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Maybe The "Old" Survival/Horror Is Dead

Survival/horror aficionados are all saying the same thing, which essentially amounts to the following- "The genre needs to return to its roots."

That's the gist of what most fans are saying, while some admit that adaptation may be essential. But even those in the latter group think games claiming to be "survival/horror" need to be something more than just scary third-person action games. Even so, maybe that simply isn't possible anymore.

Look, video games have gone mainstream. We have to accept that. And when we do, we must further accept that developers and publishers must produce games that appeal to the masses, to the majority of gamers out there. It's what movie makers have to do and unfortunately, there's a general rule of thumb to follow- Faster + Dumber = Successful. Sadly, that is indeed the domain of the mass consumer, which is why the flashiest movies with the least substance typically top box office ticket sales. Thankfully, we've got a lot more than just Call of Duty that sells copies in the game world, but let's face it, nothing is close to CoD.

The bottom line is that a "true" survival/horror game might fail. You can't make it as slow as the classic Resident Evil or Silent Hill titles. The majority of people today have the attention spans of gerbils (thanks, "information technology" age) and they just can't handle such a slow pace, regardless of the thrill payoff. That being said, I do believe there are enough veteran horror fans out there who might support such an effort, but it would have to be on the smaller budget scale. If it's big-budget and it needs to sell millions of copies, you have to cater to the lowest common denominator (most times). And so, Dead Space 3, Resident Evil 6, etc.

I'm certainly not saying those were bad games; I'm just saying they're the new iterations of what we deem as "horror." Now, everyone is hoping Shinji Mikami's freaky The Evil Within will bring back the good ol' days. I hate to burst the optimist's bubble, but this won't happen. All you can hope for is a solid fusion of sorts, and Mikami might be able to pull that off. He has to keep the game moving at a pace that might resemble an action game, but the atmosphere must also deliver. The masters of terror have always understood that what lurks within the recesses of the human mind is always a hundred times scarier that what we can put on a screen. If Mikami understands this, the game could be a fantastic hybrid.

But the days of wandering around with a piece of wood trying to fend off the occasional baddie in Silent Hill...? Those days are over. It might work in the indie scene but if it's a big-budget production, "faster and dumber" must unfortunately be embraced in at least some small capacity.

Tags: survival horror games, survival horror genre, resident evil, the evil within

4/21/2013 10:10:41 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (22 posts)

Alejandro562
Sunday, April 21, 2013 @ 10:44:29 PM
Reply

Well in me , survivor horror is not dead, its a genre, if it has been ruined by a generation,theres always another generation of new minds that can restore a failing genre, hip hop for example.

Last edited by Alejandro562 on 4/21/2013 10:46:09 PM

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Rogueagent01
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 4:41:40 PM

I wholeheartidly agree! Nothing ever really dies and it is kind of one of my peeves when people say something like a genre is dead. They don't die, they simply take a break, lose their way, or just fall to the backburner for awhile, but in any case they will eventually be back.

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Alejandro562
Sunday, April 21, 2013 @ 10:47:41 PM
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Supposedly capcom said resident evil six failed and they are finally listening to the fans and are going back to its roots in the next game,saw it on here , also re revelations out soon, should be some good old re gameplay.

Last edited by Alejandro562 on 4/21/2013 10:52:55 PM

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Xombito
Sunday, April 21, 2013 @ 11:46:52 PM
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Somebody needs to try Last Survivor. Thankfully its coming to PS3!

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Xombito
Sunday, April 21, 2013 @ 11:48:23 PM

Whoops. Lone Survivor I mean.

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xenris
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 7:18:05 PM

Yeah, it is a really cool creepy 2D Survival horror game. Definitely worth checking out on the PC as it is really easy to run on most systems.

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Killa Tequilla
Sunday, April 21, 2013 @ 11:54:54 PM
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I think it's not old vs new. I think it's a mater of the technological leap. With better systems, projects have to focus on so much, such as gameplay, graphics, etc. whereas with older systems, like the Playstation 1, developers could focus on telling a scawwy story and not focus much on other departments like graphics or gameplay. Let's be honest, Resident Evil 1-3 gameplay sucked. The controls just don't hold up well today. But if you want a nice story, then it's worth playing for that.

Thanks to todays technology, every single last detail has to be addressed, therefore it changes everything you know and used to love. I don't think we will be seeing the traditional mechanics anymore, 1 because we have the casuals overriding the hardcore and two, because of the technology.

