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Games Entertainment

Survival-Horror Genre Going Extinct? 166

Destructoid is running an opinion piece looking at the state of the survival-horror genre in games, suggesting that the way it has developed over the past several years has been detrimental to its own future. "During the nineties, horror games were all the rage, with Resident Evil and Silent Hill using the negative aspects of other games to an advantage. While fixed camera angles, dodgy controls and clunky combat were seen as problematic in most games, the traditional survival horror took them as a positive boon. A seemingly less demanding public ate up these games with a big spoon, overlooking glaring faults in favor of videogames that could be genuinely terrifying." The Guardian's Games Blog has posted a response downplaying the decline of the genre, looking forward to Ubisoft's upcoming I Am Alive and wondering if independent game developers will pick up where major publishers have left off.
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Survival-Horror Genre Going Extinct?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:00PM (#26104693)

    And then an other genre comes flying out of an air duct or dark corner!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jerek Dain ( 646055 )

      And then an other genre comes flying out of an air duct or dark corner!

      I would say Left 4 Dead [] fits that bill nicely. It has some of the survival horror basics, but in a fun, fast-paced, co-op, action way.

  • by pm_rat_poison ( 1295589 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:09PM (#26104757)
    How to make a gaming article when you have no original material:
    a.) roll a d6

    b.) According to the result, choose one of the following:
    1.) PC
    2.) Adventure
    3.) Single Player
    4.) Survival Horror
    5.) DRM-free
    6.) Windows-only

    c.)Insert result in following sentence: Is this the death of $getrandomstring() gaming?
  • by pizzach ( 1011925 ) <pizzach@gmail.cEEEom minus threevowels> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:11PM (#26104781) Homepage

    I don't know if I 100% agree. I a lot of people complain immediately when they don't get the standard fare. A number of these same people are responsible for the Playstation DualShock controller not changing in any really noticeable way for 10 years. The result: Resident Evil 5 is turning into a Halo style first person shooter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Stormwatch ( 703920 )

      A number of these same people are responsible for the Playstation DualShock controller not changing in any really noticeable way for 10 years.

      The DualShock was never much good in the first place.

    • by mollymoo ( 202721 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @09:44PM (#26107591) Journal

      The analog sticks on the DualShock 3 are a good 2mm further apart than on the DualShock 2. If you turn it upside down you'll notice the L2 and R2 buttons are now pseudo-triggers to ensure your fingers slip off them at a crucial moment even more easily than before. It only took me a several minutes of careful side-by-side comparison to notice those differences. The DualShock 3 is revolutionary I tell you, revolutionary!

  • by B5_geek ( 638928 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:11PM (#26104785)

    True horror/fright can only be produced by ones imagination. While Hitchcock understood this and did a decent job of using it only books ever get it right. Instead today as with movies you mostly get sub-par lighting that hides things from your view.

    Remember the mess that Doom3(?) was that you couldn't hold your shotgun and flashlight at the same time? The game imposed a limitation on you that felt forced and limited the submersion.

    One game that got it right; Thief. The suspense of trying to sneak, and then panic heart-attack when you step on a squeaky floor!

    I have played Alone in the Dark, and many others in the genre but none have ever had me wound-uptight as Thief did.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

      Uncertainity is a good source of fear IMO, in a game it's not that scary when you see a huge monster stand in front of you, it's scarier when you know there's a sniper hiding somewhere in the area. Having to react to an event that can happen any time (enemy found between the rubble or something) or dying very quickly induces fear, it doesn't work when the enemy isn't dangerous enough (so you could take a hit or two before reacting and still be fine) or when you have enough advance warning (e.g. a long time

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MikeBabcock ( 65886 )

        The chainsaw people in RE4 did a good job of giving me panic attacks. The game even tells you they're coming -- but since its nearly impossible to kill them without being well-prepared early in the game, knowing they're coming, or even from which direction doesn't help you avoid death the first few times.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hairyfeet ( 841228 )

          For me the last two good scares was F.E.A.R and Bioshock. Walking along feeling big and bad in Fear and then hearing that little "zzzzt" noise that let you know those fast moving invisible bastards were around, that was scary for me. And the first time I went after a Big Daddy was extra scary for me because I engaged by total accident. I was chasing a splicer and was going to pop it with my electro plasmid and finish it off with my pistol when I flew around the corner and fired my plasmid...and completely m

        • For me it was those sniffy things that walked slowly and regenerated themselves (found later in the game), but then would massively jump at you if you blew one of their legs. The chainsaws certainly helped, but those sniffy things were truly scary.
        • I agree. Visually, they were frightening as opposed to just merely alarming. They moved quickly and spastically, and of course the sound of that chainsaw really resonates with me, being of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre generation.

