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Survival-Horror Genre Going Extinct?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the scary-proposition dept.

Games 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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166 comments

That's just what they want you to think (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26104693)

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

Re:That's just what they want you to think (0)

mewshi_nya (1394329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26104807)

I gotta admit, that was hilarious.

I love survival horror games. Fatal Frame is amazing, although I can't play it long...

Same with Silent Hill 3. The Silent Hill games are a masterpiece, much more than Resident Evil. There's a *great* story, a theme, creative monsters, the environments are beautiful.

Re:That's just what they want you to think (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26105335)

I gotta admit, that was hilarious.

Really? Really really? God damn, you people are much more easily amused than I am. It was witty alright but didn't even elicit a chuckle for me. For me, most of those comments are "there, take your +5 Funny, will you go away now?"

Re:That's just what they want you to think (3, Insightful)

Jerek Dain (646055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107499)

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

I would say Left 4 Dead [l4d.com] fits that bill nicely. It has some of the survival horror basics, but in a fun, fast-paced, co-op, action way.

Actually. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26104737)

wondering if independent game developers will pick up where major publishers have left off.

Two [wikipedia.org] different roles [wikipedia.org].

Self-publishing (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105309)

I think that by "indie game developers", the article meant "indie game developers who self-publish their PC titles". Are you thinking of consoles, whose makers have historically had policies against smaller publishers?

BSD is extinct (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26104741)

But eating poop will never be! A couple weeks ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john, Barack Obama -- the messiah himself -- came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was busy and in any case I was sure the secret service wouldn't even let me shake his hand.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as his cock -- or at least as I imagined it!

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a liberal democrat and had been on the Obama train since last year. Of course I'd had fantasies of meeting him, sucking his cock and balls, not to mention sucking his asshole clean, but I never imagined I would have the chance. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of Barack Obama, the chosen one.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big half nigger cock, beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was that Barack Obama wasn't there to see my loyalty and wash it down with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit. It's even better than listening to an Obama speech!

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process.

I often think of Barack Obama dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did, bring to a grateful democrat.

Re:BSD is extinct (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26104805)

This copypasta always makes me lol.

In before someone wastes moderation points downrating this post instead of using it to mod up a good post.

Re:BSD is extinct (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26105635)

Troll fail, Obamas asshole is chocolately brown.

Re:BSD is extinct (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26106807)

Double fail. It's chocolately O re o brown.

And I always knew that Democrats sucked ass, I just didn't know it was also literally true.

Gaming article composition Algorithm (5, Insightful)

pm_rat_poison (1295589) | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Change is difficult (2, Insightful)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26104781)

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:Change is difficult (2, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107289)

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.

Re:Change is difficult (3, Funny)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107591)

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!

Same problem as movies. (4, Interesting)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Same problem as movies. (2, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26104955)

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 between spotting the enemy and it attacking you).

Re:Same problem as movies. (2, Interesting)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105109)

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:Same problem as movies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26105261)

Don't think you know what a panic attack is. Just sayin' :-)

Re:Same problem as movies. (2, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107949)

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 missed the splicer and hit the Big Daddy square in the back. When that big bastard turned around with those red eyes I knew what a bunny must feel like when looking at a grizzly. Now THAT was scary.

So I don't think the genre is dead so much as we have evolved away from the "cheap scares" of using the controls and camera angles to ramp up the spook factor. But as the author pointed out in trying to switch from the cheap scares style to something more modern some of the old favorites are losing their way. But I think that just makes room for new games that won't be tied down with the legacy of the original RE or SH. I personally can't wait to see what kind of new scares the game designers come up with.

Re:Same problem as movies. (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108523)

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.

Re:Same problem as movies. (4, Insightful)

try_anything (880404) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Same problem as movies. (1)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107477)

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 situation. A bet in blackjack in Las Vegas can be scary, but not because the situation is inherently horrifying, but because if you don't win the bet everything you've worked so hard for is lost.

