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WITH THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT WE KNOW NEXT TO NOTHING ABOUT THE GAME AS OF THE TIME OF THIS POSTING,

 

it appears that our gameworld is a serious, dare I say dramatic one. The snippets of dialogue we have read so far have been suitably portentous. Some might say the game seems "dark" at this point.

 

What I propose to you is this: Horror elements. I have been starved (starved!) for a good horror RPG for some time. Our Top Dog Programmer Tim Cain made a little game called Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines back in Troika day, as you'll recall now that I've mentioned it. That was the last RPG that I remember to feature serious horror elements (for the purposes of this post, I am not counting any of FONV's vault stuff, or Brayko's jacket). I miss it! I was so pumped for Aliens, you guys, it was gonna be 100% straight-up grade A horror, plus it's my favorite movie! But then they sent it upstate to live with a nice family.

 

SO, horror. Not all the time, you know, but I gotta have it. What sorts of horror, you ask?

 

How about THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD THINK about:

- Lovecraft, always. Mad, unknowable things. Small towns with terrible secrets. Hybrid monsters, terrible pacts. Barely keeping away the incomprehensible and unspeakable.

- Cool vampires. Still good, even today. Consider putting a different spin on them, something possibly more brvtal. Seen Near Dark? Curses, gushing blood, impossibly good looking dudes.

- Cults. Normal-seeming people. What do they do behind closed doors? Blood rituals, probably. More hybrid monsters, sticks that are actually snakes, crazy-looking daggers, creepy children.

- Impostors. Body snatchers, changelings. The thing from The Thing. Crazy magic robot people. "That is not my husband". Severed heads with spider legs.

- Hauntings / haintings. Very quiet people staring blankly at you from down long corridors. Stories about the attic. Portraits that move when you're not looking. Creaks and groans.

 

THINGS YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN'T THINK about:

- Normal vampires. Who needs em? Difficult to pull off as short-term antagonists. All about predatory sexuality but really just come off as generic monsters.

- Cannibals. There are no twists left. We see them coming.

- Serial Killers. Mark this as "maybe". The tanner from BG2 didn't work very well, neither did whatever the hell Dragon Age 2 was. But they still retain that compulsive creepy vibe. You just gotta build the mystique right.

- Werewolves. Make them unstoppable like in Bloodlines, we'll talk.

- Zombies. Rename "cannon fodder".

 

CONSIDER IT.

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I'm going to have to say "maybe" to this. Not to horror in general, but to most the points you listed. Horror, in my opinion, works best by twisting the ordinary situation people are confronted with every day.

How about THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD THINK about:

- Lovecraft, always. Mad, unknowable things. Small towns with terrible secrets. Hybrid monsters, terrible pacts. Barely keeping away the incomprehensible and unspeakable.

Dangerous to go with this unless its a main plot point. The Old Ones are a danger to existence as it is; they shouldn't be used lightly just for kicks.
- Cool vampires. Still good, even today. Consider putting a different spin on them, something possibly more brvtal. Seen Near Dark? Curses, gushing blood, impossibly good looking dudes.
After the vampire craze of the past ten years I'd actually be happy not to see any more of them.
- Cults. Normal-seeming people. What do they do behind closed doors? Blood rituals, probably. More hybrid monsters, sticks that are actually snakes, crazy-looking daggers, creepy children.
This works fine with a mature setting, as shown by games going back as far as ULTIMA VII: THE BLACK GATE. And I'm sure Chris and the others could write some stomch-turning stuff there.
- Impostors. Body snatchers, changelings. The thing from The Thing. Crazy magic robot people. "That is not my husband". Severed heads with spider legs.
Possible, but we know too little about the setting right now.
- Hauntings / haintings. Very quiet people staring blankly at you from down long corridors. Stories about the attic. Portraits that move when you're not looking. Creaks and groans.
Given the engine and perspective I doubt this could be done with the same effect on the player as a first-person perspective game would achieve. I just don't think you'd get an effective and atmospheric scare out of it.

 

As for horror in general, I do believe it works best by scratching the paint off the facade of supposely normal peoples' lives. Contrary to you I think the tanner in BG2 worked very well in that regard. As such, my point on horror would be: cults and creepy people and the hidden darkness behind your neighbors' faces work well, monsters don't.

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I just posted about Fairies in the races you would like to see thread who were, originally, hardly tinkerbell, . They were creepy as all ****.

 

I am so desensitised to vampires I'm starting to think it's all a plot for them to 'come out the coffin' as it were :p. I challenge obsidian to come up with a vampire I actually find scary.

