Posted by _Mattallica (200 posts) -

One of the most surprising aspects of this year’s Gamescom was how well the survival horror genre is currently doing on the new consoles. Specifically Sony seem to be very invested in the genre currently for PlayStation 4 with Until Dawn being a exclusive title previously for PS3 with Move support, now fully upgraded and looking way more big budget while still be positioned at the horror crowd.

The Evil Within is just around the corner and announced recently is the enhanced Resident Evil remake coming early next year. Then of course one of the biggest stories to come from the show was P.T which ended up being a clever way to introduce a new Silent Hill game by Hideo Kojima called Silent Hills. So where does this revival of sorts come from? Hasn’t horror been dead on the consoles for a while now? Let’s look back at some notable titles from the past and whether or not this current trend is a surprise or not.

Horror games have been around for a very long time but survival horror arguably did not establish itself until Resident Evil was released on PlayStation in 1996. The game spawned two fantastic sequels on the same console and really kick-started the genre as we know it today. The Clock Tower series also enjoyed success in the aftermath as well as Alone in the Dark and the first Silent Hill. This generation may have started what we know think of as console survival horror but it’s peak was still to come.

On PlayStation 2/GameCube we were treated to some of the best survival horror games ever seen on consoles. Resident Evil 4 and REmake were both released as well as multiple Silent Hill and Fatal Frame games. With many other Japanese horror games, this era was a high point for the genre and really set the benchmark in what we would grow to expect from future titles.

The next generation however was a mixed bag. Highlights were Alan Wake, Condemned and the first Dead Space but unfortunately it will be remembered more for a change in direction for some franchises. Dead Space quickly became something else by it’s third iteration, Silent Hill released it’s worst two entries to the date and then there’s the change in direction for Resident Evil.

While Resident Evil 4 was a dramatic change in terms of controls, it was Resident Evil 5 that completely changed the tone of the series. Ultimately it was a good game but really moved the series into a direction more in line with the films and paved the way for the next entry. The less I say about Resident Evil 6 the better before I get angry but overall I think it summed up where the genre was headed. The success of big budget action games like Call of Duty really made developers scared to take a chance on a slower, more atmospheric title in favor of explosions and car chases.

I was convinced this would be where the genre would continue to head going into PlayStation 4/Xbox One but that seems to not be the case so far. Of course we are only talking about console survival horror as the genre has been kept alive elsewhere; on the PC in the form of indie titles. Slender, Outlast, Amnesia and countless others have really reinvented what we expect from the genre with an emphasis on environment and mood over gameplay.

Which brings us to this current wave of survival horror we seem to be at the start of. Why have developers seemingly changed their tune and want to create these games that many deem outdated? Perhaps looking at each individual title rather than them as a whole will help understand. The Resident Evil remake seems to be a reaction to the negative response Resident Evil 6 received by it’s loyal fan base. The best way they could get the fans back on their side was by releasing it’s most loved entry once again, and could also serve as a test from Capcom to see how well it is received before releasing the next new installment.

Silent Hill has been in a bad place for a while now and I thought it would never return to it’s best so this one is more surprising. I believe it stems mainly from Kojima personally wanted to make a game in the series for a while and with the trust Konami have in him at this point they probably had zero objections to any idea that gets people talking after years of stagnation. Hopefully his unique style will suit the strange world of Silent Hill perfectly.

Calling this slew of new announcements a comeback for survival horror on consoles may be slightly premature for several reasons. Firstly these games could potentially turn out terrible and permanently kill the two biggest franchises as well as the return of Shinji Mikami be a huge disappointment resulting in the final nail in the coffin for the genre for good. Also even if these games are all fantastic and suddenly big budget AAA survival horror becomes a viable product once again, horror may never have been dead but just in a bad place after a few mixed releases. We’ll know more this time next year but for now it’s just nice to actually be excited for big horror titles once again.

#1 Posted by csl316 (8954 posts) -

Honestly, I think The Last of Us is a heck of a way to do modern survival horror. You're fragile but empowered, and the gameplay gets incredibly tense.

