Jimquisition: The Survival of Horror

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MrOrbitz:

Toadfish1:

Jimothy Sterling:

What game is that?

Oh right, the game I gave a 10/10 review score to.

And yet you never ever mention it when you discuss modern survival horror. You continue to say that all AAA horror has become a homogenous bunch of crap akin to Resident Evil 6, ignoring that one of the best examples of a horror game ever made came out this year.

But is the Last of Us actually a horror game though? I've only heard of it being described as more of a stealth game.. with mushroom men.
I should really find a way to play it I think.

The Worst of Us is a linear stealth/action game with a few zombie tropes thrown in to justify an overwrought and depressing narrative about Bad Dads Who Think They're Good Dads. It can basically be seen as a "Spec Ops: The Line" style deconstruction of Telltale's The Walking Dead games.

The gameplay is about stealthing around large city environments in one long mercifully painless escort mission, and carefully gunning your way through thousands of looters who are too dumb to live and keep rushing the position of the guy who they just saw single-handedly murder 50 dudes.

It's more zombie than Half-Life 2, not as zombie as Dead Space.

Neither the story nor the gameplay are anything like Silent Hill, The Dark Descent, or any of the other games we think of when we think of "horror." It's an action game with horror trappings. Contrast with Outlast, a legitimate horror game with big dumb action game trappings.

Jimothy Sterling:

Toadfish1:
So Jims just gonna keep pretending The Last Of Us didn't come out?

What game is that?

Oh right, the game I gave a 10/10 review score to.

Jim really should carry a bag of mics with him anywhere he goes. That should relieve the back pain in picking them up after dropping them so many times.

I think the real problem AAA publishers have with horror games is the good ones aren't reproducible. Resident Evil got away with it only a couple times in the beginning when we didn't know what was going on, but you cannot just remake the same game, slap a number on the end of it, and sell more copies than the previous one. Horror games need to keep evolving and be different to keep the audience guessing, as there's nothing scary about predictability. So you need people who know what they're doing making each one, and time for them to tune everything properly.

"No sequels? No deal!" is the name of the game in AAA publisher town these days.

As an aside, people talk a lot about Silent Hill and other old horror games as good examples, but no one ever mentions Clock Tower. That game seriously messed me up.

At the start of the video I thought my laptop is bluescreening again, that's the noise it makes when it crashes while playing some audio.

Deshara:

EDIT:

geizr:
snip

For every developer you point to and say "Look, AAA is still around and not going anywhere!", there are hundreds that tanked and died long ago. Yeah, Microsoft and Sony are still around. But where's sega? Where's atari?
Also, the notion that companies need to be losing money in order to be in trouble is incorrect. Big corporations don't tank when they lose money, they tank when they stop growing. As a great man (John Green) once said (about the Aztecs), if your bussiness model is around the assumption that you can keep selling smash hits, once you dump a few million (borrowed and loaned) dollars into flops a couple times in a row, the whole ship sinks. While I may have been paraphrasing there, but it's still true.

Okay, let's consider this point. Looking at the corporations that remain, are they growing, shrinking, or remaining stagnant in regards to the AAA gaming segment?

I think I have to take exception to your idea that big corporations only tank when they stop growing. They are plenty of large corporations which aren't seeing any significant growth in market or size but are holding up just fine (I think IBM may be in exactly this state). Their market may be in an equilibrium in which as one contingent leaves their market another contingent of equal size enters. Thus, such a corporation maintains a refresh of revenue that is comparable with their costs. In fact, the very quote you use as an example is exactly a case of losing money (tossing money to repeated flops), not just non-existent growth. What you want is an example of successfully selling a product such to recover all production and operation costs but seller ultimately going out of business due to not having progressively increasing sales.

Companies shrink when they start losing market such they no longer have enough to sustain their current size, which would be a loss of income relative to costs, hence losing money. The shrinkage could be occurring due to any number of reasons, but the typical response to shrinkage is to shed parts of the company deemed superfluous or no longer sustainable at current size, in other words, they downsize. Unfortunately, the dynamics can be more complex than mere size balancing. If the company fails to make decisions that properly address the equilibrium dynamics of their market and corporate structure, i.e. the exact reasons for the shrinkage, then no amount of downsizing will save the company from inevitable collapse.

