$60 horror games a tough sell, says Cliff Bleszinski

Former Gears of War developer says "true horror games" will see a resurgence when industry becomes fully digital.

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According to former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski, a $60 horror game like Dead Space 3 is a tough sell. Writing on his personal Tumblr, the longtime game developer claimed such games are more commonly rented than purchased.

"In the $60 disc-based market horror doesn't fly," Bleszinski said. "It's the ultimate 'Campaign Rental' that's played for 2 days and traded in and I'm sure [publisher Electronic Arts] knows this."

Bleszinski added that "true horror" games do exist today (he called out PC games Slender and Amnesia: The Dark Descent as examples), but they will not become prominent until the industry goes fully digital.

He also commented on evolution of the Dead Space series. Bleszinski said what began as a more "confined" horror experience has morphed into something much more broad, and this may not be a bad thing.

"At the end of the day, this franchise feels like it's starting as a solo experience, a solitary and confined horror game, and now it's evolving into much more than that," he said. "You can either fight it or embrace it. I choose the latter, as at the end of the day it's FUN."

Original Dead Space writer Antony Johnston said last week that Dead Space 3's new action focus was a "necessary evil" to broaden the game's fan base. For more on Dead Space 3, check out GameSpot's review.

Discussion

318 comments
Heclogit
Heclogit

$60 is just too much for a video game period.

rob_dAmAgE
rob_dAmAgE

Cliff, the only games I've traded back in are the "super unique space marine" titles you spewed forth..

Ducati996R
Ducati996R

Enough aliens in space. Where is the Fatal Frame HD Collection?

Ducati996R
Ducati996R

Dead Space is doing the same thing that Resident Evil did and Silent Hill didn't. Yea horror is a tough sell that's why people like my parents who have never played video games know about Resident Evil but don't know what CoD is. I see so many CoD shirts at Hot Topic or Spencers opposed to Umbrella omg. Yea there's no money in horror :/

SlimeSwayze
SlimeSwayze

If you call Dead Space 3 an evolution, you are everything that is wrong with gaming.

JBStone1981
JBStone1981

If horror games are a tough sell, then what does he make of the successes of Dead Space 1 and 2? Clearly those were both acclaimed and commercially viable titles. 

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

You know whats a tough sell:

A New system that reads the same kind of format as the old system except that its not backwards compatible.

AiGeeEn1
AiGeeEn1

Regardless, Video games have started out as Single Player and Two Player VS.  It was just after the advent of the INTERNET, that the whole Multiplayer genre was born.  Eitherway, The cost always remained the same, and the OPTION to play "online" is always there. Blezinski's "epic" intellect literally fell off the "cliff" on this one.

sheikweight
sheikweight

Can't say much about his Gears Of War games.  For 59.99 during release day. Love The Contradiction in Terms from his new found "idiocracy" after taking everyones money with all the DLC content his games have put out during those years.

redness19
redness19

Dumb comment by Cliff imo. He basically called out every single player game that doesn't have a 20 hour+ campaign. Why single out Dead Space?

MaskRisen
MaskRisen

Dead Space 3 is an Action game with a horror storyline. What he is basically saying is that buying single player games are a waste of money since they do not have much to offer once you beat them(I.E. buy multiplayer games with a crummy single player campaign attached to it). That  can be true if the single player game is, oh I don't know an 8 hours long campaign(no I won't waste my time with useless side quest). I own a lot of horror games and I play them all because that's my cup of tea. And remember, Horror is a theme. Survival Horror is a game play genre. Don't confuse the two Cliffy B.

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

What he says can apply to any single player action adventure game, like DMC or that new MGR game. Any game that does not have extensive multiplayer or is not a 50 hour rpg, can be rented and finished in a weekend.  I don't understand why he is singling out the horror genre, just does not make sense. 

Marikhen
Marikhen

While the Dead Space franchise might be set in a horror environment Dead Space 3 is not a horror game.  For that matter Dead Space 2 only qualifies as a horror title, at least in my opinion, by the undead skin of a necromorph's teeth.