      • by try_anything ( 880404 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @07:20PM (#26106587)

        It also doesn't work if dying means you respawn one or two minutes earlier in the game. Call of Duty single-play mode is like this. I realized this when I realized that I never paused the game when I wanted to answer the door, talk on the phone, or get a drink from the fridge. I just left my guy standing there, and if he died, so what?

        When save points are so frequent, dying doesn't even impede your progress through the game unless you do it five times in a row. As a result, to make the game challenging, there have to be individual segments that are INSANELY challenging, which just makes you angry. You only get scared if dying once is a big deal. If dying twelve times in a row is what it takes to get a gamer's attention, he doesn't get scared. He gets angry.

        So, you go through the entire game never being scared. You're just bored, moderately engaged, or angry depending on whether the difficulty is too low, about right, or too high.

        Games that let you choose your save points, like the original Doom and Doom II, were much scarier, because you would limit your saves out of pride, and you'd also get caught up in the game and forget to save and then GAAAH I'M ABOUT TO DIE AND THIS IS REALLY SERIOUS! You panic about dying because it took half an hour of good play to get where you are, and if you die, you lose it all.

        If (like me) you were normally too proud to save in the middle of a level, it meant that there was a great buildup of suspense through the level, because you had more and more to lose the further you got. In checkpoint games, it doesn't matter where in the level you are, so there's no buildup and climax, no arc to the game at all except what they can build up artificially through tacked-on story elements.

        • I'm not so sure you have it right here, I think you're conflating two different concepts.

          There's two different types of fear at play here:
          1. The type of fear of the situation being depicted.
          2. Meta-gaming fear, where you are afraid of losing something you worked hard for.

          The first comes from immersion, the second comes from having personal stake in the game. A movie can be scary even though you're not actually worried about personally losing anything, but rather more from an empathy for the terror of the s

          • by try_anything ( 880404 ) on Sunday December 14, 2008 @06:42AM (#26109757)

            The kind of fear you're talking about is great, but I rarely get it from games. I treasure the memory of playing an "Aliens" mod for Doom. "Keep it tight, people." "Check those corners... check those corners!" You can't see anything, but you can hear the aliens breathing. Then SHRIEK they're in your face. It got to the point where my heart was going a mile a minute the whole time, and it took me a long time to calm down afterwards so I could sleep.

            Unfortunately my success at finding good horror games (and horror movies, for that matter) is so low that it isn't even worth trying anymore -- one good game in ten means paying hundreds of bucks to find a good game, plus the frustration of sitting through so much garbage.

            So, yeah, I do like the second kind of horror you're talking about, but I've kind of given up on it.

            As for immersion, I agree completely. Few modern games are really immersive. Note to game designers: There's nothing realistic about looking at a bush and not being able to figure out whether you can step over it, or looking at a tree and not knowing whether there's an invisible corridor that will prevent you from ducking behind it. Nobody in World War II died while trying to take cover behind a pile of sandbags that were un-jump-overable for the sole reason that they marked the edge of the battlefield. Level designers need to stop putting visual verisimilitude over everything else and once again start considering the verisimilitude of the whole experience.

            One aspect that all immersive games share is that you can almost always predict how objects and terrain will affect your movement. Gosh, just like in real life! That's actually more important to immersion than making the terrain look realistic. If you're examining every rock and bush as a game construct instead of perceiving it as a "real" object, then you're going to see the monster, scary noise, or eerie apparition as just another game construct. You think, "Well, here's a new game object. Looks like a werewolf. Let's figure out how to interact with it. I'll start by walking towards it and seeing what happens. I'll probably get killed, but I might as well be systematic if I want to figure out how it works." That's not an immersive experience :-)

            "Hmmm, there's a toddler sitting on the floor of my living room finger-painting with blood."

