I hope you’re enjoying yourself, because we horror fans have it pretty good right now. If you’ve ever needed proof that our favorite genre is still very much alive, you needn’t look any further than this month’s offering of video games. Whatever flavor(s) of horror you prefer, we’ve seen a bit of everything — from supernatural to survival horror, prehistoric to post-apocalyptic.
For the most part, the last few weeks’ worth of horror-themed releases have been quality games, and the ones that are still on the way look incredibly promising.
Even if the rest of this month’s new releases are disappointing, that won’t change the fact that we haven’t had it this good in years.
So what, specifically, am I referring to? Well, technically, this horror game extravaganza kicked off with Daylight on April 29th. It wasn’t a great game, but that doesn’t matter, because it was quickly followed up by several other titles that are well worth your time if that one didn’t interest you.
May started strong, with the full release of developer Big Robot’s quirky, British robo-horror stealth survival game Sir, You Are Being Hunted. I’ve spent some time with the game, though not as much as I would have liked, and so far my favorite thing about it is its fantastic sense of humor. It’s also not an easy game, or maybe I’m just not very good at it. Either way, if you’re looking for a challenge, this one offers that and so much more.
A week after the British (robot) invasion, we saw the release of Outlast: Whistleblower (May 6), a prequel expansion to arguably the scariest game of 2013. It’s narrative is stronger than the base game, and it wraps up the story of Mount Massive asylum nicely, while offering a bit of closure for anyone who were unsatisfied with Outlast’s ending.
Not long after Red Barrels had put a neat, blood-spattered bow on their terrifying game of hide-and-seek, Telltale released the third episode in the five episode-long second season of their ridiculously good The Walking Dead: The Game.
In Harm’s Way continues the increasingly perilous story of Clementine and friends as they face new dangers, most of which consist of cruel people doing awful things, which is sometimes broken up by the sudden unwelcome appearance of a few zombies. If you’re wondering where my review of this is, I had to delay it to make way for a trip out of town. It’ll go live early next week, I promise.
And finally, Fatal Frame fans got their spirit photography fix with the long anticipated arrival of DreadOut on May 15. It follows a group of students who discover a ghost town during their class trip to Indonesia. Unfortunately for them, this ghost town lives up to its name, but it’s not all bad, as one of the students soon learns she has the power to vanquish these malicious spirits (because video games).
Alone, that many scary games in a little over two week’s time would be worthy of celebration, but the fun doesn’t end there, no sir. We haven’t even touched on the handful of titles that will be made available to the public in the coming weeks, albeit in unfinished states.
Last week, Dead Island: Epidemic hit Steam Early Access, introducing its colorful new take on the popular zombie franchise. It’s also free-to-play, so there’s no real reason not to at least give it a try. On Monday, F.E.A.R. Online will be joining Epidemic with its horror-themed free-to-play multiplayer offering, and the party ends with The Forest and The Stomping Land which both arrive on Steam Early Access on May 30.
If memory serves, it’s been at least two years since we were last gifted with a release schedule that was this exciting, and the month I’m remembering wasn’t all that impressive. If you’ll take a journey back to March 2012, you’ll likely remember how promising that month was, with its decent selection of promising horror games that included I Am Alive, Silent Hill HD Collection, Silent Hill Downpour, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, and Yakuza: Dead Souls. It was exciting, until the games came out, and then it wasn’t.
Thanks to a number of talented indie developers — six of the nine titles I mentioned are coming from small studios that are self-publishing their games — we’ve had a month that will be remembered. The reason I decided to take the time to write about all this is simple, really.
I’ve made it a goal of mine to use Bloody Disgusting’s substantial reach to promote indie developers who I think deserve it, because the games I’m most excited for nowadays are almost entirely coming from the indie space. I also keep hearing people say that horror is either dead, dying, or the bubble that is this golden age of indie horror we currently find ourselves in is about to burst, sending us all free-falling into a sea of brown and grey shooters, sequels, and casual games. I don’t believe it, not for a second.
Genres gain and lose popularity and attention over time — there’s no avoiding that — but in no way is horror on its way out. At least not for a while.
This leads me to my question: with all of these new horror games available or coming soon, which one(s) will have your attention as we head into E3?