Gaming is great as there are no restrictions on where and when game developers can take us players. The countless stories, places in time, characters we can meet are limitless. Now with a definite growth with the Indie market, the restraints of the past are snapped and people can experiment and bring anything to the gaming table. Here is the top 5 moments in time that I think would be a perfect setting in a horror title.
If you would like to comment on the list, or even vote on your favourite of the bunch, or suggest your own personal dream era in history for a horror game, post below, it’ll be interesting to see the different responses.
Every entry will have a short narrative description, before looking at possible gameplay mechanics and how the world would work for a horror game. Enjoy!
1. Human Prehistoric Era When our ancestors first descended from the trees and began to make the earth below their world, and ultimately their dominion as we can see the results today, it was a scary world. Big cats roamed the plains, we had to fight competition for food and the world was a frightening and confusing place for our ancestors. Then one of the greatest events in our history occurred which shifted the scales into our favour. We discovered how to harness the power of fire.
Now imagine a first person horror survival game where we are put in control of one of our ancestors during these times. Say that the game begins within one of our caves and say one of our clan members is missing, a trail of blood leading outside or say we see or hear something from outside. We venture out into the darkness, with only the moon to illuminate either planes, forests or a mountain area. We start walking through the environment as the fear of predators grows stronger and then it starts to rain.
All of a sudden we hear a movement from behind us. We rapidly turn round to see a predator lunging towards us, intent on making us its next meal. We run for our lives before close to death, a stroke of luck. Lightning strikes a tree branch up above, which falls down before us, alight and burning, the predator flinches.
Now is our chance.
We pick it up and wave off the predator, a new confidence overwhelms us as the beast suddenly realises the sudden change in power before it runs off in fear of the fire.
From then on, our protagonist would venture out, only equipped with a branch with fire, which maybe you’d have to keep alight avoiding the rain, which would be our flashlight of the time. Now from then on we can either have a game similar to Slender, in that we must venture to find our missing clan member in a short experience or a longer experience where we discover a rival clan or Neanderthal clan. The possibilities are limitless, with the world of our ancestors possible to make terrifying, with shadows and events or occurrences which would easily frighten or protagonist.
I hope someday someone may develop such an idea as the experience, if worked on well, could be unique.
2. Great Fire Of London
The Great Fire of London occurred in 1666 and consumed London from the 2nd to the 5th of December. The horror could be set during the fire in question or in its aftermath.
If we were to set the game in its aftermath, we could venture through the remains while looking for survivors. And the buildings of London were mostly wooden, which is why so much of London caught a flame and though traditionally only six deaths were verified, it is now being theorized that the death toll was much larger, as many lower class people were excluded and burnt victims could have forever been lost.
Such a game would be terrifying as you venture through ruins or during the fire, possibly seeing phantoms of the victims or people calling for help. A supernatural element and explanation could be added, creating a horror backstory which leads to the fire.
The reason I picked the Great Fire was due to the great use of fire as an enemy, which while any light is a god send in horror, the horror could be the fire itself.
Or another way could be a game set many years later involving these events, though a solid backstory would have to support a further moment in time from the actual event.
3. World War Two Foo Fighters
During the Second World War, many pilots on both the Allies and Axis reported in European and certain areas of the Pacific, UFO’s or other strange occurrences up in the skies. While today no official explanation has ever been given, though many theories have been put out from secret weapons, simple weather conditions to aliens, this gives the chance for an intriguing setting for a horror game.
Now the game can stick to the skies and we can have a normal routine go bad, as sudden appearances of these UFO’s can bring the horror to the gameplay and what could be more terrifying than struggling to keep you plane from crashing down as you battle an unknown enemy?
The game could keep to the skies or have us crash down, then deal further with the strange phenomenon. I would see mostly keeping to the sky to work, we wouldn’t have to be a pilot, we could be a passenger who must help the pilot before having to grab the wheel. Many UFO stories normally take the obvious turn towards alien spacecraft though I think having humans in the antagonist role would be even more frightening, for what’s more frightening than a malicious human who’s got their hands on a powerful ‘toy’?
4. Easter Island
The mystery and aura that Easter Island are capable of producing are a potential developers goldmine. From ancient rituals, to the statues of the deified ancestors, to the Bird Man Cult, Easter Island could be the setting for many stories and horror experiences to be told.
Yet I think the best time would be just before the first documented European sailor visited the island, the navigator Jacob Roggeveen, in 1722. What would be a good starting point is if the game took place a few years before this year and we control a protagonist who aboard a ship, crashes onto the island.
From then on it’s your aim to survive as people from the ship slowly start disappearing or end up being killed. During this time indeed, the native population was experiencing severe deforestation, their population had radically dropped and it was a time where ancient beliefs were slowly being abandoned and tensions and fights would break out between one another.
Such a tumultuous time would be an ideal setting as the Island would never feel safe and you’d be the ‘first’ people to venture onto this island, which could be effective as you would genuinely feel lost and confused as you struggle for a way to escape or survive.
It’s indeed surprising no major horror title concerning Easter Island has never truly been released.
5. Roman Colosseum
The Roman Colosseum is a world icon and was once a ring where audiences would go to see people and animals fight for the death.
Though it was horrific enough having to fight inside the pit for your life as people looked on in amusement, I think the horror game would take place in the tunnels and rooms which run underneath the Colosseum.
You could play as a slave or captive who somehow manages to break free of their holding area and runs for freedom. This could take place either during the night or I think even more frightening during the day.
Couldn’t you just imagine, your protagonist somehow manages to slip free just before their scheduled fight, the crowd is roaring and cheering above as you hear contestants and animals still fighting. You start running down the corridors, where even the slightest sound of footsteps would be enough to make you tense and run the other direction. People could chase you down and if your caught, it’s game over and into the ring with you.
I think maybe to add a further element of horror we could have sudden apparitions of past combatants appear during the protagonists escape or the protagonist is deranged themselves. For whoever said breaking out of anything was easy?