The 100 best horror games on PC

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HORROR GAMES IN DEVELOPMENT

The future is bright - wait, no it isn’t. It’s dark and full of horrible monsters. Kickstarter has been kind to horror games, and the huge online success of games like Slender have made big publishers sit up. If you’ve explored this horror collection, you’ll notice how many draw ideas from the same influences. You see the same images recurring - the abandoned hospital, the bloody message written on a whitewashed wall, the wheelchair on its side, wheel still spinning. We need scary new worlds, full of scary new ideas.

Things are looking good on that count, fortunately. Sir, You Are Being Hunted replaces typical horror enemies with wandering tweed-wearing robots. Routine takes survival horror to an abandoned moonbase, and Sunless Sea takes it into a twisted underground ocean. Read on for a sneak peak at the NIGHTMARES OF TOMORROW *wolf howl*.

Routine

Link:Routine site
Expect to pay: TBA

The Moon is a fantastic place to set a horror game, as the developers of Routine must know only too well. We've barely scratched the surface of its pockmarked exterior, it has that whole dark side thing going on, and if you run into trouble (for instance zombies or aliens or zombie aliens), there isn't much hope for a dramatic rescue. Routine takes place in an abandoned lunar station; you're there to figure out why and how everyone mysteriously disappeared, which may or may not have something to do with the homicidal robots clattering around the place. If the idea of Amnesia in Space isn't enough to get you frothing at the mouth, then the game's retro-futuristic aesthetic (think 80s sci-fi movies) should do the trick.

SOMA

Link:SOMA site
Expect to pay: TBA

Frictional Games have already appeared a couple of times on this mega-list, and that's because time and time again they've proven that they know horror – first in the Penumbra games, and then again in Amnesia, an experience some of us will never forget. Soma is their latest first-person scare-'em-up, and after a few days of video teasers involving freaky pre-cognitive computers it was soon revealed to look quite a bit like their previous works...until the Doc Ock-style tentacles make an appearance anyway. Expect creepy experiments, creepier blinking computer-things, and lots and lots of hiding, if Frictional's previous games are any indication.

The Evil Within

Link:The Evil Within site
Expect to pay: TBA

Reasons to be interested in this upcoming survival horror can be boiled down to just two words: Shinji Mikami, the bloke responsible for Resident Evil (the good ones), God Hand and Vanquish, the latter of which have criminally never punched and rocket-boosted their way to PC. The Evil Within is his grand return to horror, and pre-release videos reveal that involves moments of hiding from chainsaw-wielding psychopaths (generally a good idea), shooting and burning zombie creatures and laying traps. Seemingly an apocalyptic horror starring giant Lovecraftian beasties, The Evil Within will apparently be Mikami's final project as director – hopefully he'll leave things on a high note.

The Flock

Link:The Flock site
Expect to pay: TBA

The Flock are twisted things, skeletal humanoids lurking in the deeps of a dead Earth. Now they rise, seeking the solar capsule left by the last humans. Emerging from the shadows in May, teasers for The Flock promise an unusual struggle for survival in an asymmetric multiplayer arena. A handful of players take to the field, and each must battle it out to reach and control the capsule for victory. But there’s a twist. Holding the capsule transforms the player into the Carrier, becoming prey but with a bite of its own. Less agile and weaker than the Flock that chase it, the Carrier can turn the torch-like artefact on assailants to vaporise those in motion. Training the beam on stationary attackers will force them to stay put but leave you vulnerable to Flock not accounted for. Dutch indie Vogelsap promises a tense game of cat and mutant mouse.

Project Zomboid

Link:Project Zomboid
Expect to pay £10 / $15 for early access

For a time it seemed as though the development of Project Zomboid was under the shadow of some sinister curse. The indie development team experienced some severe setbacks culminating in the theft of the game’s source code during a house robbery. The isometric open world zombie apocalypse survival sim is back on track, thankfully, and has recently made it onto Steam’s Early Access program. You must manage your survivor’s mood to stave off the post-apocalyptic blues, keep them well fed, scavenge weapons and build your own strongholds amid the sprawling suburbs. There will eventually be NPCs, and a story to dip into, but the team are keen to first nail down Zomboid’s survival systems to make sure that the game is capable of generating emergent, unscripted horror stories that you control.

Survarium

Link:Survarium site
Expect to pay:

STALKER 2 was never to be, but most of its former developers are keeping the dream alive with Survarium, though a free-to-play arena shooter is hardly the form you’d want a spiritual successor to take. Fortunately, the maps they’ve shown so far are laden with the dilapidated beauty of STALKER’s irradiated wasteland, and Vostok eventually want to turn Survarium into something much bigger and more emergent, with a co-op mode that riffs on DayZ. The prospect of a 40-person server set in a STALKER-esque zone built in a modern engine is worth getting excited about, even if it has to start life as a relatively restricted competitive shooter first. Alpha sign-ups are available if you want to get in early.

Raindrop

Link:Kickstarter
Expect to pay: TBA

This extremely pretty, Unity-built survival horror game failed to reach its Kickstarter funding target this year, but development continues. That’s fortunate, because Raindrop’s golden forests and bleak, deserted concrete wastelands look like a fun place to get lost. You’ll spend a lot of time scavenging to craft weapons (though the developers stress that you don’t have to kill people if you don’t want to), armour and vehicle upgrades as you explore environments that have been in production since 2007, when the two-man team started building Raindrop as a Half-Life 2 total conversion.

Sunless Sea

Link:Sunless Sea site
Expect to pay: TBA

Sunless Sea is set in a dark, procedurally generated underground ocean. You must pilot your customisable ship around its waters, discovering islands, hiring crew and battling sea monsters. There’s plenty of menace in Sunless Sea’s murky, mysterious visuals and the strange creatures that populate the world, and the video for the team’s successful Kickstarter campaign drops a few hints of the horrors to come when it suggests that you’ll “lose your mind, eat your crew” and “quell a mutiny.” It’s being built by Failbetter Games, creators of Fallen London, who list FTL, Don’t Starve and Sid Meier’s Pirates as influences, which means Sunless Sea will hopefully give us a chance to craft some good horror tales of our own.

Darkwood

Link:Darkwood site
Expect to pay: TBA

Darkwood is a top-down survival horror set in, er, a dark wood. After a successful IndieGoGo campaign the three-person team have charged ahead with development of their open world generation technology. You’ll have to craft items from found objects in the various abandoned houses that populate the wood, which is set in the deepest, darkest depths of Europe in the twilight of the 20th Century. Early videos of Darkwood show a rich, sinister atmosphere that’s already laden with menace. Death is permanent, too, to add even more tension. Darkwood is looking for upvotes on Greenlight.

Hellraid

Link:Hellraid
Expect to pay: TBA

Hellraid is basically a demonic, medieval Left 4 Dead. Instead of mindless zombies, you've got the insidious forces of hell. And rather than a selection of sub-machine guns and shotguns, you've got some pointy sticks. Luckily, there are some tricks to help you and your co-op buddies gain the upper hand, including ranged and magic weapons, an RPG inventory and loot system, and character upgrades. By randomly generating the layout of maps and the locations of enemies, the "Game Master" system will ensure the war between good and evil can wage eternal.