The recent news about Shinji Mikami's plans to leave Platinum Games, form a new company, and possibly develop a new horror game, has reminded me of how much I used to love that genre. It seemed to really hit a high-point last-gen, but these kinds of games are now curiously scarce.
Eternal Darkness, Parasite Eve, Fatal Frame 2, and Silent Hill 2 & 3 are some of my favorite and most memorable titles of my 16 years of gaming. There could easily be debate about whether any of these games are actually "frightening", but most horror movies aren't genuinely scary either; even the good ones. Good horror games all share a general goal of freaking the player out - a goal that I heartily approve of. It's a completely different experience from any other genre of games, and one that I've grown quite fond of during the years.
I fervently hope that Shinji succeeds in creating his vision, as there is a real lack of quality, "true" horror games right now. If he can make a good one (the pedigree would indicate yes), then he has my full support.
It's funny, because it seems horror games should benefit more from the graphics capabilities of the 360 and PS3 more than nearly other genre, yet there are relatively few horror games of note on those consoles this gen. I Iike RE5, Dead Space, and Dead Rising, but those are all really action games, at their core. If I'm not forgetting anything, that really just leaves Silent Hill 5 (disappointing compared to the first three) and Siren, which I haven't gotten the opportunity to play.
The Wii is doing a bit better, with the recent Silent Hill remake, Fatal Frame 4 (was that even released in the US?), and a few other games that I can't really recall at 7 in the morning, but what happened to all the Haunting Grounds, Tecmo's Deception (maybe doesn't belong in this list, I know) Clock Towers, Dino Crisises and horror RPGs like Parasite Eve?
Yes, The Third Birthday is eventually coming out (theoretically), but the fact that it's on PSP leads me to believe that it's going to be even more of an action affair than PE2, as early rumors suggested. A game more like the original, would be very unique, these days.
Maybe there's not much of a market for these games anymore. Game budgets have skyrocketed, and it's more of a risk than ever to release something that may not be a sure-fire hit. But I truly believe that a great new horror game would sell. Well...at least one copy.