 

 

As for horror in general, I do believe it works best by scratching the paint off the facade of supposely normal peoples' lives. Contrary to you I think the tanner in BG2 worked very well in that regard. As such, my point on horror would be: cults and creepy people and the hidden darkness behind your neighbors' faces work well, monsters don't.

 

I agree.

Edited by Moonlight Butterfly
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Also the casual horror of a feudal medieval society might be explored, rampant filth and disease, high infant mortality rates, the slave labour of peasents and serfs, taxation upon pain of death, starvation, a high death toll with every winter and limbless, leprosy ridden beggars on street corners who once were exactly like the pc. I used to be an adventurer like you, then an arrow wound to my knee turned septic and they had to cut off my leg, soon after my hands went numb and soon my fingers turned black and fell off as the leprosy took hold.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Also the casual horror of a feudal medieval society might be explored, rampant filth and disease, high infant mortality rates, the slave labour of peasents and serfs, taxation upon pain of death, starvation, a high death toll with every winter and limbless, leprosy ridden beggars on street corners who once were exactly like the pc. I used to be an adventurer like you, then an arrow wound to my knee turned septic and they had to cut off my leg, soon after my hands went numb and soon my fingers turned black and fell off as the leprosy took hold.

That'd be great as part of the setting, depending that's the kind of realism they want to go with.
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I would love to see an actual horror RPG. Vampire the masqeurade:bloodlines is in my top 5 best rpg's off all time and would kill for a sequel. It was only bad luck that prevented it from being a success. The publisher shoving it out before it was ready(buggy and rushed ending), then having to sit on it because it used HL2 engine and the contract prevented it from being released until HL2 was released, then the infamous HL2 delay from hell, finally it was released...on the same day that HL2 was released. Still, even with all that, most people who play it say its one of the best RPG's ever. I dream of a VTM:B sequel or gameplay in that style of RPG/FPS that the RPG is priority and NOT the fps part. It is the only true rpg that pulled off a FPS/RPG hybrid without sacrificing the RPG part. It was beutiful and I really want to see someone else pull it off either as a true sequel or another rpg/fps hybrid game. Still, I agree I want more horror RPG's, I am a bit starved for horror RPG's myself.

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Instead of just using the tropes of horror fiction, video games can do so much more to instill fear. I'd much rather them try to use some of the principle of survival horror rather than to try to use cinema style horror tropes to scare the player. Here's an interesting extended comment on the subject.

 

http://m.edge-online.com/opinion/japanese-games-arent-gibberish-just-different

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I'd love to see some horror stuff Buuuuuuuut horror not as in the content but in the feel / emotion of a scene. That's what I think horror is all about. It doesn't need vampires, cults or ghosts :p

 

I don't actually read horror myself but a good example of a horrific scene from a non-horror book would be Renly's death in GRRM's A Clash of Kings. Well written scene (and I don't mean the tv show x_x).

 

Diablo 1 has a nice 'horror' atmosphere for an isometric style game as well.

Edited by Sensuki
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I would love to see an actual horror RPG. Vampire the masqeurade:bloodlines is in my top 5 best rpg's off all time and would kill for a sequel. It was only bad luck that prevented it from being a success. The publisher shoving it out before it was ready(buggy and rushed ending), then having to sit on it because it used HL2 engine and the contract prevented it from being released until HL2 was released, then the infamous HL2 delay from hell, finally it was released...on the same day that HL2 was released. Still, even with all that, most people who play it say its one of the best RPG's ever.

 

I'd argue with that, mainly because the gameplay itself kinda killed the horror feel with the ceaseless massacre it degraded to in the second half of the story.

 

But to stay on-topic: I'd also very much appreciate some horror in the game.

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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Make regular monsters scary by making them smart and letting them exploit their natural abilities. When you think about, facing a bunch of orks in a dark cavern is creepy as hell, as these are usually concidered brute fearless monsters who overwhelm regular human. They were made cannon fodder by bad design in other games. I once made a module where party faced goblins which used ropes to get players down from horses, bear traps, made of garbage and plants traps, and had backstabbers in their ranks akin to green minions from Overlord. Worked much better than any dragon or chtulhu-monster. Style, sound and image only work so much when nothing actually happens with player or his favorite characters... or his, say, equipment.

