For Halloween, I’ve been going back through my collection of PS2 horror games, which in a way became the golden age of survival horror. Looking back while trying to play modern horror titles, I’ve come to realize why the modern horror market doesn’t work for me, and how it betrays horror design.
Recently I had a chance to go back to Resident Evil 1 Remastered edition. This was Capcom rebuilding the original game for the Gamecube back in the day. This version turned out to be one of the best games in the Resident Evil franchise; thanks to a new layout and design.
Going back over it, there is one detail that I don’t think was given enough credit, and that was the development of “Crimson Head” zombies, and how it solved a problem that modern horror designers are struggling with.
This is the recording of my livecast with game designer Bill Gardner. For this extended chat, Bill and I spoke about game industry topics like loot boxes, the state of the market, and more. For the back half of the cast, we discussed horror design: How to generate fear, and games that we felt were the best examples of it.
Due to being overwhelmed with projects and work, I didn’t get a chance to talk about horror for Halloween. However, I still want to discuss the challenges of horror design. Despite the number of games from the Indie space, good horror design in video games is quite difficult to pull off, and makes for an interesting discussion.