Horror genre has to get over “shoddy gameplay” – Silent Hill dev

Silent Hill: Downpour developer Vatra games has spoken out about the future of the horror genre in gaming, targeting poor gameplay and visuals as faults that have to go.

The team’s Tomm Hulett reasoned as much to MCV Pacific (via), saying: “I think the genre was lucky, to an extent, when it started out. A lot of horror elements ‘clicked’ such as clunky combat, confusing cameras, and so on.

“However, shoddy gameplay can’t be a feature forever, and so everyone fixed the combat – resulting in action games with creepier monsters. If horror games are going to be ‘scary’ in the future, it’s going to take careful game design to do it.”

Downpour released a few weeks ago to a lukewarm reception. That hasn’t phased Hulett’s design philosophies, though. “While many other games have gone the route of more action oriented game design, attempting to appeal to more mainstream audiences, we’ve taken a very careful approach to the pacing of Downpour to make sure it maintains that original ‘slow-burn’ and keeping the player off guard with less predictability,” he said.

Scary games are hard to pull off, but Hulett hopes they’re coming back in a big way.

“If you have tense, frightening gameplay happening naturally, and then some carefully orchestrated designed-scares, you would have a very memorable horror game,” he said.

“Hopefully that’s the direction the genre is headed.”

We’ll join him in those hopes; scary games are too few and far between these days.