Horror Games: Third vs. first person (I need your Honest opinion)

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by KahunaDrake KahunaDrake 1 year, 6 months ago.

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  • #6306
    KahunaDrake
    KahunaDrake
    Participant

    It’s late but I’m hoping for some perspective.

    What is more scarier/immersive for you in a horror game: Third person or First person?

    I’m asking this because I’ve been sketching out a horror game I want to create in the future for a couple of months now and I’ve hit a block concerning perspective.

    Both work for me in their own ways and its gotten to the point where I have two different games:

    Scenario 1 (First-person): Isolated atmosphere, very tense. You have to survive a night with something/one stalking you and you can’t leave a certain location (No. I am not talking about Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza with those damn animatronics). If I make this it might be a free demo to show off my capabilities for a future crowd-funded project (trying to make as much of my games on my own as possible without outside assistance).

    Scenario 2 (Third-person): Isolation with some periodic character interaction. Surreal and tense, you never know what/who you might meet. A lot more environment/setting exploration and lore/story behind this one. Your character is defined and fleshed out. Plot: They are looking for someone but become caught in something bigger. Possible puzzles/combat.

    Sorry if these descriptions sound incredibly vague but I gotta keep somethings a secret.

    Anyways, one rule they tell you about indie game development is that “if you want to make games, you need to play them”. For inspiration, I want to do a playthrough of Silent Hill 1-4 and Eternal Darkeness: Sanity’s Requiem. You can kind of see my dilemma here because both are third-person.

    So far, feedback has been:

    First person: immersion at the cost of character (more of a blank slate)
    Third person: More connection to character and character development but may not be as immersive.

    Tell me what you guys think. Thanks!

    Rabid ecstasy, 1997

    #6308
    Jakob Morris
    Jakob Morris
    Participant

    For first person horror games you should definitely play Amnesia and the Penumbra series. And I wouldn’t knock going both first person and having character either. The Thief series did that really well.

    #6309
    V-Tundra
    V-Tundra
    Participant

    I’d say that it would depend on the type of horror or ambience you’re planning to put into the game, since different styles of horror have more gimmicks that can be applied to either 1st or 3rd person.

    If I were to make a 1st person horror game, I’d use a simple atmosphere like a cemetery, an abandoned house, a forest or a lake. For a 3rd person horror game, I’d use a more interactive and more expanded world; like a village, a castle, a mountain or a cavern. It would also depend on the monsters you want in your game. If you want them gruesomely detailed, I’d go for 1st person, but 3rd person gives out to more “surprises”.

    I’d say it depends on the type of world the player is set in. If I could recommend some games for inspiration, I recommend the first Resident Evil, Dementium: The Ward and Penumbra: Black Plague.

    (If I could give a small idea, if you were to make a 3rd person horror videogame, a cool setting would be a sort of dream world; where the player is trapped in his own mind fighting the manifestations of his worst nightmares)

    "The universe is one big joke, and the joke is on us"

    #6314
    Shinra Kuroki
    Shinra Kuroki
    Participant

    I prefer 3rd person. I find there are a lot of RPG Maker horror games that do so many things that tripple A horror fails to deliver on. A huge thing that is missing from current horror games is death variety. 1st person usually has you fall down while everything turns red, which is not scary! I like games who get creative. Crush the character with a giant boulder, chop off their limbs, make a giant monster pop out forth from their gut. I should be feeling sympathetic pain with the main character & most 1st person views don’t put work into animating those death scenes that should be sending chills down the players spines.

    Also third person tends to have better lighting. I hate the whole darkest dark that you ever darked around in garbage of most indie horror 1st person games. The darkness should be around the monster, wearing it like an ephemeral cape. Some areas should be really dark, but not all of them. Going from a well or decent light area to a dark & foreboding one instantly makes people start to panic a little. If the whole stupid game is dark, people just get acclimated to it.

