Have the 2010s been a terrific decade for survival horror, or what? Not in any other genre over the last seven years has there been such extensive evolution in the way developers attempt to scare the living daylights out of those willingly picking up the pad to explore the darker side of entertainment. That’s thanks, in no small part, to the massive contribution indie devs have made to ensuring the genre’s, excuse the pun, survival over the years.
Barring a few notable exceptions in the noughties (Condemned and the original Dead Space, among others), true survival horror, that is, where action-oriented gameplay isn’t considered to be the primary element, is a genre that’s been in flux, as far as the triple-A industry is concerned. Capcom, itself often considered to be the one responsible for the genre’s blueprint, began diverging from the formula with Resident Evil 4, a path that it continued to follow all the way up until the current year.
That very same reluctance is what lead to a surge in indie developers trying their hand at modernizing survival horror, leading to the popularization of first-person antics that stripped power from the player altogether. Slender: The Eight Pages, Amnesia: The Dark Descent and a plethora of others reminded us once more that not it’s not always fun to be the all-powerful protagonist.
Since then, there’s been a reawakening for the genre in the realms of big budget releases. Whether it be Capcom’s aforementioned return to its roots with Resident Evil 7 or Shinji Mikami and Tango Gameworks’ more classical style with The Evil Within, now more than ever, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to having our socks scared off. There’s still plenty of time left in the current decade for more contenders to arrive, but right now, these titles are definitely at the top…