P.T. Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com P.T. RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Silent Hills Teaser P.T. Can't be Redownloaded on PS5 from the PS Store https://www.gameskinny.com/mbbra/silent-hills-teaser-pt-cant-be-redownloaded-on-ps5-from-the-ps-store https://www.gameskinny.com/mbbra/silent-hills-teaser-pt-cant-be-redownloaded-on-ps5-from-the-ps-store Mon, 19 Oct 2020 15:39:57 -0400 GS_Staff

It looks like P.T. won't be available on the PlayStation 5 in any official capacity. That even goes for those who still have the horror demo installed on their PS4 hard drives and may be hoping to re-download it from the next-gen console's PS Store.

The news comes straight from Konami, who confirmed P.T. isn't coming to the PS5's PlayStation Store in an email to GamesRadar. 

the content will not be available on the PS Store, so users won’t be able to re-download the content through the backwards compatibility feature to the PS5.

P.T. was removed from the PlayStation Store by Konami on April 25, 2015. Currently, the only way to play the Silent Hills teaser is to have it already installed on a PS4 hard drive. There's no way to download the teaser otherwise legitimately. Those who deleted the demo from their PS4s can't re-download it either. 

As Push Square pointed out, it may be possible to transfer P.T. from the PS4 to the PS5 via Wi-Fi data transfer, but that remains to be seen. Even if that's possible, though, getting P.T. on the PS5 only pertains to those who already have the demo installed on their PS4s. Those who deleted the teaser — or never played it in the first place — will be left out in the cold. 

Silent Hill fans have been awaiting a new entry in the survival-horror franchise since 2012's Downpour. That year also saw the release of the Silent Hill HD Collection, as well as Silent Hill: Book of Memories for the PlayStation Vita. 

While P.T. has retained its instantly-iconic status more than six years after it stealth-released on the PlayStation 4, Konami has remained mostly silent on the series.

Despite that, a slew of rumors has swirled around the survival-horror franchise for a while now, including that there are two Silent Hill games currently in the works, and that an impending SH reboot will be exclusive to the PS5

However, all of those rumors should be taken with a grain of salt until more is known about them. The only piece of concrete information we have right now is that Sam Barlow, writer and lead designer on Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, has confirmed he is pitching a sequel to that game

While fans wait on any of those to come to fruition, horror game designers have used P.T. as inspiration for their own experiences, two examples being the now-canceled Allison Road and the Early Access Visage. The latter is even good enough to make it on our list of 15 horror games to play this Halloween and beyond. 

Stay tuned for more on P.T. and the Silent Hill franchise. 

[Sources: GamesRadar, Push Square]

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Five Nights At Freddy's: Sister Location Is Actually A Playable Trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/rp3xq/five-nights-at-freddys-sister-location-is-actually-a-playable-trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/rp3xq/five-nights-at-freddys-sister-location-is-actually-a-playable-trailer Tue, 11 Oct 2016 04:55:23 -0400 Joshua Harris

With the recent release of Five Nights At Freddy's: Sister Location on October 7th, the internet has been abuzz with the latest of Scott Cawthon's animatronic masterpieces. However, a lot of people seem to be upset that the game is too short.

Granted, the game does not take long to beat, however there exists a specific reason for the structure of FNAF:SL. The radical change of pace and the way the player interacts with the animatronic animals has been carefully and skillfully crafted. Why? Because it isn't actually a game.

Sister Location isn't just a game, it's a playable trailer. 

Now, hear me out. I know this sounds absolutely nuts, but Sister Location is more than a point-and-click horror game: it is a trailer for the Five Nights At Freddy's upcoming movie in 2018. This can be seen on the first night; it starts out exactly like its predecessors: the player starts off in some location while a disembodied voice shakily explains the details of the night-shift to some unsuspecting schmuck. 

However, that is where Sister Location diverges from the rest of the FNAF family. Unlike the titles that came before, Sister Location centers itself on a plot driven story rather than bombarding the player with jumpscares, draining batteries, and clogged vents. In this iteration, your hand is held through almost every part of the game: from starting your first night to tiptoeing past a motion triggered animatronic fox, you are instructed step-by-step how to overcome each night's challenges.

Of course, that doesn't make playing it any easier, but what this storytelling does is ground the player in a narrative they have otherwise been missing out on with the previous four games.

The True Nature of Sister Location

Sister Location is too short to be a FNAF game, almost too short. With games 1-4, players were forced sit through six (in-game) hours until their shift was over. They kept people on their toes, forcing them to think on the fly in order to avoid being crammed into an animatronic bear suit by the homicidal children's robots running towards the office from halfway across the building. 

Nevertheless, Sister Location was played per audio instruction from either the resident AI or Circus Baby; there was never a moment when anyone playing could not figure out how to progress to the next shift , as someone would always come in say what exactly what needed to be said. The plot followed a new night watchman's five day work week at yet another animatronic establishment. However, it was this characters job to manage them and ensure they were in their proper places with 'encouraging' electrical shocks. Being an unspoken third party we could tell that what the player was doing could be cruel, albeit we were also willing participants in the torturing of androids. 

Without spoiling the story too much, you (as the 'janitor') have to take care of the animatronics every night after their big shows, parties, and celebrations. This is a far cry from being hunted down every night, but it doesn't mean that the threat of death isn't looming around the corner. 

Unlike the game that started this genre, P.T., Sister Location is not just a playable trailer, its trailer for the upcoming Five Nights At Freddy's movie, which is slated for sometime in June 2018. The elements that make it feel less like a game and more like an advertisement are the mechanics that govern every single one of the player's choices. Simply put, the game is plot driven. From the beginning we are given a story, a reason for why things might be the way they are, the player is given a purpose to stay put and see it out until the end. 

But, it isn't until the end of the game until the player realizes that Sister Location is incredibly short, much more so than any other game in the series. It's almost like the content is a Disneyland ride, and we more or less were a part of an attraction than an actual game.

I could be wrong, Scott Cawthon could release 10 more Five Nights At Freddy's games in the next two years. But it would make more sense to release something more theatrical before putting your work aside to aid a movie studio in the production of a movie inspired by your video game. 

We know what Scott is capable of, and by judging Sister Location's content and length of gameplay, it make sense that he is holding something back. There is such a vast difference between the point-and-click survival horror that the series began as and what Sister Location has brought to the table.

Something else is at play, and while its soon to tell whether or not a new game is in the works, everything that Sister Location is points to something a lot bigger brewing behind the scenes. 

Conclusion

The release of Five Nights At Freddy's: Sister Location a few days ago has blown up YouTube, and its short pace and plot driven story has players scratching their heads. With people complaining that the game might be too short, a closer look has to be taken in terms of how Sister Location is structured and what sort of story it tells. In reality, it is most likely a playable trailer for the upcoming movie in June 2018.

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5 Horror Games that Will Scare the Hell Out of You https://www.gameskinny.com/ufewl/5-horror-games-that-will-scare-the-hell-out-of-you https://www.gameskinny.com/ufewl/5-horror-games-that-will-scare-the-hell-out-of-you Thu, 13 Oct 2016 06:00:02 -0400 Jared Elliott

As Halloween creeps closer, the annual cascade of Best Horror Game countdowns has arrived. While everyone has a different opinion on how these lists should be constructed, there's no denying that some horror games are just damn good. I've played more than I can count, and I've "nope"d out of more than I can to admit.

So it's time to throw in my two cents and share a few from the latter category. These are five horror games that still haunt me today, and are guaranteed to scare the hell out of you.

5. Resident Evil 4 (GameCube, PS2)

Often heralded as one of the best video games of all time, Resident Evil 4 reimagined survival horror and third-person shooters in a way that would influence both genres for years to come. Set in the Spanish countryside, player character Leon S. Kennedy must fight his way through the cult of Los Illuminados to save the U.S. President's young daughter, Ashley Graham. Along the way, he'll stumble upon some of the most grotesque and fearsome enemies in the genre.

Resident Evil 4 is one long experience of suspense and dread, interspersed with moments of sheer terror. After finishing the game, you'll know what it's like to get beheaded by a chainsaw-wielding maniac, bludgeoned by a grotesque giant, and hounded relentlessly by a cult of infected mutants. And that's not even the worst of it all.

Despite its intense horror elements, Resident Evil has incredible replay value due to its wide assortment of weapons and upgrades, a short campaign, and optional challenges. To give you a clue, I've played through Resident Evil 4 well over 20 times since its release, and it's a fun, terrifying experience every single time.

4. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly (PS2, Xbox)

Fatal Frame II represents some of the best survival-horror that Japan has to offer. The player controls Mio, a young girl who becomes trapped inside the Lost Village -- a haunted locale which is said to have mysteriously disappeared before the events of the game. With her sister Mayu, Mio must explore the dark, creepy rooms and hallways of the haunted village while solving puzzles and doing a little item hunting.

The game utilizes fixed camera angles to create suspense and intensify the horror when horrific things happen. And they happen a lot. Fatal Frame II never goes easy on the player -- it's unapologetically scary. Its sound design is brilliant, immersing the player into the village for maximum anxiety. Gentle creaks of a wooden floor, scratching on the wall, and insane laughter in the distance never fail to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. 

Fatal Frame II is widely considered to be one of the scariest games of all time. And if you've played it, you know exactly why. For fans of the horror genre, playing this game (and finishing it!) should be mandatory. Who's touching your shoulder? Better not turn around...

3. Dark Souls (PS3, Xbox 360)

Don't let the "dark fantasy" moniker fool you. Dark Souls is one of the best RPGs of all time, and it's also one of the creepiest. The world of Lordran is filled to the brim with insanity and horror -- with grotesque goat-demons, creepy NPCs, and total helplessness awaiting the player at every turn. One of the most memorable experiences in gaming for many is stumbling across the handsome gentleman above for the first time, and I don't blame them for it.

