The horror genre is one of the most beloved by the video gaming public, and over time, it has evolved into many different forms, becoming increasingly original. Cornerstones of the horror genre within the video game world – such as Resident Evil 4 and Dead Space – have become legendary and are still being enjoyed today, updated and improved in every aspect.
Different currents have since developed from the great classics, leading to new ways of playing and enjoying horror titles. Among these, one of the most successful approaches is undoubtedly the transition horror has made to the streaming world. Indeed, the public loves to follow their favorite streamers as they play these games, watching them in constant states of tension, ready to jump out of their chairs at the slightest noise. Many titles have risen to prominence precisely because of word-of-mouth on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch – for example, indies like Amnesia and Slender.
We’ve also seen other mainstream outlets, like online mini games and casinos, take on the horror genre and run with it – and not just for Halloween. Now that gamers have declared their love for this type of game, developers everywhere are looking to capitalize on that, and are creating new iterations in every way imaginable, packing our favorite classics with ghosts, ghouls, and monsters of all kinds. It wouldn’t be surprising to find horror-themed slots at your favorite online casino, for example, with every kind of monster you can name showing up. You might also see themed poker or blackjack – the possibilities are almost endless, and nearly every game has a horror-related twin that you can play if you love a chilling atmosphere.
The next evolution has been the creation of multiplayer horror games, designed to share terror among a whole group of people. There are also many titles that have remained faithful to the single-player experience, but innovated in other ways – such as through the implementation of virtual reality, a phenomenon that has turned the gaming world on its head in so many ways.
In this selection, you will find some of the horror video games that have most distinguished themselves in this terrifying genre in recent years.
The Alien franchise has inspired a great many video games throughout its history. One of the most successful ones is undoubtedly the horror Alien Isolation. The title replicates the atmosphere of the film, letting you play the role of Amanda, Ripley’s daughter. The game takes place on a space station infested by a dangerous xenomorph, which will constantly hunt you down. There’s no way to defend yourself; running and hiding is your only option. This is definitely a title that stands at the forefront of horror, and it’s a must-play for fans of the Alien saga.
This game was released on Xbox and PC and has recently arrived on PlayStation 5. Scorn makes for an atypical horror experience, not tied to classic plotlines. The player will find themselves as bewildered as their mysterious alter ego, trying to explore an alien facility with a mysterious purpose.
The title favors the use of environment-related puzzles, often based on eerie organic structures. The horror in Scorn comes from the alienating and cryptic sense of the game world itself, which leaves almost every element of it — including the story — up to the interpretation of the player.
Carrion is an indie that aims to be a horror game in reverse – that is, it puts the player in the shoes of the monster, ready to tear apart many poor scientists and innocent soldiers. The backdrop of the story is very classic: secret base, experiment gone wrong, monster that breaks free and starts slaughtering everyone within its reach… but this time, the monster is the player, who is put in control of a shapeless mass of tentacles and teeth, ready to evolve and change shape to deal with the base’s defense systems.
The game gives the player full freedom to decide the fate of the poor humans who end up trapped in a base, at the mercy of the monster. Interesting, though, is the twist in the final stages, which makes the experience less linear than it seems.
One of the titles that has most thoroughly established itself in recent years as an exponent of multiplayer horror is undoubtedly Dead by Daylight. The title offers an innovative formula for both horror and online games and puts four players in the shoes of some survivors, while another player controls the killer on duty. The aim of the survivors is to escape from one of the classic horror settings present, such as the house in the woods, while the killer attempts to stop the survivors in the most brutal way possible.
Escaping is not easy, and to do so you will have to achieve certain objectives, such as restarting power generators or finding gasoline – all while you are at the mercy of the killer who, in the tradition of horror movies, can never be defeated, just slowed down temporarily. The title has forged collaborations with many existing horror franchises, casting various iconic characters such as Ghost Face, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, the cursed spirit from The Ring, and even the Nemesis and Pyramid Head from Resident Evil and Silent Hill respectively, in the role of the killer. And among the survivors, Nicolas Cage himself has recently arrived as a playable character.