Welcome to “Scare Tactics,” a pilot for a video sequence that goals to discover how completely different creators make horror video games. We see horror as a particular style—horror video games aren’t all the time performed for a similar causes as different video games. They don’t seem to be essentially enjoyable, and their reward usually comes from overcoming one’s personal fears quite than from overcoming the sport’s mechanics.
We’re beginning the sequence by cozying as much as Frictional Video games cofounder Thomas Grip. To name the discharge of Frictional’s Amnesia: The Darkish Descent a watershed second in horror gaming can be a extreme understatement—it launched the careers of many Let’s Play YouTubers and spawned dozens of copycats all making an attempt the identical scare-your-brains-out formulation. The corporate is at present engaged on Amnesia: Rebirth, however Grip took time away from ending Rebirth to take us by way of his philosophy and strategy to horror recreation design.
(Alongside the way in which, he additionally shared some Rebirth previews with us, and our video above showcases a number of Rebirth gameplay parts that have not been seen but!)
Issues that go bump within the evening
Irrespective of the way you slice it, horror is finally subjective. We’ll by no means agree on which issues are scariest, which gameplay parts are vital, and even what the expertise is for. This places horror recreation creators in a bizarre place—how do you make good video games in a style the place “good” does not essentially imply the identical factor because it does elsewhere?
On a private stage, I have been a fan of Grip for years, and I actually respect his views on recreation design. He additionally directed Soma, which was a masterpiece—and the scariest recreation I believe I’ve ever performed. (Outdoors of the ambiance and the setting and the monsters, Soma really managed to present me nightmares due to the questions it induced me to ask about life and existence and humanity and consciousness. And is not that what any good piece of artwork ought to do?)
With unusual aeons
This is not our first dive into horror—we have accomplished movies on the style earlier than, together with speaking with the venerable Glen Schofield about Useless Area and former chatting with Grip in regards to the authentic Amnesia.
However think about these earlier efforts as prologue as a result of “Scare Tactics” as a sequence is a ardour venture of mine. We do not actually plan on doing evaluations or previews of video games; as a substitute, we’ll use the discharge of a recreation as a possibility to discover an entire style. Like “War Stories,” we wish to apply that Ars Technica particular sauce to a topic and provides good designers like Grip the possibility to speak in regards to the nuts and bolts of how they make us afraid. (So if you happen to occur to have any favourite horror style video games you would like us to dig into, please drop a be aware within the feedback!)
Amnesia: Rebirth shall be out on October 20 for PC and Ps 4. It is at present out there for pre-order on Steam or GOG for $26.99.