Cliffy B: Nobody buys horror games

1 min read


Dead Space and Resident Evil have both completed their transformations from survival horror to all-out-action romps. Silent Hill is quickly becoming a forgotten memory and Alone in the Dark is best left exactly there. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find “horror” games in the AAA retail space. the last one I played and actually loved was ZombiU – but that was more “tense” as opposed to scary. Gears of War Designer Clifford Bleszinski says that’s because nobody buys scary games.

Speaking about his own experiences with Dead Space 3 and its “evolution” from horror to shooter, he said horror games are the sort of things that people would rather rent than buy – and he could be right.

"In the $60 disc-based market horror doesn’t fly," Bleszinski said on his personal Tumblr. "It’s the ultimate ‘Campaign Rental’ that’s played for 2 days and traded in and I’m sure EA knows this."

He said that "true horror" games do still exist – citing PC specific games like Slender and Amnesia: The Dark Descent – but they’ll only become “big” again when the whole industry goes digital.

As for Dead Space 3?

"At the end of the day, this franchise feels like it’s starting as a solo experience, a solitary and confined horror game, and now it’s evolving into much more than that," he said. "You can either fight it or embrace it. I choose the latter, as at the end of the day it’s FUN."

I don’t care about current trends, how the markets perform, or that people like shooting things – I would happily pay for a damned good, proper AAA horror game right now.

Last Updated: February 13, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Admiral Chief Erwin

    Sign me up for proper poef-in-jou-broek horror game any day!

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    I have often sat wondering about this. Perhaps our age has numbed us from feeling real horror in games? Even Amnesia couldn’t manage to give me more than a slightly uneasy feeling.

    Nothing like when I was younger and played F.E.A.R for the first time.

    That aside it is sad that they don’t want to do true horror. It kind of sucks. But the argument seems a bit strange. DeadSpace was pretty creepy and it became an amazing hit. It wasn’t pure action?

    So how can you say “it don’t work” when your main game came from those roots?

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    Also header lulz

  • Nobody buys horror games because they don’t exist anymore…

    • Valshen


      • Deon Steyn

        Same with space flight sims. Where’s Wing comander,Descent freespace or Star Lancer?

        • On 🙂

          • Deon Steyn

            Haha thanks I buy one game there a month at least, but my point is that the horror genre seems to be going space flight genre.

          • Red Worked

            Also Elite: Dangerous should be around by early next year along with Star Citizen.

        • Lord Chaos

          Star Citizen coming soon…

  • F.E.A.R was the same, scared me to no end in the first one and since then it’s slowly lost it’s fear factor, the third one i was so disgusted with i played two hours of it, said MEH out loud and un-installed it.

    • I never really got scared by F.E.A.R, something about the comm thing always buzzing at a paranormal area almost prepared me for the fright. I think I’m alone in this, because it terrified EVERYONE else I know. I was most recently scared by Dead Space 1, because you just don’t see the frights coming. But scariest games for me by far were AVP 1 and System Shock 2…

  • jac7

    I played through the first two DS titles again recently, and scares dwindle from title to title. I still need to get DS 3. Am I disappointed about not having the intense horror element? Maybe a little. But it is true what he says. Out of all my friends, I’m the only one that’s played through both titles, several times. My friends simply say it was too unnerving and stopped playing like 20 minutes in. Pissies. I for one am just truly happy that there is another Dead Space title 🙂

  • It comes down to replay value. And unfortunately a single player horror game has very little.

    • Sir Captain Rincethis

      No way man! I have played DS1 a few times and it still scares the crap out of me!

      • Yeah, but how many times have you played ds2 and 3? And do you pay EA each time you do? That’s the issue. The big publishers want to see a definite profit now of something they can reinvent.

  • Testify dude.

  • Give me another Siren: Blood Curse, NOW!

  • System Shock 2 comes out tomorrow on

    Get that. Fuck Dead Space.

  • iPrimal

    isn’t there supposed to be two coming out? I can’t remember the names, but one has to do with a space station, and the other has to do with hiding from crazy people, or something. Both play an emphasis on flight over fight. I’ll try to find the names.

    • iPrimal

      One is called “Outlast”, and the other is called “Routine”.

  • SlasherZA

    Condemned – Scariest game EVER

  • horror games will become ‘big’ once they actually make horror games that are HORROR games … I don’t see how he can make an assumption like that , that only in the digital age will horror games thrive. the reasons RE is failing is because it’s going In a total other direction than it’s horror roots, Silent Hill was based on psychological horror but now it’s nothing more than a game trying to appeal to the masses … the reasons horror games are fading is testament to the generation of gamers that we have, who cannot stand to have any kind of build up or slower gameplay and thus, we saw, the birth of RE6:Flashy action Edition, DS3:Buy Resources Edition etc 🙁

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