            Immersive game reaction: "What... the... FUCK is a mysterious toddler doing in my house? Whose blood is that!!?"

            Non-immersive game experience: "I wonder if I can jump over him?"

            • I treasure the memory of playing an "Aliens" mod for Doom.

              Exactly the same here. That mod was the one and only game that actually managed to scare the living shit out of me. *grins and goes in search of the files*
        • by trdrstv ( 986999 )

          It also doesn't work if dying means you respawn one or two minutes earlier in the game. Call of Duty single-play mode is like this. I realized this when I realized that I never paused the game when I wanted to answer the door, talk on the phone, or get a drink from the fridge. I just left my guy standing there, and if he died, so what?

          Yup. That was my issue with Bioshock. It "tried" to be scary, but had no cost to dying. The ONLY time I got worried was when my health meter kept getting shrunk, but once that part of the game was over it went back to 'meh'...

    • How about System Shock 2? I got scared in that immersive game. DOOM 3? Aliens vs. Predator series?

    • by log0n ( 18224 )

      No way... with Doom 3, the lack of shotgun&&flashlight totally added to the immersion. You couldn't fire while seeing what was headed toward you - and the resulting firefight freak out panic fest totally made you crap your pants. And it did this because it got into your head, under your skin. A la immersion.

      I really have a hard time believing people who claim Doom3 wasn't good/didn't scare/whatever. Yeah, it had exactly 0 replay value. And playing it a 2nd time sucked (unless you're a real fan)

    • Bloomin' kids! I still remember Doom 1 scaring the shit out of me the first time round, when one of the invisible demon things pops out of seemingly nowhere in front of me.

    • I'm sure it's been said in this thread (I browse really high [low?]), and has definitely been said anytime anyone in here brings up "scary" games, but System Shock 2 did the same thing, brilliantly. Some scary stuff in that game.
    • I disagree with your account of Doom 3's flashlight. How many people can operate a shotgun (or better yet, chaingun) holding a flashlight?

      I like Left 4 Dead's flashlight, which follows the direction your weapon is pointing, so you cannot see while reloading or doing a melee attack. (I know l4d isn't exactly survival horror).

      • Are you telling me a space marine can't jury rig a way to attach a flashlight to a shotgun? And even if the future was bereft of all kinds of tape, wire, string, strips och clothing and glue, he could still put the damn flashlight in his mouth.
    • by Haoie ( 1277294 )

      Make your player character helpless and you've got fear.

      Give them enough weapons to vaporise a city and you've got a shooter.

  • Left4Dead?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doches ( 761288 ) <`Doches' `at' `'> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:18PM (#26104839)

    Umm...What about Left4Dead? I fail to see how the genre can be 'dying' if it includes a wildly popular new release? I mean, I guess you could argue that Left4Dead isn't similar enough to to qualify as a member of the genre -- but it seems like a perfectly valid (and, frankly, awesome) way to evolve the genre. Oh, two more words:

    Dead Space.

    Maybe you've just got a really, really narrow definition of what qualifies as 'survival horror'?

    • by MBCook ( 132727 )

      I agree. I think you could easily add Dead Rising to the genre, as well as the (hopefully) forthcoming Alan Wake. What about the recent Alone in the Dark game?

      While not a big genre at this point, games are still being made. Things are changing too. RE4 was a big step above the previous games. Dead Space is outside the standard mold since it's in space. Dead Rising was very different from the standard "I'm all alone and once in a while something jumps out at me" game.

      I'm really hoping Alan Wake comes out

    • by Mr_eX9 ( 800448 )
      Not to mention FEAR 2: Project Origin which is coming out early next year.
    • by p0tat03 ( 985078 )
      Neither Left4Dead nor Dead Rising are survivor horror games - both are *parodies* of survival horror games. Neither L4D nor Dead Rising have any truly scary moments, and instead use the zombified landscape as merely a backdrop.
    • by jasen666 ( 88727 )

      Dead Space is awesome. And creepy as shit, if not outright scary at times. They did an excellent job at it.
      Although I'm sure it can be argued that it is more a scary FPS than a true survival horror.
      Still an excellent, scary game.

