RALEIGH, NC (Reuters) – Looking for more than ghosts and ghouls to liven up Halloween? The latest videogames are offering plenty of scary options and new terror is waiting just around the corner.
Whether it is aliens, zombies or other monsters, new videogames aim to terrify players and keep them on edge like the best horror flick or psychological thriller.
Electronic Arts has launched a new space horror story with “Dead Space” on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Set aboard an abandoned mining spaceship, the USG Ishimura, gamers must use an assortment of weapons to destroy the horrific alien Necromorphs that have killed the crew.
“We have to constantly come up with new ways to scare the player and keep them guessing,” said Glen Schofield, executive producer of “Dead Space” at Electronic Arts.
“It takes thousands of iterations and trial and error, but the rewards of seeing gamers totally freak out because of what we’ve put in the game are totally worth it.”
Early next month the latest PC and Xbox 360 game from Valve Software, “Left 4 Dead,” will offer four players an interactive terror ride through a town overrun by monsters.
“Your mission is to escape the city and the only way to get out alive is to work with your three teammates,” said Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of Valve Software.
“The game adjusts to how the team is playing and the cinematic effects and story line dynamically change based on how well the players are working together.”
Zombies have been cannon fodder for games since the very first “Resident Evil” on PlayStation. Capcom is bringing the latest game in the best-selling franchise out next March. Set in Africa, players explore the roots of the virus that has wreaked havoc in the previous games.
“‘Resident Evil’s’ rich story is reminiscent of many of the modern-day psychological thrillers, while integrating elements of the slasher sub-genre, as well as elements of the supernatural and a rich helping of action.” said Mike Webster, director of marketing.
Atari Inc is bringing the latest installment of one of the original horror franchises, “Alone in the Dark: Inferno,” to PS3 this month. Set in New York City’s Central Park, developer Eden Games immerses the gamer in the tale of horror.
“There are no menu screens or inventories because once we have the player’s full attention it’s much easier to manipulate their emotions,” said Nour Polloni, producer of the game.
When it comes to pure psychological horror, few game experiences compare to Konami’s “Silent Hill” franchise. The game goes beyond frightening creatures to get inside the head of the player.
“Whenever they’re feeling particularly on edge or at ease, we toss in a fright to keep them on edge, or betray their assumed safety,” said Tomm Hulett, producer of “Silent Hill: Homecoming.”
Nintendo’s Wii takes a more campy approach to terror. Sega’s “House of the Dead 2 & 3 Returns” and “House of the Dead Overkill” offer zombies and assorted nasties as target practice. Capcom takes advantage of Wii’s motion-sensor controllers with “Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop”, which puts the player inside a mall overrun by undead.
“With horror games, we give those fans more control of the situation,” said Colin Ferris, product manager at Capcom. “It’s one thing to watch an actor walk into the lair of a horrible creature, but it’s a much more enhanced experience when you are that character and have no other choice but to proceed.
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