Spooky narratives tend to be scarier when experienced alone, and that’s why I’ve always preferred single-player horror gaming. That being said, there’s no denying that multiplayer has taken over videogames over this past decade, captivating players with the unpredictable thrills of online cat-and-mouse matches. Now that horror juggernauts like the Friday the 13th franchise and even Evil Dead have gotten in on the action, lesser-known properties like Full Moon Features’ massive catalog of B-movies have also been getting the multiplayer treatment with projects like October Games’ upcoming Puppet Master: The Game.
Of course, there’s still an untapped well of memorable scary movies that could be translated into entertaining interactive experiences, and that’s why we’ve come up with this list of horror films that their own multiplayer videogame adaptations.
While this list is based on personal opinion, there are a couple of ground rules. First of all, no movies that have already been turned into licensed multiplayer videogames (though other kinds of games are okay). We’ll also be focusing on direct adaptations, so no licensed DLC for titles like Dead by Daylight. Lastly, these entries have been selected according to the potential entertainment factor of a licensed videogame, not necessarily the overall quality of the movies themselves.
As usual, don’t forget to comment below if you think we missed any entertaining horror flicks that would make for entertaining multiplayer games.
Now, onto the list…
6. A Quiet Place (2018)
While you have to accept quite a few logical inconsistencies in order to enjoy John Krasinski’s insanely popular A Quiet Place movies (like how survivors never have to deal with noise-producing bodily functions and the flimsy reasoning for how the aliens differentiate human sounds from natural ones), even the harshest critic has to admit that the films’ sound-based paranoia would make for a great videogame mechanic.
An online title where players are tasked with outsmarting the so-called “Death Angels” during hazard-filled levels sounds like a nail-bitingly intense experience with lots of replay value. You could even have some players take on the role of the blind invaders, searching for prey via some form of sonar-vision.
Another film that could be adapted into a game with similar mechanics would be Tremorsthough the underground nature of the iconic Graboids means that they would probably be less fun to play than A Quiet Place’s Death Angels. On that note, A single-player experience based on A Quiet Place is actually in the works from Saber Interactive, last we heard!
5. Poltergeist (1982)
Masked killers and monstrous creatures can be scary, but what about inanimate objects coming to life and trying to eliminate players as they attempt to rid a seemingly ordinary house of paranormal activity? This thrilling setup is why I think Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist could be the perfect basis for an online multiplayer horror experience where parapsychologists team up to battle a hostile environment taken over by unseen spirits.
Think Luigi’s Mansion meets Ghost Hunters as an online Poltergeist game could allow players to explore haunted houses and perform exorcisms while a phantom puppet master pulls invisible strings and tries to eliminate the conquests. Hell, you could even have a “this house is clean” message pop up onscreen after a successful match-up against the spirits!
4. Child’s Play (1988)
Not only is Death Proof one of Quentin Tarantino’s most underrated features (it’s like a car-based slasher and slasher sequel all rolled into one), but it could also be turned into a kick-ass videogame if put in the hands of a competent developer.
All they would have to do is borrow the hide-and-seek mechanics of titles like Dead by Daylight and combine them with the vehicular madness of classics like Twisted Metal or even Burnout, forcing players to survive thrilling car chases as a murderous stuntman attempts to bring them down in a more horror-centric take on the battle-racing genre.
Of course, there are other films that developers could look to for inspiration when crafting a game like this, such as Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive or even Christine.
2. Dracula (1931)
There have been over two hundred cinematic adaptations of Bram Stoker’s Dracula over the years, with even more set to release in the near future. However, in the world of videogames, the character has only ever shined as the antagonist of the Castlevania series, with few legitimate attempts at bringing Stocker’s gothic yarn to gaming. I think that’s a real shame when you consider how easily this story could be gamified.
In fact, the more a hypothetical Dracula title adhered to Stocker’s original vision, the more fun the resulting game would be. An asymmetrical battle between a close-knit group of protagonists (featuring scholars, vampire hunters and badass doctors) working together to bring down an ancient demon with a fearsome array of supernatural powers could be ridiculously fun without losing track of the human element that made the original story so compelling in the first place.
1. Invisible Man (1933) / Invisible Man (2020)
H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man isn’t just one of the first literary examples of a psychopathic supervillain, he’s also an incredibly versatile character that could easily be inserted into a multiplayer horror game. Think about it: a group of ill-fated players are tasked with tracking down the invisible killer in a closed environment, looking for the faintest traces of an unseen presence as one murderous player tries to remain undetected and manipulates the level in order to defeat his pursuers.
An interactive Invisible Man game would be like virtual hide-and-seek on steroids, with players attempting to outsmart each other in a paranoid experience rivalling even the best matches of Dead by Daylight or Friday the 13th. You could even bring in elements from Leigh Whannell’s more recent adaptation, with the invisibility powers coming from a rechargable hi-tech suit rather than a mysterious serum, giving players more of a fighting chance against the invisible menace.