Finally, Slasher Games Are Getting Their Due

E3 was just a coupla weeks ago and, while there were some undeniably exciting mainstream presentations (Uncharted 4, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and if you haven’t yet seen the gameplay trailer for Star Wars: Battlefront, you have no idea what you’re missing!), I was especially intrigued by the horror games that made a showing—and particularly Until Dawn.

Until Dawn was initially announced some time ago, but the E3 footage showed actual gameplay and—I’m gonna be cautiously optimistic here—it looked pretty great (scroll down to check it out yourself). The game appears to take an immersive approach, not so much allowing you to play through a Slasher-movie-like environment, but to play within an actual Slasher movie. It’s heavy on cinematics and exploration and comparatively low on combat, with camera angles clearly chosen to up the tension. Watching the demo, I actually felt as though I was watching a fairly typical Slasher flick, and knowing that I would eventually get to make the decisions that shaped the storyline had more than intrigued.

Fact is, Slasher games seem to be having a moment, with multiple interesting titles on the horizon. I nearly said that Slasher games were experiencing a resurgence but, to be honest, I’m not sure the genre was ever explored to the extent that it should’ve been. It’s a little baffling, really. Upcoming games like Last Year and the recently announced Dead by Daylight will be taking advantage of the asymmetrical multiplayer mode—most recently featured in Evolve—with four or five players as would-be victims looking to avoid the killer, controlled by a final player. Early reports are that the Friday the 13th reboot (or, hell, let’s just call it a brand new series, given that the original is still widely considered one of the worst video games ever produced) will also use the format. It’s great that these games are finally being made, but surprising that it’s taken this long…

To me, the Slasher genre seems to have limitless potential as a variety of games exploring a variety of set ups in a variety of environments (think a TCM or Wrong Turn-style game, all about survival; a Prom Night or Terror Train-style game, with a mystery to solve; a Nightmare on Elm Street or Reeker-style game, mixing in supernatural elements).

In addition to the above-mentioned titles, other Slasher games in the works include Enki, Summer Camp and Splatter Camp, so even if one or two get delayed (which seems increasingly likely in the case of Friday the 13th and Last Year) or straight up cancelled, there should be plenty to keep us busy.

Just as zombie games got a boost from the popularity of The Walking Dead, World War Z and so on, Slasher games (and movies) might finally be popping up on the mainstream radar thanks to MTV’s Scream series and Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens

It’s about time!