Wccftech’s Most Anticipated Horror Games of 2020 – Fright in Full Bloom
2020 is shaping up to be a scary-good year for horror games. Of course, the year features two major horror headliners in Resident Evil 3 and The Last of Us Part II, but there are plenty of other promising games beyond those two blockbusters. The System Shock remake looks to be shaping up surprisingly well, and smaller indie teams are busy cooking up atmospheric chillers like Remothered: Broken Porcelain and Once Upon a Time in Roswell. Here are the nightmares, both big and small, you’ll be tackling in 2020…
Note: Only games with confirmed 2020 release dates are eligible for these lists. Stuff that’s only rumored or speculated to be coming out is relegated to the honorable mentions.
The Last of Us Part II (PS4, May 29)
As I said in my Most Anticipated Action Games of 2020 entry for The Last of Us Part II, how do you follow up on a game that, a) was a landmark for the industry, and b) had pretty much the perfect ending? Of course, if anybody can do it, it’s Naughty Dog. It’s clear they’re swinging for the fences with a darker, more mature story and some pretty amazing new tech.
Naughty Dog has held back on the game’s horror elements – we’ve been given only brief glimpses of TLOU 2’s updated Infected. That said, we know we’ll be getting some terrifying new enemy types, and, of course, there should be some pretty horrifying scenarios featuring the game’s “normal” human characters as well. Honestly, I’m already stressed out about what this game is going to put us through.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain (PC, Xbox One, PS4 & Switch, Summer 2020)
Remothered: Tormented Fathers snuck up on a lot of horror fans back in 2018. Unwieldy name aside, Remothered was a stylish and atmospheric treat, with a satisfyingly twisted story and some surprisingly-solid stealth action reminiscent of the classic Clock Tower series. The game ended on a bit of cliffhanger, but fortunately, the game was successful enough to get a sequel.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain looks to deliver the same Unreal Engine 4 visuals and stealthy gameplay that made the first game a fan-favorite, along with a deeper story, creepy new setting, and some other added elements, like real-time cutscenes. The first Remothered was a bit of a cult hit, but Broken Porcelain could be the series’ breakthrough.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope (PC, Xbox One & PS4, 2020)
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan was a decent enough spiritual successor to SuperMassive Games’ cult-favorite Until Dawn. Granted, Man of Medan had some technical and story issues, most of which can be chalked up to its somewhat limited budget, but it was a solid foundation to build upon. Hopefully SuperMassive steps things up a notch with their second Dark Pictures game, Little Hope. We’ve only seen one rather brief teaser trailer so far, but there’s reason to be optimistic. The game’s story about a small town seemingly bedeviled by witchcraft certainly seems more promising than Man of Medan’s somewhat-goofy ghost ship premise.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War (PC, Xbox One & PS4, February 4)
You shouldn’t expect a whole lot of atmosphere or subtly-built tension from Zombie Army 4: Dead War, but that’s okay – sometimes horror games can just be about the over-the-top blood and guts. And, oh boy, is Zombie Army 4 over the top. This is a game featuring massive undead sharks and tanks literally made out of zombie parts. No, that doesn’t make any sense, but who cares? Intentional silliness aside, this looks like a solid, meaty 4-player co-op zombie killing experience. Can Zombie Army 4 fill the void left when Valve seemingly abandoned the Left 4 Dead series? That remains to be seen, but I think this game has a better shot than you might think.
Once Upon a Time in Roswell (PC, Xbox One & PS4, Late 2020)
There really aren’t enough horror games about aliens, as they can be just as scary as zombies, ghosts, and Lovecraftian horrors from the deep if handled properly. Once Upon a Time in Roswell (previously known as The Peterson Case) takes place in 1947 at the infamous UFO hotspot, but also ropes in other locations and time periods via visions and flashbacks. The Peterson Family has disappeared, and it’s up to you to sort through various memories and hallucinations to find out what exactly happened to them. This isn’t Aliens or even the X-Files – expect a more unique, psychological approach to the subject matter. Once Upon a Time in Roswell looks like it could deliver one of 2020’s most original stories.