At first, NPCs in Dark Souls are a small source of comfort -- at least you aren't alone, right? But slowly, your fellow inhabitants of Lordran begin to reveal scary motives that you did not expect from them, or lose their minds completely. One of the friendliest NPCs in the game turns out to be a sadistic murderer later on, for example. The others don't turn out much better, for the most part.

A chief element of Dark Souls is its ability to make the player feel hopelessly overwhelmed. Within minutes of starting the game, while the player is just getting used to his or her training wheels, a giant, horrific monster crashes down from the sky, and he's coming for you. This is usually everyone's first taste of the many deaths that await them in Dark Souls -- and most of them aren't as pretty.

2. P.T. (PS4)

To be completely honest, P.T. is the only game (ahem, demo) on this list that I could not finish. As soon as the nice young lady above paid me a visit, I nope'd out of there in a flash. P.T. is hands-down one of the scariest experiences in gaming so far. Originally a playable teaser for Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro's Silent Hills, the game was cancelled abruptly by Konami, much to the pain and dissatisfaction of eager fans.

Kojima and del Toro touched the essence of Silent Hill with P.T. -- intense dread, psychological horror, and a fatal atmosphere comprise the entire experience. As the player descends deeper into madness while traversing the ever-sickening environment, the deformed ghost of a woman stalks from all corners -- watching you through a window, creeping up behind you, and peering down at you from the banister.

Unfortunately, the demo is no longer available for download on the PlayStation Store, but you can still watch gameplay online to get a small taste of the experience.

1. Silent Hill 2 (PS2, Xbox)

Silent Hill 2 is so good that it's practically a historical artifact at this point. Its foreboding atmosphere, thoughtful plot, dripping musical score, and masterful design all work together to create something truly fascinating.

The player takes control of James Sunderland, a widower who journeys to the abandoned town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his dead wife, Mary, who beckons him to their "special place." Unsure if Mary is alive or dead, James ventures into the belly of Silent Hill to find out -- encountering horrifying monsters, creepy environments, and a few unsettling weirdos along the way.

The magic (and horror) of Silent Hill 2 lies in its atmosphere. You never feel safe, nor do you ever know what to expect next. Darkness is all-encompassing, save the scant rays of James' flashlight. The entire experience feels like a walk through Hell, with horrors that you've never imagined ready to pounce from every corner. 

So, there you have it...

If you're a fan of the horror genre and you haven't played all of the games on this list, you're missing out -- or are you?

What did you think about this countdown? Which games do you think are the scariest of all time? Leave a comment below to let us know!

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What Makes Resident Evil So Great, and Whether Or Not Its Future is a Problem https://www.gameskinny.com/cok90/what-makes-resident-evil-so-great-and-whether-or-not-its-future-is-a-problem https://www.gameskinny.com/cok90/what-makes-resident-evil-so-great-and-whether-or-not-its-future-is-a-problem Mon, 19 Sep 2016 08:00:01 -0400 Rettsu Dansu

E3 2016's Resident Evil 7 trailer is a fantastic example of what I love about that expo. It's the reveal of a game that no one was expecting but are nonetheless excited for -- in such a way that it absolutely blows your mind. Barely anyone expected to see that title at the end of the trailer. The realization that everything you just saw was the new Resident Evil, a main entry in the series that goes back to horror in a way that we want it to, was a fantastic feeling.

Or is it? One of the reasons it was so unexpected was because the type of game shown off in that trailer -- and in the demo. It isn't quite Resident Evil. Despite major changes throughout the whole series, it's always been about biological monsters, not whatever we have so far. Arguably, we could have a situation like in Resident Evil where the enemies are sort of human, before their heads fall off and giant centipedes come out.

What's more important though is the way in which the first part of that trailer, and the demo, present horror. The classic Resident Evils (1, 2, 3, 0 and Code Veronica) create horror through resource management, environment, and atmosphere, while the direction for RE7 seems to be one that focuses on the mystery and the unknown. It's not bad, not bad at all, but it's not what Resi fans want. Capcom has promised that the tone of the demo wasn't particularly representative of the full game, however the second trailer is incredibly similar and hasn't cleared anyone's doubts.

But it's Not All Bad

That being said though, there are a number of things the demo has shown us that I think people don't seem to have noticed. These things connect Resi 7 to previous titles in the series, design wise. So, if you haven't played the demo yet or just haven't noticed them, I'm here to explain to you what these things are.

First, however, I'll need to explain what makes the classic Resident Evil formula so great, to give you an understanding of why it's important that these aspects return.

Dodgy Controls

 

Yes, I just said that. Resi's control scheme is a large factor in how scary it gets, however most people focus on how frustrating it can be.

The original RE games use 'tank controls'. Unlike most games in which you point the joystick in the direction you want your character to move, your character is instead controlled much like a tank. Basically, pushing the stick forward moves your character forward, and pushing sideways rotates your character. You have to first rotate your character before you begin to move.

Now, I could argue that once you get used to it, the controls aren't that clunky, but the obvious question would be 'why can't we just you just have normal controls?'. In my opinion the slightly higher level of concentration required to control your character means that if you get stressed or scared the controls can start to get in the way. Thus increasing your level of stress and fear. However, there is a much more important reason.

Knowing Where You're Going

 

Resident Evil was born in an era in which video games were still figuring out how to give players control over the camera in such a way that movement in 3D works perfectly (arguably, we still are). However, Capcom decided to completely ignore it and gave the player absolutely no control over the camera at all.

Resident Evil's world is portrayed to the player through an interconnected string of static camera angles. The camera rarely moves, however as soon as the player moves out of view the camera changes to a different one somewhere closer to the character.

Tank controls are required in this situation to prevent the player from being disoriented. Consider how this camera would work where the player is allowed the usual control scheme.

Say the player moves left across the screen, the camera angle changes and suddenly 'left' is a completely different direction  in relation to the player. The character would immediately change direction. If you don't understand what I mean, play the first Devil May Cry and you'll find out. In the tense, claustrophobic situations Resi presents, this could ruin things. With  tank controls, forward always means forward no matter what direction we're looking in, and it's easier to determine your character's movements.

 

Enter the Film-Like Horror

So why do we need this type of camera? We need it for horror.

A good horror film creates fear through 'sensory deprivation'. We fear what we can't truly understand, so when a film removes our ability to see the danger it forces us to use all of our senses and focus our attention on the scene in an attempt to figure out what's going on. When we begin to realize that it's difficult to determine where the danger is, where it could come from, or even how dangerous it is, that's when fear starts to settle in.

Resi's camera angles achieve a very similar affect. Enemies usually come from outside of your viewpoint. You can hear them, sometimes even see their shadows, but you aren't allowed to move the camera to see them. It creates this haunting atmosphere that the player becomes immersed in simply because they need to concentrate on every clue the environment offers that danger could be around the corner.

 

Holding Long

However the film techniques used in the original Resident Evil's don't end there. Here's one of my favorite examples:

There's a technique in film called holding long. This term is used the director doesn't end a scene as soon as we think it would. For example, a character leaves a scene and we're left watching the same spot. It causes us to concentrate on the scene and wonder in suspense about what could be happening.

There's a cinefix video that explains this quite nicely.

The remake of the first Resident Evil actually manages to utilize this technique. Not just through a cutscene, but through the gameplay itself.

We have been taught through thousands of films that when important events stop occurring the scene changes. This is why holding long on a shot is effective. Throughout the first couple minutes of Resident Evil we are taught that when we walk out of view, the camera changes. Which is why when this happens, it's weird.

To give you some context, at this point in the game you've seen your first zombie. You're unable to kill it yourself so you feel quite weak. As you explore more of the mansion, you hit a dead end and find a knife. You pick up the knife and turn back, however for some reason you walk right off the screen and nothing happens.

Now this doesn't have quite the same effect, as a gamer would probably assume that the game has some lag or it's frozen. What's really important is what happens next.

Without the player's control, Jill walks backwards into view. This causes the player to question the entire situation, until they see the hand appear from around the corner and they understand what has happened.

This combination of suspense and then release is the essence of horror, but the addition of a disconnect between the player and the game makes you feel helpless and confused. It adds to the suspense as suddenly the game doesn't work how we were taught it should.

What's even better is that this scene has three main purposes: The first is to teach you how to use the knife, it's not easy to get out of there without being grabbed by the zombie and having to use the melee weapon. The second is to teach you that the game will sometimes pull this type of thing on you. The third however, is the most important.

You Are Never Safe

The reason why the appearance of a zombie in that location is truly confusing is the fact that we were backtracking. The player had already been through that hallway, had seen that there were no zombies in the area, and had probably assumed that they were safe.

But a zombie turned up anyway.

Resident Evil is a game about exploring a mansion, hence the term Resident Evil. As you explore you'll be returning to places you've been before in order to solve puzzles. Unlike games like Castlevania Symphony of the Night or Metroid enemies don't usually respawn once you leave the area. Once an enemy is dead, it stays dead. Unless you don't burn the body, in which case you're screwed.

Again, we're taught to think a certain way. Surely when I return to an area I've been to, it should be safe because I killed all the enemies. But no, certain interactions trigger certain events to occur in certain areas.

For example, you defeat a snake boss and pick up a key. You go to use the key somewhere else, returning to a previously explored area. However, this time the windows smash and some more zombies jump in. You never know what could set off an area to have more enemies, and this creates an environment where you feel like anything could come at you at any time.

And this is all emphasised by music. If you never understood how music could create emotion, then play Resident Evil. The safe room music is so superbly done that even though its the safest place in the game, you still feel afraid that something could break in. It's mainly soothing music, but with this creepy undertone that reminds you that while you're safe now, you have to go back out there at some point.

This feeling would mean nothing if Resi's gameplay didn't fit. The areas you explore in each game are metroidvania-like, in which you scour the mansion for things to find, meeting locked doors and enemies along the way. Eventually you'll find a key that allows you to unlock certain doors, requiring you to go back to each area and see where that key works. Let me just say that this is really fun, the feeling when you find a key is like no other. It's a feeling of endless possibility... until you get that message that says the key has no more use and you throw it away.

