Is the Horror Genre Dying Out?
In Cliff Bleszinski’s latest blog, he mentioned that he felt the ‘horror genre’ was not as marketable as it once was. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bleszinski, he is the creator of Gears of War, and former Epic Games design director. In his blog, he went on about how he feels today’s ‘horror’ game offerings aren’t worth the $60 disk, and feels most gamers won’t be willing to dish out the $60 for a game where they get a 2-day campaign, then will either sell or trade in their copy of the game upon finishing it.
Talking about his personal experience with Dead Space 3, Bleszinski stated: “In the 60$ disc based market horror doesn’t fly – it’s the ultimate “Campaign Rental” that’s played for 2 days and traded in and I’m sure EA knows this. When we’re fully digital we’ll see more true horror games coming back. (Look at Amnesia and Slenderman on PC.)”
I can understand where he is coming from to a degree. Today’s horror games are more of an action title than an actual horror/survival games. Many downloadable games are more deem-worthy of the title “Horror”. Cliff also went on to talk of the challenges of creating a genuine horror game, filled with suspense. But even then, once played through, the suspense has dwindled down to nothing, with no surprises left for the player as they already know what to expect in the upcoming parts of the game.
“Horror is hard, and suspense is even harder,” Bleszinski stated, “It requires a true director’s hand. A nudge this way and a moment plays as comedic, a nudge too far the other way and it’s not scary at all. To compound it all, making a scary moment is kind of like trying to tickle yourself. You think it’s scary, but you’re never sure until you test it on someone who has never seen the moment.”
Bleszinski took his leave from Epic Games back in October of last year. Upon his leaving, he offered Capcom to ‘fix’ Resident Evil, but was being sought after by many other companies looking for his expertise. Last heard, he had turned down all offers, and was going to start his own venture.
And now is when we sit back and ask ourselves: “Does Cliff Bleszinski really have a point?” Has the horror genre really fell so far down that it is barely relevant as an actual horror game? Are gamers out there still ready to dish out the $60 for these types of games? Honestly, who really knows. I believe it all depends on the gamer, and their personal preferences. I for one still enjoy the Resident Evil franchise, though I clearly can see a huge difference between, say, Resident Evil, Resident Evil 0, 2, and 3 and Resident Evil 4, 5, and 6. It went from survival horror to more of an action, with a dash of horror. What do you gamers out there think? Are the gamers leaving the horror genre behind, or is it actually the horror genre that is leaving us?