It's not meant to be a horror game, but it's a good template to build off of if you want to lean more towards creepiness.

#2 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3428 posts) -

@csl316 said:

Honestly, I think The Last of Us is a heck of a way to do modern survival horror. You're fragile but empowered, and the gameplay gets incredibly tense.

It's not meant to be a horror game, but it's a good template to build off of if you want to lean more towards creepiness.

Totally agree.

And, funny enough, TLOU kind of has the ultimate RE-style modern tank controls. At least in the sense that you Back Peddle and Pivot, rather than always move forward.

#3 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

I would like to see more survival horror games like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. That game was a trip. I was always on edge in the real world despite the fact I was never in harms way. But then you're transported to cold scary place and your only chance to survive is to run like hell. Loved that game. Plus, the story was cool.

#4 Edited by mason20 (159 posts) -

Some good points but I'd have to say it's a bit early to say. Which, kills me to say as Survival Horror was my absolute favourite genre when it came to gaming. We had (I'm being generous here) maybe a handful of actual Survival Horror games that were good. P.T. looks interesting but I need to see more because from what I've seen I'm not impressed. Never heard of Until Dawn and don't know much about The Evil Within.

I can respect people enjoying Shattered Memories because it's an actual Survival horror game but it's a Silent Hill game in name only, I also hated being chased by Monster... Condemned 1 and 2 are still the top Horror games that have come out the last generation of consoles. Dead Space 1 and 2 is a great example of horror mixed with action. I'm sure there are more but 13 hour work shift has made me tired.

What people have been claiming as some of the more recent best horror games like Slendor, Outlast, and Amnesia I personally can't stand. But hey, that's fine, people love them. I just find them to just be a jump scare fest which I do not, Do Not count as horror I mean, if my cat can surprise me and give me a more effective jump scare than some of these horror games then I feel that disqualifies it. That and I find the fact that you can't fight back a horrible design choice. Not saying it's wrong just what I don't care about that strain of Horror because if I were to have people stalking me in the woods I'd probably pick up a log to defend myself.

That being said some of the best horror games didn't come out on consoles or relied on (I would call perfect) tank controls for their games. I was terrified of games like I have no mouth and I must scream, System Shock, and yeah... Phantasmagoria scared me as a kid lol.

#5 Edited by _Mattallica (200 posts) -

@mason20: P.T certainly plays way better than you would expect from seeing videos. Glad I played just after seeing the first trailer at Sony's conference as there was still plenty of mystery and that fear of the unknown is what really freaked me out playing it. My fav horror experience for a very long time.

Until Dawn looks interesting but I'm always wary of these games where everyone can die and you are encouraged to play multiple times. Makes me lose interest quickly. I think The Evil Within looks fantastic. Especially as RE4 is one of my fav games of all time. Can't wait to play it in October.

#6 Posted by _Mattallica (200 posts) -

@claude: Embarassingly I've never played Shattered Memories. May try and correct that soon.

#7 Posted by awesomeusername (4209 posts) -

@_mattallica: You forgot to include Alien Isolation. That looks poop in my pants scary. I'm also excited for Soma and Routine. I fell in love with first person horror games ever since I played Outlast when it came to PS4 so I'd like to see more of them.

#9 Posted by _Mattallica (200 posts) -

@awesomeusername: I was gonna include Alien: Isolation but I'm just cautiously optimistic about it. I hope it's great but I've seen so little I wonder how it will play as a full game over just a 15 minute demo that people seemed to have enjoyed. Haven't heard of the other two. Will read about them now.

#10 Posted by Maitimo (204 posts) -

The big worry with console horror games is that the genre is not mass market friendly, so there's the ever-present danger of any new title following the trajectory of Dead Space 3 for as long as it costs so much to make these games. The real hope, I think, is in the friendliness of the consoles to indies. Just look at Steam Greenlight - it's brimming with indie horror games now. Some of these might be good and make the transition!

And hey - you can facecam when you're streaming on the new boxes, right? The next generation of PewDiePies is basically right around the corner. That's scary.

