Do Horror Games Have A Future & How Have They Changed?
You slowly creep down the dark hallway, the moans of the undead can be heard through the walls and the small flicker of candles are the only thing lighting your way. You round a corner and see one: the rotting flesh of what used to be a person. It turns to you and begins shuffling toward you, you turn to run away and find yourself cornered by another. Backed into a corner you have no choice but to fight. You empty your last bullet into the head of one of the creatures and make your escape. You escaped with your life this time, but will you be so lucky the next?
Survival Horror has long since been a gaming genre that fans cannot get enough of. The feeling of dread and fear, attempting to make logical choices and ensure your survival. From Resident Evil to the more recent Outlast. The survival horror genre has had its share of ups and downs and lately has taken a turn down its own grisly corridor. The art of striking fear has seemingly been lost, but is it gone for good?
Back in the day, games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil were defining what it meant to be a survival horror game. Closed spaces, limited ways to defend yourself, and a true sense of danger. They made you feel like you were in the situations (no matter how wild they might be) there was a feeling of fear, that you didn’t want to go around that next corner or open that door. You didn’t want to see what was behind it and finding a save point was better than finding water in the Desert.
With sequels and other horror games coming out, the genre grew and more developers were trying their hands at it. Capcom decided however, that survival horror needed more action elements and decided to create one of the greatest games of all time: Resident Evil 4. Loved by many, this game broke the mold again on what it meant to have a survival horror game. It mixed the action of a Hollywood Blockbuster and the horror of the classic games into one great package. The game was ported to just about every console imaginable and even has a re-release scheduled for later this year.
Now, as good as Resident Evil 4 was…it also changed things. While it was fairly balanced in RE 4, developers (Capcom included) decided to give fans even more action and much less horror. It was a change that began the decline the genre of survival horror and one that it hasn’t recovered from.
By adding more action sequences and toning down the horror, the genre lost the magic. There was no longer a feeling of fear but instead gunfire and racking up points with your friends.
Though there are a few beacons of hope left for us, games like Outlast, Alien Isolation, and P.T. have been recently attempted to revive the horror/survival horror genre. Though not numerous, they’re still callings to the past and to a type of game that players crave.
After Capcom releasing the heavily action oriented Resident Evil 5 and 6, they received a great deal of backlash. It seems now though, with the re-release of Resident Evil and the two RE Revelations titles, they’re ready to take a step back toward survival horror. It’s speculated that Resident Evil 7 is going to be revealed at E3 this year, we can only hope that it takes the next step in the direction fans are wanting. RE games hold a huge influence on the gaming world and seeing them go back to their roots, may just cause others to follow.