news\ Apr 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Silent Hill producer says 'careful game design' is a survival horror must


Survival horror is often associated with poor controls, but in recent years games like Resident Evil 4 have sought to change that standard of quality. Right now Konami doesn't have the best reputation with its major survival horror series, but that isn't stopping Silent Hill producer Tomm Hulett from expressing his concerns about the genre.

"Survival horror is in an interesting spot these days ... However, shoddy gameplay can’t be a feature forever, and so everyone fixed the combat—resulting in action games with creepier monsters," he said. "If horror games are going to be ‘scary’ in the future, it’s going to take careful game design to do it."

According to Hulett, Silent Hill pioneered the unique subgenre of psychological horror: "While many other games have gone the route of more action oriented game design, attempting to appeal to more mainstream audiences, we’ve taken a very careful approach to the pacing of Downpour to make sure it maintains that original ‘slow-burn’ and keeping the player off guard with less predictability."

Meanwhile, poor sales are driving companies such as Capcom into a different market.

"Especially for the North American market, I think the series needs to head in that [action-oriented] direction," said Resident Evil: Revelations producer Masachika Kawata last month.

If other developers follow suit, the survival horror genre as we know it could be in jeopardy.

Follow @wita on Twitter for tales of superheroes, plumbers in overalls, and literary adventures.

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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