#11 Edited by DifferenceEngine (70 posts) -

I'm not sure that a remaster of a 12 year old remake should be included in a so-called resurgence of survival horror. Besides, Capcom shouldn't be rewarded for bad behavior.

The Evil Within looks like one of those "neat concept, flawed execution" efforts so far. But here's to hoping that the finished product turns out well.

As an old school fan of Silent Hill, I should be more excited about the latest announcement and revamping of the franchise, I just wish it would be done by someone else besides Hideo Kojima. He's so overrated.

#12 Posted by SkipperSonne (82 posts) -

I posted the same idea on FB a while ago. Silent Hills and Until Dawn are intriguing, and all the others mentioned. It's exciting (scary) times.

In the meantime, PC is still holding it down and will continue to. Really looking forward to Routine...

#13 Edited by Jeust (10738 posts) -

@_mattallica:

Silent Hill has been in a bad place for a while now

Downpour is a pretty good game. It has a good plot, uses well symbolism, is open world, has interesting side-quests, plays homage to the prior games in the franchise, the exploration is very cool, as the city has a good amount of secrets, the combat is serviceable, the graphics good, especially indoors.

Yeah horror might be on a comeback tour, as there are plenty of interesting horror games being developed and launched presently.

#14 Posted by Marduke1913 (30 posts) -

@csl316: couldnt agree more. "fragile but empowered" is an amazing summery of the game

#15 Posted by mason20 (159 posts) -

@jeust said:

@_mattallica:

Silent Hill has been in a bad place for a while now

Downpour is a pretty good game. It has a good plot, uses well symbolism, is open world, has interesting side-quests, plays homage to the prior games in the franchise, the exploration is very cool, as the city has a good amount of secrets, the combat is serviceable, the graphics good, especially indoors.

Yeah horror might be on a comeback tour, as there are plenty of interesting horror games being developed and launched presently.

I'm sorry but I've gotta agree with @_mattallica. Downpour is the only Silent Hill game of the series I've never bothered to finish. Here I played most of the series except the Mobile phone games, Arcade game, or the wretched Vita Book of Memories game. Granted that's about 4 I haven't played I just don't want to see Silent Hill and Korn together again... Shamefully I loved Korn (even Davis's half-bothers band Adema(As made fun of on Giantbombs MK Retrospective)) as a kid lol. Yes, I'm a monster...

#16 Posted by Dussck (297 posts) -

I couldn't be more happy with the revival of this genre this year. I've played Outlast, The Last of Us (yes that really qualifies as a survival horror to me, although it's pretty light on the horror), PT and later this year Alien Isolation (!) and The Evil Within. Just love those games somehow, might be the searching and exploring while feeling a constant fear of being attacked.

#17 Edited by Jonny_Anonymous (1085 posts) -

I'm praying that The Evil Within turns out great

#18 Edited by icybankz (51 posts) -

Praying Fatal Frame 5 makes it to the West.

And how is TLOU a Survival Horror? I always saw it as a Shooter Action Adventure.

#19 Posted by _Mattallica (200 posts) -
#20 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (1085 posts) -

@_mattallica: Man I really hope so but I'm trying to keep my hype low

#21 Posted by _Mattallica (200 posts) -

@jonny_anonymous: Same. Got it pre-ordered on PS4. Trying to stay cautiously optimistic.

#22 Posted by TheAcidSkull (563 posts) -

I'm praying that The Evil Within turns out great

So far it looks great if you ask me.

#23 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (1085 posts) -

@jonny_anonymous said:

I'm praying that The Evil Within turns out great

So far it looks great if you ask me.

Yeah but people who have played it at cons and stuff have said it's not great. We'll just have to wait and see.

#24 Edited by TheAcidSkull (563 posts) -

@theacidskull said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

I'm praying that The Evil Within turns out great

So far it looks great if you ask me.

Yeah but people who have played it at cons and stuff have said it's not great. We'll just have to wait and see.

I'm sure they mean the games Jancky gameplay. I really think that's part of the allure.

#25 Posted by pinner458 (807 posts) -

Some people did it right in over the last couple of years so devs are jumping on the bandwagon. Same as any trend. 3d movies, splitting books into 2 part movies ect.