This design encourages backtracking, which allows the constant fear of danger to take full effect. If we were constantly moving forward then there wouldn't be too much to be afraid of.

However, none of what I just said would be scary if it wasn't for the way that Resident Evil deals with death.

The Death Penalty

I could write an entire article about how video games should penalize you when you die, because in my opinion it's something that's really hard to perfect.

Every fear portrayed in a film usually connects to death. What truly scares us is either being so immersed that it feels like it's happening to us, or that we don't want those characters to die.

This doesn't work in a video game, the developers can't just have you die and end the game altogether. So any fear of the death of your character is immediately removed once you die the first time, and see your character come back to life afterwards. There are only a few games where permanent death works.

Fearing death in a game helps to make the game more immersive. It allows tense situations to be tense for the player. Really, any game could be improved with a proper death penalty. However, horror games require them, because horror games need to generate fear.

So this asks the question of how we penalize the player when they die. The obvious answer, which is what most games use, is to cause the player to lose progress. Either pushing the player back to a checkpoint (pretty ok), back to the start of the level (pretty mean), or back to the last save (even meaner). Dark Souls has its own rather unique method of punishment in which you lose your unused exp, however this doesn't avoid the major problem.

Losing isn't Fun

We play video games to have fun, arguably, and this is where death penalties create issues. There's almost no way to take something away from the player and have them actually enjoy it, it just doesn't work.

The more you take away from the player, the more tense the situation is. Therefore it's almost impossible to create an incredibly tense situation in which the player doesn't feel terrible once they end up dying.

Unless You Cheat

Resident Evil takes the incredibly mean route and forces you to load your last save when you die. This isn't always great because you could forget to save and end up losing hours of progress. What's even meaner, however, is that saving in Resi requires you to use a finite resource, and it isn't too common either. This means that you have to spread out your saves so you don't run out.

Basically, if you die in Resi you have quite a lot to lose. Or do you?

Resident Evil is a game about learning, as I've said before. It's about finding items and using logic (and sometimes just guessing) to find out where you need to use those items. A player who knows what they're doing can finish the game in a couple hours.

What this means, is that even if it was 2 hours since your last save, if you die it would only take you about 10 minutes to get back to where you were. Most of that time you just lost was spent finding where the items are used, now that you have that information you don't waste that time. Not only that, but you know where all the enemies are so there's no need to be cautious.

This -- in a way -- is the best of both worlds. When you're being attacked by enemies, in the heat of the moment all you can think about is the amount of time it's been since your last save, so it's tense. But if you eventually die, it doesn't sting so much because you begin to realize that all you need to do is run to a couple of specific rooms and you'll be back.

This doesn't work for all games, because not all genre's can have this puzzle style implemented. We can't really learn from RE in this retrospect. However, Dark Souls has a similar situation, in which you learn your enemy's patterns and learn how to deal with them better. So perhaps this is just an aspect of good game design.

Fear

 

In my opinion, the way that Resident Evil deals with death is integral to creating fear while playing it. There are a number of things that I haven't mentioned that other people might think are just as important, such as resource management, atmosphere, or zombie dogs. But I don't think any of them would be scary if we weren't actually worried about the death that came along with it.

This is exactly why I think that RE contains examples of good jump scares. It's quite popular recently to hate on jump scares, and with good reason. They're an easy way to make people scared, but they're usually used way too often and with not enough thought put into them.

Here's the problem, a jump scare isn't particularly a "scare", it's more of a simple reaction. It's your body reacting to possible danger by waking up all the muscles, and it's unpleasant. You could argue that it's possible to "fear" a jump scare, but I would say that that's more like the way one would act when they're about to experience pain. This is the same feeling the people abuse to make people go insane through torture.

This could explain why we enjoy watching people play games with jump scares in them, but there isn't as much enjoyment to be had when you play one yourself.

When a jump scare is used in a well directed film, or Resi, it makes us jump, but also creates fear because they have some weight behind it. The appearance of a monster in this fashion is scary because it means that the characters could get killed by it. In RE's case, you yourself have to actually point your gun at them and shoot them. The player jumps not just because the brain is waking up, but because they themselves need to be awake to act.

If a monster enters the shot and leaves for the sake of making you jump, it doesn't really have the same effect.

Onto the Future

2000 words later, let's go back to Resident Evil 7

So RE7 has a lot of fans rather skeptical. The demo and it's trailers appear to give off an atmosphere of general creepyness, cooking pots full of cockroaches, weird men appearing out of nowhere, and a creepy run-down house. This kind of horror is something similar to Silent Hill or a number of horror indie games. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, other than it becoming rather cliche recently. However, it isn't what makes the Resident Evil series unique. But let's look at a number of ways Resi 7 could be returning to the original formula.

First of all, it's rather difficult to tell how RE7 will deal with death. Since the only way to die in the demo is to finish it, there's no way to find that out. However, there's one thing that's rather important that we need to consider.

Welcome to the Family, Son

The first thing you do in the demo is find a tape player, with no tape. Then you progress in the house and find a cupboard, which is locked by a chain. You then reach the end of the house and find pliers.

You use the pliers on the chain, which unlocks the cupboard revealing a tape, and you then use the tape on the tape player.

This might seem really simple, but this means a whole lot. What this indicates is a style of gameplay in which items must be found, and we must backtrack in order to use those items. It's an incredibly simple progression, you simply move forwards then backwards, but if the demo is in any way indicative of the full game, I think this means we'll have that same puzzle style of game with items and exploration.

And This is Really Important

If we have a game that focuses on exploration, then this creates a format for a number of the horror aspects I talked about before. It allows for random enemy placement, and replacement, that creates constant danger. This is something I'm sure other people have picked up on, but it doesn't get the focus it deserves when discussing the game.

And that previous scene isn't even the only hint towards items found through exploration, there's a hidden fuse that opens a door if you do things in a different order. Players have also found an incredibly hidden, albeit useless, axe hidden deep in the demo. This type of gameplay is what truly made Resident Evil for its first five games, and when they dropped it for RE4, that's when the series began to be more and more action focused. To me, the resurgence of this mechanic is what could make Resi 7 more Resident Evil. However, fans do still have their worries.

The First-Person Camera

RE7 is the first main series title to be in first person, and this does create some issues if Capcom really is trying to return to formula. With a completely controllable camera, you lose the camera angles that made the original games so cinematic, and loses an integral part that made the games truly scary.

So how much of an impact will this have on the game? Well it depends on how well Capcom can design the game for fear. There are still ways to create horror with a controllable camera, and there are more ways to create horror in a game than just utilising film techniques.

But this is what made Resident Evil unique. In our current era, there are so many horror games that use the same techniques. Any currently thought of design to make horror has probably already been done to death. Resident Evil is probably the only one to make horror in such a way, and even if it's not the most successful at least it's unique.

So Why Can't we Just Use the Old Way

The obvious reason for why Resi 7 is first person is because it's going to be in VR, third-person games just don't work. But there is a bigger issue.

The majority of people don't like tank controls. They just can't be bothered to wrap their head around a needlessly complex control scheme. In this day and age, when we want Resident Evil to be relevant again, we need to it to appeal to as many people as possible. I know quite a few people who, even though they'd probably love RE, just get frustrated by tank controls.

But as I said before, tank controls and the camera angles work hand in hand, you can't have one without the other. If we remove the tank controls, we have to remove static cameras.

This is exactly what happened with Resi 4, tank controls were removed, and a different camera control scheme was designed. The over the shoulder, 3rd person, camera definitely worked, but it lead towards an action focus. Now, Capcom is probably trying a third time to make this work, with the only camera system they have left to try.

Will it Work?

I'm not particularly at liberty to say, but I think it could work. We haven't truly lost the same sensory deprivation as before. There aren't many enemies in the demo, but you can still hear footsteps and creaks in different rooms as you progress. This is mostly used to creep you out, but it could hint to a later use of sound to indicate the presence of enemies in the full game.

There's also the scene in the demo where one of the characters calls your attention, and you look over to him. Once he's done talking, you look around and realise that the other character, Andre, has dissapeared.

You can still control the camera and watch the other character leave, but a first time player will get distracted and believe that Andre has just mysteriously been taken. It's this kind of design that makes me feel hopeful, as Capcom has used events to move the player's attention, and effectively forced a camera angle in a certain direction.

Most games would probably remove control from the player to show them what they want you to see. This way feels more fluid and immersive, because in a way, it is the player's choice to look in that direction.

The Story

The story is probably the biggest thing people complain about. The generic, Silent Hill-esque atmosphere and the lack of connection to previous games.

There's certainly some slight connection to the series: an umbrella logo in the game, on a helicopter, in a picture, in a hidden room, accessed by playing the demo a second time, and activating a secret (little bit of a stretch).

 

As I stated before, Capcom has said that the plot and tone of the demo isn't representative of the full game. However, despite the first trailer being mostly for the demo, there are some things shown in that trailer that are nowhere to be seen.

There's a montage of clips at the very end that has a certain atmosphere. There's this creepy music and a bunch of unsettling shots of forests and other things. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly the tone is, but I don't feel that it's the same cliche-creepy that we get a lot. It's actually the part of the trailer that intrigued me the most, even before I knew it was Resident Evil 7.

There's also a number of shots where things seem to deteriorate quickly, such as the wolf head. This seems to me like some kind of connection to biology, it might be a stretch, but for me this is what gives me the idea that they won't be ditching Resident Evil's biological roots.

There are a number of things in the second trailer, however, that seem a lot less biological and that create a cliche-creepy tone. The being said, it barely shows us anything. It's possible that this is just an early stage in the game where we first see the enemies we're fighting.

The monster that attacks the player could turn out to be a product of the bio-organic testing Umbrella does, but there's really no way to tell. From what I hear the character in the trailer is one that the player is trying to rescue in the full game, so perhaps the tone of helplessness is only portrayed because that character is truly helpless.

I don't think this is a representation of how the game will turn out, but a representation that Capcom doesn't know how to make trailers.