After reading through the comments here, however, I have to say that I'll be disappointed if Dead Space 3's developers didn't actually bother to make real difficulty settings.  It gets old seeing developers using artificial difficulty in "AAA" games.  Runic did the same thing with Torchlight 2, but Torchlight 2 only costs $20.  When they do more damage and you take less damage that just makes the game harder to stand to play, not harder to play.

poamar
poamar

i'd say there's replay value, which would mean more than a simple rental for a horror game

electronic_eye
electronic_eye

And Dead Space is horror. Period. Anyone who thinks otherwise has either never played any of the games in the series, likes riding hate bandwagons or is so fanboy loyal to certain horror franchises that they discredit other quality entries in the genre.

electronic_eye
electronic_eye

..Mostly going to be rented, where have you been Cliff?! Anyone who follows the game industry knows full well that making a profit on their products is EA's priority #1! And if they knew Dead Space wasn't or isn't going to sell well, they would have run from it like it was a freaking twister.

electronic_eye
electronic_eye

While I do agree with a few of the points he makes, I find his view on merely renting horror games bloated and even a little demeaning. If games like Dead Space (any of the main entries in the series) aren't "worth" 60 bucks, then why did over a million gamers, including myself, BUY the first 2 (visit vgchartz.com for sales #s) and most still have them in their collections, Cliff? I have quite a few friends who have copies of 1 and/or 2 and I know most of said friends have also played them multiple times. Finally, w/ regards to publishers, in this case EA, knowing their horror games are

Scynix
Scynix

I totally agree with everyone else. What does Cliff know? It's not like he's a best selling game developer or anything. Psh. We're all professional developers, we know better.

gregbmil
gregbmil

I bought it!    I don't have much time to play games all the time.   And when I do, I don't always feel like gaming.   So I can't really rent games because they would be late all the time.    I'm only on Chapter 14 and I've had it since launch day.    Then I plan on playing it on co-op.

I just have to say that part 3 is cool, but not nearly as cool as part 2 was


Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I am a little lost on his message. Is he saying games should go all digital? Horror games can't cut it in today's market, but we should create a market where they can flourish? Or is he just defending DS3 as a great horror game?

Horror games are hard to do. Co-op horror games are more than doubly hard. Just because a game doesn't live up to its potential, doesn't mean the potential is bad.

NineteenthCross
NineteenthCross

First thing's first.

1. Give me a break. This guy again? 

2. This Guy is like Uwe Boll telling Martha Stewart what good cooking and home decor is.

3. Look up why Nanashi No Game was never released state side. Nutshell : people wanted to shoot things.

I really love how folks can sit back and justify this nonsense. 

What ever happened to making a game WORTH the price?  Rather than bitch and moan about people selling their games or attempting to milk more money out of the consumer by holding back on the gameplay.

Applying Call of Duty logic to non-call of duty games is where folks have gone wrong. I personally am not a fan of rushing out and buying games just because it's popular.  I like my games to have long lasting appeal. Something Dead Space 3 doesn't.

My PS2 horror games are worth the money I spent on them. The Suffering, Kuon,  Siren.  Fatal Frame 1 , 2 & 3 ,Siren 2 especially since I imported it.  I still play Siren , SH3 and Rule of rose on a regular basis.

Speaking of multiplayer horror games.  Last time I played a good multiplayer horror game was Resident Evil Outbreak.

Now that was a quality multiplayer game, it's a real shame we don't see anything like that anymore.   Personally, I assume that people rather have run and gun like Left 4 Dead than anything where you actually have to support each other.

We've traded out real horror games for faux -horror garbage like Slender (because nobody has any original ideas) , Lone Survivor,  Afraid of Monsters and the countless Silent Hill knock offs (which range from minor to holy crap how have they not avoided a lawsuit)  on the PC platform.  

I'm not hating on the PC as it has horror games like Survival Crisis Z ( which is still longer and more complete than any other zombie survival game on the market to date and yes, it does rip off of Silent Hill but it's acceptable due to the above mentioned.)  and another favorite Set Discrepancy, a horror RPG.


There's a difference between ZOMG LOOK AT THESE MONSTERS ZOMG SCARY and building tension through atmosphere.

Who decided that scary is a bunch of predictable enemies popping out of predictable places? Who decided that scary is ZOMBIES? The Scariest part of Dead Space 3?