      • I thought it suffered from "Doom 3 Syndrome". The first couple of hours were pretty creepy and/or scary, but after that, I sort of fell into the game's rhythm and could usually figure out what was going to happen without too much fuss. It's still not a bad game, but if you're still that scared of it by the time you get through Chapter 4 or so, then you're probably the type of person who was afraid of the muppet monsters.
    • Left4Dead is definitely not survival horror. Survival horror implies a very real, very high risk of death if you screw up. Left4Dead you can just spray and pray forever. It's a shooter, not survival horror.

      • What? A smoker or hunter kills you in one hit if your allies don't save you.

      • I want to see the book (and soon to be movie), The Road, made into a game. That'd be survival horror. The main character runs most of the course with no more than a couple of bullets!

      • Ever met a tank on expert? Do you have an expectation to survive the endgame on expert?
  • by Optic7 ( 688717 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:18PM (#26104843)

    Silent hill wasn't fixed, pre-rendered perspective like resident evil was. That's one of the reasons why I never got into RE, but I loved Silent Hill. SH was also so much creepier and suspenseful than RE.

    Another thing, isn't Left 4 Dead somewhat of a survival horror game as well? It's one of the top games right now yet there's no mention of it.

    • Did you play RE4? Specifically on the GameCube? The graphics, at the time, were VERY good, and the game is the epitome of a survival horror. Truly, a polished game. If you have the Wii, pick up the RE4 for the Wii, as it has the contents that appeared in the PS2 version, which weren't in the GameCube version.

      • by Optic7 ( 688717 )
        Yes, I had a Wii and RE4 for it. I was talking about old RE games vs. the original Silent Hill. Since the article summary talks about those and fixed cameras.
  • It's Evolving (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak ( 773371 ) <obsessivemathsfr ... .net minus physi> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:24PM (#26104873) Homepage Journal

    At some point early on in Resident Evil 4, you encountered a door. Leon promptly kicked it open with his boot and you ran into the next room. It was a statement. The entirety of Resident Evil 4 was a statement. That statement was, "Survival Horror has Evolved". The evolution could be seen early on in games like Resident Evil 3 and Dino Crisis 2. Games like Dead Space are continuing that evolution. The genre is changing, not dying.

    If you want a genre that is truly going extinct, just look at RPGs. I'm still waiting for any half decent one to come out in the PS3. It's depressing when you think back to the genre's boom time of 1997-2000.

    • by ConanG ( 699649 )
      Fallout 3 is more than half-decent. It's downright decent.
      But I agree with the general sentiment. RPG is the genre that's dying, not survival-horror.
      • Re:It's Evolving (Score:4, Interesting)

        by bonch ( 38532 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:41PM (#26105497)

        Fallout 3 has a lot of the same problems Oblivion did. Also, the writing and voice acting can sometimes be quite bad, and the plot sort of rushes and falls apart embarrassingly once you reach your father.

        It's also breakable. I killed Burke before he could kill the sheriff Simms. When Burke died, Simms promptly disappeared in front of me, and all NPC scripts still acted like he had died. That's when I knew I was playing a typical Bethesda game.

        • by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

          I wish I had mod points. Fallout 3 was such a joy and disappointment at the same time. It's a fun game, but it's marred by so many bugs, poor writing, and inconsistencies that it routinely jars you out of your immersion.

          The art style is beautifully done - and then they throw you in identical subway tunnels for half the game. Even a slight amount of original exploration might break quests... They are like BioWare, a lot of great ideas, but they don't seem to have the technical chops to pull it off. At least

        • by ConanG ( 699649 )
          I'm not saying it's not got its problems. I was just responding to the poster who is waiting for a halfway decent RPG on PS3. I don't think it's anywhere close to the best RPG ever, but I do think it's at least decent.
        • The exact same thing happened to me in Fallout 3, but my roommate managed to kill Burke without Simms dying or disappearing, and there was even dialog from Simms about the whole ordeal. That particular event has horribly buggy scripting or something.

        • If anything, it sounded like Fallout 3 took actions to avoid being broken.

        • by tedrlord ( 95173 )

          Fallout 3 is buggy, and it has its problems, but it's not as breakable as you say. I killed Burke before he could get a shot off on the sheriff, and Simms just walked out the door. When I went up to him afterwards, he thanked me and said he must be getting slower in his old age.

          Fallout definitely has a lot of bugs (important people disappearing randomly like that) and annoying decisions (traders being mauled by Deathclaws because it's "realistic") but they did think it through somewhat.