So Should We Be Worried About Resident Evil 7?

The short answer: probably not.

I mean, we shouldn't be sitting around wondering if a future game will be as good as we want it to. There's better ways to spend our time. There's absolutely no way that we can tell exactly what kind of game Resident Evil 7 will be until we can play it for ourselves, who knows what the entire experience could be like?

But as to whether or not we can predict Resi 7's quality, I think the community's current predictions are a bit too exaggerated. Resident Evil fans have been burnt too many times to be hopeful, and overhyped games have been so frequent recently that any depiction of what your game could be is not going to convince anyone anymore.

I myself am hopeful that Resi 7 will return in some ways to the original formula. It would be nice to see those things return.

Is it a problem that some things are different?

Well, I'd like to say it isn't. We're in an era currently where plenty of developers are trying to return to what their games once were (New Super Mario Bros., Ratchet and Clank), but they aren't trying to improve on that original formula at all. So instead of returning to glory, we get something we've already gotten.

It's actually quite interesting to see Capcom attempt to bring back aspects from the past, but also try to improve on them for a general audience.

And if it turns out to be just like P.T., well then we'll finally get Silent Hills.

 

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8 of the Best Jump Scares in Horror Gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/is7ds/8-of-the-best-jump-scares-in-horror-gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/is7ds/8-of-the-best-jump-scares-in-horror-gaming Wed, 31 Aug 2016 12:32:19 -0400 Amy Turnbull

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1) Fatal Frame - Broken Neck Ghost

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That's right - Fatal Frame is so good at genuinely frightening jump scares, it gets two mentions in this list! And this particular ghost from the first game in the series is well-deserving of the number one spot.

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This infamous jump scare is just one of the encounters you'll have with this angry ghost in Fatal FrameBroken Neck is undoubtedly the most well-known (and perhaps worst-feared) ghost in the series. She's near-impossible to get rid of and crops up in the game time and time again.

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As you make your way through the beautiful Himuro Mansion, be sure not to get too distracted - one moment, all is calm and relatively quiet; the next, you find yourself face-to-face with the terrifying Broken Neck ghost - and she has no regards for personal space.

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It's been over a decade since I first played this game, but I can still remember my first encounter with Broken Neck (and the accompanying near heart attack!) clear as day, along with the reactions of everyone in the room at the time. As you can see from the clip below, even those not engrossed in playing the game can't help but scream when she appears from nowhere.

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And let's not forget, Fatal Frame is supposedly based on a true story... Sweet dreams, horror fans!

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Did your favorite jump scare make it to the list? Let us know in the comments which heart-stopping moments you'll never forget from your favorite horror games!

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2) Resident Evil 2 - Interrogation Room Licker

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This well-known video game series has been going on for years, but it's actually one of the earliest games in the franchise that provides some of the best jump scares out there.

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Raccoon City is overrun with zombies following the outbreak of the T-Virus - a bio weapon developed by the evil Umbrella Corporation. 

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You get to play as both Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield in this outing, which has the classic Resident Evil formula - exploring, solving puzzles, and kicking zombie ass. 

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In one of the most unforgettable jump scares of the entire Resident Evil series, you find yourself in a rare quiet moment, collecting necessary items in the police department's interrogation room. Before you know it, one of the 'Licker' creatures comes crashing through the two-way mirror just as you walk by.

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This continues to make me jump out of my skin during replays to this day!

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Watch from 2:58 for the specific jump scare

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3) P.T. (Silent Hills) - Lisa Attacks

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Known simply as P.T. at the time of its release on the PlayStation Store, this free playable teaser for (the eventually canceled) Silent Hills game was an interesting and unique psychological survival horror.

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As the mystery protagonist, you find yourself in a corridor which you must explore (and which you soon realize is endless, as you are caught in some kind of never-ending loop).

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The key is to work your way through the game until the moment a phone starts to ring. Once this has been triggered, you are released from the hallway and are rewarded with the trailer for Silent Hills.

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The objective isn't as simple as it sounds. You have no combat skills, and must investigate various frightening situations and solve challenging puzzles. The corridor will continue to change around you each time you complete a loop of it, and this can go on for hours, adding to the desperation you already feel.

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One scary aspect of P.T. that keeps you on your toes is the hostile spirit Lisa, whom you encounter numerous times throughout the game. However, it's the moment she attacks you suddenly if you let her get too close that really takes you by surprise, and provides one of the most terrifying jump scares on this list.

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4) F.E.A.R. - Alma Appears on the Ladder

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The appropriately titled F.E.A.R. is an FPS survival horror in which you play as the First Encounter Assault Recon's Point Man. Your team has been sent in to contain the area where supernatural phenomena of the deadly variety have been taking place.

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The horror style used in this game is heavily inspired by Japanese horror movies, both visually and audibly. There is a lot of silence used throughout, which, when paired with the other aspects of the game's creepy atmosphere, allows the player's imagination to run wild, creating your own anxiety and fear.

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The main antagonist in F.E.A.R., Alma Wade, most often presents herself in the form of a little girl (and as we all know, creepy little girls are always a hit in the horror genre!). She's often spotted in your peripheral vision, walking by as though she was there all along, but sometimes she gets a bit more daring.

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In one of the most memorable moments from this game, Alma appears out of thin air right in front of you as you reach the top of a ladder, with her eerie giggle sending a chill down your spine, just in case suddenly seeing her wasn't scary enough.

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5) Dementium: The Ward - Screeching Banshees

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Dementium stood out as a rather unique game for the DS when it was released, as it was the first fully 3D, first-person survival horror to be released on that platform. As it turns out, it works surprisingly well.

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You start the game knowing very little about what you may encounter. You wake up alone in a dimly lit room within a run-down asylum, with no knowledge of who you are or how you came to be there. 

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Upon exploring the asylum, you come across various mutants, the result of surgical experiments performed on the hospital's patients. With limited weapons and ammunition scavenged from around the darkened asylum as you explore, the game's atmosphere leaves you feeling claustrophobic and increasingly on edge.

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In one of Dementium's more surprising jump scares, you find yourself entering a seemingly empty corridor, only to be confronted with what appear to be FLYING CLOWN HEADS. The stuff of nightmares, right? And just in case the image isn't bad enough, the noise they make is terrifying.

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6) Five Nights at Freddy's - Freddy Jumps Up

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Five Nights at Freddy's is a relatively short game with a simple concept - work a night shift as a security guard for a pizza restaurant, and try not to get killed in the process.

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The game, developed by Scott Cawthon, became an instant sensation on its release and has spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs in the two years since. The series still has a large cult following online today, and fans are waiting in hope of a new game this October.

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FNAF is a simple point-and-click game, but it still has a high fear factor, as you are left with rising panic as the nights go on. Unable to move from your spot, you can only click through the security cameras to keep an eye on the various deadly animatronics that lurk about the place, and hope that they don't make it to the office you occupy.

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In this clip, YouTube user Smike is working his way through Night 4, when animatronic Freddy seems to appear out of nowhere, as he is wont to do.

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Watch from 15:00 for the specific jump scare

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7) Fatal Frame - Ghostly Man Behind the Door

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The Fatal Frame series is one of my personal favorites when it comes to survival horror games. The games have a uniqueness to them that make them a delight to play, and they really do continually scare your socks off!

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The first installment in the series is set in the abandoned Himuro Mansion in 1980s Japan. You play as Miku, on the search for her brother who has recently gone missing at the mansion. You are armed only with the Camera Obscura - an antique camera that can be used to fight off and capture ghosts.

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The game's atmosphere is rather creepy, as you never know when or where ghosts are going to appear, or how violent they may become upon seeing you. 

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In the clip below, YouTube gamer TrueGameMage illustrates just how suddenly the spirits in this game can take you by surprise, and it really does leave you with a racing heart every time!

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Watch from 1:50 for the specific jump scare

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8) Outlast - Hanging Body

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We kick off our countdown with indie survival horror Outlast. In the game, you play as a freelance investigative journalist, Miles Upshur, who is investigating an asylum tucked away deep in the mountains of Colorado.

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Armed with a camcorder and nothing more, your aim is to document the horrors taking place in the asylum, which has been overrun with homicidal patients. 

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Knowing you have just a camera and some parkour-type moves to get you through the game, you're kept on the edge of your seat throughout. But one thing that guarantees you'll be on the alert from the start is that the jump scares begin almost immediately. 

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The clip below, from YouTube user Deadwax, is the first jump scare of the game. As you enter a room, you are unexpectedly greeted by a dead body swinging towards you from the ceiling. This moment lets you know from the get-go that Outlast won't mess about. 

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The survival horror genre is a popular one amongst gamers. Apparently, there are a lot of us out there that just love to scare ourselves silly!

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But what makes a great horror game?

A typical recipe for games wanting to induce fear in the player will include things like dim lighting, chilling music, and sound effects, and gruesome antagonists, all combining to provide a creepy atmosphere that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

As the years have gone on, and graphics have continued to improve with changing technology, the fright factor has increased, with more and more extreme visuals and themes appearing in horror games. The ghosts, zombies and other beasties and apparitions at the core of these games today can leave a lasting impression in the nightmare department.

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But one thing that has been a constant throughout the genre, no matter the age or quality of the games' graphics, is the jump scare. A timeless technique employed in both the movie and gaming industry, this classic tactic will never fail to leave your heart racing and your spine tingling. 

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Here, we take a look back at just a handful of the more memorable jump scares that have left us chilled to our core over the years...

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Take a look at this P.T. inspired game https://www.gameskinny.com/gq7l9/take-a-look-at-this-pt-inspired-game https://www.gameskinny.com/gq7l9/take-a-look-at-this-pt-inspired-game Sat, 06 Feb 2016 13:23:49 -0500 Nick Harshman

Are you one of the many gamers that wish the new Silent Hills wasn't cancelled? Are you also looking to scratch that horror game itch? Visage might just be the game for you then, as its creators have been heavily influenced by the P.T. demo. Fair warning; this is a Kickstarter game, and may or may not meet its funding goal. But it looks awesome nonetheless.

