Playing With Fear: A 2019 Horror Game Preview
Happy New Year everyone, I got you all a present: PLAYING WITH FEAR IS BACK! You’ll have to forgive our unintended absence - and blame having a full time job, holidays, family obligations, (and maybe Red Dead Redemption 2) for keeping us apart for so long. No more! We’re back and just in time, because 2019 has a lot in store for the horror-gamer. And what better way to kick off the new year than with a look forward at whats all to come.
So let's take a quick dive into some of the upcoming horror games hitting shelves in 2019. Sadly, as we’re still early in the year, most of these titles don’t have solid release dates, so check back for updates. Keep in mind there are a lot more than what we are about to examine, maybe enough to earn a follow up piece to this. Some of these I’ll be exploring in greater detail in the future so if you’re looking for more info, stay tuned to PWF. Here we go.
Resident Evil 2 - 1/25/19 - PC/PS4/XBOX
The biggest horror game of the year is also the first horror game of the year, and it is almost upon us. Resident Evil 2 is rightfully considered by many to not just be the pinnacle of the series, but one of the greatest horror games of all time. Capcom is finally bringing us a fully remade version of the 1998 classic and it looks like the wait has been worth it. So much has been written on this title that there isn’t much left for me to say. Visually it looks fantastic, brining the ravaged Raccoon City into the modern era, while maintaining classic and much loved elements of the original (like the zombie in short shorts). We’re three weeks away from stepping, once again, into the boots of rookie cop Leon Kennedy and the world just can’t wait.
The Sinking City - 3/21/19 - PC/PS4/Xbox
In case you missed the big preview I did for this title, The Sinking City is an upcoming psychological horror game from Frogwares, telling an original story in H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. Players will take on the role of investigator Charles Reed and search for truth and answers in a WW1 era new england. The game features the Lovecraftian staples one would expect; fish people, chaos, mind bending insanity, tentacle gods, and enough uncertainty to make you wonder if anything is real. The Sinking City aims to be open world, and give players little direction in the way of how, where, and when to figure things out, leaving you up to your own devices and choices to try and solve the various mysteries around you.
Days Gone - 4/26/19 - PS4
Coming off an incredible 2018 Sony is looking to continue its dominance of single player narrative games with this long-awaited release from Sony Bend studios. Bend has been out of action for a long time, quietly developing what looks to be the next big thing in the now blissfully declining zombie subgenre. Days Gone puts players in the biker boots of post-apocalyptic bounty hunter Deacon St. John who is out to survive in Bend’s beautiful yet ravaged pacific northwest. Much of the story is being kept under wraps, but from what we’ve seen and been told it looks like Days Gone may focus more about how this world’s survivors get by, and less about what happened to get them here. Bend promises to explore what makes humans human in a world full of zombie like creatures affectionately dubbed “freakers”. As Deacon, players will seek bounties and other jobs to aide themselves and fellow survivors, while avoiding massive hive-like hoards of Freakers, surviving attacks from zombified wild life, ambushes from hostile survivors, and the very elements themselves. Bend has shown off multiple gameplay demos of the same missions, showing how the time of day and season (day, night, snow, rain, etc) can impact gameplay and how you might have to go about completing your objective. I personally cannot wait for Days Gone to finally land.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Man of Medan - TBA 2019 - PC/PS4/XBOX
If you are unclear on my love for Supermassive’s Until Dawn then go back a few volumes and read all about it. Since they took the horror and gaming world by surprise in 2015 fans have been eagerly waiting to see what the follow up would be. The wait, it turns out, was worth it, as Supermassive has delivered with an announcement of The Dark Pictures, and anthology gaming series of standalone horror titles, more-or-less in the same vein as their smash hit. Man of Medan is the first title in the series and is currently slated for release sometime later this year. While not much is known about the game yet, we know it takes place in the south pacific, and revolves around a dive for sunken treasure that one can only assume will not go according to plan. Expect a big cast of characters, player choice and sever consequence to actions, as well as scare and twists along the way. Hopefully Man of Medan will be out sooner rather than later, and spark a great run of titles in this ambitious project.