Building up the meta-game fear of loss of progress can actually be pretty damaging to the situational fear. When the stakes become too high, players can't get into the situation and appreciate the terror, because they have to be pulling themselves out and keeping cool, trying to pull cheap tricks on the AI to make absolutely sure they don't die and lose half an hour of progress. Worse yet, if they do lose the progress, now they already know everything that's going to happen, and they're meta-gaming playing optimization tricks just to blast through it, ruining the immersion.

Re:Same problem as movies. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26105091)

System Shock 2

Re:Same problem as movies. (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105833)

Which, of course, was by the same people as Thief (and even used the same engine).

Even Thief 3 did a pretty good job at horror with the Cradle, though the rest of the game wasn't really up to the standards of the first two.

Re:Same problem as movies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26105993)

System Shock 2 was produced by the same company as Thief but was developed by a different team.

Re:Same problem as movies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26106173)

System shock 2 raised the bar in several generes.

rpg, fps, and horror. And so far no single game has ever done that since.

then you look at how old ss2 is now. and it's pretty sad how many games have failed to live up to the system shock legacy.

Re:Same problem as movies. (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107685)

I find System Shock 2's spiritual successor, Bioshock, is one of the scariest games I've played in a long time. It's not fear of you (your character) getting killed, but it's so immersive - a story you care about, atmospheric environments the noises the Splicers make and the weird things they say make the whole thing distinctly creepy.

As far as being concerned about my character, I find Metal Gear Solid games affect me the most. Just lying under a truck while the enemy wanders past can be remarkably tense. Less so in MGS 4 on the easier levels, which you can almost play as a regular FPS. Bored of sneaking? Just pull out an M60 and go Rambo. Then get a 25 minute cut scene where nothing happens apart from lingering shots of Naomi's tits.

SHODAN! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105861)

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

Re:Same problem as movies. (1)

greedom (1431073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26106797)

Replying to B5 geek, Doom 3 certainly was not my favorite game but it did quite well and the fact that you couldn't hold your flashlight and a weapon at the same time was placed in the game like that on purpose to add a sense of strategy and additional frights as things jump out of the darkness or you could shine your flashlight into the corner and see it jump out as you struggle for your weapon. Thief is not a survival horror game at all and I can't say I've ever played Alone in the Dark. Personally I don't think survival horror games are going extinct, just because of the slew of them being released right now.

Re:Same problem as movies. (1)

log0n (18224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107363)

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).

But the first time it was played, it completely crushed. It scared the shit out of people. And it was able to do this because of people being immersed in it. The atmosphere created, the methods for fighting - it all set up the right suspension of disbelief.

Left4Dead?! (4, Informative)

Doches (761288) | more than 5 years ago | (#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'?

Re:Left4Dead?! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26104883)

I don't know anything about Left4Dead, but while I don't agree with the argument, Dead Space is in support of this argument: it's taken, along with Biohazard 4, as being "the future of survival horror", while actually not being survival horror at all; they're both action games in which you are, quite frankly, a pretty substantial badass compared to your opposition and there's little to no shortage of materiel.

You may as well call the Halo series survival horror, because the Flood are portrayed as kinda creepy.

Re:Left4Dead?! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26105041)

In l4d you're really not much better off than any of the many thousands of zombies you have to kill, to say nothing of the special zombies that are stronger than you.

This is then balanced by the fact that theres 4 of you, and you're hopefully smarter than the zombies so you dont put yourself in a fair fight against them.

its a stretch to call it survival horror but it does fit, as it is far easier to die than to survive and there are plenty of OH SHIT A STALKER SOMEONE GET HIM OFF ME moments. Forcing it to coop is a great idea since not only does it let you balance it based on the premise of needing teamwork, but you enable a level of combined fear when you and your friends are all one hit away from dying and trying to bait each other and other coop-only situations.

Re:Left4Dead?! (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 5 years ago | (#26106791)

The way the summary puts it, survival horror is defined by bad controls and camera angles, which means Dead Space qualifies as the best example of the last half decade. The ridiculous over-the-shoulder camera angle which doesn't give you any more spacial context than first person but blocks up half the screen with your back is something that annoys me, as is that moving the mouse in aim mode moves the gun before the head making aiming awkward. Dead Space wasn't a terrible game, but the whole third person thing just seemed like a contrived way to show off those holograms while making the game more frustrating and less immersive.