When was the last time you played a game that felt exactly the same this generation after 2 - 3 sequels? None, everything changes and evolves as developers get more comfortable with the technology at hand. This are just my 2 pesos. If you want more pesos, I don't have any more.

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Alejandro562
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 1:27:26 AM

Resident evil on ps2 was where horror was at it's subliminal core, the franchise had awesome titles like :Resident evil outbreak, outbreak file 2,code veronica,on and on , my point is where one generation fails the other exceeds at what the previous generation failed to accomplish,this goes for every subject matter in life,look at hip hop in the 90's was the ish, now its all about money cars and women, give it a little time, next generation this genre can be something BIG.

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Knightzane
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 12:22:30 AM
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I wouldn't say its dead, its just been lost. Dead Space 1 may not have scared me, but it had something most horror games did not have. Siren blood curse scared me several times. Silent Hill Downpour got me in a few parts. Amnesia had some fantastic build up. AVP, even had some scary parts. There may not be as much horror games as there was last gen, but i would say this gen has had some great horror games. Not as much i would like considering i love me some horror games but the ones we've gotten haven't been terrible either.

Shame Nintendo had to buy out fatal frame, i would have loved to see one on the ps3. Even fallout 3/NV had some creepy moments. I just think theres been so many other styles of games that grew this gen that a lot of what we saw in large quantities has made us over look horror/survival games. I've played just about every horror game this gen and almost every horror game last gen. I could honestly say ps2 scared me more with the games, but i was also younger. I think if this does well, people will start to get back into the horror genre. I also expect FF13-3 to be scary. Just saying

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 10:07:19 AM

Yeah Lightning Returns will be terrifying in many ways.

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AcHiLLiA
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 3:21:50 PM

On Dead Space you had to be scared, their was just no way. Maybe you didn't experience the game at it's full potential. The game was "really" meant to be played in the dark with headphones on.

Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 4/22/2013 3:26:55 PM

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Draguss
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 1:18:45 AM
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I respectfully disagree, and that's all I can say while keeping the "respectfully" part...

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___________
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 4:55:01 AM
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those days are not over!
they only ever stopped because developers are stuck in the mindset that EVERY SINGLE person who buys certain games, only buys those games, because they only want those sorts of games.
people dont like different things, they only order the same thing over and over and over and over and over again.
i had mexican for dinner last night, so that means im only allowed to order mexican for the rest of my life!
sigh.
heaven forbid if people chose different things according to their mood at the time!

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 7:35:10 AM
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Okay, I have a fundamental problem with this project, which I know many will disagree with. But I just cannot accept a horror game in first person. Which I am presuming this will be as it is from Bethesda. To clear this perspective take a game like Dead Island. Just like this initial trailer it brought mass interest through a trailer which did not reflect the game itself at all. Could you class Dead Island as a horror game? To be honest I see no difference from that and say Fallout 3. I see them as open world first person shooters rather than horror games.

I think what makes the 3rd person perspective work is camera angles. Take that moment in Resident Evil when the perspective is positioned infront of the window, your character is walking from the background to be assaulted by raving dogs burst through the window. It was genuinely a scary moment. Put that moment in first person. You walk down the corridor and see the dogs burst through the window further down the corridor. It's not even close to the value of intensity from the 3rd person perspective.

Silent Hill 2 had a 3rd person perspective but the camera would for the most part follow behind you, but what made SH2 work was it's darkness and the radio. You would be forced to roam in limited surrounding of light or clear view of the fog. aware of enemies nearby and unsure of you where they'd appear from. Even with Downpour you could see most of the environments in clear view.

But the main problem is character. I know this is a bold statement, but from my experience of first person perspective games it is true - The main character is transparent. Even in Bioshock a game which could be as close to horror as a FPS can get, the characterization was within the surrounding and the people you meet, not the character you control. I haven't played Infinite yet, but I get the impression that Elizabeth has a far stronger presence than the character you are meant to be. While a game like Silent Hill 2 James Sunderland is key to everything. I know the idea a lot of the time is that you're meant to step into the characters shoes, but it never works for me, I just stand aside and notice a transparent avatar.

As far as I am concerned we still have seen nothing of the game and until I see what the game is like itself I cannot claim to have any interest.

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xenris
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 7:21:12 PM

I'm pretty sure I have seen screen shots on IGN and I do believe it is 3rd person.