The writing of the game .


From Issac slowly turning into Ethan from Heavy Rain to  Wondering why absolutely nobody helped Santos. That was quite single handedly the dumbest moment in the game. There's a tonne of these but none of them stand out as much as that one.

Shoot the monster? Nope.

Stasis the monster? Nope.

Have Ellie attempt to help? Nope.

 Actually attempt to help her? Nope.

 Reach your hand out from 17 feet away and open your mouth like you're trying to help? YES.

The true horror is that someone actually thought this was good writing.


Let alone survival aspects. If people want to know what a real survival game is, go play Raw Danger or Disaster Report, heck. Survival Kids on the GAMEBOY is a good example.

Even the survival aspect of Dead Space 3 is lame.  Don't remix the enemies. Don't change anything. Just reduce the amount of ammo you get? Enemies still die in the same amount of hits. You still do the same exact thing.  Except you now die in a fewer hits.

And then difficulty.  The last time I played a hard game was Demon Souls and Bayonetta. 

 Everything else has been "enemies are 400% stronger, you are now 800% weaker. " No challenge, no change in game play. You just die more. Yay. God. I miss -real - challenges.

Oh, and you know what I find absolutely amazing?

These only online multiplayer games? In a few years, they will be nothing but fancy coasters.  

Example. 

When we lost our phone service due to the snowstorm, I found it funny that for a game with "optional" co-op. I was completely and utterly locked out of areas of the SINGLE PLAYER game unless I was playing in Co-op. If it's so damn optional, why is it held against me in my SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN STATUS?  You can't get the items because it's in the co-op only area. You can't get the weapon /blueprint or circuts unlocks because they're in those areas.

Which is funnier, because my roomie bought Dead Space 3 and I bought Resident Evil 6 , at the same time. And RE6 had a better single player experience with no internet than DS3.


SvTsc27x
SvTsc27x

someone needs to bail out gamestop. i would if i had the money to spare. cause with out game stop we would NOT have cool games or system to play.  sick of seeing some of my favorite places going out of bussiness.  so i do stuff about it when i see someone robbing someone  blind. NAH MEAN.  just like i know who was helping gamestop go out of bussiness. alone with who was breaking into The U OF M. stealing everyone sh t. alone with stuff i work hard for that was getting stole out where i stay. while i was a SLEEP.  so i did something about it.  LONG LIVE ALL THE GOOD RACING GAMES  like NEED FOR SPEED.  good games with dame good storyline.

SvTsc27x
SvTsc27x

looks like some one needs to bail out game stop.  i would if i had the money to spear.

Kingjames11
Kingjames11

Is anyone tired of the whole "when Cliffy B. speaks the whole gaming world needs to listen" trend? Who is it that's hanging on this guy's every word anyway?

JulyAeon
JulyAeon

evolution...????  devolution more likely. pushing people into mp is quite a horror to me.

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

oh, i thought he meant horror games like Duke Nukem were a hard sell. it certainly was a horror game, but in a different sense.

bolomd_basic
bolomd_basic

The problem isn't that horror games can't sell.  Gaming fans will always be willing to pay for a good experience of any kind, horror or otherwise.  The problem is that good horror is hard to do, and there haven't been any good horror games worthy of $60. FPS games are the most brainless games that I can think of.  They don't require a tenth of the ingenuity and creativity that a good horror game requires.  Any clown shop with a few talented people can put out a decent FPS.  Horror requires creative art design, music composition, etc.  FPS games are just shooting galleries.

RogerioFM
RogerioFM

That, is the most idiotic thing I ever read. Horror games sell fine, the thing is, we don't have a lot of horror games anymore, yeah, indie games are carrying the horror torch, and this is because indie devs are the only ones doing it. RE is not horror, DS is not horror either.

We never abandoned the horror genre, games abandoned it. So, yeah, keep believing horror does not sell, believe that piracy is destroying games. Anything that makes you happy. At least we got indie devs, it's good to know someone still has balls in the market, the courage to makes us scary. 

