Sundered’s eldritch horrors are terrifying and spectacular

Thunder Lotus’s debut title was one of giants and gods, bringing North mythology to hand-drawn life in Jotun (2015). It was a title about scale, your shieldmaiden Thora often small against the sprawling landscapes, colossal architecture, and raging behemoths. Each enemy felled felt like a titanic victory, a true David-versus-Goliath moment born from your own skills and tenacity. Now, the studio’s sophomore effort, Sundered, promises to transplants those incredible odds from the land of Yggdrasil and Jomugandr to a world of gothic horror and otherworldly evil. It’s due out in 2017 and, to mark the announcement, we have been bestowed a…


Smokestacks and metalwork: The industrial horror of videogames

In the most famous scene in Fritz Lang’s cinematic masterpiece Metropolis (1927), the protagonist, Freder, descends beneath the film’s urban dystopia to find a great network of machinery being tended by nameless, uniformed men. Steam columns, the clouds of this underground microcosm, rise and fall all around as the brass soundtrack mimics the percussive thronging of industrial noise. Freder wanders aimlessly through this metallic maze, looking onwards, terrified, at row upon row of men all operating levers in perfect automated symmetry. As the horns reach their background climax, an eruption of smoke and gas tears through the metalwork and throws…

Little Nightmares

Your childhood fears will come to life in Little Nightmares

As a kid, I was afraid of the dark. Afraid of the shadows that veiled the monsters that might swallow me. My imagination turned nighttime into a dizzying experience where I was constantly startled and petrified by every sudden shift of motion or shuffling sounds. I always hid underneath my blanket, afraid to face whatever loomed on the other side. Little Nightmares taps into these same childhood fears. This time around, though, the monsters are real. The shadows are perilous. And, it’s up to you and you alone to escape it. Playing as Six, the child heroine of the game, you…


Upcoming FMV game is set in a real decommissioned nuclear bunker

The Bunker is coming out this month, bringing with it what looks to be a fresh take on the full-motion video (FMV) game genre. It’s a psychological horror game that will have you assume the role of John, a boy born in a government bunker “the day the bombs fell,” July 3, 1986. Three decades later, all of John’s loved ones are dead, yet he continues his circadian rhythms and routines, following the rules of the titular bunker. When an alarm goes off, disrupting John’s daily routines and causing his mind to “self-destruct,” he begins to travel deeper into his home,…


How Resident Evil 7’s grossest monsters are made

Resident Evil 7 looks really gross. But, judging by the amount of work going into it, that may be the best compliment it can be given.   Speaking at the 2016 Computer Entertainment Developers Conference, people from Capcom working on Resident Evil 7 showed off some of the ways they’re using photogrammetry to create in-game assets including clothing, environments, characters, and, most interestingly, monsters and wounds. As reported by IGN Japan and Famitsu (translation via NeoGAF), numerous models were shown side-by-side with their in-game counterparts. capturing the mood of “various creepy areas” in Japan Photogrammetry works, put simply, by taking pictures…


The rise of VHS horror games

The introduction of VHS cassettes in the 1970s was a revolution in bringing horror closer to people. Two decades before, television became the primary medium for affecting public opinion, trumping newspapers and radio. This bore a generation eager to sit around a humming electronic box in their living rooms, allowing all kinds of foreign images to infiltrate their homes. But these broadcasts were typically newsreels and government-approved screenings—images under state control. VHS put more power to the viewer, who could decide what to watch and when, just by inserting a box-shaped pack of plastic into a tape player and letting its…

Near Death - interior

Near Death is a little too numb

Near Death begins when a woman crashes at the abandoned Sutro Station in the Marie Byrd Land region of Antarctica. There is no ceremonious setup, only the bare-bones facts of her situation: the temperature, the location, the condition of polar night, and the wind chill. She fumbles through the dark with the dim glow of a flashlight before finding one of the buildings of Sutro Station and uses a small personal heater to circulate warmth. Her situation only worsens as her contact cannot extract her in extreme conditions, and she resolves to find some way to survive or escape before…

Slayaway Camp

Slayaway Camp turns VHS horror into a cute, murderous puzzle

Slayaway Camp is a puzzle game about massacring hapless teenagers, and, perhaps fittingly, it comes from a place of aggression. “After a decade [of] making gems go clink and pegs go… Peggle at PopCap,” said Jason Kapalka, one of the founders of PopCap, and now returning to independence with Blue Wizard, “I had a lot of pent-up aggression and wanted to work on something really violent and gross.” A sliding puzzle game isn’t the most likely candidate to vent such vicious desires. And that’s entirely the point—Kapalka is looking to assault the sparkly, saccharine game genre with Slayaway Camp in action. As…

Power Drill Massacre

Power Drill Massacre brings grindhouse horror to videogames

From It Follows (2015) to Netflix’s Stranger Things, the themes and style of ’80s horror are slowly but surely making a comeback. So perhaps it’s no surprise that such inspirations are appearing among games as well, with the once-colossal genre of slasher movies influencing titles like Lakeview Cabin Collection, Until Dawn (2015), Dead Till Daylight, and the upcoming Friday the 13th. The works of developer Puppet Combo wears such inspirations on its sleeve. I recently had the pleasure of enjoying the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) for the first time last week, and realized what made the movie such a…