Game News Alone in the Dark, Callisto Protocol, Decarnation… 6 horror games to remember from Gamescom 2022
If you like being scared, sweating from your back, being uncomfortable or even bouncing around in your chair, rejoice: the next few months will be under the sign of video game horror. Our 3 days at Gamescom were indeed an opportunity to unearth some pearls of the genre. Ready for the big thrill?
The horror game is fine, thanks for it. To tell the truth, it was one of the most represented genres at Gamescom 2022, with a number of interesting titles and above all very different from each other. Yes, there is a lot of horror in space (thanks Callisto Protocol et al) and we won’t complain if the quality is there. But aside, there are plenty of projects with a more atmospheric atmosphere, sometimes in 2D, sometimes in 3D, but from which there are always good things to take. Here are 6 horror games that caught our attention.
We start with the one who has been talked about the most, but of which we don’t know much more. And yet, we really want to play this “re-imagination” of a title that laid the foundations of survival-horror in the early 90s. Developed by Piece Interactive in Sweden and directed/written by the screenwriter of the excellent SOMA and Amnesia, Alone in the Dark is a project that clearly seems to be heading in the right direction. The developers indeed want to create an atmospheric game first and foremost, with old-school gameplay, but still compatible with the demands of 2022 players. Lots of exploration, puzzles that fit well into the storyline and tense fights that you have to know how to avoid when necessary: 3 important aspects for such a production. For the rest, we will find an old haunted mansion in the 1930s, in the heart of Louisiana and, just for that, we want to dive into it.
Here is undoubtedly the most “indie” game of this horrifying selection, but also the one that could make you feel the most uncomfortable. Product 100% made in France, Decarnation is developed by the Atelier QDB studio and published by Shiro Games, a company that recently enjoyed great success with Dune Spice Wars and Wartales. We are moving away here very largely from management, for a 3D narrative game that seems to borrow as much from David Lynch as from Silent Hill, with even a hint of Junji Ito. We will follow the story of Gloria, a cabaret dancer who has to face her demons and whose reality gradually turns into a nightmare. Don’t be fooled by its seemingly very cute design, which can recall the JRPGs of the 90s: Decarnation regularly presents us with nightmarish visions, based on deformed monsters, melting faces and evil doubles. The game is intended to be rather easy to access, once again very narrative, with a few mini games and infiltration phases to spice it up. Clearly, it is its universe and its history which should make all its poisonous charm.
A big sensation at Summer Game Fest in June, The Callisto Procotol is the Dead Space of 2022, a title that mixes horror, sci-fi and action, made by Visceral Games alumni. The game showed off a bit more at Gamescom, with a few-minute gameplay video aired at Opening Night Live and an “extended version” shown to the press, which didn’t add much, however. What is certain is that the knobs for gore and flashy – but effective – staging are pushed to 11. The clashes against particularly filthy creatures capable of mutating before our eyes are therefore of an incredible violence and it will be difficult to make more visceral and wild. The “passageways of a ship gnawed by evil” atmosphere works well and the staging seems to skilfully limit the jump-scare, which was a little too systematic in Dead Space. In short, it smells like necrotic flesh and it comes out on December 2 on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox Series.
Horror games talking about the traumas of war are not very numerous and even less when they take as a context the 1st World War and that one embodies a German soldier there. This is the case of Ad Infinitum, the first game from the Berlin studio Hekate and of which we had a fairly complete demo. We are here in a pure juice of psychological horror and we feel the influence of titles like Layers of Fear or Amnesia. But Ad Infinitum manages to dig its own trench, with a beautiful realization, a heavy atmosphere and a desire for realism, using in particular tools of the time and the most precise historical reconstruction possible. There are also a handful of good ideas, including having to watch and light prowling creatures to keep them from moving. Be careful, therefore, when you turn your back on them… The design of the few monsters seen is quite successful, eyeing the side of Silent Hill with an even more organic side and the puzzles seemed to us quite fair, neither too easy nor too difficult. In short, a horror game to watch closely, which should be released next year.
In the kind of film adaptation that we had not seen coming, this one arises there. If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, you may remember the “Clowns Tueurs Venus d’Ailleurs” (title here) which featured… extraterrestrial clowns who kill humans. Ultra bis cinema, even Z, but which has remained in the memories of some teenagers to the point of becoming vaguely cult. And it’s an unexpected comeback that we are witnessing here, from the developers of Friday the 13th. We therefore start on an asymmetrical multiplayer game, in which 7 humans must survive against 3 killer clowns, by any means necessary. Depending on the class chosen, the clowns will have at their disposal invisible motorcycles, popcorn bazookas or dog balloons capable of identifying the position of humans. Yes, it’s very silly, but the game mechanics seem surprisingly solid. The game should be released next year, with the long beta phase going well.
We end this selection with a good old retro-FPS, whose horrific aspects will especially speak to you if you played Blood in the mid-90s. Cultic is in the same vein, with a sticky atmosphere and “deep end of the United United” which could make for a good pixelated Stephen King. But here, forget the slow pace, the narration and the puzzles, it will above all be necessary to get out of the way, to tear off heads with a shotgun and to shoot, on explosive barrels. As minimalist as it is in terms of production (it’s a game developed by one person), Cultic knows how to set its atmosphere at the right time, especially when a whole bunch of bodies hanging from the ceiling start moving and a killer arrives madman armed with a chainsaw. Good old B series that knocks out and FPS sensations like in 1996. We don’t need more to be hyped. Also note that a demo is available on Steam.