Horror games have seen a bit of a renaissance ever since Playable Teaser burst onto the scene. The glorified demo was a bit of a cultural phenomenon in the gaming world, but for good reason. Nothing like it had been seen, the horror video game genre dominated by Resident Evil clones and riffs on horror survival. It wasn’t until P.T. that the genre seemed to catch its second wind.

I’m not sure why, but my mind has been wired for horror for a long time. Many a video game have I played, and many a time have I thought “Wow, this could make a great horror game.” Plenty of games have a dash of dark narrative or even situations that would be horrifying if handled in the correct tension-building ways.

The problem lies in how developers handle tension. The biggest video games on the market are more about making the player feel like a walking Bad Ass, often giving players overpowered abilities and tools to create a constant stream of mayhem. There isn’t anything wrong with that sort of game, but it’s hard to build tension when you know you can wreck every challenge put out before you.

Horror games often have the opposite problem. They tend to strip you of effective ways to defend yourself, especially early on so the player has a feeling of helplessness. Often, the only way to defend yourself is by running away or hiding. I think the perfect tension building combo exists somewhere in between the two extremes of making the player an in-game god or rodent sent scurrying away at the slightest noise.

In this series, we’ll look at game’s that should consider taking a step into the horror genre.

The Elder Scrolls

Developer

Bethesda Game Studios

Genre

Action roleplay, fantasy, 1st/3rd person, open-world

# of titles in the series

5

Notes

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The Elder Scrolls series has long been applauded for its open world adventure aspect, but what if they scaled it back and took the game into the horror genre. The game has its fair share of dark content that would be perfect for a horror adaptation. The series has it all: vampires, werewolves, necromancy, zombies, giant spiders, cannibalism, the occult, murder, and (my personal favorite) cults.

What would the Elder Scrolls horror edition look like? Here’s my idea…

You start off as a lowly peasant who doesn’t know a sword from his elbow. It is revealed by the Arch Mage that you are the Chosen One, the one who will bring balance to the force.You must venture into the darkest of monster-infested dungeons to save the princess(Buttercup?) and restore order to the realm. Because you are just regular Joe Schmoe, you have no ability to fight. The game would start off with you using stealth and your wits to avoid Draugr and a host of other creepies, Alien Isolation-style. As you progress through the dungeon, you slowly unlock the ability to fight or wield magic, until finally, you are King Badass, smiting dragons left and right like the Dragonborn in Skyrim.

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Since the lore of The Elder Scrolls is so rich, there are a host of other ideas that could be utilized, but now I’d like to hear from you guys. What would be your idea for a horror game set in the Elder Scrolls universe? Let me know in the comments below!