10 things survival horror games should remember
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2. Survival Horror Games Should Have Survival and Horror
Again, this whole point seems like another ‘duh’ statement. It is. But, it can’t be ignored. A survival horror game needs to emulate the sense of horror and the sense of survival. The feeling of safety should be a rare luxury. If you are not tense and on edge the entire time you are playing, the game is doing it wrong. This genre should really draw you into its realm so you forget about reality or sanity. You should never feel confident and you should not trust anything you come across. Your senses should be working against you and making you question any action you take. Locations you’ve already been to or cleared should not be assumed as safe at later times. Scavenging for food, water, and bullets between running and hiding for your life are all encouraged qualities.
1. Don’t Lose the Roots Your Fans Love
This last one, and this is the most important point, only applies to games with sequels, series, or games created by developers known for their works in the survival horror genre. Quite simply, don’t carve away from the aspects of your games that your fans fell in love with. I understand new technology comes out and developers want to apply new features to IPs; that’s fine, but don’t go too far off in different directions than where you started. Fans of series want new experiences, but they also want more of the aspects of the game they swear by. I hate to think this move is a push to become more commercialized and standard for a wider range of gamers… but that is most likely the reason.
A quick and popular example would be a comparison of F.E.A.R. to F.E.A.R. 3. Back in 2007, the impossibly built office labyrinth of F.E.A.R. was pretty terrifying for its time. The gruesome and cheap scares in the game advanced the horror genre. By the time we got to 2011 with F.E.A.R. 3, the game moved more to a cooperative action game than horror. I still enjoyed the title as an individual game, but not as a F.E.A.R. game that came with some expectations. F.E.A.R. isn’t that perfect example since it is a horror and not a survival horror game, but it’s the theme I’m trying to illuminate.