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How Do You Feel About Multiplayer in Horror Games?

For the longest time, multiplayer and horror games were two things that should never, under any circumstances, be brought together. That’s no longer true, as it seems like every other horror game has some sort of multiplayer component. Seeing otherwise great games (Condemned 2, Dead Space 2) get multiplayer modes forced upon them so a publisher could check another box on its list of features had some horror fans understandably upset.

The tides began to turn when games like Dead Space 3, Dead Island and Left 4 Dead were able to use the maligned feature in ways that benefited the experience. Now, the idea seems to be pretty widely accepted.

Asymmetrical multiplayer is a term I’ve started to use more often here as a growing number of developers turn to it as a nifty way to add a multiplayer element to their game without sacrificing how terrifying it can be. It basically means each team has different objectives.

When it comes to horror games, the term usually means one player is being pit against a team of players. Evolve, Depth, Damned, The Flock, Last Year and the upcoming Friday the 13th game are all examples of this.

Multiplayer horror is here to stay, but that doesn’t mean you have to be excited about it. I’d understand if you weren’t. That’s why I’d like to ask you this simple question:

How do you feel about multiplayer in horror games?


  • Phendranah

    Cry of Fear was a horror game with awesome co-op and its STILL scary, even with other people.. Resident Evil however…

  • Justin McGill

    It’s not a very nuanced poll.. Some games are designed and mp can enhance the experience. Online mp for example can be used instead of split screen 2 player (or both). Stuff like evolve, or last year it it’s part of the design and fun of the game. In others as you say it’s just an afterthought. A mode. So there are times and it’s being taken into consideration more now. The downside is the lack of thought for the old single player campaign games which seem rare now.

  • Taboo

    Resident Evil is prime example of how not to do a multiplayer campaign.

  • HMH

    Left 4 Dead and Dead Island Yes
    Everything else No
    I am dreading the new official Friday the 13th game now because it is supposed to be all multiplayer-y

    • Bouncy X

      well in that case it could be fun….. some friends as the potential victims and maybe another as jason? but even if jason is AI, just running around could be fun, could warn each other or whatnot.

  • thedragon803

    I have never had the desire to play multiplayer online, but I have always enjoyed the Horde Mode from the Gears of War games. My brother and I can easily kill a few hours on that mode, and I think wave-based survival modes could really work for horror games if done right.

  • joewaters

    it works for more action horror like doom and left 4 dead but keep that crap away from good horror like silent hill series and RE

    • ThunderDragoon


  • Ashley

    I love playing multiplayer, especially with RE.
    I liked knowing if I fucked up somebody had my back and not some dumb computer programmed player

  • Jonathan Larsson

    A waste of time.

    • Brodequin

      Same here

      • Jonathan Larsson

        I am certain that muliti-player games are a riot in the right genre. But if there’s any good one in the horror genre, I just haven’t experienced it.

        • Brodequin

          I prefer to immerse myself, so i don’t play multiplayer games at all.

  • It’s not really good online with people you don’t know. However, if it’s a really scary game I think it’s a laugh with a few of your mates if you have the TV up loud!

  • Max Dayhoff

    Back in the mid to late 90’s, my dad would sometimes go with me to the pocket change arcade in the Frederick town mall (Maryland) and we would play house of the dead. I’m not well versed in a lot of games but I think if you have an actual person playing as the other character it’s alright. RE5 irritates me though because a lot of times the computer playing as sheva is useless.

  • Chance LeBoeuf

    The problem is no one has ever really balanced these two things properly. You bring up stuff like RE and Dead Space, but those games definitely went in to more action oriented territory. So much, I wouldn’t even call them horror games anymore. It’s the struggle to keep that horror element. Could it even work? Sure, if done right. But I haven’t really seen it happen.

    Maybe a horror game with different kind of multiplayer mechanics could work better. In the vein of things like Dark Souls and Journey for example. Where running in to other players is a possibility, but not a guarantee. Like crossing paths with a stranger than can be a friend, or a possible threat. Knowingly, and unknowingly affecting your experience. It’s hard to explain how this could work, but imagine like the video game mechanic of those type of horror movies that use dramatic tension and paranoia among its characters. Like The Incite Mill, The Mist, Battle Royale, The Thing, etc. stuff like that.

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