Horror games were traditionally considered a niche genre. They rose to prominence in the late ’90s thanks to franchises like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, but they began to lose steam in the generations after that. Indie horror titles kept the scene alive, but after the release of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard in 2017, the AAA horror game space has been seeing a wonderful resurgence on PC.
Resident Evil 7 proved that the genre can succeed at the highest levels of production. The knock-on effect has been a confident surge of new horror games from other developers and publishers that are no longer afraid to go all in. More exciting horror games are coming out than ever before, and we can feel confident that this golden age of horror is set to continue on PC thanks to the following games.
Scorn has been on the radar of PC horror game fans for a long time, and it’s not hard to understand why. Somber and atmospheric, Scorn and invokes a feeling of pure dread simply based on its style alone. The H.R. Geiger-inspired environments and focus on body horror throughout every facet of the game will no doubt induce some squeamishness among players. Its nightmarish world contains maze-like areas with their own themes, puzzles, and characters. These unsettling locations combine to create an interconnected map that can be explored in a non-linear fashion.
Developer Ebb Software has made clear that Scorn is not a shooter. Players will need to focus on survival as they manage new skills, weapons, and items with a limited inventory. Scorn is set to immerse players in its world, and to that end, the game is going to tell its story entirely through gameplay. Players who were hoping to receive brief respites through cutscenes are out of luck.
Retro throwbacks are all the rage in the indie scene and this applies to horror games too. Signalis is using a retro pixel art style to set the stage for its psychological survival horror. Its sci-fi narrative is set in a dystopian future, and in motion, it looks and feels like a classic Resident Evil game. Signalis will place players into the shoes of a technician named Replika as she searches for her lost dreams and partner.
It’s rare to see horror games on an isometric plane, but that also means that Signalis has the potential to tap into underexplored ideas about how horror can be effective in one less dimension.
Layers of Fears
Bloober Team has been a studio on the rise in the horror game space, and it’s now returning to the series that put the studio on the map. The original Layers of Fear games were exploration-based horror journeys that delved into the madness of artists obsessed with their work. The original Layers of Fear, as well as its sequel, are games that forgo combat in favor of puzzles and unconventional scares. With Layers of Fears, the studio is hoping to combine its games into a single package that reimagines the series with an expanded story and gameplay direction.
Beyond the intrigue of a new vision for the story, we’re also excited by the fact that Layers of Fears will be running on Unreal Engine 5. Higher resolutions, ray tracing, and HDR should help to heighten how unsettling the environments can be. There are plenty of outstanding questions about how Bloober Team plans to improve upon its original games, but at least we can feel confident that it will look the part.
The Callisto Protocol
The Callisto protocol is the spiritual successor to Dead Space that fans have been wanting for years. The original creator of Dead Space, Glen Schofield, is aiming to evolve upon the sci-fi horror formula with his new team at Striking Distance Studios. The third-person survival horror game tasks players with escaping a monster-infested prison on Callisto, Jupiter’s dead moon. As Jacob Lee, you’ll uncover the disturbing secrets of the United Jupiter Company and take part in one of the goriest PC horror games we’ve ever seen.
Much like Dead Space, players will be armed and ready to fight back. But danger lurks around every corner, and the outrageous ways in which Jacob can die should force players to be a bit more cautious in how they approach each encounter. Fun weapons like a gravity gun can enhance the flexibility of combat, and we hope that further unlockable weapons and abilities only add to the available gameplay options. Getting creative with environmental kills seems to be encouraged, and the return of limb dismemberment will please the Dead Space faithful.
Fort Solis is taking players on a tense journey to an abandoned space station with a deadly secret. Figuring out who to trust and how to survive will be crucial in this third-person thriller on the dark side of Mars. We can assume that the narrative will play an important role thanks to the emphasis on characters and dialogue shown in the reveal trailer. Fort Solis stars the voice talents of Troy Baker, Roger Clark, and Julia Brown, which should hopefully add levity to the proceedings.
As engineer Jack Leary, players will need to find the crew members of Fort Solis and escape before it is too late. Explorable locations contain surface and sub-surface levels, including sections on the stormy surface of Mars itself. Despite its cast, Fort Solis won’t implement cutscenes. Instead, the game will support player immersion with a camera that never cuts away and with no loading times. Developers Fallen Leaf and Black Drakkar Games want players to be a participant in the narrative, and for our actions to have consequences on how things play out.
