Blumhouse Games reveals its first release: A PS1-style horror adventure that promises no jump scares

Fear the Spotlight - Reveal Trailer Summer Game Fest 2024 - YouTube Fear the Spotlight - Reveal Trailer Summer Game Fest 2024 - YouTube
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Production studio Blumhouse announced a move into videogames in 2023 with a new division called Blumhouse Games, which it said will "partner with independent game developers to bring their creative vision to life via original, horror-themed games." Today we got our look at the very first project to come out of that effort, and it certainly seems to fit that billing.

Developed by two-person studio Cozy Pals Games, Fear the Spotlight is a retro-styled third-person survival-horror adventure about a séance that goes very wrong. With your friend Amy missing, it's left to you to explore the dark halls of an old school, solve puzzles, avoid monsters, and get your friend back.

The Fear the Spotlight Steam page describes the game as "Silent Hill for young adults," and somewhat unusually for the horror genre promises no jump scares: Instead, the focus is on story and "a tense creepy atmosphere," which Cozy Pal—which I have to assume is an ironic name—says makes it "a great gateway horror game for those new to the genre."

I'm not exactly new to the genre but I think I appreciate that approach: Jump scares are great when used properly ("great" in this case being a very subjective measure) but they can also really put people off. A proper horror experience without the worry that you're going to be blown backwards out of your chair when the monster jumps out of the closet makes the genre more accessible to everyone, not just newcomers. And it can absolutely work: SOMA, which largely eschews jump scares in favor of absolute crushing dread, is possibly my favorite horror game of all time.

You will notice, if you pop around to the Steam page, that Fear the Spotlight already has 173 user reviews and a "very positive" rating. This, it turns out, is because the game was actually released in September 2023. It was quite well received, but in October Cozy Pal said it had "been given the opportunity to keep working on the game to make it even better," with additions including console versions, better translations and language support, and new gameplay. Where exactly that opportunity came from wasn't specified at the time, but I guess now we know.

(Image credit: Cozy Pal Games (Twitter))

In any event, Fear the Spotlight was removed from sale while the work continued: A new release date hasn't yet been announced, but I think it's fair to say it's back, and hopefully that extra development time will pay off. For now, you can wishlist it on Steam, and if consoles are your thing it's also coming to PlayStation 4 and PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.