With a lack of new titles and familiar franchises seeming lost, horror gaming has been all but dead over the past few years. However the last few months of 2014 showed that this genre may be rising from the grave. Resident Evil lost its way with several titles that didn’t live up to the series’ name sake. Left 4 Dead 3 is tentatively MIA, Dead Space and Alan Wake are on hiatus soon to be joined by F.E.A.R. (at least FEAR online wasn’t a huge disappointment…oh wait…it was). Dead Island seemed like a lost franchise with all of the post-original offerings feeling rushed and incomplete compared to the break-out first game. Until recently, Silent Hill was believed to be defunct after its last offering Downpour. It seemed like the genre was fading into obscurity in a market saturated with recycled first-person shooters and everyone jumping on the open-world bandwagon.
Luckily for us this is not the case. Last year saw a fantastic upsurge of indie content. Sure, it’s not the heavy hitters that have name recognition, but this shows developers are still passionate about horror gaming. Thanks to indie titles like The Forest, Slender, Outlast, Five Nighst at Freddie’s, and Among The Sleep the mainstream market has come back to life releasing Alien Isolation and The Evil Within at the end of 2014. Konami also announced Guillermo del Toro and Hideo Kojima’s new Silent Hill title starring Norman Reedus with a pee-your-pants frightening, playable trailer that has reached over a million downloads (time to stock up on Depends). Horror is making a marvelous comeback.
2015 has a ton in store for the genre, so here are a few titles that I am looking forward to:
FRIDAY THE 13TH
One of the most surprising announcements was a new Friday the 13th co-op game where campers work together to survive the lumbering Jason Voorhees. The game is being developed by an unannounced “experienced game studio” shooting for an October release in hopes to make up for the original NES title that appears on lists alongside the infamous ET Atari game. Sean S. Cunningham, director of the original 1980 film, is heavily involved with the creative process and has promised a unique experience with plenty of replay value.
After some embarrassing attempts at Dead Island spinoffs, this franchise has finally been handed off to a new developer to work on the official sequel. Yager has already overhauled the troubled series and breathed new life into it with a renewed focus on humor and over-the-top-action set against some truly shining environments. Count me in for this title when it gets released this Spring.
If you’re a fan of being torn down over and over again to the point of throwing your tv out of the window and lighting your console on fire this is the game for you. Inspired by the Dark Souls series and featuring the same unforgiving gameplay that goes out of its way to make even the smallest victory the greatest thing that has ever happened to you it promises to be just as challenging.
Announced on Halloween by indie developer Red Thread Games, this is easily one of several titles that I am most looking forward to. This first-person, psychological adventure is told through the eyes of an American photographer/botanist against the backdrop of vibrant fjords and giant mountains in the beautiful location of1920s Norway. He embarks on a dark, disturbing journey into the heart of Norwegian folklore and comes upon a remote fishing village where everyone has vanished without a trace. Heavily inspired by Scandinavian fairy tales, Norse mythology, and Icelandic sagas, this title should be on every horror enthusiast’s list.
One of two titles being released by Dead Island developer Techland for 2015, Hellraid was originally announced as a last-gen release but was sent back to the laboratory slab to be updated for current gen. Though this caused a substantial delay in its release, I’m relived they are taking their time getting it right rather than rushing it out. The game is essentially a mix of Skyrim and Dead Island with the combat of the former and the gore of the latter posed in a dark fantasy setting with an unending bevy of demons and hell minions to hack and slash.
Imagine a series of nightmares induced by the world’s worst acid trip while watching The Little Mermaid cover NIN songs….it’s something like that. Beyond that I have no clue, but I’m excited for this title none the less.
It’s not surprising that Capcom decided to build upon the Revelations spin-off series seeing how it is probably the best game in the franchise within the last decade. What’s equally awesome is this game got announced along with the news that Capcom was remastering the Gamecube port of the original Resident Evil which gets released January 20 (tomorrow). Revelations 2, starring Clarie Redfield and Moira Burton, will be released episodically beginning in February and will feature off-line co-op.
It’s been just over a year since Frictional Games announced this terrifying looking title, and it remains rather mysterious despite the release of more details. The game will take place on the PATHOS-2, an underwater, remote research facility where the machinery that begins to take on human characteristics. Modified corpses and face eating robots are just a couple of the enemies you will face, and that’s more than enough to get me excited.
Set in Victorian London The Order follows an ancient order of soldiers armed with steampunk weapons and gadgets through their on-going war with bestial, human half-breeds who happen to look a lot like werewolves (but are not officially werewolves). If this description does not excite you, you may want to consider a psych eval. This game just may earn the title of “The Reverend’s Favorite Game of 2015”.
After this title’s initial announcement, things fell quiet. But Sony recently re-revealed this highly-anticipated teen slasher after making some improvements. The game follows the story of 8 teenagers spending the night in a remote log cabin on the anniversary of their friend’s death, unaware that they are being stalked by a sadistic maniac. Staying true to the tongue-in-cheek humor of a good slasher, the script was reworked from the original with the intent on making it less cheesy and exponentially more terrifying.