The horror genre has been gaining in popularity in recent years, and creating horror games has become a popular hobby for gamers. From terrifying jump scares to psychological suspense, horror games provide an intense experience for players. Creating a horror game can be a daunting challenge for game developers, but with the right approach, it can be an exciting and rewarding experience. In this article, we will look at some tips for creating successful horror games. We will explore the elements that make a horror game successful and discuss the techniques used to create a truly terrifying experience.
Start by creating a compelling story. A good horror game should have an intriguing and mysterious story that will keep players coming for more. Make something that has an understandable core, but with things that require interpretation and a second look. People love games that makes their imagination go wild and, for horror, you’ll need something to keep your players coming back, in order to counterbalance the intrinsic force pushing them away, called well… Fear.
Create an atmosphere of dread. Use sound effects, music, and visuals to create a world that is both creepy and unsettling. Lighting can be used to great effect here, as can darkness and shadows: Let the player see just enough to know something might be there. Build tension and release it periodically throughout the game. This will keep players on their toes and make them feel like they’re constantly on edge. Try to use jump scares sparingly so they don’t lose their impact, but also don’t make the player overly stressed or they might give up. A good horror game balances tension and release.
Incorporate the uncanny into your game design. The uncanny is a concept in psychology that refers to feelings of unease or familiarity, or things that seem off but you can’t quite put your finger on why they feel strange or eerie. Things like dolls, mannequins, clowns, etc are great examples, as they might resemble something innocent and human, but at the same time not. Employing this concept in your game design will make it more immersive and unnerving for players.
No self defense
Avoid using weapons in your horror game design as much as possible. Weapons are often associated with video games, but having no weapons makes players feel more vulnerable and thus more scared in a horror setting. If you must include weapons, make sure they are not overpowered and are used sparingly, with very little ammunition and/or uses. Don’t let the player feel comfortable holding a boom-stick that can make the game trivial.
Have the player interact with the environment to progress the story. Allowing players to explore and solve puzzles in order to progress will give them a sense of accomplishment and make them feel more connected to the game world. This helps create a sense of immersion and makes it more difficult for players to turn away from the game. Another thing it does is guide the players to finding out more about the lore. Many times when forced to explore, they can find non-important things such as a journal or a note that could tell more about the world and/or characters the player is controlling.
More to do
When people finish a good story, be it game, book, movie, anime, etc they end up having a feeling of “I don’t know what to do now”. Make sure to give them something extra to do: add replayability by including different endings or choices that affect the outcome of the game. Having multiple endings or outcomes will allow players to experience different scenarios and keeps them coming back for more. It also adds replay value, as players may want to go back and see what would have happened if they had taken a different path in the game. Unlocking mini-games like resident evil games like to do is also a good idea.
In the end, creating a horror game is a great way to explore the depths of your creativity and storytelling skills. By combining game mechanics, sound design, and visuals, you can create a unique and immersive experience that will leave a lasting impression on your players. With the right knowledge and dedication, you can create a horror game that will scare and excite players for years to come. The possibilities are endless, so get ready to create a horror game that will stand the test of time!