The future of Survival Horror…

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Shinra Kuroki Shinra Kuroki 1 year, 7 months ago.

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  • #5063
    Nat
    Nat
    Participant

    (Originally posted in the wrong location because my brain can’t function normally after midnight…)

    Hey, guys!
    Just joined the site having been a fan of the CCS podcast since I came across their video on “Horror games,” so to introduce myself to you guys, I felt like throwing my 2 cents in and commenting on the potential death of the survival horror genre…
    As someone who has played the Silent Hill and the Resident Evil series (as well as other immensely under appreciated gems like Eternal Darkness and the Project Zero series), I would like nothing more than to have a brand new survival horror game that harkens back to the style and atmosphere of the classics of said genre. Unfortunately, thanks to games like the soul-shatteringly bad AMY (insert vomiting sound effect here) and the jump-scare-athon FNaF, that seems to be almost an impossibility.
    Capcom has stated that the survival horror market is too small for Resident Evil as it was (article: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-03-23-capcom-survival-horror-market-too-small-for-resident-evil), which is why they decided to make it more action-oriented. Considering that Resident Evil is, arguably, the Godfather of Survival Horror, this is heartbreaking news, especially considering that Capcom literally pulled that statistic out of their ass. If that were true, then why were there waves of people who bought Resident Evil 6, expecting it to be a return to form, being left disappointed and feeling cheated by claims that it would be bringing the series “back to it’s roots”? If the horror genre is dead, then why are games like Slender, Amnesia and even the classic Resident Evils still popular to this day? Why did the HD re-release of the Resident Evil Remake break digital sales records upon release? (That happened after the article was written, so hopefully they have learned and are more open to developing something more like the originals, but I doubt they will…)
    And as for Konami… well I think everyone is familiar with the whole PT fiasco. Really, Project Zero seems to be the only classic series that is still going strong, but the fourth instalment is only available in Japan due to the fear of it not selling well, despite the fact that there are many fans out there who would happily buy the game, instead of what they’re having to do now- downloading a fan translated patch of the game onto your Wii.
    So, my question to you guys is, what do you think is the future of Survival Horror? Do you think maybe it’s fate lies with up and coming indie developers, or do you think that the big triple A developers are gonna wake up and realise that the demand for survival horror IS THERE (I mean, look at all of the hype PT got, and that was only a TRAILER!), or do you believe that the classic survival horror genre as we know it is officially dead?

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    #5064
    KahunaDrake
    KahunaDrake
    Participant

    I guess this topic covers some people’s thoughts.

    I don’t think the genre is dead. It just needs the right minds to come together and make something grand.

    Rabid ecstasy, 1997

    #5066
    V-Tundra
    V-Tundra
    Participant

    It’s all a matter about demographics. Nowadays, kids don’t want to get scared or don’t want to listen to story; they only want to shoot stuff. If the horror doesn’t sell, why bother trying? It’s sad really.

    But at least there’s a few rare gems out there that can build up a decent horror game once in a while. But it’s just heartbreaking that the closest thing to a decent survival horror game nowadays is a remake… of a remake.

    "The universe is one big joke, and the joke is on us"

    #5067
    Devilboy06
    Devilboy06
    Participant

    To me I think the genre is dead, triple A games wise, that is unless someone else were to take over the big companies in question. Because let’s face it, as long as these lazy bastards keep getting money using the same formula in all their so called horror games, such as action-oriented shooting as you fore-mentioned in your post earlier, we will probably never see good horror games again.

    Now Indie wise, there are creators out there who understand the formula of a good horror game. The same formula mentioned by CCS.
    1)effective atmosphere
    2)relatable protagonist
    3) reason to continue
    and two others that I completely agree with exploration, and being at the mercy of the environment.
    One good example of an indie horror (and this is my opinion) is SCP Containment Breach

    So to answer your question, I don’t believe the genre is dead yet.

    #5094
    LaughingMan
    LaughingMan
    Keymaster

    Wow, what’s up with all the cute Silent Hill fangirls coming out of the woodwork? (not complaining, mind you 😉 )

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for being a fan of we 5 Internet Nobodies 😀

    As far as Survival Horror, I think that game companies are following a lot of Hollywood’s lead: They look at the ‘spreadsheets’ and see what’s popular enough to bank off of. There really isn’t any other explanation about how EA and Capcom completely bastardized Dead Space 3 and Resident Evil 5/6 by making them action games. “Oh shit, action games are selling well. I guess if we made them more “bang-boom-pow” they’ll sell better!

    ie: Studio interference. The studios pour more money into a project, so they hedge their bets by following trends vs creative vision. Happens all the time in Hollywood, and you can see it happening with the Super Hero BUBBLE (AntMan’s original director being fired because Marvel was interfering with “Marvel Universe” tie-ins)

    There’s a huge demand for horror games. PT pretty much proved that people want genuine horror, and resurrected interest in yet another horror franchise that was previously bastardized with needless action, Silent Hill.

    The problem is that studios are too stupid/reluctant to follow through with it because all they care about is the bottom-line.

