Life after death - how P.T.’s untimely demise has spawned a new breed of first-person horror

Long corridors. Dirty mirrors. Gruesome ghosts. The haunted house is an ageing horror game setting, but 2014’s P.T. (playable teaser) for Silent Hills turned the trope on its head with stunning graphics and severe first-person claustrophobia. Then it was snatched away, cancelled by Konami, leaving us bereft and heartbroken.

A firm line seems to have been drawn under that title, but similar games are emerging. Take Allison Road, currently in development by Far From Home, and SadSquare Studio’s Visage. Both of these indie survival horrors are widely considered spiritual successors to P.T., vengeful female ghost and all. While they don’t quite hold a candle (or rather, stuttering flashlight) to Lisa’s bloated face, they’re still terrifying leading ladies.

Drawing comparisons between these games is inevitable, but writing off the newcomers as P.T. clones would be unfair. Their designs certainly invoke the same spine tingles, but there are enough hints at original, lovingly crafted backstories to set them apart. Plus, both Allison Road and Visage are beautifully polished for homegrown projects, and their support on Kickstarter testifies a demand for this strain of survival horror. The people have spoken.

Some big names are steering in the same direction too. Resident Evil 7 revisits grotty corridors, decaying furniture and grisly faces in its early demos with a bold switch to first-person view. It’s an interesting departure from the third-person shooter style; a necessary change for PS VR compatibility.

But with the evolution in trends and the technology to enrich them, there’s a nasty possibility brewing in the back of my mind. Is this the end of the third-person horror game? (That question might well be the scariest part of this article.) Well, this writer doesn’t think so. Full-bodied heroes and our attachment to them defined classics such as old-school Silent Hill and Project Zero, not to mention modern blockbusters such as The Last Of Us. Sure, it’s time to embrace the era of the P.T. disciples, but let’s still cry out for third-person titles, too. The Evil Within 2, anyone?

This article originally appeared in Official PlayStation Magazine. For more great PlayStation coverage, you can subscribe here.

Rhiannon Rees
During her first playthrough of P.T., Rhiannon Rees discovered her calling as a professional ‘fear quitter’. It’s like the rage quit, only more frequent and with profusely more sweating and heart palpitations.