    • I'm waiting for a high-quality console RPG the likes of Neverwinter Nights (the first one) with a multi-character party system (for switching or multi player).

    • by grumbel ( 592662 )

      The genre is changing, not dying.

      I'd call that dying if most of what made that genre is gone. Sure, RE4 has still the zombies and herbs, but none of the suspense and none of the puzzles. Its a shooter with zombie theme, not a survival game with better controls.

      There is of course still evolution going on, newer games reuse older concept, improve on some of them and stuff, but there is just to much being left out to be ignored.

    • by geek ( 5680 )

      I'd kill for a good ole hack and slash. Presently waiting in Diablo 3. It seems like the genre died after the Diablo/Baldurs Gate days with pretty much nothing being released since then worth a damn. I really wish someone would develop something decent (someone other than just Blizzard).

      RPG's though are evolving into MMO's. They'd rather get a monthly fee from you than make a classic hack and slash. This is probably why almost every MMO released since WoW has been utter trash.

    • Yes, RPG gaming on the PS3 has truly faced Oblivion. What will the Fallout of this be for RPG fans!?

    • Mass Effect is an incredible RPG. I haven't played Fallout yet, but I have heard only good things. Much like survival horror, the genre is evolving. They are much more action based than turn based these days.

      • by Kagura ( 843695 )
        Mass Effect was great, but if they don't make a LOT of improvements, Mass Effect 2 is going to be a hell of a lot less interesting.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Harinezumi ( 603874 )
      There's still SRPGs. For the PS3, Disgaea 3 and Valkyria Chronicles are both very much worth playing. And speaking of the 1997-2000 boom, they just released a new Fallout game!
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      If you want a genre that is truly going extinct, just look at RPGs. I'm still waiting for any half decent one to come out in the PS3. It's depressing when you think back to the genre's boom time of 1997-2000.

      More specifically, the turn-based RPG. There have been plenty of RPG/FPS fusions like Oblivion, but the turn based RPG is nowhere to be found.

      • While I do enjoy turn-based RPGs myself; I think a big part of the reason that they are "disappearing" is because the technology has evolved enough that stats and situation can be easily (in real time) be turned into a chance of success of the action in real time. In the old days, particularly with consoles, RAM and storage was so small that doing such calculations while maintaining high quality (for the time) graphics was extremely difficult.

        Additionally, moving in real time opens the game up to a larger

      • >>but the turn based RPG is nowhere to be found.

        Fallout 3. VATS. :p

        I basically refuse to use it for this reason. I don't want a turn-based RPG fly in my FPS RPG soup.

    • The main problem with RPGs is that if the game doesn't have Final Fantasy in the title or some other established name no publisher is going to give it the time of day unless it's an MMO, or more Action based. You have the old school of turn based RPGs thats dieing, Action RPGs (Bioshock, Dead Space, Fallout 3 etc), and the new school of RPGs that are MMOs. They are effectively still turn based, but at least things are a little smoother now. There is no excuse to keep turn based RPGs like FF around. They we
      • They were turn based originally because of HARDWARE LIMITATIONS!!!

        That's not a valid reason to change it. I prefer turn-based RPGs, simple as that. I don't give a damn if it was hardware limitations or because some guy was doing it on a bet, that's the way I like them, and if the turn-based RPG ever entirely disappears, odds are I'll stop playing RPGs altogether.

        • Why wait? Books have just as linear a progression without a $60 pricetag.
          • Books aren't as fun as a well-done RPG. I'm sorry you dislike turn-based RPGs, but that's no reason whatsoever to call for their extinction. I don't like real-time, highly open-ended RPGs all that much (they're OK, but far from ideal), but it would be asinine for me to act as if my preference is the One True Way and say everyone should fall in line. Both styles have room to coexist here.
  • Don't worry (Score:4, Funny)

    by SirLurksAlot ( 1169039 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:27PM (#26104899)

    Survival horror isn't going extinct, it's just waiting for the next sequel... and this time it's gonna be personal!

