The survival horror genre has arguably become less prominent in the video game industry. Either the gameplay is too poor to compete with modern games, or developers focus on making once well renowned horror franchises into"action packed" titles. Tomm Hulett, producer of Silent Hill: Downpour, thinks this needs to change.
Hulett spoke to MCV Pacific about his beliefs on the evolution of games; as games began to improve, so to did the combat systems of survival horror titles. The only issue was that this resulted in what Hulett refers to as "action games with creepier monsters."
We've of course seen this in modern day gaming - Resident Evil 5 was scrutinized by fans for essentially dropping the survival horror element all together, and even Dead Space 2 offered more action than scares, especially when compared to the original. Needless to say, with EA saying Dead Space 3 needs to appeal to a broader audience, horror fans are fearing the worst.
That doesn't necessarily mean that survival horror is doomed, as Hulett feels there are still ways to creep players out, ways that don't rely on "shoddy controls." This can be achieved through "careful game design," a route that developer Vatra Games took when making Silent Hill: Downpour.
"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."
For survival horror fans, Hulett's words are welcomed. We thought Downpour succeeded quite well with its scares, even though it played as more of a modern title, i.e. no fixed camera. On the flip side, AMY, another horror title that released this year, focused too much on outdated mechanics, and as such, it really hampered the game's quality.
Developers must find a middle ground, which is something the team at Capcom needs to take into account. While they may feel they need to emulate Call of Duty in order for Resident Evil 6 to succeed, they must also realize there is a way to balance it out for horror fans and those who don't want to deal with dated gameplay and limiting control schemes.
Hopefully, Silent Hill: Downpour performs well it will encourage developers and publishers to realize there's still a market out there.
Silent Hill: Downpour is available now for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
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Source: MCV Pacific