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When I sit down to play horror games, it has to be nighttime. I turn off every light in my place and make sure the sound is way up. When a horror game I’m waiting to play comes out I actually refuse to hang out with people so I don’t get interrupted, and I will absolutely not let anyone come over “just to watch.” I’m very selfish when I’m in horror game mode.

When I think about what I love about horror, I approach it from two different angles: as the Game Director on The Evil Within 2, and as a gamer. As a developer, I just love that it means a genre exists where I get to make these types of games! As a gamer, it’s one of the only genres where I get an actual emotional connection to the game. Not from a story perspective, but having your heart race and your palms sweat because you are so engrossed in the atmosphere is so unique to this genre.

I know I’m biased because I worked on the game, but the scenes in City Hall in The Evil Within 2 represent basically everything I love about horror. The slow build-up of dread… The first time it came together with the audio and everything, we just knew it would be great.


I play horror games like I watch horror movies: from the comfort of my home. And if things get uncomfortable, I take a break a watch a few minutes of some sitcom episode before I continue. And so it goes until I’m getting ready for bed. Then I watch a few minutes of TV – which usually becomes a few episodes of a relaxing show – until I’m finally able to turn the lights off and go to sleep.

My relationship with horror is complicated. I like the genre and the excitement of it all, but I need a good balance of “safe” moments in the horror games I play, and it goes without saying that I prefer the “safe” moments long and the “non-safe” moments short. I think that’s one thing I appreciate the most about The Evil Within 2. Even though you’re never really safe, you can use the more open world to kind of catch your breath when you really need it. That’s also what makes the really tense moments even more tense.

There’s one moment early on in The Evil Within 2 where you turn around and see a bunch of hanging bodies covered in white sheets. For me, the less prepared I am for something frightening to happen, the scarier it is when it does. I was not prepared for those bodies.


When I do play horror games, I use headphones and sit in a dark room. However, stuff like that works too well on me… I can barely stand it and stay disturbed for days. There are nights afterward when I cannot sleep. During the film IT, I shrieked so loudly during one scene that the lady next to me spilled her drink. The ropes in Fatal Frame made me afraid to walk down the hallway.

Horror games destroy me. The “underpowered” vulnerability is too much; the creeping dread, and the body horror perversion just chip away at my sense of well-being. There’s something about my suspension of disbelief that is very strong, which makes fantasy of different flavors very powerful for me, but horror takes it over the edge.


I would love to say I’m hardcore enough to play horror games in total darkness with headphones on, but I gave that up in late 1999 when I broke a desk lamp while flailing about in fear one night. (Thanks, System Shock 2. Your monkeys still owe me a lamp.) Nowadays I stick with a lights-on setup for the safety of myself and others.

I have a very vivid memory of playing Fatal Frame 2 in my living room at 10am on a Saturday morning years ago – bright sunlight streaming in through the windows. It was a beautiful day. I played for about 20 minutes before I set down my controller, calmly got up and walked down the hall and woke up my roommate. “I NEED TO YOU WAKE UP BECAUSE I HAVE SCARED MYSELF AND I NEED A LIVING HUMAN BY ME. THANK YOU.”


I have to play horror games with my wife in the room, the lights on and the sound turned way down low. I get so riled up while playing that I have to hope I don’t have nightmares when I finally simmer down. But that’s not to say I don’t appreciate the genre. I actually really do. It’s so creative. The stories are always so different and how they get told always throws you for a loop.

I haven’t played all of The Evil Within 2 yet, but I did get the chance to play some of it a while back. I won’t ever forget being introduced to Stefano. Such a cool concept for a character and creepy environment!


I play all horror games in a dark room, only at night. I go all-in for the immersion. I crank up the surround sound, no headphones. And I always play them alone; I can’t have anyone watching or talking to me. A great horror game – played correctly – can really frighten me. Horror games should check the system time and not let you play if the sun is still up!

When I play horror games, I try to put myself into the experience. I try to get really “into it.” Once I get mentally and emotionally invested in the game, then all the jump scares and panic-inducing running from bad guys is so much more intense.