Lately, the survival horror genre has been defining its gameplay to just that, surviving. Sure, stomping a necromorph’s head in Dead Space may be fun, but nothing screams horror like being chased around, defenseless. Even though Slender: The Eight Pages was a relatively simple game, it was able scare the piss out of everyone and redefined survival horror games in the meantime.
With games like Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and Outlast, along with the upcoming release of The Evil Within, the player can’t help but become absorbed in the horror that could be lurking behind every corner. Although, if these games keep along the same path, they may suffer the same fate as the typical hack-and-slash games. To keep this enticing genre generating gems, developers will need to find new ways to leave a person with soaking pants.
At some point, the same idea will run survival horror games dry, but a way to prevent that is to stop the tedious tasks that come with collecting certain items. Slender was black-and-white as far as what to do, although nothing compared at the time; other titles need to develop a more complex structure, instead of an arcade game feeling. Constructing difficult gameplay that varies during unique scenarios will keep forthcoming survival horror games from going down the same beaten path.
What defines horror is not knowing what’s to come, but to guess what is. For example, I know there’s going to be a deranged psycho murderer is following right behind me, but developers should become innovative in what the character is fleeing from, because there can only be so many homicidal maniacs. By branching out into different villains or threats, a title will challenge other titles to have an original take for this genre.
AAA Titles need a way to demonstrate the effect this gameplay has in between the time the protagonist is laying waste to creatures. Plenty of people love to argue the, “what ifs,” but ‘what if’ a AAA developer striped the player of their beloved weapons for an extended amount of time? This would generate a new experience of horror for classic characters by looking at the aspect of the what if version. For example, Isaac Clarke without his plasma cutter or running around Rapture while splicers surround Jack, without the help of magic or weapons. Dead Space and Bioshock are one of the many franchises that could capitalize on the new take on horror survival.
Although, this version of survival horror games may be a fresh approach from what it once was, developers still need to produce unique challenges to prevent the mentality of, “if you played one, you’ve played them all.” It only takes a few similar games for a genre to become labeled with generic comments, but these are factors that could help this new take on survival horror games stand the test of time. For more thoughts on survival horror keep it locked here on irrationalpassions.com, or follow me on Twitter @ruppz1!