  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:31PM (#26104931)
    Maximum PC reviewed Left 4 Dead [] and rated it a 10/Kick-Ass. Doesn't sound like the genre is doing that bad.
  • No... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Just because a couple of series that are notorious hallmarks of the genre arguably jumped the shark, it does not mean that the genre is necessarily in trouble. I don't know what specifically occurred in their development, but I do know the names drew a lot of attention. It's hard to avoid people coming in thinking 'it's pretty good, but we need to tweak it'. I have observed it in all sorts of long-standing products in all industries, some people manage to get a share of control that think they know what

  • not for me (Score:5, Funny)

    by ILuvRamen ( 1026668 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:45PM (#26105057)
    I think most people are like me after playing regular FPS games. I don't get scared, I just get motivated and angry. They're like "oooh, are you gonna make it out alive" and I'm thinking "umm yes, and I'm gonna drive this motorcycle so far up that zombie's ass he'll be farting exhaust fumes. Then I'm gonna go BOOM HEADSHOT, BOOM HEADSHOT! Then I'll scream 'THAT'S RIGHT BITCHES!' and then break out the window all actiony and we'll see what's what then! You can't intimidate or scare me!" It's really either that or actually act really scared and freaked out about whether or not you're going to survive the entire game and who the heck wants to feel like that for like 8 hours? You could just walk around New York City alone at night for free to feel that, and most people tend to avoid that feeling. So if they'd just let me scream "****ing zombies, DIE!" and give up trying to scare me, it'd be fine but then that's not really survival horror.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

      I know you've been modded funny, but I think that's actually quite insightful. Left 4 Dead has proven that "die zombies die!" type of survival horror can be immensely popular - even more so than traditional scare-your-pants-off games like Silent Hill.

      I know when I pick up a controller after a long day of work I don't want to be scared out of my mind - same reason why I have no great love for horror movies. If they were somewhat interesting in terms of story, sure, but like most horror movies, they are not -

    • It's really either that or actually act really scared and freaked out about whether or not you're going to survive the entire game and who the heck wants to feel like that for like 8 hours? You could just walk around New York City alone at night for free to feel that

      Of course you'll have a bad impression of New York if you only focus on the pimps and the C.H.U.D.s.

  • by FrostDust ( 1009075 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:07PM (#26105267)
    The reason games like Res. 4, Silent Hill Homecoming, and Left4Dead aren't proper survival horror is that your first reaction to seeing an enemy is to kill it. In the original Resident Evil or Silent Hill, killing everything in your path would result in you running out of ammo quickly, and/or taking massive injuries due to bashing them up close in melee.

    While you could interpret survival horror as being about, as the name implies, surviving scary situations, the genre is supposed to achieve this by making you feel vulnerable and desperate. This was achieved, as stated before, by limiting your supplies so much your were forced to sneak around and avoid enemies, or by making you dread the situation, fearful you could be overwhelmed at any moment.

    Silent Hill achieved both of these rather well, especially with the radio and flashlight. Keeping the flashlight off prevented enemies from finding you, but you could barely see. The radio would keep you on your toes, looking around frantically for the enemy the that is there, but you can't yet see. The general inhumanity and psychological implications of the monsters, as opposed to the zombies of Resident Evil, also added to the creepy atmosphere.

    Going through with the attitude you could kill everything would easily get you killed. Survival horror is about surviving because you do so against all odds, not because of good combat skills. So, as the genre evolves into action horror, it is definitely not the same as survival horror.
    • While you could interpret survival horror as being about, as the name implies, surviving scary situations, the genre is supposed to achieve this by making you feel vulnerable and desperate. This was achieved, as stated before, by limiting your supplies so much your were forced to sneak around and avoid enemies, or by making you dread the situation, fearful you could be overwhelmed at any moment.

      I had a similar experience playing Fallout 3 at max difficulty. The enemies were much stronger than I was, ammo was limited, and the only way to survive was stealth.

    • by tibman ( 623933 )

      I promise that if you had the best gun, extra med kit, drugs, and a grenade(or molotov, if that's your thing) that even with all that.. you couldn't run through any L4D level alone. Keeping your team alive is the key to survival in the game. If Normal difficulty is too easy for you, move up! I promise you can get more out of the game if you scale up the difficulty. Turn down the lights and play alone in the dark, that helps too. I personally dread Boomers.. there's nothing like getting puked on.. you c

      • Agreed - L4D can achieve the "against all odds" feel with Expert difficulty, despite the fact that you actually must kill a majority of the enemies to have a chance (running past hordes only works in select situations).