Created by SadSquare Studio, the game is expected to be released on PC with VR support by January 2017. Should the funding goal be met, a PS4 and Xbox One version can be expected some time soon after. 

The game was originally a recreation of the P.T. demo in Unreal Engine 4, but once Silent Hills was cancelled, the developers decided to turn it into its own game. 

The game will mainly take place in a single house, with the player being tasked with discovering its dark secrets. This sounds like the setup to many other horror games. But based on what we've seen so far, it looks pretty good. I personally plan on keeping my eye on this game, what about you?

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How games use instinctual fear against us https://www.gameskinny.com/taw26/how-games-use-instinctual-fear-against-us https://www.gameskinny.com/taw26/how-games-use-instinctual-fear-against-us Mon, 02 Nov 2015 11:57:28 -0500 Clint Pereira

Psychologists tell us that there are five fears that everyone shares: extinction, mutilation, loss of autonomy, separation, and ego-death. These are fears that have plagued human beings since the dawn of man.

But how do video games, specifically, use these fears? There's more to spooking someone than jump scares.

Extinction

What is it?

The fear of no longer being. The fear of complete oblivion. You no longer exist. You are no longer conscious. You have returned to a state of emptiness.

Games that do it well

Most games don't pull this off very well. After all, death is usually just a minor irritation. It's games like Limbo and Mirror's Edge that really make the act of death terrifying. That spider's leg through the chest or that whooshing sound before hitting the ground is terrifying.

Arcade games were probably the best at scaring their players, though, but not in the way you might think. Game over screens, like the ones in Ninja Gaiden and Final Fight, were designed to get people to feel like they were letting their character die, all so they could put more quarters into the machine.

Mutilation

Games that do it well

Losing a limb is extremely traumatic. People who have lost limbs will even experience phantom pains. Mutilation is closely related to extinction, though you can be mutilated without dying. We'd all like to live our lives in one piece, and even just seeing a person with an amputation can be unnerving for most people.

Games that do it well

Dead Space and Outlast are two games that come immediately to mind. In Dead Space, the loss of limbs and eyes is often preceded by death. In Outlast, you get to watch your character's fingers brutally amputated before escaping the asylum.

Loss of autonomy

What is it?

You are trapped. Whether in a literal space or not, your freedom and choices are limited. Like an animal, it is your instinct to go into fight-or-flight mode when you feel cornered.

Games that do it well

This is one of the most common fear exploits in games, often employed in games that have jump scares. P.T. and Five Nights at Freddy's are two games that restricts autonomy by limiting player movement to one (neverending) hallway. The fear is in the feeling of being trapped; the jump scares are just there to trigger the fight-or-flight panic.

Some games will use game mechanics and graphics limitations to their advantage. Silent Hill, for instance, has a constant fog or darkness around the player character. Resident Evil uses fixed camera angles and tank controls to keep the player from feeling too powerful or in control.

Separation

What is it?

You are alone. There is nobody around, at least nobody you can relate to. If there are any people, they are empty shells or alien personalities. You can't touch them or talk with them or relate to them at all. You start to feel less human...

Games that do it well

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth has characters, but they all seem off and inhuman. Silent Hill, too, uses vaguely inhuman characters to its advantage. The town's fog also acts as a way of making the player feel isolated and alone. Additionally, Yume Nikki and Silent Hill 4: The Room, create a feeling of isolation by having a bland room be the only solace from a nightmare world that you have to traverse. In both games, dealing with monsters becomes a relief when confronted with the stark isolation of your apartment.

Ego death

What is it?

You are not the person you thought you were. A rift forms in your psyche. You can't tell right from wrong, the truth from the lie. Ego death is often considered the first step in a spiritual transformation, but it is in itself not beautiful or radiant.

Ego death is the death of one's identity. And if one cannot find a way to cope, it may as well be a real death.

Games that do it well

This is notoriously difficult to pull off, as players see themselves as separate from the character. Unless first completely immersed in the character identity, there's little the game can do to cause any kind of ego-death.

Still, some games are able to use the player's feeling of heroism and power against them. Spec Ops: The Line and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater are two such games in which the player starts out as the hero but turns out to be the villain. Both the player and player character have to face the fact that they made bad choices and are not really the person they thought they were.

Summary

Games don't have time to condition new fears for players. Instead, they have to tap into instinctual, or sometimes cultural, fears.

All of these fears are survival mechanisms, to keep us from dying, from losing ourselves into the dark unknown. But in spite of the dehumanizing nature of these fears, sharing them through stories or games does one miraculous thing.

It makes us feel human again.

Image sources: Alien: Isolation via kotaku.com; Ninja Gaiden via youtube.com; Dead Space via en.wikipedia.org; P. T. via anthonyvecch.com; Silent Hill 4: The Room via venturebeat.com; Spec Ops: The Line via everydaygamers.com

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Creators of Worms pick up indie horror game Allison Road https://www.gameskinny.com/iko1u/creators-of-worms-pick-up-indie-horror-game-allison-road https://www.gameskinny.com/iko1u/creators-of-worms-pick-up-indie-horror-game-allison-road Tue, 13 Oct 2015 09:46:55 -0400 Robert Sgotto

Allison Road, the game some are calling the spiritual successor to the P.T. demo has recently cancelled their Kickstarter campaign.

It's not often that cancelling a Kickstarter is good news, most of the time it means funding issues or internal arguments and disagreements.

That's why it's a relief to hear Allison Roads developer Lilith Ltd has been picked up by Team17, and no longer needs crowd funding thanks to Team17's indie label program.

Team17 are the developers known for the Worms franchise, and more recently they published Beyond Eyes and The Escapists series.

Yes, that Worms.

"Working with Team17 will give us the chance to make our game unhindered creatively, but at the same time give us the resources, support, and experience that only a 25-year-old studio can give," the developer said.

When the newly founded studio began work on Allison Road, they weren't expecting all the attention.

"We've been completely overwhelmed by your encouragement and huge interest in Allison Road," said the developer.

"We'd love to thank each and every one of you for all of the amazing support you have given us during our Kickstarter campaign and beyond."

Due to Kickstarters policy, the supporters of Allison Road wont be charged any money they donated (only successful Kickstarters charge supporters), but the developer is still looking for new ways to keep the community involved.

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Why I'm still bitter about the Silent Hills cancellation https://www.gameskinny.com/1msav/why-im-still-bitter-about-the-silent-hills-cancellation https://www.gameskinny.com/1msav/why-im-still-bitter-about-the-silent-hills-cancellation Mon, 05 Oct 2015 06:04:41 -0400 Clint Pereira

The cancelation of Silent Hills happened months ago—five months and eight days, to be precise—but who's counting?

Honestly, I have better things to do than be mad at Konami. In fact, I already wrote an article on the topic of Konami's blunders. I think I was fairly objective. But I don't know if objective is the way to go anymore. Konami, you hurt me. As a favor to myself and to all the other Silent Hill fans, I'm calling you out.

They're running their company like a cartoon punchline

It's all about the bottom line. Japan's major magazine publication, Nikkei, disclosed that Konami's business tactics include heavy monitoring and punishment of its employees, sometimes for just taking a scheduled lunch break.

I have worked for a company like this. It makes tons of money, but the money all sits at the top and rarely, if ever, trickles down. The newly-hired employees pretty much have to lick boot and strangle each other just for a few extra crumbs. By keeping these new employees frightened all the time, the company can extract a ton of work out of them in a short amount of time before they have a nervous breakdown or the project ends and they are laid off.

In Japan, it works a little differently in that employees are usually demoted to positions like custodian or security rather than being laid off completely. This could be construed as "merciful," though it's hard to call it that when every person greeting you at the doors in the morning is someone who failed at another job. It's just a daily reminder of what could happen to you if you're not working hard enough.

They chased Guillermo Del Toro away from the video game industry

Hollywood director Del Toro's involvement with the game was exciting, to say the least. But at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, he disclosed that he does not plan on working on any other games.

I joined THQ, and THQ goes broke. I join Kojima, and Kojima leaves Konami. I have decided, in order not to destroy anyone else's life, I will never again get involved in video games. Otherwise, I'll join someone and his house will explode, or something.

So, not only is Del Toro backing away from developing games, but he also has built a personal complex around it. Thanks, Konami!

Junji Ito was working on the game

This is the freshest cut to an old wound. Although it's not certain exactly what Ito's role was in production, Del Toro recently announced on Twitter that legendary horror mangaka Junji Ito was involved in the Silent Hills project.

Ito followed up with a tweet confirming his involvement but that he did not say much during the meetings. Still, he is the undisputed king of body horror, so it would have been amazing if his influence would have carried into the monster designs.

With so many huge names working on the game, the game itself could have been terrible and it still would have been a huge deal.

P.T. was the absolute scariest experience I've had in recent memory

I hadn't been excited about a Silent Hill game in a long time, but if P.T. was any judge, this was going to be quite the ride. For me, horror is coaxing someone deeper into a dark pit while still promising that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. It's one of the most difficult genres to pull off, especially in an interactive medium where getting players to not just throw the controller away is essential. The first Silent Hill games, especially, did it best. They tugged at our heartstrings before inviting us into Hell.

P.T. was that sense of horror distilled and distilled until the very act of walking down a hallway became nightmare incarnate.

Katlaborde recently wrote an amazing breakdown of P.T. I highly suggest giving it a read.

Pachinko...

Konami isn't doing anything with the Silent Hill franchise except making a pachinko game.

And I know. I know gambling's a big money-maker. I get that this is a good, by-the-numbers business decision. But the callousness, the quick chopping block preciseness about it still hurts my heart.

Maybe I have to accept it at some point, but I don't have to like it. There are no heroes to root for anymore, at least not inside the once-hallowed halls of Konami. Silent Hill, perhaps once considered a cursed franchise, is now finally at rest.

