I apologize for the long hiatus after my last blog entry, but here I am again so let's resume our gaming conversations.
The "lone enemy concept" is the name I give to the concept in horror games that implies having one all powerful main enemy that hunts for you in a place that is tricky to navigate through. This is something that isn't that new as we had lone enemies before like Scissorman from the Clocktower series or even Nemesis from Resident Evil 3. The lone enemy scenario may be old, but it is a game play concept that has been given new life by games like Alien Isolation and The Evil Within.
Now some months after the release of those games, it becomes really interesting to think about what other horror series can make use of this concept and become great survival horror games by featuring a lone or specific enemy that will make mince meat out of you once it finds out where you are.
Friday the 13th:
If there is an horror franchise that can make use of the lone enemy concept is this one. With Jason Vorhees as the main all powerful enemy and Camp Lake as the setting, it is very possible to make a very interesting survival horror game. The camp counselor theme is also something that gives the player a certain level of freedom as the player could be able to create a custom counselor and interact with others or choose from a group of counselors to use, each with their own abilities just like in the NES game, giving it a sort of open world feeling.
It is not hard to imagine how awesome a game like that would look on PC and current-gen consoles, with Camp lake having all sorts of awesome lighting effects, many places to go through and lots of ways to make a survival strategy. The encounters with Jason would be swift, but deadly and they would require a lot of quick thinking (No, not QTE events) in order to survive and shake Jason off or try to protect your fellow camp counselors and kids. In summary, Friday the 13th is a great opportunity for this game play aspect to be used and although there seems to be a new Friday the 13th game in the works, there is no clear indication that they will be using this kind of concept.
Demonic Toys is an American horror film series, first released in 1992 that follows the story of how a group of people end up in a haunted toy warehouse where a demon (who lives in the toys) is looking for a way to regain a physical form. A game based on this movie would most probably be a classic survival horror experience and while it doesn't specifically classify as having only one strong enemy (there are lots of toys), the demon been the only hostile entity is enough for it to be on this list.
A game about Demonic Toys would definitely rely on its atmosphere in order to be scary, so it would most probably have a 5 Nights At Freddy's look to it, with old discarded and worn down toys coming alive and hunting you through the warehouse as you slowly figure out what is really happening and how to stop it. The demon itself would make small appearances at some parts (in which you could easily die if you are not careful) and try to take your soul with or without the help of his toy minions. As for the overall mood of the game itself, this would be one of those where the clueless characters roam around the place looking for a way to solve the big mystery and live to tell the tale. It is sort of like the feeling we got when we got our hands on the first Resident Evil and didn't had a clue of what to do.
Alucarda is a Mexican horror film that was released in 1978. It's plot was about a pair of orphan girls on a Catholic convent who make the mistake of following the ill advise of a strange and dubvious group of gypsies, which leads to the awakening of a demonic force in the convent. This causes all sorts of macabre paranormal activity in the convent and the possession of the girls by the devil himself. While traducing a film like this to a game would imply that it would just be your "run of the mill" survival horror, it could be a lot more if you take into account that the hostile enemy here is the devil himself and the entire convent is his playground. In essence, it would follow the Clocktower formula although it would be a little more hardcore.
Players in this game would be using a simple orphan (unrelated to the movie protagonists) and would had to survive the night as the supernatural get a hold of the orphanage and gruesome things start to happen. Imagining a game about Alucarda kind of reminds me of the first Clocktower game (SNES) in which you had to use the character of a young girl in a similar environment, only that in Alucarda you are not trying to escape from a mad woman and a guy with giant scissors, but from all of the stuff that is been caused by the demonic forces that were unleashed. In this game you would have to know when to hide, when to attack and where to use cunning and logic to defend yourself from the demonic presence that the girls let loose. Different endings are to be expected as well as complex interactions with adults and other orphans, so this game would be a little deeper than you may be thinking right now.
Nightmare on Elm Street:
It sounds kind of cliche to mention this horror franchise on par with Friday the 13th, but if you take a deeper look into it you will find that it could work. This one could totally make use of the now popular procedural game design, meaning that part of the game world can be randomly generated. Why procedural design? Well, because since the story in this franchise goes around the topic of dreams and nightmares, it would be a cool thing to have those nightmares be partially auto-generated, so each time Freddy attacks it won't feel the same. This could also be mixed up with how you develop the mental state of your character as you progress through the game (through interactions with other characters and overall progress), just so the hostilities don't become too predictable.
A game like this could be a sort of mixed bag of genres. For example it could borrow a lot from adventure games with problem solving as the main character and his/her friends go around looking for a way to defeat Freddy while sleeping as less as possible. Avoiding sleep means that your character will get tired and will go to sleep sometimes without a clear indication, which is an awesome thing considering that nightmares would be auto generated. On the other hand, the nightmares would be the survival horror part of the game where you would have to survive all of Freddy's insane traps and illusions and as the game progresses and these would be part random and part generated by how you develop your character's mind (the things you do, how you interact with the world while awake). Direct confrontations with Freddy would increase as you progress through the game until you have no other choice than to fight him and if you are not ready by then (figuring out how to defeat Freddy once and for all), well you must then prepare for a bad ending.
The Howling (or other old school werewolf movies)
This is almost self explanatory in its own sense. One vicious savage like beast, thirsty for blood while running around some Victorian era town and you have the recipe of an intense horror game that would have the potential of keeping any gamer at the edge of their seat the entire time (even when just exploring around). Been pitted against a werewolf in this kind of place means that you would have to do what ever it takes to survive like making traps, finding (or making your own) weapons made of silver and looking for a way to survive while the full moon sits there with all its foreboding of your impending doom.
On a game like this, the big bad wolf would be able to follow you almost everywhere and that means that you would have to be very careful in the way of locking doors, making barricades and all that kind of stuff that can keep the enemy at bay and give you some time to explore the various places that the town has to offer. As you get farther into the game you would be able to actually fight back and little by little gain the upper hand until the creature is dead or day light comes. To spice things up, maybe some of the townsfolk could be against you, trying to sabotage your efforts and make you easy pray for the werewolf while you try to solve the mystery of what is wrong with the town and what you have to do with it.
So what do you think? If you have any ideas of other movies that can be turned into this kind of survival horror game, I'd love to read them.