I think this is what really happened to a lot of the companies that have died in the past. The dynamics of their market changed, and they failed to adapt properly to those changes. Instead, they went through a lot of downsizing and strategic reorganization (SEGA did this one to a ridiculous degree), but they never addressed the real problems of their market. Consequently, their market went elsewhere, and these companies no longer had sufficient market to sustain their size at the time. By the way, SEGA is still around, but it is a very small shadow of its former glory. In some ways, Nintendo may be headed down the same road, but it remains to be seen.

The square-cubed law is only roughly applicable in that we can say there is a limit to the size of anything, which is true. But the exact limit depends on the equilibrium dynamics, both thermal and physical forces, and how that equilibrium is related to volume and area of the object. However, the problem I have with your apparent assertion is that every company is exactly doomed. If it doesn't grow, it's doomed because it will tank due to non-growth. However, if it grows, it's doomed because it will no longer be able to sustain its size, due to the square-cubed law. You don't allow for a point of equilibrium, which, as far as I know, DOES occur. If I go by your assertion, the entire game industry is just inherently doomed, no matter what it does. EDIT: One has to be careful. You can't just apply ideas like this blindly.

BTW, your post has a lot of text that doesn't show up properly, even clicking on it as a spoiler. You may want to edit it. Although, reading through it (can only see it in the quote version as I'm typing this post), it seemed non sequitur.

Horror games aren't dead. Just a very niche genre that people won't spend a lot of time on and can't be in a flooded market.

Think about it, if there is 10 horror games all coming out in one year, are you going to go to the flavor of the month(if you have money)? No.

Horror games just don't warrant the flooding.

wulf3n:
This video contradicts itself.

It talks about how the Movie industry still releases horror movies, they're just not Blockbuster titles with Blockbuster budgets, then goes on to criticize the AAA Game Industry, basically the Blockbuster sector of the games industry, for not making horror games.

They (horror films) don't cost as much as the Hobbit does and consequently don't need to make as much

But by asking the AAA to make more horror you're effectively asking for Hobbit level budgets.

I really don't understand the current belief within the gaming community that the AAA is the only sector that produces anything of worth, and that even though the "Indie" scene is still producing good quality horror titles, people don't care because it's not AAA.

You want AAA budget/quality but that means you need AAA profits.

He's talking about AAA publisher's producing game's that are cheaper projects, like far cry 3 blood dragon. It's not indie but also not AAA. It's the middle ground that many forget that movies have and games had called AA.

The problem with no combat games is that they really are boring and not really scary. Take Resident Evil 6 compared to Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

In Amnesia, sure it may be scary for the first hour and a half, but you figure out the gameplay of it relatively quickly and aren't really fazed by much. With few exceptions, beating Amnesia involves the following steps:

1. Listen for audio cues of a monster spawn.
2. Hide in dark corner, preferably one where the enemies vision of you is obscured in some way.
3. Wait until monster de-spawns
4. Continue.

Hell, you can skip the whole hiding-and-waiting step if you just have a random prop to interpose between you and the enemy with which to block Line of Sight.

Once the gameplay is revealed to be a sorry sham, it fails to create any kind of tension or fear (at least in me, anyways; your mileage may vary).

Now consider Resident Evil 6, specifically your first playthrough of the Leon campaign on the Professional difficulty setting (that is, enemies kill you in a handful of hits and soak up so much damage that you're always low on ammo even if you try to melee most of the time). Certainly, the scripted "horror" sequences and atmosphere were not at all scary, but the gameplay definitely created a feeling of fear.

