The lights are on
The heavy hitters of horror are on the rocks. The Silent Hill series has disappointed recently, Resident Evil 6 was received poorly, and Dead Space 3 missed sales expectations by quite a bit. While the big guns may be facing hard times, all is not lost for horror fans. The success of Amnesia: The Dark Descent has sparked a rash of promising indie horror games, and big publishers like Bethesda and Deep Silver are backing new next-gen IPs. Check out 10 reasons why the future is bright for grim games.
Outlast (PlayStation 4, PC)
Release: September 4 (PC), TBA (PlayStation 4)
Red Barrel’s first-person, non-combat horror game has been making headlines thanks to the consistent scares it’s been drumming up at conventions. This indie title places players in an eerie asylum armed with nothing but a camcorder, a few batteries, and their wits. The camcorder’s infrared mode functions as a pseudo-flashlight, making for some tense creeps through the dark. Based on our hands-on time, Outlast is not for the faint of heart. It’s also headed to the PlayStation 4.
Among the Sleep (PC)
Remember when you were little and a trek to the bathroom in the dark was a harrowing journey? Krillbite’s downloadable first-person title makes your worst childhood fears come to life. You play a two-year-old searching for his parents. Doorknobs are out of reach, drawers are used as stairs, and your teddy bear is your flashlight in this colorful, creepy game. Our hands-on time with the game left us optimistic about its prospects.
The Evil Within (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC)
Shinji Mikami is the mastermind behind Resident Evil 4, and he’s bringing his disturbing creativity into the next generation. In Tango Gameworks’ third-person survival horror game, detective Castellanos explores grisly murders and battles deadly abominations. He also experiences hallucinations like a wave of blood rushing down a hallway. The gameplay looks similar to the Resident Evil series, but the scares are shaping up to be more genuine. Check out our look at the game's combat.
Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One)
Capcom Vancouver’s open-world zombie game is shaping up to be one of the Xbox One’s premier launch games. New protagonist Nick Ramos battles through even bigger hordes of zombies across a city that’s larger than the first two games combined. Vehicles play a more important role in the mayhem, and dense zombie packs will slow down rampaging cars. Some may groan at the thought of a new zombie game, but Dead Rising 3 looks like a blast.
Routine (PC) pictured above
Lunar Software is a small indie team working on an ambitious first-person game. Routine isolates the player on a sterile, futuristic moon base where malfunctioning automatons roam procedurally generated halls. Similar to Outlast, players use the scope of a stun pistol to see in the dark, but the sight’s low refresh rate causes a delay that could mean your foe is closer than you think. Lunar Software is teasing spacewalk segments, which has us excited to explore Routine.
The Forest (PC)
Recently approved by fans on Steam Greenlight, indie developer Ben Falcone’s first-person horror game drops players in a forest and pits them against genetic mutants. The open world is brought to life with weather patterns, flora life cycles, and a day/night shift. A network of caves stretches below ground, ready for players to explore or possibly encounter dangers within. The gameplay loop consists of fortifying and scavenging during the day and defending your home at night. The Forest will also support the Oculus Rift.
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (PC)
Frictional Games has partnered with Dan Pinchbeck of The Chinese Room (Dear Esther) for the sequel to the indie horror hit. This follow-up maintains the focus on losing your insanity in a demented, oppressive atmosphere while evading terrible monsters. Instead of a dusty castle, players explore the rusty underbelly of 1899 Victorian London. The Chinese Room is designing larger areas for players to get lost in, a contrast to the narrow corridors of Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
Dying Light (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC)
Techland, the developers of Dead Island, are refining their signature tropical, open-world, first-person zombie game formula. Dying Light integrates the parkour action of Mirror’s Edge into a similar formula to Dead Island, also adding a day/night cycle and increased numbers of the undead. It also features four-player co-op, so you’re not alone in this nightmare scenario. Read our impressions from the hands-on preview at E3 2013.
Developer Bohemia Interactive is hard at work on a standalone release of the popular ARMA II mod. The new version features improved gunplay, animations, enemy AI, and a host of other improvements. The core of the experience still involves evading deadly zombies, scavenging for supplies, and hoping other humans you see are friendly. Bohemia Interactive is working on getting a demo alpha build out, but is stating quiet about the release date. We got to tinker with the new gameplay at E3 2013.
Acid Wizard Studio’s independent survival horror title combines a moody atmosphere with the popular roguelike formula. The dark, top-down open world is randomly generated, creating a new experience each time. Players modify weapons and progress through skill trees with the threat of permadeath lurking in the shadows. The game reached its Indiegogo funding goal earlier this year, but the developer doesn’t have a release date yet.
Any other upcoming horror games that you’re looking forward to?