As mentioned in a previous post, several Slasher-themed games are creeping up on us, titles like Summer Camp, Splatter Camp and even a Friday the 13th reboot/remake. This is exciting stuff, sure, but notice something about those three titles? Each and every one of them is set in a camp and, if you were to look into them more deeply, you’d find that they all follow a similar structure and draw their inspiration from the Friday the 13th series.
Other upcoming games like Until Dawn and Last Year use different settings but their descriptions still bring to mind a Friday the 13th-style of Slasher with little variation. The thing is, as any horror film lover will tell you, there’re many different types of Slasher and many would make for amazing video games.
Here’re a few variations on the Slasher genre I’d like to see adapted to PC or console:
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
I’m talking the original, 1974 version here. Everyone lost their shit over Alien: Isolation. And rightly so; it’s an awesome game. In part it’s awesome because it retained the retro-futuristic look of the original Alien movie and used atmosphere to create tension, just as the movie had done. I’d see a game that does the same for TCM.
The game would look like the film: during the day, the thing’s all reds and tans and burnt umbers, while at night the palette turns black and blue. Throw in a little graininess to the image, giving it an almost documentary feel. Hell, you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about.
As for game play, it would use a first person POV, like Alien: Isolation or Outlast, but make it a limited open world encompassing the graveyard, a small town, the slaughter house, the gas station, police station, and, of course, a cluster of farm houses.
In single-player mode, you take on the role of a teen trying to find a way out of the area, but, to do so, you’ll need help, so it’s all about asking the right person for assistance. Trust the wrong person and the race is on.
In multi-player mode, though, the game could be truly interesting. I’m thinking four-vs-four, with four members of the Sawyer family on one side and four teens on the other. As in the single-player version, the teens must navigate the area, learning who to trust, which areas to avoid and how to escape. The Sawyers, however, would need to stock the pantry, so-to-speak. They would have to gain the trust of the teens, drawing them in and striking when the moment is right. If and when one of their would-be meals escapes, Leatherface is called in to run it down.
This next idea draws from any Slasher set in a high school and featuring a hidden killer, anything from Hell Night and Terror Train to Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer.
This one would also lend itself especially well to multi-player play. Players—let’s say up to five—choose the role of a teen but the game randomly assigns one of the players the role of the killer. The killer must take his or her fellow students out following an order pre-determined by the game’s story (which may also change from session to session), using stealth to avoid detection.
Meanwhile, the other players must both avoid being killed and discover the killer’s identity by gathering clues. These clues would be generated by the story and, of course, would lead players not only close to the killer’s identity but into situations that create Slashing opportunities for the killer.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Yeah, they tried this one once before. Let’s just forget that for a moment (or forever, why not).
A basic theme of the NoES series is that the means of Freddy’s defeat are hidden in his past. Players would be called upon to explore Freddy’s history by day, visiting the asylum where his mother was raped, the homes of his early victims, the boiler room, and so on.
As they explore, however, players would find themselves getting more and more tired and they would have to find ways to stave off sleep. Eventually, though, sleep would claim them and they would find themselves in Freddy’s world. The rules of physics and logic would abandon them at this point, making movements and exploration far more difficult, but it would also grant players new powers and abilities, unlocked through their explorations and discoveries during their waking hours.
This one would blend puzzle-solving, survival and surrealism into one terrifying, mind-bending experience.
Like the movie, this one would be all about the kills. You would play Victor Crowley, stalking the Honey Island Swamp for victims. Your goal would be to sneak up on your target and dispatch them in the most creative way possible. Think the stealth of Metal Gear meets the finishers of Mortal Kombat X with a dash of Just Cause thrown in.
You’d be given nearly unlimited opportunity to use the environment, weapons and your own imagination to invent and deploy spectacular kills. As you perform new methods of murder you unlock new abilities, opening up ever greater possibilities for obliteration.
As you progress your victims become more and more difficult to kill. You may start with lost teens, then hunters and, eventually, heavily armed mercenaries actually looking to destroy you.
Man, I wanna play all these games now…