Some of you may remember a post I made about the question “Valkyira” asked me about the Survival Horror genre, and if I thought it was dying out. At the time I wasn’t sure, but I knew the name “Survival Horror” had really turned into “Action-Adventure-Horror”.
For me, Resident Evil 6 (Leon’s campaign) was a fairly good return-to-roots kind of campaign, but not truly. Dead Space 3 was the same way. They both had good, promising Survival Horror elements, but focused heavily on Action and exploration.
Now, when I ended that post I had a very “let’s wait and see” attitude towards Survival Horror. I heard rumors of true Survival Horror games coming for “Next Gen” (a phrase I despise), and I heard rumors that debunked the first set. Now that 2014 is here, some games have been announced I would like to share with you.
First, we have ‘The Evil Within’. This is a Survival Horror game with exploration elements as well as a touch of “action” sequences. You will acquire weapons to use throughout the game and enemies to fight, hide, or run away from. From what I’ve gathered, you will spend most of the time running and hiding trying to survive unspeakable horrors.
‘The Evil Within’ is being Published by legendary Elder Scrolls developers Bethesda Softworks, in collaboration with the Director and father of true Survival Horror and the creator of the infamous Resident Evil 4, Shinji Mikami and his new studio, Developers, Tango Gameworks.
This should prove to be a great re-introduction to true Survival Horror.
That brings us to, ‘Alien: Isolation’. This game, unlike all in recent memory, takes after the original Alien by Ridley Scott. There is only 1 Xenomorph and it hunts you down and you have no weapons, just a motion tracker. You can hide from it though, even in lockers, as long as you don’t stay in one place for too long. This Xenomorph not only uses it’s sight and sound to find you, it can smell you out, making it a truly dangerous hunter.
You play as Ripley’s daughter 15 years after the original film, looking for her mother. You are on the Sevastopol space station. You will see familiar locations and hear familiar sounds. They took audio and locale straight from the film. I saw some gameplay and it looks truly unsettling and horrifying. It forces you into a bad situation and makes a hundred times worse and more unnerving at each and every turn. You’ll see a shadow run by and suddenly the motion activated toys in the room next to you are on and moving, and your motion tracker shows nothing.
Next, you’ll walk across the room to get a welding torch to open the security hatch, and the lights go out in the room and the motion toys are activated, you hear a sound, turn around whip out your motion tracker and a blip vanishes.
You’ll be in the middle of an open room, and suddenly the Xenomorph is walking towards you. If you run, it hears you and kills you, nowhere to hide but the darkness of the room. You get paralyzed with fear and you don’t know what to do, so you do the only thing you can, crouch in the middle of the dark room and pray it passes you by.
‘Alien: Isolation’ will be the true return-to-roots we’ve been waiting for. ‘The Evil Within’ comes out in August and ‘Alien: Isolation’ comes out October 7th alongside titles ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’ and ‘Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor’.
So, let’s revisit the question, “Do I think Survival Horror has finally died?”
No. I think we are seeing the rebirth of the genre as a whole.