Remedy: Survival horror doesn’t have to go away

You could be forgiven for thinking that Alan Wake was a horror game, but Remedy maintains that its spooky torch adventure is not trying to be Silent Hill or Resident Evil

“To us it’s a thriller,” explains writer Mikko Rautalahti. “We’re not really about the scares as such, I think; it’s not something we’re consciously attempting. Fear is a challenging emotion to induce in video games. Reading the reviews, I’ve been kind of surprised by how many people think it’s a genuinely scary experience. It wasn’t quite obvious to us how tense the atmosphere made people.”

With that in mind, we are curious as whether or not “thriller” represents a replacement for “horror”, especially as games become more combat-focused and ditch the atmosphere of traditional survival horror games. 

“I don’t see why it would be, really,” responds Rautalahti. “I’m sure the genre will continue to evolve, but I’d be surprised if the market for a well-made, traditional survival horror title in the vein of Silent Hill or the classic Resident Evil games went away. I mean, obviously you can’t just slap in better graphics and essentially remake one of those old games and leave it at that, but you don’t necessarily have to deconstruct the entire genre, either.”

More after the jump.

“I do think that there’s more that could be done with it. A lot of it is done kind of by rote, and I think there are a lot of conventions in gaming that could use shaking up, but that’s always going to be an uphill battle — if you want to try something different, you’re going to have to convince a lot of people that it’s worth doing and that it can be successful. It’s not just people are set in their ways; it’s also the cost. When that kind of experimentation costs millions, it’s understandable that it makes people apprehensive.”

Alan Wake‘s writer even has an idea of how survival horror could evolve: “Actually, I’d really like to see the console manufacturers take the lead on this, since they already have the digital distribution channels. You could experiment a great deal there relatively cheaply, really break the mold, make really scary and disturbing games, really put some muscle into it without the expectation of profit and see what comes out. That’d be great.

“And while we’re at it, I’d also like a pony.”

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James Stephanie Sterling
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