Re:Left4Dead?! (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105243)

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 soon and is good. It sounds so interesting.

As all games have been evolving to various levels, perhaps the old strict definition of a survivor-horror game may not fit, but you could make a good argument the genre isn't totally dead. It seems to be getting some shooter blood, but it's still there.

Re:Left4Dead?! (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105507)

Left 4 Dead may be wildly popular, but I don't know if I'd even call it survival horror. I'm pretty easily freaked out (to the point that I won't go to horror movies with my girlfriend), and Left 4 Dead has yet to actually scare me.

If anything, I'd put it into just an Action/Shooter genre. You don't have to conserve ammo at all, and the moments that are supposed to "build tension" are really just moments where you know that thousands of zombies are going to come out of somewhere.

FEAR on the other hand scared the bejeezus out of me. If I decide I want to push my heart closer to a heart attack I'll definitely be picking up FEAR 2.

Re:Left4Dead?! (1)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107401)

FEAR wasn't scary, really. Overdone, scripted, japanese little girls with super-gore effects just don't phase me, I guess. The ending was well done, but still not scary. Now STALKER, there's a scary game.

Re:Left4Dead?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26107951)

Wait... FEAR had an ending?

Re:Left4Dead?! (2)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105523)

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.

Re:Left4Dead?! (1)

jasen666 (88727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105541)

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.

Re:Left4Dead?! (1)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107303)

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.

Re:Left4Dead?! (1)

Sloppyjoes7 (556803) | more than 5 years ago | (#26106485)

"What about Left4Dead?" "Oh, two more words: Dead Space."

It seems to me that you didn't read the article, or didn't understand it.

The point is, these games aren't "survival horror."

If you have grenades, awesome powers, machine guns, fast running speed & jumping, great aim, etc... You have a First/Third Person Shooter.

In Silent Hill, you couldn't freeze time, and use a "triple-barreled automatic military rifle" to blow apart an enemy. I don't see how the new "survival horror" games differ from Half Life or Halo. You run around shooting stuff.

In survival horror, you're scared of what's around the corner, because you're a slow, weak, human. When playing RE4, I felt like a butt-kicking awesome military expert pumping lead into anything that moved. When playing as Harry in SH, I couldn't see, I couldn't aim well, and I was horrified that any monster might approach me.

So, yes, the article argues that the new "survival horror" is killing the authentic classic "survival horror."

I wouldn't even break it up like that.... (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107759)

If you have grenades, awesome powers, machine guns, fast running speed & jumping, great aim, etc...

An easier way to separate FPS from survival horror games... in a survival horror game, it's impossible to kill every enemy you can find. You've got to run from / avoid a fair percentage of them if you want to survive.

Re:Left4Dead?! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26106767)

As others have said, Dead Space was not a survival horror game, it was a third person shooter and a pretty poor game at that. It's a pretty sad state when people think games like this are good. Standards certainly have lowered in recent years.

The first thing that annoyed me about it was the fact that your character takes up a full 1/3rd of the screen. People try to make excuses about it making the game more "immersive" but that's a load of crap. If they wanted it to be more immersive they could have just made it first person view. The way it is now it's just obnoxious since you can't actually see anything.

The second thing that annoyed me were the horrid controls. Sluggish mouse movement, sloppy camera control (why does the mouse make the camera rotate around the character instead of just making him turn?) and that you have to use two buttons just to fire your weapon (why wouldn't he always have his gun drawn?).

The next thing that annoyed me was the low quality of the voice actors. Wooden acting, badly written dialogue and paper thin plot are all present. Certainly nothing new in this area.

The last thing that annoyed me was the low quality of the visuals. This game looks like it was cranked out of a Russian development house (if you've ever played one of those low quality Russian made games, you'll know exactly what I mean by this). Everything from the terrible design of the main character's suit to the uninspired enemy models and generic metallic "tech" environments that all look exactly the same was poorly done.

