It’s unusual that we should see so many new releases in the 2-3 months (usually June-August) that are usually reserved for the dreaded Summer Draught. It’s like The Purge, in that it’s become another unwelcome annual tradition that you can choose to endure in relative safety behind a locked door, or outside, where the sunbaked crazies wander about slowly roasting themselves. I expect this guide to the horror games of August will go completely unnoticed by the latter group, but I hope it’ll prove useful to my indoor-inclined brothers and sisters. Alright, let’s get started.
Lethe – Episode One
After a relatively lengthy hiatus from the public spotlight, developer Koukou Studios has kicked off the month of August with the debut of its episodic first-person horror game Lethe. Only time will tell if its premiere, dubbed “Anomaly”, will feel like the Amnesia-inspired game that it is, or the superhero origin story that its psychokinetically gifted protagonist might turn it into.
Release Date: August 1 (PC)
Layers of Fear: Inheritance
In addition to giving us another helping of Bloober Team’s awesomely nightmarish game about the great and terrible things that can come from following your dreams, Layers of Fear: Inheritance will finally introduce us to the daughter we heard so much about when she journeys home in order to confront her past. This DLC has some replay value, too, as your decisions will determine which ending you get.
Release Date: August 2 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Doom: Unto the Evil
The recently revived FPS classic Doom will receive its first paid DLC when “Unto the Evil” arrives, bringing with it three new multiplayer maps — Offering, Cataclysm, and Ritual — the UAC EMG Pistol, Kinetic Mine, hack modules, a playable Harvester demon, and even more customization options for your Doom marine.
Release Date: August 5 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Emily Wants to Play
If you’re eager to get your jump scare fix, you needn’t look any further than Emily Wants to Play. That jerk Emily has been traumatizing many a pizza delivery guy on PC/Mac and mobile for months, and soon it’s unique brand of terror will head to the PS4, followed by the Xbox One later this year.
Release Date: August 8 (PS4)
Doorways: Holy Mountains of Flesh
Developer Saibot Studios is nearly ready to finish what it started almost exactly one year ago with the release of the first part of the nightmarish horror adventure game Doorways: Holy Mountains of Flesh. When its third and final act, The Temple, rolls out this month, it will complete the Holy Mountains of Flesh story arc and take the game out of Early Access, as well as finally conclude the Doorways series.
Release Date: August 10 (PC)
It’s fitting that the H+ Corporation would choose the seemingly infinite abyss of deep space as the ideal spot to house the Purity-02 research station and its morally ambiguous experimentation with “the edge of humanity,” or transhumanism. This way, when science inevitably turns against us — as it does in the sci-fi horror game Phantaruk from developer Polyslash — no effort is required to isolate the situation.
When the Umbrella Corporation took the literal scorched earth approach to obscure its role in the outbreak that consumed Raccoon City, they almost certainly would’ve gotten away with their bad deeds if Raccoon City was just the name of some top secret space-dwelling research vessel. I guess they were just ahead of their time.
Release Date: August 16 (PC/MAC/LNX)
Limbo developer Playdead is nearly ready to bring its atmospheric puzzle-platformer Inside to the PlayStation 4. The game has received considerable acclaim since it arrived on the Xbox One in June, followed by a release on Steam in July. Much like the studio’s previous game, this is absolutely a must-play.
Release Date: August 23 (PS4)
The Other 99
Imagine waking up alone and isolated on a mysterious island, armed with a cryptic note, and nothing else, to help you return to the life you were suddenly forced to leave behind. Now imagine that note has only one line, and it reads “The only way off the island is through The Other 99.” Such is the jarring way in which the first-person survival game The Other 99 introduces players to its relentlessly Darwinian world where only the strongest survive.
Release Date: August 25 (Steam Early Access, followed by PS4, XBO)
Resident Evil 4
Back in February, Capcom let us in on its plans to update the last three installments in the main Resident Evil series to the PS4 and Xbox One, along with all their respective DLC. We’ve watched this happen in reverse-chronological order, starting with RE6 in March, followed by RE5 in June, leaving it to the Resident Evil 4 port (these can hardly be considered remasters) to bookend this latest onslaught of disappointingly unimaginative re-releases.
Release Date: August 30 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Chernobyl VR Project
When the Chernobyl VR Project released on the Oculus Rift last month, it wasn’t quite finished. That’ll change later this month when the final release rolls out on the Rift, alongside a more “advanced and extensive version” for the HTC Vive. The Chernobyl VR Project stands out from the majority of other virtual reality titles because it combines the interactive nature of video games with movie narration software to give players the chance to freely explore and learn more about the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant meltdown that transformed nearby Pripyat into a ghost town overnight.
Release Date: TBA August (HTC Vive)
The Works of Mercy
Unlike the majority of its competitors, The Works of Mercy favors a more literal definition of the term ‘psychological horror’, which the game’s sociopathic puppeteer weaponizes against the player by forcing them into a harrowing situation that’s designed to make any empathetic human being tremendously uncomfortable. It’s the video game equivalent to the film Would You Rather, inspired by genre classics like Roman Polanski’s Repulsion and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
Release Date: TBA August (PC, followed by MAC/LNX, PS4, XBO)