October means different things to different people. Some see it as the start of sweater weather, while others stock up on the various pumpkin spice items at every grocery store and coffee shop in their city. For me, and maybe for you, it’s primarily the spooky season.
Days get shorter, the orange lights go up around the neighborhood, and the horror vibes get more intense, making a scary game, movie, or book sometimes the only thing that will fulfill your intentions to have an unsettling night.
With so many horror games out now in Early Access, more coming out this month, and plenty not far behind, we rounded up what to put on your Halloween playlist in these weeks leading up to the unofficial holiday. Here are 15 horror games to play in October and beyond.
Visage has been in Early Access for a few years already, but it remains one of the most anticipated horror games to date because anyone who has played what’s available has been left shaken. A gorgeous looking supernatural ghost story, Visage is perhaps the closest we’ll ever come to seeing Kojima’s PT made into a full game.
Have you ever wanted to go “squatching,” where you head into the woods and hunt for Sasquatch? In Bigfoot, that’s exactly what you do. Gear up, bring some friends, and no one leaves ’til you find the big guy’s makeshift pooping grounds. More likely, he’ll find you first, and when he does, it’s not going to end well.
The newest game to hit Early Access on this list is Second Extinction, and while it’s more like Left 4 Dead in that it’s an action game with horror elements, there’s still plenty to be scared about given all the mutated dinosaurs out to feast on you. This one comes from a small team within Avalanche, the studio behind Just Cause and Generation Zero, so players can expect a spectacle in addition to some scares.
It’s a long list, but Phasmophobia might take the crown as the scariest game on it. It simulates real ghosthunting, like with electromagnetism readers, flashlights, thermometers — the whole deal. Alone or with a group of up to three partners, you’ll load out of a van, head into a haunted house, and try to study a ghost living there before it gets you first. Phasmophobia even uses your voice chat and will sometimes focus on louder players, plus you can taunt the entity by saying its name — if you dare.
Launching Before Halloween
October’s going to be a busy month for horror games. Here’s what’s coming in time for Halloween 2020.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain (October 13)
The sequel to 2018’s strangest horror story looks like it’s going to be another weird one, but I say that with endearment. Remothered‘s blend of old-school survival horror and new-school hide-and-seek makes for a unique experience, and after some demo time with the game earlier this year, I’m eager to see what the full story is set to unravel.
Amnesia: Rebirth (October 20)
Personally, no game on this list fills me with a more confounding sensation than Amnesia: Rebirth. It’s the type of sensation I can only describe as the child of excitement and dread. Few games have ever achieved the heights of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and for Frictional to return to the series over a decade later suggests that they’ve got something special prepared. It may be tough to play this one with the lights off.
Pumpkin Jack (October 23)
Okay, so Pumpkin Jack isn’t exactly a horror game. Maybe you could call it a gateway horror for very fresh eyes, but it’s really not even trying to be that. Instead, it’s one of the most well-timed releases of the year. Arriving just a week before Halloween, this MediEvil-like 3D platformer has all the spooky sounds and vibrant visuals of a classic monster cartoon like Scooby-Doo. It’s developed by a single person, too, so if you like supporting indies, teams don’t get any smaller than this.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope (October 30)
The team behind surprise PS4 hit Until Dawn went multiplatform with Man of Medan, the first game in Supermassive’s The Dark Pictures Anthology. Now they’re back with Little Hope, focused on the witch trials that harmed many innocent women a few hundred years ago. With a time-jumping story and a few famous faces, Little Hope will likely be a horror game of choice.
Saving Some Scares for Later
These horror games won’t be ready to play before Halloween, but they deserve to stay on your wishlist for future frightfests.
Someday You’ll Return (out now on PC, console launch coming soon)
Someday You’ll Return is already out on PC if that’s your preferred platform, but if you’re waiting for the console launch, hopefully, you’re not waiting too much longer. It’s scheduled for 2020 and fans of both horror games new and old will appreciate it for different reasons.
Its central story of a father looking for his lost daughter is right out of Silent Hill, but the first-person adventure-horror gameplay feels much more modern. Being lost in the game’s European woods means lots of opportunities for side attractions and peripheral scares too.
Once Upon A Time In Roswell
Not to be confused with the Tarantino movie of a slightly different name, Once Upon A Time In Roswell is, of course, a horror game about aliens. That’s an unfathomably less-traveled space in the games industry, so it’s exciting on that basis alone. But it’s also more than an alien game. Sequences seem to also point to some weird repressed memories we can’t yet make sense of, and it all takes place decades ago, giving it some period piece flair as well.
Dying Light 2
Dying Light 2 has maybe been stuck in development hell for a while, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of the most ambitious horror games announced. Hopefully, 2021 is the year we finally see it all come together. With a deeper story driven by player choice and a bigger world to explore, Dying Light 2 could go down as one of the best zombie games ever, or it may never see the light of day. Surely all horror fans are hoping for the former.
If Second Extinction‘s kind of *ahem* dino crisis isn’t what you are looking for, maybe Deathground is. Think of it as Alien Isolation but with dinosaurs instead of Xenomorphs. Or even easier: think of it as a game where every moment is like when the kids hide from the raptors in the kitchen in Jurassic Park. Sounds good, right? It looks good, too. We don’t know when we’ll get to play it just yet, but for now, we’ll practice holding our breath and not knocking over any pots and pans.
The Outlast Trials
I vividly recall reviewing Outlast 2 because no review assignment has ever tested my mettle, and this stunningly scary sequel from The Red Barrels could be more of that. Set in the deserts of Arizona amid a doomsday cult, the classic green-tinted camera work of the original game returns with new features, like soundtracking, and even more memorable scares. I get chills thinking about this one. Even as the sequel plans to introduce co op for the first time, I expect nothing less than another paralyzing demonstration in fear. You’ve been warned.
Resident Evil 8: Village
Resident Evil needs no introduction, but we’d be foolish to leave it off a list of our most-anticipated horror games. According to credible leaks that seem to be backed up by trailer footage, this latest mainline sequel is going to get weirder than ever before. Werewolves, witches, and more will make their series debuts, and that’s the sort of departure that could drive away longtime fans. And yet, early playtesting has been nothing but glowing. It sounds like the REnaissance will continue.
Little Nightmares 2
The name is perhaps a bit misleading, since the original Little Nightmares always had huge potential to give you nightmares. With its Tim Burton factor cranked to 11 and some truly harrowing encounters with the stuff of real-life night terrors, Little Nightmares earned its place among the generation’s best horror games. It sits as a cousin to things like Limbo and Inside, and the sequel should only further cement its place as one of the best new horror series to emerge in recent years.
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- 7 Most Terrifying Animatronics in Five Nights at Freddy’s
There are sure to be more great horror games announced over the coming months, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for news on their announcements, release dates, and more.