    "Now, I’ve forgiven the world and myself, too. I teach myself to smile again. One day I’ll get there, I know I will. Even if it takes me not nine, but nine hundred lives." -Susan Ashworth from The Cat Lady

    #6315
    Jake_L
    Jake_L
    Participant

    Hmmm. I’mma have to side with O-Tundra here, it’s a matter of design principle. Different aesthetics require different approaches to perspective, but it isn’t as black and white as that. Honestly, I’ve had enough of first-person horror games. Grew up with games like Penumbra and Amnesia — fuck it, pure horror games in bore me more than they scare me. These days I get more out of survival-horror, but I digress.

    #6316
    LaughingMan
    LaughingMan
    Keymaster

    As much of a chicken-shit as I am with third-person (Haunting Ground, Fatal Frame, Silent Hill, etc) I just can’t do first-person (Amnesia, Silent Hills PT, Clive Barker’s Undying, etc). So if you’re in the first-person, you can really lose yourself in the atmosphere much easier and more effectively.

    #6317
    Mr.K
    Mr.K
    Participant

    As much of a chicken-shit as I am with third-person (Haunting Ground, Fatal Frame, Silent Hill, etc) I just can’t do first-person (Amnesia, Silent Hills PT, Clive Barker’s Undying, etc). So if you’re in the first-person, you can really lose yourself in the atmosphere much easier and more effectively.

    Kinda like the idea you had during the Freddy’s podcast of an abandoned carnival?

    "The world is merciless and it's also very beautiful."

    #6318
    KahunaDrake
    KahunaDrake
    Participant

    For first person horror games you should definitely play Amnesia and the Penumbra series. And I wouldn’t knock going both first person and having character either. The Thief series did that really well.

    Interesting. Not saying first-person games can have a fleshed out main character, but in more modern horror games it’s just player insertion. I’ll have to give this more thought.

    If you want them gruesomely detailed, I’d go for 1st person, but 3rd person gives out to more “surprises”.

    Yeah, my enemy is “gruesome” in Scenario 1 but the Silent Hill series was in third person and their monsters were still nasty as hell.

    If I could give a small idea, if you were to make a 3rd person horror videogame, a cool setting would be a sort of dream world; where the player is trapped in his own mind fighting the manifestations of his worst nightmares)

    Funny, I am playing around with a surreal concept as an unrelated mini-project now.

    I should be feeling sympathetic pain with the main character & most 1st person views don’t put work into animating those death scenes that should be sending chills down the players spines.

    I agree with you on this front, Shinra. I think third-person helps you connect more with a character than first person because first person is yourself.

    Also third person tends to have better lighting. I hate the whole darkest dark that you ever darked around in garbage of most indie horror 1st person games. The darkness should be around the monster, wearing it like an ephemeral cape. Some areas should be really dark, but not all of them. Going from a well or decent light area to a dark & foreboding one instantly makes people start to panic a little. If the whole stupid game is dark, people just get acclimated to it.

    Spot on! I think indie’s are particularly guilty because of lack of proper skill/lazyness/time constraint. Atmosphere is everything to me and I think lighting is an important element. P.T. knew how to use lighting to convey different tones/emotions.

    Honestly, I’ve had enough of first-person horror games. Grew up with games like Penumbra and Amnesia — fuck it, pure horror games in bore me more than they scare me. These days I get more out of survival-horror, but I digress.

    Yeah, first-person can digress into “walking-simulators”. I like the old-school survival horror game because of puzzles gives it gameplay elements than just running away/hiding.

    As much of a chicken-shit as I am with third-person (Haunting Ground, Fatal Frame, Silent Hill, etc) I just can’t do first-person (Amnesia, Silent Hills PT, Clive Barker’s Undying, etc).

    Yeah, we know how much of a fraidy cat you are, LM :p jk Honestly, a guy offered to show me some horror games on the Oculus and I had to politely decline. Don’t think I’m ready for that yet lol.

    So if you’re in the first-person, you can really lose yourself in the atmosphere much easier and more effectively.

    Hmm..

    Interesting and thoughtful answers, guys. It seems I have a lot to review on the pros/cons of each perspective. As it stands, what is effective horror depends on the type of gamer. For example, my uncle loves Resident Evil but thinks Silent Hill is boring as shit.

    Rabid ecstasy, 1997

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