Image sources: P.T. via relyonhorror.com; Bojack Horseman via imagine.pics and reddit; AP/Chris Pizzello via salon.com; Souichi's Diary of Curses via pascaleandejournalism.wordpress.com; silenthillparadise.com

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How Silent Hills could have changed horror in gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/yqyqt/how-silent-hills-could-have-changed-horror-in-gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/yqyqt/how-silent-hills-could-have-changed-horror-in-gaming Fri, 02 Oct 2015 10:34:35 -0400 katlaborde

After hearing the announcement of Silent Hills' cancellation in late April, gamers were absolutely crushed. The project was to be helmed by Hideo Kojima, of Metal Gear Solid fame, and visionary filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. We were only presented with a small teaser. But it, coupled with the excitement of this awesome collaboration, was enough to have us waiting in anticipation for the next game in the Silent Hill franchise.

However, when news stories began rolling in regarding Kojima's fallout with game studio, Konami, the hopes of Silent Hills ever seeing completion slowly faded away. Although several news sources suspected that another publisher would buy the rights for Silent Hills, nothing ever surfaced. After confirmation from Guillermo Del Toro on the project's incredibly early phase of development, fans had to face the fact that the possibility of Silent Hills was no more.

So why was everyone so excited for this project that we knew very little of? That's easy, just two letters: P.T. 

The short history of P.T.

P.T. title card from PlayStation store

Last August, a mysterious demo was uploaded to the PlayStation Network to promote a new horror title for Gamescom 2014. Under the guise of made-up studio, 7780s, Kojima and his development team put together a short demo which players had to unlock in order to uncover the truth behind the demo's purpose. In just a few hours, gamers had cracked the mystery behind P.T. revealing it to be Silent Hills. They were rewarded with a small teaser trailer, starring The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus, who was set to star as the game's lead.

Despite the popularity of P.T. and the hype for Silent Hills, Konami decided to pull P.T. from the PlayStation Network in May of this year. Gamers who kept P.T. on their PlayStation 4 hard drive were the only ones with access to the ill-fated demo. PlayStation 4 consoles with P.T. began springing up on eBay, with individuals asking for as much as $1,000 from gamers desperate to hold onto P.T.


Allison Road, spiritual successor to P.T.

With the Kojima controversy now dying down, why bother reminding gamers of what could have been with Silent Hills? Even though we've seen so little, P.T. undoubtedly influenced the gaming horror genre - as evidenced by indie title, Allison Road, which calls itself P.T.'s spiritual successor. 

But what if Silent Hills had come to fruition? Could Silent Hills have shifted the gaming horror genre from simple jump scares back towards the psychological horror of the earlier Silent Hill titles? If we want to know the answer, we must look at what little we have of the cancelled project.

The horrors of the real world


"Radio? What's going on with that radio?"

Often, when we think of horror, the majority of us conjure up images of popular horror icons such as Freddy Krueger or Jason Vorhees, or perhaps the grotesque and creepy animatronics from Five Nights at Freddy's. However, P.T.'s approach to horror chose to focus more on psychological horror to unnerve us, while relying on the monster to deliver the final blow.

Although Lisa was the only "monster" in P.T. and, let's face it, she did scare us, P.T.'s atmosphere was centered around the horrors of reality. As we move through the hall of the house, we hear a radio broadcast. The broadcast is a news report detailing how a father brutally murdered his family. Over the duration of the broadcast we learn that similar murders have taken place in the area. Finally, the news caster gives insight into the cause of the murders:

"State police say the string of domestic homicides appears unrelated, though it could be part of a larger trend, such as employment, childcare, or other social issues facing the average family."

The mention of social issues as the cause behind the horrific brutality committed by the murderers is a running theme in the short demo. The state of the house symbolizes the disorder and chaos of everyday life. The old photographs sitting on the counter illustrate a sense of normalcy juxtaposed with the knocked over pill bottles illustrating disorder, both giving the impression of turmoil looming under the guise of normality.

With this notion, I present Lisa, the monster of P.T.

Who, or what, is Lisa?


Lisa is ready for her close-up.

Although Lisa is grotesque and genuinely horrifying, I think she is more than just something to scare YouTube LPers. Lisa is the personification of disorder residing in normalcy. More specifically, Lisa represents family, an aspect of everyone's lives that often brings the most disorder.

I know that sounds really negative, but let me explain. When we first see Lisa, she is peering at us through the crack of the bathroom door before she proceeds to slam it shut. Afterward, when the player is given access to the bathroom, we are treated to something very unusual in the sink.


The fetus from Eraserhead. It doesn't quite look the same, but carries a similar message.

Looking down, a deformed fetus, wailing and crying like a baby, lies in front of the player. Gamers have speculated as to what this could mean, if it does mean anything at all. When I first came upon this monstrosity, it instantly reminded me of David Lynch's odd film, Eraserhead. There is a scene in the film where the main character encounters a deformed fetus when he expects to see his newborn son. In the film, the monstrosity is represented as the main character's fear of fatherhood. The fetus in P.T. shares a similar representation, but is representative of the disorder brought on by fatherhood. 

This notion is further amplified by Lisa's appearance.

Notice the bloodstain on Lisa's dress. From the bloodstain, I am presuming Lisa is the murdered wife from the radio broadcast. The report stated the wife was pregnant at the time she was shot by her husband. Although some could argue that the blood stain is from the gun shot, the stain seems to be coming from her crotch. The blood stain on Lisa's dress is likely from the loss of her unborn child. Therefore, Lisa is a symbolic apparition representing the disorder brought on by family.  It is likely the husband blamed Lisa the most for the family's descent into disorder as the children were considered to be financial strains. In turn, when the husband lost his job, it was the inability to provide for Lisa and his children that turned him towards brutality.

A Return to Psychological Horror

P.T's story was reminiscent of Silent Hill 2's psychological horror.

The overall themes of P.T., in which atrocity arises from normality is a great use of psychological horror. Silent Hill was a series that defined psychological horror by constructing a hellish town and grotesque characters representative of the faults of the game's main protagonists. For instance, in Silent Hill 2, James' tormentor, Pyramid Head, is seen tormenting a sexualized mannequin creature which is representative of James' guilt for abandoning his wife, Mary, in favor of the sexualized character of Maria.

Psychological horror works so well because it is much more effective at creating atmosphere and longer-lasting suspense than jump scares. The theme of P.T. was particularly disturbing, as it dealt everyday life. Of course, there was a monster (Lisa), but the truly unnerving aspect was how brutality could be committed so easily and brought on through everyday social issues (losing a job or the financial strain of raising children). 

Of course, Lisa was also utilized as a jump scare. However, her final scare was mostly effective due to the player's constant apprehension. The atmosphere, the sound design, and the haunting realistic themes already had the player filled with unease before Lisa comes to deliver the final blow.

As a fan of the horror genre, I am glad other games, such as Allison Road, are taking inspiration from P.T. 

I was incredibly disappointed by the cancellation of Silent Hills, as I have been waiting for horror games to shift back towards the psychological horror of Silent Hill. Although, contrary to some of the points made in this article, I do enjoy jump scares. I believe they can be fun, but only if they are coupled with an effective atmosphere.

On a final note, I hope Konami does sell the Silent Hill license to another publisher. This series has suffered from bad games and could use a revival. Silent Hills was the answer for that, but is now no longer a viable option. P.T. resonated so well with gamers because of its ability to deliver effective horror, as accomplished by the earlier Silent Hill titles. A return to psychological horror based games could greatly reinvigorate the entire genre.

Image sources: Wikipedia, Games Radar [2], Jaunty Dame, Prima Games, & Kinji-img

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Allison Road launches on Kickstarter https://www.gameskinny.com/bxngy/allison-road-launches-on-kickstarter https://www.gameskinny.com/bxngy/allison-road-launches-on-kickstarter Wed, 23 Sep 2015 18:30:45 -0400 Daniel R. Miller

To say that the cancellation of Konami's Silent Hills was a massive disappointment might be the understatement of this gaming generation. Fortunately all is not lost, and today U.K. developer Lilith launched the Kickstarter campaign for their debut project, and what is being dubbed as "P.T. resurrected" by fans all over the internet, Allison Road.

Allison Road is a first person, narratively driven, horror adventure where you take on the role of an un-named amnesiac protagonist that wakes up in his empty house, and has to figure out what has happened to his family. As you move about the house, time passes in the game world. As the clock inches closer to 3 AM, things start to go bump in the night.

Allison Road emphasizes atmosphere and storytelling rather than style and action and requires players to take their time and explore the environment around them. Every character in the game has an intriguing and a disturbing backstory that is so fully fleshed out to the point that they feel like a real person.

For horror fans, this is a game worth getting excited about. It started as a one man passion project, but has evolved into something with the potential to be much more. The campaign has already raised over 10% of it's funding goal on the first day. To say that things are looking up for the Allison Road's chances at reaching its funding goal, might be yet another understatement of this gaming generation.

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Kojima and Del Toro are still in cahoots https://www.gameskinny.com/355jf/kojima-and-del-toro-are-still-in-cahoots https://www.gameskinny.com/355jf/kojima-and-del-toro-are-still-in-cahoots Sat, 25 Jul 2015 07:35:58 -0400 OrganisedDinosaur

One of the most exciting pieces of news from last year was that Hideo Kojima was teaming up with Guillermo Del Toro to develop a reboot of the Silent Hill franchise. The reveal came in the innovative form of a playable teaser - a free game released on the Playstation network called P.T. developed by a fictitious studio with a hidden reveal for Silent Hills.

One of the saddest pieces of news this year however was that after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Hideo Kojima would not have his contract with Konami renewed. One of the casualties of this fallout was Silent Hills, which was officially cancelled.

Still buddies

Thankfully, there is now some more good news. Even though Silent Hill is the property of Konami, it seems that Kojima and Del Toro are still in contact and eager to collaborate on another project. In the interview with IGN, Del Toro said:

"We are still in touch. We are still friends and working into doing something together, but that's not going to be Silent Hills."