When you're playing as optimally as you possibly can but you've still got no healing or ammunition thanks to the high difficulty setting (see the house defense section in Chapter 1), you can be damn sure you're a little panicky and jumpy when the next enemy will jump at you from the dark and take a third of your health away (see the Chapter 2 graveyard). And you can be damn sure that you freak out just a little when a horde of crimson heads spawn out from nowhere while you're struggling to survive (see the Chapter 2 while gaining entrance to the cathedral).

Sure, the broader game itself didn't do much horror, but the hour and a half of gameplay where I was nervous in Resident Evil 6 was about equivalent to the hour and a half in Amnesia where I felt threatened in any way. And, as approaches go, I think there's more opportunity for the developers of Resident Evil 6 to dial up the fear factor within the constraints of the gameplay than there is for Amnesia developers.

So, I totally agree with the assertion that no combat is boring and can even actively detract from the horror, at least within the confines of what developers currently seem to be capable of doing. Perhaps The Evil Within will prove me wrong, or perhaps the combat mechanics in it (if any) will prove me right.

That scream startled me at the start!
Also, Jim, you always find a way to push your creepiness upon us....sexing that blow up doll....wow.

Can someone please explain to me what was going on at the end there? I couldn't really make out what that was on the doll's face or understand what Jim was saying with all that reverb, so the punchline of the joke was lost on me.

RicoADF:
He's talking about AAA publisher's producing game's that are cheaper projects, like far cry 3 blood dragon. It's not indie but also not AAA. It's the middle ground that many forget that movies have and games had called AA.

How many AAA publishers release AA games? the fact that we define a publisher as AAA implies that we expect them to deliver AAA titles all the time. This is the difference between the game industry and the movie industry, I've never heard the term "Blockbuster Publisher" or equivalent applied to any movie studio.

wulf3n:

RicoADF:
He's talking about AAA publisher's producing game's that are cheaper projects, like far cry 3 blood dragon. It's not indie but also not AAA. It's the middle ground that mano ny forget that movies have and games had called AA.

How many AAA publishers release AA games? the fact that we define a publisher as AAA implies that we expect them to deliver AAA titles all the time. This is the difference between the game industry and the movie industry, I've never heard the term "Blockbuster Publisher" or equivalent applied to any movie studio.

Agreed it's dumb, which is what Jim is saying and I agree with him and you.
It's stupid to put all your eggs in 1 basket and will eventually be the cause of the next game crash. Though this time it'll be a AAA crash rather than the industry.

Jim, that opening scream brings back a lot of great, if cheesy, memories. I half expected to start hearing a SID version of the Marcia Funebre immediately after.

Aardvaarkman:
October really is the worst month. Why does everything suddenly have to become about "horror" and "scary" things? Because of some bizarre American fascination with this "Halloween" thing that almost nobody else in the world gives a crap about?

It has its roots in Europe, being a last moment of warmth before winter, bonfires were lit and food was left by the door for wandering "spirits." It wasn't until the Catholic church decided to vilify it in an effort to make it go away that it became a festival of superstition, fear and the macabre. And while it's not as huge as it is in North America, I'm still willing to bet that it's still given a fair regard in Europe.

Great point made by a great episode. Personally I like when horror games try to get a bit more experimental with the type of fear that they're going for, much like these games where you have absolutely no means of defending yourself other than to run and hide. But I also really liked Machine for Pigs' "flavor" of horror. It was much more of a psychological terror than a "flee from the shambling monstrosities" terror...I thought of it like playing through an Edgar Allen Poe story.

As for the last bit of the episode...well....

Well done, Jim, on tying your video together by showing us something we ALL fear: someone who loves Colonial Marines. :P

Yes, but the only problem now is that we have survival horror that consists of nothing other than running away from things. Fighting back? What's that? Some magical way to survive? Because Fight or Flight has nothing to with survival at all.

Amnesia is a great game but hardly what I'll call the pinnacle of survival horror.

Hah! Of course survival horror is alive.

Really, ever since the first Amnesia the genre has had a renaissance on the PC platform...and honestly, they've been some of the best horror games of all time.

