenseless without the ability to use weapons or attack in any manner. The horror genre may soon fall out of favor with players and fall back into obscurity until a brand new type of horror is launched.
Until that day, enjoy this new batch of horror games and don’t let it slip away too fast.