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Make regular monsters scary by making them smart and letting them exploit their natural abilities. When you think about, facing a bunch of orks in a dark cavern is creepy as hell, as these are usually concidered brute fearless monsters who overwhelm regular human. They were made cannon fodder by bad design in other games. I once made a module where party faced goblins which used ropes to get players down from horses, bear traps, made of garbage and plants traps, and had backstabbers in their ranks akin to green minions from Overlord. Worked much better than any dragon or chtulhu-monster. Style, sound and image only work so much when nothing actually happens with player or his favorite characters... or his, say, equipment.

 

That's why I love lower levels on the adventurers in DnD FR games (I've played this and Warhammer in my tabletop times)

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Please don't use jump scares. They get boring quickly.

 

But subtle horror works great. The dreams of the little eyeless girl who stands above their sleeping forms smiling, the town where everyone is just slightly off, the mirror in which your reflection just might be smirking at you, but you're not sure. Those things that make the hair rise on the back of your neck.

 

The problem with any sort of horror that tends to work for me is that it's hard to isolate, gameplay wise. It takes buildup, and if done too often it loses its effect. Vampire:The Masquerade:Bloodlines:too many colons attempted to have a great deal of horror hidden in its humor and violence. The hotel scared me. Most of the rest of the "horror" segments, in my opinion, didn't work very well. The pacing was off, the segments would be too short or too obvious, or there would be puzzles that would ruin the immersion.

 

Take, for instance, the ruined hospital. You see everyone getting dragged downward in their recordings, and things are a bit interesting. But then you have to try to get down there. You begin to wonder how someone could have stacked that many wheelchairs that perfectly to block all of the doors. You then spend the next five minutes trying to figure out how to get to the bottom of it all to confront the mysterious figure that grabbed all of the people. After confronting her, you find all of those wheelchairs and tables and whatnot have mysteriously disappeared so that you don't have to go through the long, annoying, twisting way to get out. The puzzle solving (as well as environmental changes for no good reason) detracted from the immersion, so there was no real feeling of horror there.

 

Then again, I tend to think differently from many others, and I only paid twenty bucks into this game, so I wouldn't blame the developers if they'd rather go with a more popular approach.

Edited by Gelp
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I'll dissent as a matter of personal taste here. When games (or films) try to scare me, it gets me stressed out, which makes me more resentful than respectful. I've enjoyed a few horror-ish pieces, but only in spite of their horror elements. (E.g., Alien and The Shining were good enough for me to forgive them for their horrory-ness.)

Edited by Enoch
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Isometric games can have horror themes, but generally that style of gameplay doesn't lend itself well to actually scaring the player. It's like, you have a bird's eye view of everything, you're the f*cking boss. Those scary monsters aren't so scary from up here.

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Isometric games can have horror themes, but generally that style of gameplay doesn't lend itself well to actually scaring the player. It's like, you have a bird's eye view of everything, you're the f*cking boss. Those scary monsters aren't so scary from up here.

 

I dunno, Diablo I was actually pretty spooky.

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*Picard facepalm* You guys act as if Obsidian has no idea whatsoever what kind of game they are planning to make. Posts like this make me cringe. At least you could have put the question in the context of a suggestion for some future game.

JoshSawyer: Listening to feedback from the fans has helped us realize that people can be pretty polarized on what they want, even among a group of people ostensibly united by a love of the same games. For us, that means prioritizing options is important. If people don’t like a certain aspect of how skill checks are presented or how combat works, we should give them the ability to turn that off, resources permitting.

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Isometric games can have horror themes, but generally that style of gameplay doesn't lend itself well to actually scaring the player. It's like, you have a bird's eye view of everything, you're the f*cking boss. Those scary monsters aren't so scary from up here.

 

I dunno, Diablo I was actually pretty spooky.

 

A bit. It helps that you don't have a party in Diablo.

Edited by Infinitron
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Now I have to say Diablo 1 was on that level, even System Shock 2, and it was just on immersion (forgive me if I just killed the spelling).

 

In this case Im betting on previous games they've done be more with the choices you make; but hey crpgs focused more on the actul story. In fact, the old RPGs, still have a better story then most of the RPGs AAA titles today, God forbid a though choice in a game now -_-

Edited by Brishingr
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Also the casual horror of a feudal medieval society might be explored, rampant filth and disease, high infant mortality rates, the slave labour of peasents and serfs, taxation upon pain of death, starvation, a high death toll with every winter and limbless, leprosy ridden beggars on street corners who once were exactly like the pc. I used to be an adventurer like you, then an arrow wound to my knee turned septic and they had to cut off my leg, soon after my hands went numb and soon my fingers turned black and fell off as the leprosy took hold.

 

This is what I'm hoping for. Warfare, famine, plague, death. The horrors of life.

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