Re:Left4Dead?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26107989)

Wow, sounds like someone got fired from EA and is now bitter. Don't worry schnookums, we won't tell anyone you right shit code. *smirk*

Re:Left4Dead?! (2)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107301)

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.

Silent Hill wasn't fixed perspective like RE was (3, Informative)

Optic7 (688717) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Silent Hill wasn't fixed perspective like RE wa (1)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26106009)

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.

Re:Silent Hill wasn't fixed perspective like RE wa (1)

Optic7 (688717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26106175)

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 (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26104873)

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.

Re:It's Evolving (1)

ConanG (699649) | more than 5 years ago | (#26104967)

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 (3, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:It's Evolving (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105571)

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 Mass Effect was just slow, not broken.

Re:It's Evolving (1)

ConanG (699649) | more than 5 years ago | (#26106545)

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.

Re:It's Evolving (1)

TriezGamer (861238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108061)

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.

Re:It's Evolving (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105127)

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).

Re:It's Evolving (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105287)

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.

Re:It's Evolving (1)

geek (5680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105347)

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.

Re:It's Evolving (1)

EvolutionsPeak (913411) | more than 5 years ago | (#26106247)

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.

Re:It's Evolving (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107081)

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:It's Evolving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26107763)

I enjoyed the heck out of Mass Effect (though I seem to recall that exploration rapidly became pointless), but it was very short and pretty much just KOTOR lite. As you say, lots of improvement necessary.

Re:It's Evolving (2, Informative)

Harinezumi (603874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26106419)

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!

Re:It's Evolving (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107779)

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.

Hello? WoW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108365)

The genre isn't going extinct, its just... evolving!

Don't worry (3, Funny)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26104899)

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

No... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26105023)

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 the customers would want better than the customers or the people who originally captured said customers' attention.

That said, I'm not sure what I would compare to Silent Hill (I didn't think overly much of RE, except to agree that RE4 dispensed with what few aspects of RE I found frightening). Left4Dead is a fun game, but it isn't quite comparable. Without a substantial narrative, it just isn't scary to the degree or type that Silent Hill has historically been.

I think the original Silent Hill team stepped away as they realized they were pretty much out of ideas on where to take things.

not for me (5, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:not for me (2, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105589)

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 - just a lot of pseudo-scientific Freudian psycho-babble by game designers who think they know horror. Yes, this applies to Silent Hill - they have perfected the art of scaring you, but not so much the art of writing a compelling storyline that isn't full of juvenile metaphors that's so thick you can cut it with a knife.

So given the choice between run-and-gun fun with my friends mowing down hordes of zombies, vs. playing a game with a dumb plot and too many "LOOK, WHATS THAT SKITTERING IN YOUR PERIPHERAL VISION?!" moments, I choose the former.

Re:not for me (1)

doctorzizmore (999192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105801)

Fair enough, but I think you can admit that there is room enough in the world for both kinds of games. I'm a person who genuinely enjoys survival horror, and I think that video games in theory can be infinitely more scary than movies. Having a personal involvement with the safety of your onscreen avatar can make even the most mediocre survival horror game ten times scarier than a great horror movie (which is probably why the stories in Resident Evil have been pretty worthless). I actually agree with the destructoid article that traditional survival horror games have disappeared (the last Silent Hill was actually very 'traditional' but it felt too much like a PS2 game with a heavy coat of polish). We can't go back to those crummy controls and camera angles, because people won't stand for it anymore and they shouldn't. But now we just need to wait and see if the developers can figure out new and better ways to scare us. Which is why i'm looking forward to playing Dead Space soon.

Re:not for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26107491)

Plenty of people enjoy being scared and freaked out. Its part of human nature.

I think your reaction to survival horror games says more about the quality of the games (and their ability to scare) than you think.