Resident Evil 3 (PC, Xbox One & PS4, April 3)
As mentioned in the Most Anticipated Action article, the Resident Evil franchise has been on a roll recently and I fully expect that to continue with the upcoming Resident Evil 3 remake. Now, if we’re being real, Resident Evil 3 was never the best of the classic RE games, but Capcom has promised the new version has been given a more thorough overhaul than Resident Evil 2. Expect dialed-up action, more new missions and set pieces, an expanded role for Carlos, and Nemesis AI that improves on that of Mr. X from the RE2 remake. Oh, and Resident Evil 3 also comes with an all-new multiplayer experience – the asymmetric co-op game Resident Evil: Resistance, which is quite fun by most hands-on accounts. How can you go wrong with a double-dose of evil?
Little Nightmares 2 (PC, Xbox One, PS4 & Switch, 2020)
Little Nightmares was one of the under-the-radar best horror games in recent years. Sure, the game has a cartoony visual style, but it tells a compelling wordless story, and it’s weird, leathery “Muppets gone wrong” enemies are more genuinely off-putting than a lot of more “realistic” horror game monsters. Little Nightmares 2 looks to deliver more of the series’ trademark creepiness, along with a more expansive world, some ghastly new baddies, and a major new feature – co-op play. Sometimes co-op can diminish a horror game’s effectiveness, but the Little Nightmares’ focus on atmosphere over action means it should still be plenty creepy with a friend along.
Maid of Sker (PC, Xbox One, PS4 & Switch, 2020)
I’ve always enjoyed horror games based on traditional myths and folklore, and the upcoming Maid of Sker delivers exactly that. This moody first-person horror game is based on a classic Welsh story and revolves around a woman who has been imprisoned by her father within a creepy hotel. It’s up to you to save her, but dark visions and other horrors stand in your way. Maid of Sker promises to deliver challenging stealth gameplay, as you must evade enemies with super hearing called the Quiet Men, and a replayable storyline that branches depending on your actions. Developer Wales Interactive has a somewhat mixed track record, but Maid of Sker looks to be their most ambitious, personal project to date.
System Shock (PC, Xbox One & PS4, Early 2020)
The original 1994 version of System Shock was a breakthrough for the industry and one of the first games to really hint at the artistic possibilities of the medium. Needless to say, the bar is set very high for Night Dive Studios’ System Shock revival, and by all accounts development has been somewhat rocky. Originally Night Dive wanted to do more of an ambitious reimagining of the game, but ultimately decided to push the reset button and do more of a straight remake.
That seems to have been the correct decision, and most of the recent footage we’ve seen of the New System shock has looked pretty solid. And hey, again, the original System Shock was great – you don’t need to tinker with it that much. Hopefully this remake can bring one of the best horror games ever made to an all-new audience.
Honorable Mentions and Possible Surprises
Horror can be a hard genre to predict, because you never know which indie games are going to come out of left field and be a big hit. That said, Carrion, a reverse horror game which puts you in control of a killer blob, looks promising, and Visage should be great if it ever manages to get out of early access. Also, while I’m not entirely sure how hard it will lean into horror, Death March Club, from the writers of both the Zero Escape and Danganronpa series is one to keep an eye on.
And then there are the games that haven’t locked down a release date. Ghostwire: Tokyo, the new game from Shinji Mikami’s Tango Gameworks, has a ton of potential, and System Shock 3 seems to be shaping up surprisingly well under the leadership of Warren Spector. Both Frictional Games (Amnesia, Soma) and Bloober Team (Layers of Fear, Observer) are also teasing new games as we speak, so yeah, steel your nerves, because 2020 could be a hell of year.
Those are the games you’re going to be creeping through in 2020! Any promising horror games I missed? Round up your own list and share it in the comments!