Keep making action games Cliff, next time you do an actual horror game, I might actually give more attention and respect to what you have to say;

DarthLod
DarthLod

Except DS3 isn't a horror game Cliff, not anymore. I am passing on this game anyway. DS belongs Single Player only, just like Assassins Creed should be (which I also quit buying), and all the other Single Player games adding tacked on Multiplayer crap!!! No CLiff, not everyone WANTS Multiplaye rand Co-Op, some people just want a good lengthy SINGLE PLAYER game. You know, like we used to get in Quake 2 and Hexen 2.....

Wrathesoul
Wrathesoul

Simple point Cliff Bleszinski is its hard to sell HORROR when none of you game makers as of quite a long time  now have made anything even slightly scary with the exception of maybe Amnesia the dark descent. Make a truly scary game and it will sell like mad.. Keep making games that couldnt scare a 6 year old kid and you will not. Simple as that.

grbolivar
grbolivar

Especially if you REMOVE content from the game to sell it later as "DLC"...

JoiLambell
JoiLambell

Good to see. more and  more people beeing aware and commenting  about beeing unhappy with what major companies are doing to the game industry !

We don´t ask much from them, just give us a product worthy of calling it a game and in return get our support. Now, start adding useless overpriced DLC, passes, dumbing down content, destroying classics and so on and so forth... ( i´ll never get tired of saying this), and things could be much better for companies, instead, most of the major companies put all their effort in how to abuse their costumers.

Well... 

All im asking now is for a miracle, say, 2 or 3 major companies go down hard bankrupt, for all of the abuses done to gaming industry, and that would be a lesson for the coming companies.

That would happen in "my perfect world" heh, but you never know "the higher they go the harder they fall"...

pizzaman107
pizzaman107

Damn it gamespot stop making such a big deal out of anything Blezinski says

Skakruk
Skakruk

Action is good.No doubt about that. But i just cant see origin run on my pc. And I also I can't stand microtransactions, which, in the end, will nullify game experience (read - fu** up everything). So I downloaded pirated game.

mattress805
mattress805

If they raise the price of games to 70$ per title, which I hope they don't, it's gonna be a rocky road for console makers this fall, when the next gen starts. Gamers should be awarded with ample free dlc for paying what we pay now for a new game. Instead of rewarding loyal customers with complimentary dlc..console makers choose to spend a lot money and R&D on making sure those who cant afford new games, cant get them preowned at all. I guess Microsoft and Sony never heard about Aesop's fable called the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs ,,,because thats what the video game industry is analagous to in its current business model. Getting rid of used games, and attaching one disc to one console, etc., I predict, would be disastrous for the video game industry when new game cotst 60$ plus tax. Just like it was for the farmer that killed his hen that laid a golden egg every day because he though he'd have a chunk of gold inside it....instead he had nothing...and had killed a for sure thing.. lol

AdrianWrz
AdrianWrz

I was Original Dead Space, with newer Story.  That all i ask from this franchise...

If i want FPS i got 50+ too choose from.  If i want Horror i can count it on my fingers in last 1-2 years that came out that be considered good "Horror" and something that actually makes me feel scared.


When Dead Space came out... every night till i beated the game (lights off + headphones + close the door)

I took my time in exploring and checking out the areas and i got to say... it was one of best this gen horror games i experienced.


I am SICK OF FPS games... that all gaming industry been focusing their attention on lately...

Picked up Ni No Kuni in Janurary and i was like... well Dam Japan still knows how to bring out a game you actually can enjoy.... instead of feeling like it a clone of another clone with more cloning involved of another FPS...

Got my hands on Fire Emblem and planing on getting Etyrian Odyssey 4 maybe in Feburary

Next game on my list.... In March Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for 3DS, might even pick up Wii U just for that Game to experience it in best graphics... 


Than i got Soul Hackers and Pandora's Tower in April, t


han in May i am picking up Last Of Us cause it actually looks decent


and that ladies and gents is what i consider smart shopping.

Ferg1213
Ferg1213

Yeah Cliff you would say that, because you shat all over Gears - what was once a great game/universe. 

SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

Want to make games more profitable in any genre?  Try reducing the number of flashy non-interactive cut-scenes that require a Hollywood budget to produce.  Focus on gameplay over presentation.  Reduce the price to $40 and still turn a profit.  Lately if a game download is over 10GB I get worried, because it usually means endless cut-scenes with sub-par game play.  Games like Minecraft has proven that it's possible to make a popular game even with low-res graphics. 