Free from the confines of Silent Hill and Konami, the potential is even greater for what these two artists could achieve together. Silent Hills may be cancelled officially, but here's hoping we still see it in all but name.

Were you saddened by the loss of Silent Hills? Eager to see Kojima and Del Toro collaborate? Let us know below.

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PT-inspired Allison Road looks like what Silent Hills could have been https://www.gameskinny.com/g89hw/pt-inspired-allison-road-looks-like-what-silent-hills-could-have-been https://www.gameskinny.com/g89hw/pt-inspired-allison-road-looks-like-what-silent-hills-could-have-been Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:55:41 -0400 CallSignDriver

Last month we reported the reveal of Allison Road, an atmospheric first-person horror in the vein of Konami's canceled Silent Hills. Today, we see the reveal of Allison Road's first gameplay teaser--a thirteen-minute video recorded using a prototype build of the game, complete with photorealistic scenery, interactive environments, and an uninvited houseguest.

If you're worried about spoilers, don't be; this prototype was designed as a separate experience from the actual game, in order to showcase the game's look and feel without spoiling any of the plot. If you want to avoid spoilers for the prototype, I suggest that you watch the video above before reading any further.

"Dad was such a drag."

Right off the bat, it's easy to spot the similarities between Allison Road's gameplay prototype and the Silent Hills "Playable Teaser." There's the photorealistic visuals, the inexplicably locked doors, and even little P.T. easter eggs sprinkled throughout the TV room.

What's more interesting, however, are the differences: a voiced protagonist, an inventory for items, and an environment that can be explored further as the game progresses. We may never learn just how similar to P.T. that Silent Hills was going to be, but through Allison Road, we may learn what P.T. would have looked like as a fully developed gameplay experience.

For example, unlike P.T. in which much of the game's dangers are scripted encounters, Allison Road's creeping ghoul appears to be a persistent entity within the environment. In P.T., once you've seen a door move by itself a couple of times, it becomes obvious that nothing is actually moving it.

In Allison Road, when the player investigates the knock on the bathroom door, he discovers something on the other side. In P.T., you're never sure if Lisa is present or not. In Allison Road, there is something in the house.

 

"If it bleeds, we can kill it."

In P.T., you're never sure if Lisa is present or not. In Allison Road, there is something in the house.

This makes the butcher knife in the prototype gameplay video all the more significant. P.T.'s only collectible items were the torn photograph pieces (and maybe the flashlight if you want to be picky). In Allison Road, not only can you stow away items in your inventory, you can also equip certain items, like the bloodied butcher knife--but for what purpose?

In the video, the player spots the creeping ghoul in time to avoid it, hiding in his office until the threat subsides. This isn't even an option in P.T., which makes me wonder: if Allison Road's ghost can be avoided, can it be attacked? If not, why else give the player a weapon, other than to instill a sense of false hope?

Never mind, that's actually an excellent reason.

"Are you sure the only you is you?"

Right now, I'd say that my only concern with the prototype gameplay is the voiced protagonist. While the narration does help to prod the player in the right direction, it also shatters any immersion that the game's first-person perspective provides, and in a horror game, immersion is keyIn P.T., you are lost in a house. In Allison Road, you're controlling a guy talking to himself about being lost in a house.

Beyond that, Allison Road is looking absolutely dreadful, and I mean that as a compliment. Make sure to check out the game's official Facebook page for more information, and keep an eye on GameSkinny for future updates.

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Why free game demos needs to make a return https://www.gameskinny.com/c8kzt/why-free-game-demos-needs-to-make-a-return https://www.gameskinny.com/c8kzt/why-free-game-demos-needs-to-make-a-return Fri, 18 Sep 2015 11:17:05 -0400 Daniel R. Miller

The demo is dead. Well maybe not entirely, but there's no question that putting out a demo for a game to get people interested has more or less become an archaic practice to developers outside of the indie scene. In this day and age of big and misleading Molyneaux-esque hype trains through vertical slices and social media, a lot of mistrust between developer/publisher and gamer has arisen.

A lot of mistrust between developer/publisher and gamer has arisen.

I feel that if the industry keeps going as it is, irreparable damage to the medium we love is sure to follow. I'm not talking strictly on the side of idealism, that lying is bad and we the people deserve to be treated better or whatever. But the financial interests of the industry may end up being at stake as well.  

If people get shafted and lied to enough times, common sense dictates that they will eventually stop paying money to play games. There is a little thing called piracy and free is the best value there is, no matter what kind of product we are talking about.

Why don't more studios put out game demos?
Free is the best value there is, no matter what kind of product we are talking about.

Well for one thing, development timelines have become smaller as games have become more advanced. Companies want to put out more games, quicker so that they can maximize their profits. As a result, there isn't enough flexibility for a development team to stop production just to create something completely separate from the final product. This isn't impossible to understand, but there are some undeniably positive effects that a good demo can have on an upcoming game that a vertical slice or social media poetry simply can't provide.

The Right Way to do a Demo

Do you want an example? Look no further than Konami's P.T.

 

Though it can be argued that P.T. has become somewhat of a detriment to Konami, albeit for reasons they inflicted upon themselves (namely, canceling Silent Hills), P.T.'s singular impact on the gaming community is undeniable and was highly effective at getting people to talk about the game it was demoing. And if you're a publisher trying to hype up a brand new game, isn't that what you want?

The Demo Drought 

To highlight how bare bones the demo scene is, here are the 5 most recent demos on some of the major platforms' online store pages:

Xbox One

  • NBA Live 16 Pro Am
  • FIFA 16
  • Forza Motorsport 6
  • Dying Light
  • PES 2016

PlayStation 4

  • Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance
  • NBA Live 16 Pro Am
  • FIFA 16
  • Destiny
  • PES 2016

Steam

  • Over the Hills and Far Away
  • The Universim
  • Impulse Revolution
  • Heroes of a Broken Land
  • Shift Happens

Xbox 360:

  • FIFA 16 
  • PES 2016 
  • ScreamRide 
  • Rabbids Invasion: The Interactive TV Show 
  • LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham 

PlayStation 3

  • FIFA 16 
  • PES 2016 
  • Monster Jam: Battlegrounds
  • NASCAR '15
  • Sparkle Unleashed

As you can see, there isn't a whole lot that is notable and a lot of the stores have the same games. While there are a few highlights like Disgaea 5 and Forza Motorsport 6, a lot of the other big games, like Destiny and Dying Light only got demos AFTER they released, which doesn't help the people who already bought the game at all.

The Wrong Way to do a Demo

On the flip side, there are some companies who do create demos and then charge a fee for them. Once again, we turn to Konami for an example.


Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes would have unquestionably been considered one of the greatest game demos of all time had Konami not slapped a $40 price tag on it on release. On Metacritic, it scored a very ordinary 75 overall, but that was not a reflection of the quality of the game itself, but rather that the amount of content did not justify the price.

If you've had PS Plus or Xbox Live in the past few months, you probably have a free copy of Ground Zeroes

Now, a year later, with The Phantom Pain now on store shelves, Ground Zeroes is pretty much worthless (money wise). If you've had PS Plus or Xbox Live in the past few months, you probably have a free copy of Ground Zeroes (or two, if you own both platforms) as it was one of the free monthly giveaways. Ground Zeroes was also packaged in as a freebie if you pre-ordered The Phantom Pain on Steam, so it became quite clear that it wasn't much more than a cash grab.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not blasting or picking on Konami (though it may seem like it), they certainly aren't the first to do this, and to be fair, it works because people bought it.

What is the solution?

All isn't and shouldn't be lost on the demo front, and there are things that publishers and developers can do to make them prominent pieces of advertising.

You know those stage demos at E3, Gamescom and the like? GIVE THEM TO US. Seriously, if you want people to lose their shit (even more than they already do) over a new game at a major conference, get a demo in their hands as quickly as possible. It shows confidence in the product and inspires people to want to play and eventually invest. And more importantly, it will get them talking.


If you want people to lose their shit (even more than they already do) over a new game at a major conference, get a demo in their hands as quickly as possible.

Sometimes demos don't even have to have any of the final game's content. They can be stand alone games or levels on their own, like P.T. or The Stanley Parable. In the case of The Stanley Parable, the final game is a commentary on the expectations of what a game is, so the demo took that same commentary logic and applied it to demos, creating a wholly different and self-contained experience that can't be found in the main game.

Game industry, please give us back our demos. There is so much potential, and we're tired of hearing the phrase "unlike anything you've ever seen before".

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Why Modern "Horror" Games Are Not Scary https://www.gameskinny.com/5cxdo/why-modern-horror-games-are-not-scary https://www.gameskinny.com/5cxdo/why-modern-horror-games-are-not-scary Tue, 24 Mar 2015 07:36:59 -0400 The Soapbox Lord

“They just don’t make them like they used to.”

You hear this a lot when you spend time with an older generation reminiscing about the past and the “good old days.” While the phrase is not always accurate, sometimes it has a fair amount of substance behind it.

Nowhere is this truer than the state of horror games. Horror in gaming has been subject to one of the most interesting and unique evolutions from its roots to its present state. Looking at a game like Haunted House on the Atari 2600, one would never imagine games such as The Evil Within and the Silent Hill series would be birthed from this type of game.

However, when I look at the state of modern horror games, I see a troubling trend: most of these games are not scary or even horror. Worse yet, some are blatant cash grabs made by cynical developers seeking a quick buck. Granted, there are exceptions, but it seems most games released nowadays labeled as “horror” are anything but and deserve those quotation marks. So what happened to our once great genre? I am so glad you asked!

The Rise of Amnesia Imitators

Up until 2010, most gamers had not heard of Frictional Games. While some of us were enjoying their Penumbra series, many people still had no idea about this great studio. On September 8, 2010, this all changed. Amnesia: The Dark Descent was unleashed on an unsuspecting gaming population and proceeded to take the world and YouTube by storm. Hailed as one of the scariest games of all time, Amnesia soon led to a deluge of reaction videos, live streams, and Lets-Players screaming their heads off for the enjoyment of their viewers. This is where the trouble began.