Someday You’ll Return - TBA 2019 - PC/PS4/XBOX
“While your survival skills and quick wits might advance your search, malevolent forces rise up against you.” So says Czech developer CBE Software with regards to your search and rescue mission in their upcoming Someday You’ll Return. Players take the role of Daniel who’s daughter Stela has run away, and not for the first time. However this time it is different. The search leads you into the Moravian forest in the Czech Republic, of which CBE says their game has faithfully recreated, encouraging players to visit the real locations presented in the game. It certainly looks beautiful, if not exactly welcoming. Someday You’ll Return is a psychological horror, filled with twisting terrors that will play with the mind and potentially scare you off your quest. While searching for your daughter, you will use your survival skills to craft items that will help you progress along, but don’t expect to be MacGyvering any weaponry here, as the title is supposedly combat free. Instead you’ll have to outwit and outrun these nameless terrors that stem from the secret histories of the forest and the characters. Drawing from Czech folklore and comparing itself to the likes of Silent HIll, Firewatch and Resident Evil 7 has fast tracked this small but ambitious title to the forefront of our most wanted list.
World of Horror - TBA 2019 - PC/Switch/PS4
World of Horror is a difficult game to discuss, firstly because there isn’t a ton of material on it, and secondly because it is just weird. Drawing inspiration from the works of Junji Ito and old macintosh adventure games, World of Horror is a cosmic horror RPG featuring classic turn based gameplay, 1 bit graphics, traditional folklore, and a 1980’s setting fitting for its inspiration. World of Horror pits you against the Old Gods as they reawaken and reality begins to crumble around you. Your goal is not to win, but merely to delay the world’s inevitable destruction. If you’re looking for a different flavor of horror game this year, then World of Horror sure satiate that appetite.
Moons of Madness - TBA 2019 - PC/PS4/XBOX
Moons of Madness sets itself apart from the other Lovecraft inspired games we’re looking forward to by taking the cosmic horror to the actual cosmos. Being described by developer Rock Pocket Games as a first-person story driven horror game, Moons of Madness seeks to explore Lovecraft’s ideas of the cosmics and mental illness by putting players in the role of Shane Newehart, a crewman on a Martian outpost. As if surviving on a harsh alien planet wouldn’t be challenging enough, supernatural elements are threatening to destroy the very fabric of reality. Shane must face the supernatural, as well as the mundane and totally normal fears of isolation, and paranoia. The good people at Rock Pocket Games want to mess with their players minds and make them - not just their avatar - question if the things that they’re seeing are real.
The Blackout Club - TBA 2019 - PC/PS4/XBOX
Developer Question is wearing the inspiration for new title The Blackout Club proudly on its sleeve, taking cues from classic teens slashers, and coming of age stories, and modern pop-phenomenon Stranger Things, The Blackout Club is a 4 player co-op horror game experience. When teenagers start blacking out and waking up in strange places, over and over again, it's obvious that something strange is happening. Obvious to the teens, but in typical fashion, those not affected (parents, teachers, cops, and other teenagers) don’t think anything is out of the ordinary and don’t believe the stories. Incomes a mysterious underground tunnel system, missing friends, and a strange new and hostel group of adults looking to end you. As the pieces begin to fit together, players take on the role of the titular Blackout Club, banding together to uncover the truth of what is happening, and to obtain some sort of proof to sway the non-believers. Every night is different as players work together to defeat what Question is dubbing “the horror next door” with every night producing different and new challenges and scares, until you are either overcome, or able to expose the conspiracy behind the mystery.
The Last of Us Part 2 - TBA 2019 - PS4
Little introduction is needed for the follow up to Naughty Dog’s 2013 masterpiece. Set years after the ending of the first game, part 2 will pick up on Ellie’s story, as she is integrated into a community of survivors. While Naughty Dog is being coy with story details, what they’ve shown us indicates that Ellie (and seemingly Joel) have become pillars of their post-apocalyptic community, showcasing the relationships they’ve developed and the importance they play. Ellie takes center stage now, and while we can only guess as of now, seems to eventually end up on a revenge mission of some sort. New evolutions of the Infected are sure to provide plenty of danger and terror, but a safe bet is that the real monsters will be humanity once again. The whole gaming community is on the edge of their seats waiting with bated breath for Naughty Dog to deliver The Last of Us Part 2 and we can only hope that it makes it out in 2019 and that we don’t have to wait for the PS5 to play it.