With the continuing popularity of horror franchises like Resident Evil and Outlast, it’s no surprise that dozens of new horror titles are now being released every year. Uniquely poised for viral fame on sites like Twitch and YouTube, horror gaming—big-budget hits and indie darlings alike—is entering a new renaissance, and that trend isn’t likely to reverse any time soon.
But, with so many upcoming releases, it can be hard to know which games to focus on. Luckily, some of the horror games arriving in 2022 and 2023 stand out more than others, either because of the developer creating them or their unparalleled premise.
Updated on August 1st, 2022 by Tanner Fox: It’s already been an amazing year for horror gamers; from indie surprises like Silt to the choices-matter slasher movie love letter The Quarry, 2022 has already seen a number of landmark releases debut.
That said, the best is yet to come. With highly-anticipated titles like The Callisto Protocol and the Resident Evil 4 remake slated for release in the next few months, horror gaming hasn’t been this relevant since the advent of Amnesia: The Dark Descent YouTube Let’s Plays roughly a decade ago.
First teased in early 2021, Team Clout’s Ill looked to be a survival horror title capable of superseding Resident Evil‘s reputation for notoriously brutal body horror. The early proof-of-concept snippets made the game out to be something right out of director David Cronenberg’s worst nightmares, but very little concerning the game came out since then.
That was until the game resurfaced during the June 2022 Future Games Show. With an unparalleled visual style that’s extreme beyond extreme, Ill‘s development is still very much shrouded in mystery, but it’s absolutely something fans should be paying attention to in 2022 and 2023.
Inspired by Swiss artist H. R. Giger and Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński, Dark Fracture is a psychological horror that is targeted to release sometime this year. Similar to the obscure 90s game Dark Seed which was developed in collaboration with Giger, this game follows a young man who finds himself at the mercy of powerful creatures from a horrifying parallel dimension.
While working the midnight shift, a strange series of events causes the main character, Edward, to fall into a terrifying world, and it’s uncertain whether the world is simply a hallucination or something all too real. With narrative choices and procedurally generated paranormal events, every playthrough will be unique. But, the main draw of the game is the incredible environmental design that truly emulates the works of the famous artists.
Developed by the hitherto unknown studio Mundfish, Atomic Heart made waves when it was first revealed in 2017, with many fans comparing it to genre pillars like BioShock and Metro 2033. Despite a years-long development process fraught with doubt, Atomic Heart is set to release in Q4 of 2022.
A dystopian atom-punk FPS that looks to be shockingly imaginative, Atomic Heart feels like the culmination of the past two decades of horror gaming. Though an official release date has technically yet to be announced, Atomic Heart should be on every survival horror gamer’s radar.
Bramble: The Mountain King
Inspired by Nordic folklore, Bramble: The Mountain King is a horror adventure set to release in 2023 that follows two siblings who decide to sneak out one night into the nearby forest. While exploring, they find themselves in another mythical world called Bramble which is filled with many types of creatures such as gnomes, trolls, Näcken, and the Skogsrå.
After the young boy’s sister is kidnapped by a troll, the typically shy boy must now gather the courage necessary to travel across an unknown land and save his sister. As the player fights against various bosses and meets some helpful creatures, they will be immersed in a unique world that will offer an unforgettable experience.
Dead Space Remake
The 2008 horror title Dead Space was a pretty out-of-left-field release for the traditionally risk-averse publisher Electronic Arts, but it became a celebrated success that spawned two sequels. Unfortunately, Dead Space was thought to have been D.O.A. since the dissolution of developer Visceral Games in 2017.
Now back from the dead and slated for a January 2023 debut, this updated version of Dead Space looks positively terrifying. A horrific homage to cult classic body horror films like Event Horizon and The Thing, this looks to be an intense outing made specifically for dedicated fans of the genre.
Developed by Sam Barlow, creator of Her Story and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, IMMORTALITY is an FMV horror mystery game scheduled for release in late August. In it, the player is tasked with figuring out what happened to the fictional actress Marissa Marcel. To do this, they must gain access to three unreleased movies starring the actress that were thought to be lost.
True crime and lost media are extremely popular at the moment, and IMMORTALITY taps into these elements, thrilling the player with baroque intrigue and macabre mystery.
Another game inspired by H. R. Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński is the atmospheric survival horror adventure game Scorn. Scheduled to release in October, the game tosses the player into a strange alien world that is made up of a bizarre combination of organic materials and machines. As the player fights various creatures, they will discover that even their guns are a strange mixture of living creature and weapon.
To learn about the world, the player will need to explore the large, interconnected space and pay attention to environmental storytelling. Similar to other Metroidvania games, the player will acquire different items, weapons, and skills that will help them unlock new areas and explore the non-linear world. Each of these areas will have its own story to tell, which means players will be compelled to pay attention to every detail and explore for hours.
The Outlast Trials
Created as the third installment of the Outlast series and a prequel to the previous two games, The Outlast Trials is a survival horror title that places a major emphasis on co-op gameplay. Taking place in the Cold War era, the players are abducted by the Murkoff Corporation so that they can be used as test subjects.
While trying to survive the horrific mind control experiments, the players will be pushed to their limits. Similar to previous installments, players will solve puzzles and run from enemies, but, the addition of multiplayer adds a new layer to the series that many players can’t wait to experience.
Resident Evil 4 Remake
When it released as a GameCube exclusive in 2005, Resident Evil 4 was hailed as an epic new chapter for the survival horror series that retained the tense horror of the originals while upping the ante with tight, precise combat and pulse-pounding action sequences.
The third in Capcom’s current trend of Resident Evil remakes, Resident Evil 4 is scheduled to release in March of 2023, and the reveal trailer makes it out to be a unique beast. Beautifully rendered in the RE Engine, this new iteration of Resident Evil 4 has a chance to be the ultimate combination of classic and modern Resident Evil elements.
The Callisto Protocol
Although EA is currently working on a remake of the original Dead Space, many fans of the franchise are currently more excited for the upcoming third-person survival horror game The Callisto Protocol, which is scheduled to release in December. Strangely enough, the game was initially set to take place within the Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds universe, but that connection has since been expunged from the game’s lore.
After aliens overrun the maximum-security prison Black Iron, the prisoner must try to survive and escape. Since the title is being created by Glen Schofield, who had co-created the Dead Space series, fans are excited to see how this game may make history like its predecessor.
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