Freboy
Freboy

I agree. All game developers should just focus on competitive multiplayer shooter games with a light cover mechanic, an upgrade system with microtransactions and a barebones single player campaign. Who wants to spend $60 on anything other than that?

KillzoneSnake
KillzoneSnake

I paid 70 euros for this game thats like 100 dollars... gaming too expensive. i rather wait for price drops and GOTY editions from now on.

Lothos_Delion
Lothos_Delion

Lets face it 49.99 was a whole lot easier to swallow than the 60.00 price tags. I just hope they keep the price down on the next gen. As I will be hard pressed to pay one dollar more than what is currently the norm.

SvTsc27x
SvTsc27x

@NineteenthCross  TRY DOOM 3 . or THE METAL GEAR GAMES. or HEAD HUNTER. REDEMPTION.or DUKE NUKE EM. THE old and NEW FEAR DEMO KICK AZZZ TOO have NOT play the whole game of FEAR just the DEMO.. FEAR IS A GOOD GAME. If you want a CHALLENGE. and GOOD GAME PLAY. when it comes to FIRST PERSON SHOOTER's OR THRID PERSON SHOOTERS. some of the older games got Puzzles in them so it don't matter if you kill everyone. it more about using your head to beat the game and MASTERING IT with no CODES.  the only shooter game i have ever had to use a CODE For is DOOM 3. always run out of ammo so if i use the code i don't call it CHeating .its impossible to get threw that game with out using a ammo code. or weapon code. the other type of shooters games you got  to get to the next level by probleming solving. to get to the next LEVEL. KIND of like TOMB RADIER. ANGEL OF DARKNESS. OR THE GOOD OLD DEAD TO RIGHTS. always love THE BOMB PART where you got to D FUSE THE BOMB before it BLOWs Up. with a time LIMIT. TOM CLANCY GAME ARE know for that too. Like SPINTER CELL. VERY GOOD GAME. MASTER THAT GAME.

Mabrry
Mabrry

@DarthLod Dead Space 3 does not even have to be played in coop and from what i've read, the game is pretty lengthy for a third person shooter. Sure, it's more action now, but I do think there are brief horror moments in the game. Dead Space will always be one of my favorite franchises. 

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@DarthLod Except, these days, people finish those single-player games and trade them in in the same week, meaning that used copies show up and start eating into the devs' revenue. So they start shoving in multiplayer modes and day-one DLC (And season passes) in an effort to prevent an instant trade-ins.

kabOOOm92
kabOOOm92

@KillzoneSnakeyeah i hate the fact that games in europe are so damn expensive. last gen we paid 50-60 euros for new games, this gen 60-70. lets just hope they wont charge 80 for a game next gen.

Teddy_Bear123
Teddy_Bear123

@KillzoneSnake Where do you get ur games from?  Harrods.

You can pick any game up online for 40/45 euros, if you shop around.

NineteenthCross
NineteenthCross

 @Mabrry @DarthLod


Actually, if you want to earn your unlockable items and see all the audio logs and text files, you have to play in Co-Op. It's not really optional.  

Otherwise, the only thing you'll unlock in game from playing offline  is the Legend Suit and 4 different + 3 Circuit Parts.

Everything else that is unlockable via pick-ups and audio logs unlock the following : Hostile Environment Suit , Flight Suit , Deep Dig Suit ,MK-II Overclocked Frame Set ,MK-II Overclocked Tip Set , MK-II Overclocked Module Set , MK-II Overclocked Attachment Set , EarthGov Circuit Set ,Unitologist Circuit Set , S.C.A.F. Circuit Set, Alien Circuit Set , Research Circuit Set ,Comms Circuit Set , Crafter's Circuit Set ,Builder's Circuit Set.

When this game ends up mothballed in a few months, good luck unlocking anything when people stop playing.

But knowing the "Good " folks at EA, they probably already have a DLC planned to unlock all this stuff offline.

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

@Daemoroth @DarthLod For the record I still own DS1, and it is the best one. Also, their adding mp, dlc, and microtransactions to make more money, nothing more.