The Safe Room: How Game Designers Create Horror

Resident Evil isn’t the first survival-horror game, but it’s probably the most quintessential. Its mansion’s dilapidated halls are fraught with danger, yet nestled deep amongst the hostile architecture are a few pockets of solace. The safe room — a brief respite away from the horrors outside. Resident Evil’s first safe room is no more than a cupboard under the stairs. An old storm lantern illuminates the room and paints shadows against walls of bare concrete. It may be sparse and claustrophobic, but it’s a place to rest and recuperate nonetheless. There’s more to these safe rooms than simple ambiance and […]

Unforgiving Environments: The Most Hostile Worlds

As players we are continually told we are “The One”. A prophesied hero, the world our oyster — with sword in hand we’re set free in search of pearly fortunes. However, not all games are so emboldening. There are occasionally hostile worlds where even survival is a struggle, where you feel more like an unwelcome stranger than a powerful champion. The World Is Your Oyster Alongside the rise of open world games a tendency towards maximising player choice and freedom developed. Virtual worlds became bigger and players were able to decide where to go and who to kill. In short, […]