      • by $1uck ( 710826 )
        you'll never run out of pistol ammo. That would make the game a bit more tricky/interesting if pistol ammo was a limited resource.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It is going dead because there are no quality games being made for this genre.

    The Silent Hill series was great, but they stopped making games after SH3. SH4 was a different game with last minute changes to include the Silent Hill universe and had mixed reactions from fans, SH Origins and SH5 were not produced by KCET and had completely different American and European development teams. They both paled in comparison to earlier games in the series and reeked of shoddy effort.

    RE4, while a wonderful game and hu

  • Make up your minds (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trojan35 ( 910785 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @06:13PM (#26106123)

    I really don't get it. Everyone complains that games are the same. They're all the same. There's nothing new.

    Then, we get some really cool games coming out. We get GoW which takes 3rd person shooters viable (okay, so it's not that different). Stepping further outside genres, we get GH & Rock Band, a whole new way to enjoy music and video games. Going further, we get Ban & Kaz from Rare, which is an amazing vehicle/puzzle/action game. We get Dance Dance Revolution. We get the Wii and motion-sensing remotes. We get Wii Fit. And then we also get user-input games like LittleBigPlanet. All of these have either created new or revitalized old genres. I'm sure I'm missing a bunch more that have been amazing.

    And now everyone's complaining that people aren't playing the old stagnant genres as much? It also ignores how successful games like Left4Dead have been? Or shoot-off genres like Dead Rising?

    This is stupid.

    • by ConanG ( 699649 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @07:24PM (#26106615)
      Don't forget World of Goo! That's a pretty original game.
    • by grumbel ( 592662 )

      Then, we get some really cool games coming out.

      The problem isn't these "new cool games coming out", but those new cool games being cloned and sequeled to death. Resident Evil 4 made the over the shoulder view popular, Gears of War added cover mechanics and all that was cool and fresh. But then we got Uncharted, GTAIV, Dead Space, Gears of War 2, Resident Evil 5 and so on, all repeating that *exact* mechanic. I don't care about playing "Gears in the City" and "Gears in the Jungle" and "Gears in Space with Zombies", I already have played Gears. Game mecha

      • If I am interpreting "cover mechanics" correctly, Gears of War definitely did not invent that. Also, reducing GTAIV to "a fps with cover mechanics" is ridiculous.

        The fact is, the number of shitty/unimaginative games that comes out doesn't matter. It is the GOOD games that get attention, become popular, etc., and should be used as the measure of the health of the industry/genre. As long as good survival horror games are coming out, the survival horror genre is doing fine.

  • Clock Tower! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ardor ( 673957 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @06:58PM (#26106411)

    How can Clock Tower be missing here? Particularly the very first one running on SNES, which still gives me the creeps, even when watching youtube recordings of its gameplay (example: []). This game is VERY VERY scary.

  • by Dr. Manhattan ( 29720 ) <[sorceror171] [at] []> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @09:33PM (#26107509) Homepage
    They Hunger [] was a good Half-Life mod, and they're working on a new one with the Source engine: They Hunger: Lost Souls []. They haven't updated their progress in a while, but I still have hope.
  • Ok, I lie but god damn that game had it right and the formula hasn't had to change much since, so people think it's stale, when it's just an old but tested game type.

    Look at Dead Space, same as AITD, it has a control and battle system just clunky enough to antagonise you but not enough to hate it and jumpy stuff.
    I think it's a bloody fantastic genre and if I wasn't such a pussy I'd still be playing it.
    (As I've gotten older, I've become MORE scared than I used to by these things, I literally can not play Dea

  • Why play a game when you can look at real horror any time you turn on the News??? Endless war in the middle-east, up to our collective hinnies in terrorist assaults, an environment that looks more and more like an unflushed toilet, and a global economy that makes the environment look good... Fighting unwashed mutants is looking less and less like an escapist activity, and more and more like a proper survival training.

  • Did anyone else find Dead Space creepy more than a few times? The audio did a spectacular job of creeping the player out.

  • Fear, deadspace, Left4Dead.. all great shining examples of recent survival horror, not to mention the silent hills, resident evils and doom clones.

    Dare I say it, but survival horrors are still lurking behind every corner ;)

    Well, not every corner...

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