Can Multiplayer Horror Work?

Can Multiplayer Horror Work?


The idea of playing a survival horror game is just as the name suggests, it’s meant to be a horrific ordeal and very tough to make it through, hence the name, survival horror. The idea of making a multiplayer survival horror has always been daunting because the moment you add another player to help someone you take away a good chunk of the fear factor. This is simply because you now have someone you can turn to and get help from which in turn removes a lot of tension that would there if you were going solo. Some games have tried the idea of survival horror in multiplayer, the Resident Evil series was the real first main stream game to try it with the Outbreak games and although they were okay, they weren’t as legendary as some of the other games in the franchise. Other big multiplayer horror games came soon after such as Dead Space 3 and the Dead Island franchise but again, none of these hit the mark. There was also a few other indie games to give multiplayer horror a go such as No More Room in Hell and 7 Days to Die and these were a little closer to what people were looking for and so the wheels started to turn.

(We salute you Indie gems)

In 2015 a little game called Evolve was released and although the concept for the game was great, the execution was more than a bit crud but the idea struck a chord with game makers that maybe, finally multiplayer horror could actually work. The idea of ‘one vs many’ would be the perfect play-ground for horror to finally make its mark on the world of multiplayer gaming. Two years ago the buggy, glitchy and downright laggy mess that was Friday the 13th was released and although it was a bit of a pigs ear of a game, the idea was brilliant. One player is the unstoppable killing machine Jason Voorhees and his job is to murder the other 8 players who play as the counsellors who either try and kill the big slow moving lug or escape from Camp Crystal Lake. Again, the idea behind this horror game is brilliant as you can play selfishly and survive yourself or work as team and try to escape. The horror element is very real when Jason is on the hunt and you have the choice to either sneak around or run for your life, it can be very tense. Once Jason locks his undead eyes on you it can be very hard to shake him and this is where the ‘survival’ part comes in, you can either try and shake him, fight him or be a real scumbag and run towards other survivors and hope that he goes after them instead, it’s a dick move but hey, it works.

(It’s survival of the most selfish)

In 2016 PC gamers got their hands on an absolute gem of a horror game called ‘Dead by Daylight’ and if I’m honest, I really do believe that the Friday the 13th game kind of tried to ride the coattails of this game. Thankfully the game did make it consoles but this was just after Friday the 13th was released so many saw Dead by Daylight as the imitator. Dead by Daylight is multiplayer horror done perfectly as survivors cannot attack, fight off or even outrun the killer. In this game the killer cannot be killed but can be stunned and hid from by using the environment or just trying to run for all you’re worth. As the killer plays in first person and the four survivors play in third person it makes each feel very unique and it gives the survivors the ability to sneak around and check corners before moving from cover. Again, like Friday the 13th it is up to you whether you help one another or try and go it alone, although it is much harder to go it alone in Dead by Daylight. Once a survivor is caught the killer puts them on a meat-hook and lets them stew before they are either sacrificed or saved. When a killer spots you, the chase is on and it is intense as the dickens, the music hits and just knowing that either LeatherFace, Freddy Krueger or any number of original maniacs is hot on your tail and have every intention of stabbing your kidneys is enough to make you sweat. Hiding around cover and corners can also be very tense when the killer is right there, searching for any movement or signs that someone is around, adding to the fact that the killer is another player and not A.I means that you are never truly safe as people can be devious and calculating. This leads to some truly horrific plans set up by the killer which really hammers home the horror element of this game.

(Running will only make her mad)

So, after years and countless attempts at multiplayer horror it seems that a great formula has been found and a kind of scary conclusion has been discovered. The formula of ‘one vs many’ is almost perfect for multiplayer horror and will no doubt be the building blocks for future multiplayer horror games. This also shows that no matter how scary A.I can be, nothing is more nerve racking that facing off against another human whose only desire is to murder you to death.

About author


Stewart 'Grave' Gibson is the fighting game loving, Doomguy worshipping, Motorhead listening maniac of DarkSpawn Gaming. When not ripping and tearing Stewart can be found riding the open roads or at the nearest Lucha Libre event.

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