    #5096
    Nat
    Nat
    Participant

    Wow, what’s up with all the cute Silent Hill fangirls coming out of the woodwork? (not complaining, mind you 😉 )

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for being a fan of we 5 Internet Nobodies 😀

    As far as Survival Horror, I think that game companies are following a lot of Hollywood’s lead: They look at the ‘spreadsheets’ and see what’s popular enough to bank off of. There really isn’t any other explanation about how EA and Capcom completely bastardized Dead Space 3 and Resident Evil 5/6 by making them action games. “Oh shit, action games are selling well. I guess if we made them more “bang-boom-pow” they’ll sell better!

    ie: Studio interference. The studios pour more money into a project, so they hedge their bets by following trends vs creative vision. Happens all the time in Hollywood, and you can see it happening with the Super Hero BUBBLE (AntMan’s original director being fired because Marvel was interfering with “Marvel Universe” tie-ins)

    There’s a huge demand for horror games. PT pretty much proved that people want genuine horror, and resurrected interest in yet another horror franchise that was previously bastardized with needless action, Silent Hill.

    The problem is that studios are too stupid/reluctant to follow through with it because all they care about is the bottom-line.

    Delighted to have joined 🙂 I already followed the CCS twitter (I’m @xxxnatxcutexxx in case you were wondering), but thought I’d join in some of the talk going on around here. Believe me, it’s nice to have a mature discussion over issues like this with people who know how to actually structure an argument 🙂

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    #5201
    Shinra Kuroki
    Shinra Kuroki
    Participant

    I guess I’ll start off with my theory about how to make a good horror game:

    Step 1: Intrigue.

    The need to figure stuff out and make sense of our world is an innate drive for people. Needing to figure out what happens next in a horror game is one of the main reasons we put ourselves through the experience of a horror game. We want to know what is causing the dead to walk or what caused the main protagonist to get dragged into some hell dimension. A good horror game uses a mystery(s) to get players invested into playing the game. The initial intrigue is vital for step 2.

    Step 2: Make curiosity a sin.

    If Dark Souls has thought me anything, it’s that when a gamer sees a shiny sparkle on the ground, they run to it. Taking advantage of that instinct to set a trap and you have a formula to make someone wet their pants. Even after a player has deactivated the trap, they’ll still be paranoid when they finally waltz over to pick up the shiny. Intrigue makes you want to explore, so now all the designer has to do is make the player rethink that whole exploration idea (easier said then done, I know). Players should sweat with anticipation every step they take, so the designer needs to make it so that people’s intrigue only slightly over powers their fear.

    Step 3: Make your story pay off and do it piece meal.

    Nothing is worst than Lost Plot Syndrome. Your pay off has to be as good as your initial intrigue. Having an ending where you need a lobotomy to think it was good is no longer acceptable. The whole Umbrella Corp idea is no longer viable. It’s a B movie plot and horror games are now a AAA industry. Lazy endings make it so we can rationalize away our fears. It does take much intellectual rigor to see that Umbrella’s strategy of turning their own employees and releasing a zombie virus, is just plain stupid when you think about it. When you realize that, it becomes very easy to think rationally and quell your fears. A truly good horror game has you checking behind every shower curtain for months.

    It is also important to reveal pieces of the mystery throughout the game. Most games use loot and level ups as rewards, clues are the Pavlovian equivalent for horror games.

    "Now, I’ve forgiven the world and myself, too. I teach myself to smile again. One day I’ll get there, I know I will. Even if it takes me not nine, but nine hundred lives." -Susan Ashworth from The Cat Lady

    #5202
    Shinra Kuroki
    Shinra Kuroki
    Participant

    I think the problem with the future of survival horror is sequalitis leads to a problem with step 1. The resident evil series had to go in a more action kind of game because all the mystery is sucked out of it. The whole resident evil plot now sounds like an ending for Clue: Umbrella Corp, in the secrete lab, with a new alphabet virus. Without the mystery, the horror aspects suffer greatly. As a series progresses, it has to become more action orientated as any chance for compelling mystery plots evaporate into the ether from the restrictions of the series cannon.

    I think another problem with current horror games is an avoidance of magic. Ghosts are now some parasitic species and zombies are biological weapons. The problem with using science to explain the horror elements in a game, is that more science beats less science. Horror needs to do a reverse Batman. Batman makes people believe humanity can over come anything with science and smarts. Horror should make mankind feel small and at the mercy of that which lurks in the dark. If aliens are scary or not depends on how technologically advanced humans are compared to the aliens. You can never over come a magically powered monster with science and with that comes that weak and powerless feeling that a good horror game enlists in people. A monster doesn’t need to be unstoppable to be scary, but it helps and the market could really use something other than viral zombies, parasitic fungi zombies, plant spore zombies, and alien infested zombies.

    "Now, I’ve forgiven the world and myself, too. I teach myself to smile again. One day I’ll get there, I know I will. Even if it takes me not nine, but nine hundred lives." -Susan Ashworth from The Cat Lady

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