Just because bethesda publishes a game doesn't mean it has to be done in first person. They published Wet, which was a third person action game.

I think this game is going to scratch the survival horror itch :)

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duomaxwell007
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 9:14:17 AM
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I disagree with Evil Within being an "action" game... based on that trailer it hardly looks like Resident Evil 5 or 6 and we still get Survival Horror games this gen.. Dead Space 1, and that last Silent Hill were nothing close to RE5 and 6s more action oriented approach

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 11:06:36 AM

That's not the point. No Dead Space will ever be like the original again, and same goes for RE5. We got RE6, instead. As I said, we're moving past what was once known as "survival/horror."

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duomaxwell007
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 3:41:03 PM

and what Im saying is TEW looks more like Dead space 1/silent hill (i,.e ACTUAL survival horror) than RE5 or 6, I see nothing in that trailer that would indicate an action game. Also as for moving past that point, wasnt it said that "Resident Evil will return to its roots"? Unless "return to its roots" means something completely different than what I thought it does it seem to me that we will still get survival horror games again.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 10:08:31 AM
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We shall see aboot Evil. For the most part though, I think all the old specialized genres are dead or they die as soon as an IP becomes popular, like Dead Space did.

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Lotusflow3r
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 10:32:33 AM
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Whilst i agee that we will never see that original carnation of a "Survival Horror" again in the mainstream power-house, one in which Shinji Mikami helped prosper, we must remember that Shinji also created the PERFECT "Survival Horror" for a new age, he single-handedly revolutionized that sub-genre yet again in the timeless masterpiece, Resident Evil 4.

That game changed, not only the sub-genre in question, but the entire action game format. Case-in-point - how many games have used that over-the-shoulder camera since 2004?
Resident Evil 4 contained all of the classic "Survival Horror" traits from before, but with added new and innovative formats, all flawlessly designed in a classic single-player campaign akin to a peak MGS game.

What we need to remember is that Shinji stepped down from Resident Evil since that fourth iteration. Resident Evil 5 & 6, as we know, were absent of his creative force and they ultimately failed to deliver solid Resident Evil experiences.

The Evil Within is his first horror game since then and he's bragging that sub-genre we are all so frustrated with. Due to the above example of "Survival Horror" being revolutionized and usherd into a new age (and by this man), i'm confident that it can successfully be done to the point of complete satisfaction using a new format.

The apparent screen-shots of The Evil Within seem to indicate a combination of true old school "Survival Horror" and Resident Evil 4's genius format. A recipe for a coherent, sweet success.

As a kind of disclaimer, though, whilst i believe all will be ok in the sub-genre, i do not believe games like Silent Hill can ever be repeated in the same manner as they were back then on a mainstream form. Silent Hill, although very similar to "Survival Horror" games at the time, was constantly dismissed of that title by it's developers and fans. Silent Hill was an experience. It was also a slow experience and full of artistic creativity, it can in no way be done today on a mainstream scale. Even back then, it only "Survived" because it got compared to Resident Evil and the lark. In actuality, Silent Hill was an avant-garde creation that many played as just a Resident Evil clone, a scary game with scary monsters and thus creating an accessible illusion. However, even though i don't think it can be done today, i do reckon that if Team Silent were still together, they would of pulled a Shinji Mikami and revolutionized there very own experience in Silent Hill for a new age........the American "Silent Hill" games don't exist to me.

Anyway, i drifted off onto my usual Silent Hill talks there...the point is, Shinji gave us the perfect game and sub-genre innovation/evolution with Resident Evil 4 and he will hopefully deliver a true "Survival Horror" because of the aforementioned game, Resident Evil 4, with The Evil Within.

Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 4/22/2013 10:41:32 AM

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cadpig
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 11:14:57 AM
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Survival Horror has lost it's way this Gen..

Hopefully, The evil within will do well enough to change that.

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Comic Shaman
Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 2:11:56 PM
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The mechanics don't matter to me. It's the emotion that you feel when you play a good scary game. You don't feel that hunted, claustrophobic, jumping-at-shadows thrill if your character is too much of a bad-ass. You don't feel alone and desperate if you've got a co-op partner. You don't feel like your life is threatened if you can hold still and regenerate health.

People still love the experience of being scared. When a developer figures out how to capture that experience, they'll attract the fans of survival/horror.

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