Re:not for me (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108089)

well I'm also a guy so I like getting angry and violent with zombies too lol. Aliens in Halo trying to kill me is like "ohhh it's on now" but creepy, scary looking zombies trying to kill me AND make me feel scared, it's more like: "it's soooo on! It's beyond on! DIE DOUCHEBAG ZOMBIE BITCHES! YOU DON'T SCARE ME!" The only real competition for that on the anger level are computer players in UT04 giving an actual challenge and then killing me and saying some actual, auditory bullshit like "YOU WHOOOOOORE" For you non-UT players, they actually do say that. That tends to get me in the FPS spirit real fast lol. I've been known to hunt them back down, point blank them with a flak cannon, and then scream "WHAT'S UP NOW, BITCH? AAAAAAHHH" and then bite some keys off my keyboard in celebration
and in response to the first replier, yeah I actually was mostly serious, I just post things in an entertaining manner :D

Re:not for me (1)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107853)

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.

Survival horror, not action horror (5, Insightful)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Survival horror, not action horror (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105449)

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.

Re:Survival horror, not action horror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26106841)

The reason [Left4Dead isn't a] proper survival horror is that your first reaction to seeing an enemy is to kill it.

Unless its a witch or a boomer at close range.

Re:Survival horror, not action horror (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107427)

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 can't see for one and you can hear the hoard of zombies coming for you. I try to hide in a corner and blast anything moving (it's hard to see with puke all over your face, btw) More often than not i end up incapacitated or dead if the team is busy fighting off a Hunter or something. It's easy to run out of ammo on the more difficult settings too.

Re:Survival horror, not action horror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108263)

Left 4 Dead is survival horror, but with plenty of ammo (and plenty of zombies). Survival is health management across the team (4 human players is required for advanced play).

And it certainly is a horror game.

fallout 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26105461)

seems pretty horrific to me, but I am a wuss..

Bring back the old franchises (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26105703)

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 hugely successful, blended survival horror with the action of an FPS. Capcom showed they could certainly make next-gen survival horror games with traditional elements like Resident Evil 0 and RE: Remake, but they seem to have no intention of making more games of that type.

Fatal Frame became more action oriented as time went on and the series is dead. Siren filled a very niche market and the new games appeal to some, but definitely not others.

For survival horror to get back on its feet, Konami needs to make traditional style RE games in parallel with the new model that RE4/RE5 use. God knows I'd buy both types. Konami needs to regroup the people involved with Silent Hill 1-3 and make a new game themselves, without farming off the rights to talentless developers with only a handful of poorly made games under their belt.

Survival horror is a genre that can come back at any time, providing somebody puts the effort into it. Other than Capcom keeping things going with RE5 (and its fun but untraditional stylings), there really isn't much more.

No, don't bring back the old franchises (1)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26107365)

The genre may or may not be dying, but I would like to see more brought to the table than rehashes and sequelitis. I get that people liked RE0-3, but the last thing I want to play is RE27, fundamentally unchanged from RE1.

L4D Is "fun" (1)

deathtopaulw (1032050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26105827)

But it is in no way "scary." I sure laugh my fuckin ass off though.

They're talking about the death of truly suspenseful, terrifying games. Games with a pace so painfully slow, and fearful satisfaction so rare and powerful that you're afraid to turn the system back on. In all honesty that genre died a long time ago.

Make up your minds (3, Insightful)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Make up your minds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26107323)

Though I think it was still unusual enough for its time to be called innovative, DDR not only followed a long train of rhythm games (there's a reason BeMani is not called DanDan or something like that), but even the dance-on-a-pad-with-impact-sensors thing was done first by Bandai in '87 with Dance Aerobics. GH and Rock Band are innovative in packaging, but like I just said the rhythm game genre is very old and they don't bring anything new to the table beyond a new shape for the controller. Wii Fit is a dumbed-down rhythm game with good marketing (though the balance aspect isn't explicitly tested in any other game I'm aware of).

LittleBigPlanet is a new thing, but it's a different kind of new thing; I'd even argue that it's a toy rather than a game, but it's a toy with an emphasis on making games with it.

You've already partly covered Gears of War; it's a minor change in camera effects and makes it easier to remember what your character looks like. More to the point, though, third-person shooters have been viable for a long, long timeâ"Biohazard and Silent Hill did the third-person thing (if not the shooter thing), and Tomb Raider did both. It brings nothing new to the table in that sense.