With the success of Amnesia, imitators were inevitable. Whenever something is as remotely successful as Amnesia has been, imitators are drawn to the success like sharks to blood in the water. Like most facsimiles, the games trying to ape Amnesia missed what made the game work in the first place; hence why we now have a glut of horror games where we are unable to defend ourselves.

Many of the imitations simply removed combat from their game because that was all they saw in Amnesia: A game where players could not defend themselves.

In Amnesia, the mechanic fit with the world and the game was made with this design in mind. Many of the imitations simply removed combat from their game because that was all they saw in Amnesia: a game where players could not defend themselves.

But they missed the carefully cultivated atmosphere, the terrifying monsters, and the subtle things the game had which set it apart from others. Five years later, we are still seeing developers trying to copy the success of Amnesia and still failing to grasp why players gravitated towards the game. Instead of trying to make new games and explore new ideas, people are still trying to mimic a game which they do not even understand.

YouTube Fodder Attacks!

Another outcome of Amnesia’s success was the rise in popularity of YouTubers and horror games, specifically reaction videos and let’s plays. Just look at the views on these things, millions of people watched others be scared witless or act terrified as a result of this game. As a result, we have a new blight upon the gaming world, “YouTube fodder.” 

Coined by Jim Sterling, this affectionate term is spot on in describing this new wave of greedy cynicism which has swept gaming. While the popularity of Goat Simulator and Surgeon Simulator videos contributed to this as well, most of this fodder is in the horror genre.

What is YouTube fodder you ask? Simply put, it is a greedy team cobbling together the barest minimum of what can be considered a game and releasing it through Steam with the intent of gaining sales through YouTube videos. (The fact these are even releasing on Steam and in general is a rant for another day.) These are not games. They are the products of developers with no sense of ethics releasing complete drivel.

These are not games. They are the products of developers with no sense of ethics releasing complete drivel. 

Besides being morally questionable, this bunk is ruining horror gaming. It seems every day upon booting up Steam I am greeted by a new “horror” release. All of these releases being labeled as horror ensure quality horror games are harder to find for players who are less-informed. They also burn players out on the same experiences making players wearisome to try more games. Worse yet, these things seem to release nearly every day. No, seriously. Look at Jim Sterling’s channel. The amount of these releases is dumbfounding and terrifying. If these were paper, they would not be worth using to house break your puppy. We need a New Mexico landfill for these abominations.

Jump Scares ‘R’ Us

As I have mentioned before, I think what Scott Cawthon has done with Five Nights at Freddy’s is admirable, and I respect him for it. However, the series is another disturbing trend in the decline of quality horror: jump scares. As long as there has been horror, there have been jump scares. When used masterfully like in Alien, The Thing, or Resident Evil, they can be absolutely terrifying. The problem with FNAF is not the jump scare; it’s that the jump scare is all there is. Yes, the games do build tension and have some atmosphere, but every session of the game is essentially anticipating a jump scare.

See, the game relies on a simple pass/fail mechanic. You either survive the night or you don’t. If you do not, an animatronic eats your face off while screaming at you with the voice of a small child. The core of the game is built around the anticipation of this scare. Without the scare, there is nothing to the game. There is no escaping in a weakened state while trying to fend off monsters while tending to your wounds. No hiding in a nook while watching with bated breath as your pursuers attempt to surmise your location. There is nothing. Jump scares cannot be the foundation of the horror experience; they accentuate it.

Even if you could kill the beast, the knowledge that a perfect predator is constantly tailing you ensures when a jump scare transpires, you jump.

Think about Alien: Isolation. There were times when the xenomorph makes a surprise visit in an attempt to give you a passionate lover’s kiss. These moments are terrifying because you know the monster is constantly hunting you, and you can never truly conquer it. Even if you could kill the beast, the knowledge a perfect predator is constantly tailing you ensures when a jump scare transpires, you jump. Jump scares go hand in hand with other elements of horror to deliver a horrifying experience. Without the rest of the elements, you are left with an incomplete picture; a shadow of what could be.

All Filler, No Substance

While all of the above are serious issues with the horror genre, there is one matter which lies at the core of the problem. Most modern horror games reduce horror to bare scare-tactics and end up being anything but horror. This applies to the AAA and indie scene alike. Now there are exceptions, 2014 saw the release of Alien: Isolation, The Evil Within, and P.T. All of these games were a fine return for horror in the AAA market. While not perfect by any means, each game pursued horror in a unique manner.

As a whole though, the AAA market has all but abandoned true horror and has instead pursued some bizarre action/horror hybrid abomination. The Dead Space series started out with two solid entries, but the third entry devolved into a nonsensical action co-op shooter. With an exception for the recent Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Resident Evil has gone completely down the Michael Bay rabbit hole. Both series started out as tense, atmospheric experiences where survival was paramount and empowerment was scarce. Now they are the complete opposite.

Sadly, this mostly applies to the indie market as well.

Going hand in hand with the YouTube fodder and jump scare trend, most of the recent indie games forgo horror altogether to make the most unintentionally hilarious things this side of The Room and Birdemic. Seriously, go watch some of these things in action. Most of the games even fail to grasp a fundamental understanding of atmosphere, content to have the player wander aimlessly for thirty minutes while throwing random noises and poorly paced jump scares. 

Most of the games even fail to grasp a fundamental understanding of atmosphere, content to have the player wander aimlessly for thirty minutes while throwing random noises and poorly paced jump scares.

In Silent Hill 2, you encounter the town and your first enemy within the first thirty minutes of the game, and by that point, the game has already established a fantastic sense of atmosphere.

The first thirty minutes of The Thing (the original 1982 film, not the poor prequel) has the first major alien encounter and gross out scene, but it also establishes place, characters, and atmosphere with incredible mastery. Most of these newer horror games are not even sure of their identity nor their goal at the thirty-minute mark. Strange noises and plodding around locations with no sense of tension or context does not equal atmosphere. 

The Future

While I sound cynical in this post, I am hopeful for the future of horror games. The year ahead holds several promising games for us horror devotees. Perhaps even more encouraging though, is to see players and some prominent personas and pundits in games media speaking out against some of the more malicious of these practices.

We can expose these games for the shams they are, and we can refuse to give poor horror the money and attention they demand. People are calling out developers and spreading the word about these blatant pandering products, and that is a start.

The future for horror is bright, but we players need to do our part as well.

We need to speak up when we see cynical fodder littering Steam and point out YouTubers who play some of these strictly for the pandering. We need to support the good horror games that do get released, like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and The Cat Lady.

As the consumers and players, we hold an extreme amount of power in our hands. The trick is to responsibly harness this power to better the gaming landscape and the horror genre. Until then, watch your backs. You never know what lurks in the darkness.

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P.T. is the Scariest Thing That's Ever Happened https://www.gameskinny.com/eunac/pt-is-the-scariest-thing-thats-ever-happened https://www.gameskinny.com/eunac/pt-is-the-scariest-thing-thats-ever-happened Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:58:57 -0400 Rocky Linderman

Full disclosure for this article, there will be spoilers. I will do my best to avoid the major ones such as puzzle piece locations, so if you don't want the demo spoiled stop reading this now, go download it and come back when you're done playing. 

I fired up P.T. fully aware that it was a viral marketing campaign for the new Silent Hill game. I was also aware that Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro were the creators of said new game, thus going in I was expecting P.T. to be creepy as all hell. It did not disappoint. 

P.T. is played in the first person perspective, no idea if they're going to be using this perspective for the full retail release of Silent Hill, but I hope they do. Leaving behind Silent Hill's traditional third person camera in favor for the first person view adds to the feeling of danger since you can't cheat and use the camera to check behind you and around corners.

The entire game is played out in a continuously looping, "L" shaped hallway. When you reach the end of the hallway and open the door, you will simply be brought back to the beginning of the hall. The game's small space could get boring fast, but ingenious puzzles, a haunting sound design and the ever-present danger of being locked in a tiny room with a ghost work together to keep things fresh.  

During the course of P.T. you're tasked with finding hidden objects to solve puzzles and move on with the story. Once you've solved one puzzle you start over at the beginning of the hallway, but this time something in the environment has changed.

Sometimes it's a small difference like the lighting being red instead of its normal color, but other times the changes are more dramatic and can include anything from an aborted fetus being in a bathroom sink, to a bloody refrigerator hanging from the ceiling. 

The most memorable puzzle involved finding an incomplete sentence written on the wall and then having to walk back down towards the phone to see the word, "Hello" written on the wall next to it. After looking at "Hello" you head back down to the incomplete sentence and notice that the letter "H" has appeared at the end. The more you go back and forth between the two, the more the incomplete sentence gets filled out. 

This is all well and fine, except there's a terrifying ghost at the end of the hall over by the word, "Hello", making its way towards you. This put me in the difficult position of having to make the decision on whether or not it was worth my life to solve the puzzle. After a few failed attempts to build up my courage I eventually clenched my controller tight and forced myself down the hallway towards the ghost that was drawing ever closer. 

This and a few other truly horrible moments had me literally jumping with fright while I was playing. 

P.T. is masterfully crafted to force the player against their natural instinct and make them get close to the thing they should be running from in order to progress. I was playing in well-lit room filled with four of my friends and I still couldn't help but run in the opposite direction of where I knew I was supposed to go out of fear. 

P.T. uses its claustrophobic quarters to add to the horror as well. After a while the feeling of being trapped in that "L" shaped hallway begins to wear on your psyche. Every strange noise becomes a threat hiding in the shadows, waiting to jump out at you. 

My time with P.T. left me feeling thoroughly impressed. The game featured a stunning graphical fidelity complimented by a deeply disturbing environment with some of the most mind bending puzzles I've encountered. If P.T. is any sign of where Silent Hill is headed, then this franchise will have a very bright future.

Kojima and del Torro are diabolical masters of horror, you owe it to yourself to play P.T. I don't think I've ever been more impressed or scared by a survival horror game and this was just a demo.    

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