Dead Space remake
The Callisto Protocol is presenting a gorier take on where sci-fi horror can go on PC, but some players may want to stick to more familiar ground instead. Motive Studio’s remake of the original Dead Space is just the thing for that. This complete overhaul of the seminal survival horror experience is using EA’s Frostbite engine, and the developer has been giving fans a remarkably open deep dive into how the game is shaping up. Various behind-the-scenes videos from Motive have covered topics like the improved sound design, dismemberment of the deadly Necromorphs, and a visual overhaul to enhance the atmosphere.
Dead Space will be a faithful recreation of the first game, but it’s also set to include some smart additions like references to future games, spoken dialogue for Isaac Clarke where it fits, and improved zero-gravity gameplay. There are likely to be even more story and gameplay improvements in store for us when the full game releases. The Dead Space franchise didn’t go in the direction fans wanted it to, but this remake represents a chance to course-correct for the better.
Resident Evil Village Gold Edition
Resident Evil Village was a celebrated entry for fans of the series, and new updates are on the way to improve upon it even further. The Gold Edition, which can also be purchased as separate DLC, is adding three major new features to the latest Resident Evil. Firstly, the Shadows of Rose expansion adds a new narrative campaign where players will take on the role of Rose Winters 16 years after the end of the game. Ethan Winters’ daughter is trying to uncover the truth behind her own abilities and a mystery that we want to know more about.
The Mercenaries: Additional Orders sees the addition of new characters in the form of Chris Redfield, Heisenberg, and Lady Dimitrescu herself. Finally, the entire game will become playable from a third-person perspective with new animations. All in all, Gold Edition is adding a lot of replayability to the Resident Evil Village package, and making us eager to jump back in this October.
Supermassive Games has been consistently pumping out narrative-horror adventures over the last generation. The decision-making tension of Until Dawn was beloved by horror fans, and it was followed up with various entries in The Dark Pictures Anthology series. These games were decent enough, but with The Quarry, Supermassive has once again struck gold. The team’s latest horror adventure follows a group of teen counselors who find themselves hunted by deadly threats on the last night of summer camp. As always, life-or-death decisions are left in the hands of the player, and any character can become a hero or end up dead before the end.
It features a cast of well-known actors, such as Brenda Song, and all nine characters are playable. In a great touch, The Quarry also has local co-op with players being able to pick a character to control, and online co-op where players can watch along and vote on decisions. Supermassive has carved out its own niche within the horror space, and we can’t wait to see what the studio cooks up next.
Routine is a game that was originally revealed around 10 years ago. The sci-fi FPS horror game looks visually stunning and bears more than a few passing resemblances to Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation on PC. Players are trapped on an abandoned lunar base with retrofuturistic aesthetics. Creepy abandoned malls and decaying living quarters are part of a larger mystery that must be uncovered. In gameplay, the minimal UI should help to amp up the immersion and make the threat of unnerving sentient androids even scarier. Their juddering animations are bone-chilling.
Much like Alien: Isolation, we can envision Routine being a game in which the cat and mouse gameplay of hiding and escaping from these robots proves to be a truly terrifying experience. Unlocking new upgrades for the Cosmonaut Assistance Tool (C.A.T.) will be essential for running, hiding, and defending against the automatons. It’s been a long time coming, and we hope it won’t be too much longer before Routine makes it hard for us to sleep at night.
Resident Evil 4 remake
Resident Evil 4 is a survival-horror classic that revitalized the Resident Evil franchise. It was a radical shift in design, and its innovative over-the-shoulder perspective influenced third-person shooters for ages to come. Remaking Leon S. Kennedy’s bizarre adventure through rural Spain is likely to be a tall order. However, Capcom has been on a recent hot streak of high-quality Resident Evil releases, including remakes, so we have confidence that it can pull this off.
Capcom Division 1, which worked on Resident Evil 2 remake, is helming this new project. The team has been clear about developing Resident Evil 4 as a modern survival horror game that reimagines the story and gameplay while preserving the essence of the original. The released footage thus far certainly looks darker, and even hints at a new playable segment for Ashley Graham. It looks like a visual treat thanks to the magic of Capcom’s RE Engine, and the ability to crouch, as well as move and shoot simultaneously proves that the studio is updating the controls. We’re curious to find out how melee attacks, bosses, and quick-time events will be reworked, as well as what Capcom decides to do with classic moments like the village attack or fighting El Gigante.
The golden age of PC horror games has been going strong in recent years, and it looks like it’s only going to get better thanks to new releases from game studios of all sizes. The only thing left to hope for are those rumored Silent Hill games. Please?