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The Slasher Genre Is Coming to Video Games In a Big Way

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I’ve spent a lot of time complaining about how bizarre it is that the slasher film genre hasn’t ever made its way to video games. It’s odd, seeing as there’s a definite audience for that sort of thing.

Ignoring those abysmal Naughty Bear games, all we have left to choose from is a handful of older titles (Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and the indie horror game Babysitter Bloodbath (formerly Halloween), which was actually pretty great.

That isn’t much, but I think that’s about to change.

Within the last year, we’ve been introduced to four new horror games that aim to fill that sad, empty hole in many of our hearts with the things we’ve come to love about slasher films, like speed-walking murderers and shallow, narcisistic characters who die horribly, usually during or immediately following a brief trip to Bonetown.

Let’s go ahead and kick this off with Splatter Camp.

Splatter Camp was announced in January by developer Pig Farmer Games as a follow-up to their Halloween inspired horror game, now called Babysitter Bloodbath. Where their first game was a love letter to John Carpenter’s Halloween, this looks to pay homage to the Friday the 13th franchise.

It’s still very much in-development, as a humorous post on the developer’s website confirmed after Summer Camp was announced.

Summer Camp has more or less the same concept as Splatter Camp, as it also follows a group of teens at a lakeside camp who find themselves being stalked by a woods-dwelling murderer. It’s being developed by the studio behind the Breach & Clear series, so they have the added benefit of extra cash and manpower.

Investing more resources into a game doesn’t necessarily mean it will be better, so it’ll be interesting to see two different developer’s takes on a near-identical concept. So far, I’m rooting for Splatter Camp, but only because it has a much better name.

The good thing about this is the competition ought to motivate each developer to raise their game. Hopefully both blow games will our minds, because two great slasher games will always be better than one.

Last Year is the latest addition to the bunch, and it’s also the most different. Like every game here, it follows a group of teens who are being hunted by a masked murderer, only it’s doing that with a twist.

For the uninitiated, Last Year is an asymmetrical multiplayer game where five purposefully stereotypical teens — Chad the Jock, Amber the popular girl, etc. — must survive against a bad man, also player-controlled, who’s tasked with picking them off one by one. It’s essentially Damned, if you were to blend it with really any slasher film you’ve ever seen.

Because we all love laughing at a good trope, the developer plans on cramming Last Year until it’s bursting with all of the wonderful horror movie clichés we’ve grown to love/hate from watching 80’s slasher flicks.

It’s worth mentioning that this game might not happen. It’s fate rests entirely in the hands of the gaming community, so if you’d like to help them out, you can support it on Kickstarter.

I’d go on, but the power just went out and I think I heard a strange noise that I feel compelled to investigate alone. Don’t worry, I’ll be right back.

Every one of these games shows serious promise, but they can’t quite compare to how amazing this next game looks.

Until Dawn was announced more than two years ago, and it looked okay. Realizing the game needed a lot more work, developer Supermassive Games did the admirable thing and started almost completely over. The result is the incredibly unnerving survival horror game we were re-introduced to back in August.

The new-and-improved Until Dawn feels almost completely different from what we were originally shown back in 2012. The writing has been reworked and thanks to a move to the PS4, those visuals are sharp.

It’s still too early to tell, but we could be witnessing the beginning of a new subgenre of horror, at least for video games. If this genre takes off in a way that handheld camera style games have (Slender, Outlast) I’ll be able to shift my focus to whining about why there aren’t more Lovecraftian horror games out there.

Or how about some horror comedies? I wouldn’t mind seeing a game that takes inspiration from films like Evil Dead 2, Cabin in the Woods, Drag Me to Hell, Zombieland, Slither, etc.

How about you — is there a subgenre of horror you’d like to see make its way to video games? Let me know in the comments!

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