The fact that large publishers don't see the potential there is their loss, and they deserve all those non-earned dollars. Besides, the indie market has shown us to be perfectly adequate as innovators. If we were just waiting for Resident Evil 7, we'd probably get the same shlock that we got in 5 and 6.

erttheking:

I think people like you and me aren't alone in thinking that. Plenty of us think that. It's just that the people who cause that kind of crap tend to be the loudest and most stubborn. I think we should keep that in mind and remind ourselves that vocal minorities don't define groups.

I think it's hard to say "vocal minority" with any sense of honesty when so many people polled on these issues don't care.

In my experience, "vocal minority" is an intellectually lazy statement, often a cop-out or apologetic more than a viable argument as to the sentiments of the people. It's problematic at best, false at worst, and usually unprovable. You might as well be telling me "it's cool to hate," "haters gonna hate," or "your just jealous," because they're usually used about on par with "vocal minority."

My girlfriend, on the other hand, provided info on an actual psychological phenomenon where people are basically overloaded by issues of necessity and have trouble thinking beyond themselves and those close to them. What's more, while this should only be an issue for those at the bottom rungs of society, we in the US are inundated with scare mongering on every level. The economy's tanking. Jobs are going away. Crime is up 9000% (even though it isn't). Death panels. So-and-so is the next Hitler[1]/Stalin/Bin/Laden/Beiber. Black people are coming for your wallets and cars. Mexicans are coming for your jerbs. Arabs are coming for your freedumz. Democrats are coming for all three.

Personally, I find this a more useful approach than calling someone a vocal minority. Especially on issues where there seems to be a solid amount of support.

[1] Apologies for bringing up Hitler, as this is usually considered poor form in a discussion, debate, or other place of contention. However, I'm referencing a real phenomenon where people are screaming that so-and-so is Hitler and going to march on Poland or whatever. Obama is Hitler. Bush is Hitler. Cheney is Hitler. Bin Laden is Hitler. The ACA is Hitler coming to take you away. Popular Celebrity is Hitler. Unpopular celebrity is Hitler. I hope you get the idea

Evonisia:
Well we've already seen what happens when one tries Survival Horror with a big budget, we get Silent Hill Downpour. Downpour was good in it's own way but I doubt anybody would call it a good horror game.

Also... dammit, that outro will be in my mind for days now.

Honestly, Downpour is most likely to be the best Western Silent Hill that we will ever get. It's a solid game, but how can you live up to a series with a game like Silent Hill 2 in it?

Ironshroom:

Evonisia:
Well we've already seen what happens when one tries Survival Horror with a big budget, we get Silent Hill Downpour. Downpour was good in it's own way but I doubt anybody would call it a good horror game.

Also... dammit, that outro will be in my mind for days now.

Honestly, Downpour is most likely to be the best Western Silent Hill that we will ever get. It's a solid game, but how can you live up to a series with a game like Silent Hill 2 in it?

I think it's possible to make a game like Downpour and improve on it (like improving monster designs). Yeah I agree it's a really good Western Silent Hill game, but in all honesty not many people will say that it was scary or it was good horror.

Evonisia:

Ironshroom:

Evonisia:
Well we've already seen what happens when one tries Survival Horror with a big budget, we get Silent Hill Downpour. Downpour was good in it's own way but I doubt anybody would call it a good horror game.

Also... dammit, that outro will be in my mind for days now.

Honestly, Downpour is most likely to be the best Western Silent Hill that we will ever get. It's a solid game, but how can you live up to a series with a game like Silent Hill 2 in it?

I think it's possible to make a game like Downpour and improve on it (like improving monster designs). Yeah I agree it's a really good Western Silent Hill game, but in all honesty not many people will say that it was scary or it was good horror.

Oh yeah, I have to totally agree with that. The game wasn't very scary. Unnerving certainly (that opening scene still gives me shudders) but not quite as scarring as the events of Silent Hill 2 were. Also, whenever Murphy would scream, I would laugh a little bit cause it sounded so silly! James Sunderland will live on in my heart as one of the best video game characters ever. Despite his...."average" voice acting.

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