Of course, not everything has to differentiate itself via modified gameplay; Doom II was amazing, despite being almost identical, gameplay-wise, to Doom. Prince of Persia II: The Shadow and the Flame was significantly more advanced than Prince of Persia, but there were no fundamental changes; nevertheless, it was an amazing game.

Actually, I think I might know what the issue is; I suspect people believe that improving gameplay is somehow "stronger" than improving other aspects of the game. For example, take a game that is considered amazing because of its story; do you believe that if you make another game with the same story, that means it'll be good? But yet when a game comes out with a good cover mechanic, what's the response? Everyone needs a cover mechanic! Not that I don't like cover mechanics (I'm a realism fan), but the train has left the station; cover mechanics no longer differentiate by themselves, they need to support the rest of the game in some new way or the developer should find a better way to spend his or her time.

So a bunch of companies come in, take a bunch of gameplay improvements that have already been done, don't add anything new (no new gameplay improvements, no new story of particular interest, no new experience, etc.), package it into a game, and ship. The problem is, a lot of the companies that do this are the most visible ones: Microsoft (the Halo series), Bethesda (Oblivion, Fallout 3), Rockstar (GTA games other than 1 and 3), so on and soforth. Add in all of the smaller unoriginal games from no-name studios, and you have a lot of very visible crap, even if there are a decent number of diamonds mixed in over time.

Re:Make up your minds (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108299)

the dance-on-a-pad-with-impact-sensors thing was done first by Bandai in '87 with Dance Aerobics.

Yep - it eventually became a standard Nintendo accessory called the Power Pad and there were a ton of clones.

LittleBigPlanet is a new thing, but it's a different kind of new thing; I'd even argue that it's a toy rather than a game, but it's a toy with an emphasis on making games with it.

It is not new, even slightly. First off, it's a generic side scroller. Nothing new there. It has a physics engine - which isn't really new to the genre, as even the original Super Mario Bros. had some very simple physics-based puzzles. It has a level editor - nothing new either. Games with level editors have existed on the PC for ages. Some SNES games had very simple level editors and I know several PlayStation games (as in PS1) contained level editors.

The only thing new about LittleBigPlanet that I can think of is that Sony seems to think people will pay $2 for costumes for their in-game character. And even crap like that isn't really new.

Re:Make up your minds (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108469)

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 mechanics don't get any fresher when they are repeated over and over again, especially not when that repetition happens in the same year or even in the same month.

The same thing happened with Guitar Hero, rhythm games weren't anything new by then, but it added a nice twist and gained mass appeal, that was cool, but then you got endless sequels, a fork with drums, a sequel that cloned the fork with drums and another game that did the drum thing and then of course a sequel to the first drum one and so on. I don't need that many games that focus around the exact same topic.

In the Resident Evil 4 case there is also another problem: What once was survival horror is now a shooter, sure its a third person shooter, but still a friggin shooter, as if we didn't already have enough first person ones floating around. So instead of more genres, we now have less.

And tomorrow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26107765)

Destroyoid is running an opinion piece looking at the state of the first-person shooter 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, first-person shooter games were all the rage, with Quake and Unreal using the negative aspects of other games to an advantage. While mindless play, repetitive combat and bland color palettes were seen as problematic in most games, the traditional first-person shooter 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 exciting." The Conquerer's Games Blog has posted a response downplaying the decline of the genre, looking forward to Epic's upcoming Unreal Tournament 2110 and wondering if now-independent game developers will pick up where major publishers like popcap have left off.

Indy devers indeed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26107895)

My small independent team is working on a few! survival horror titles right now.

I'd say that as the bigger publishers continue to congeal, all the creativity will be left to the little guys.

The Penumbra Series (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108151)

I just finished playing through Penumbra: Black Plague. It's sort of a combination between resident evil-style survival horror, without guns, and half-life 2 FPS physics puzzles. It's got some really neat angles, including a virus in your brain that develops an alternate personality, and an alien hive-mind. I can really reccomend it for all survival horror fans.

-- Surreal Puppet

Going extinct... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108461)

...or going reverse?

Campfire seems interesting - if it ever comes to life.

http://www.worthplaying.com/article.php?sid=44373&mode=thread&order=0

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