Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski said that he doesn't think horror games are commercially viable as full-priced retail games.


"In the $60 disc based market horror doesn't fly," he wrote on his blog. "It's the ultimate 'campaign rental' that's played for two days and traded in and I'm sure EA knows this" he added, referring to Dead Space 3.

"When we're fully digital we'll see more true horror games coming back. (Look at Amnesia and Slenderman on PC.)"

Earlier in his post about Dead Space 3, he explained that one of the largest obstacles with horror games is that it's so difficult to create a scary moment and even harder to replicate because once you've seen it once, you know it's coming.

"Horror is hard, and suspense is even harder," he explained. "It requires a true director's hand. A nudge this way and a moment plays as comedic, a nudge too far the other way and it's not scary at all. To compound it all, making a scary moment is kind of like trying to tickle yourself. You think it's scary, but you're never sure until you test it on someone who has never seen the moment."

This is true regarding scripted sequences, but what about procedural generated horror like ZombiU, the upcoming Daylight, or Amnesia? Granted only one of these, ZombiU, was/is a full-priced game and it had the benefit of being a launch title for a quirky new console - and Ubisoft has yet to release any sales figures for it.

Fittingly, Bleszinski's long-time colleague Adrian Chmielarz who headed Bulletstorm and the upcoming Gears of War: Judgment at People Can Fly left the company he founded to make the PC-only horror adventure The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, which almost definitely will not be a full-priced game.

What do you think, dear readers? Would you pay £40 for a straight-up horror game, or is it too antithetical to the laid-back long-lasting experience one's come to expect from a full-priced retail release?

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Jump to comments (109)

About the author

Jeffrey Matulef

Jeffrey Matulef


Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.

More articles by Jeffrey Matulef