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Top 10 Best Horror Franchises in Gaming

VO: Dan Paradis

Script written by Trevor Fonvergne

These are the biggest names in the fear department. Welcome to http://Watchmojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Video Game Horror Franchises!

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Special thanks to our users “Swordfi” & “mac121mr0” for suggesting this topic using our interactive suggestion tool at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Video Game Horror Franchises

These are the franchises that remind us just how horrifying video games can be. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 video game horror franchises.

For this list, we’re looking at series of horror games that have at least two games released that are the most memorable, influential, and consistently enjoyable.

#10: “Alone in the Dark” series (1992-)

We begin with the series that laid the foundation for other entries on this list. This series was influential for the survival horror genre, being hailed as an inspiration for “Silent Hill” and “Resident Evil,” which we’ll get to soon. It follows Edward Carnby, who, throughout the series, develops a name for himself as a “Supernatural Private Investigator,” as he deals with mysteries that pertain to the metaphysical. Many of the themes and imagery of the game take inspiration from both Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, giving the games an old-style horror feel. Though the newer games don’t have quite the charisma of the original four, the early games will always be downright iconic.

#9: “Five Nights at Freddy’s” series (2014-)

Hard to believe that in 2 years since it’s inception, this series has already spawned six titles made by one man. The original title started a viral trend of freaking out YouTube Let’s Players, and with its newfound popularity, we’ve seen Freddy Fazbear and friends become household names. While its popularity has also brought its fair share of critics whom are quick to point out the games low production value and lack of free movement, its also brought up a large following of sleuths whom frequently theorise about the franchise’s backstory. Sure its RPG spinoff was a flop, but with a dedicated fan base and a new movie deal, this series is only going to get bigger.

#8: “Outlast” series (2013-)

We had to bend the criteria a little bit with this one, since there’s technically only one game currently, with another coming down the pike. However, in addition to the original game, there’s an add-on entitled “Whistleblower,” which tells a new story in Mount Massive Asylum. A first-person survival horror inspired by the found footage subgenre, the player characters are mostly defenseless, armed with a camera that can allow them to see in the dark. They must avoid the deranged asylum patients as they try to unearth the clinic’s many mysteries. Featuring some of horror’s most disturbing enemies and intense chase scenes, this series has made a name for itself among the best in a relatively short amount of time, and we’re excited to see where the fledgling series is headed.

#7: “Left 4 Dead” series (2008-)

Some of the best horror video games take cues from their parallel cinematic genre, and none do so quite as well as “Left 4 Dead.” The games are cooperative first-person shooters that follow various survivors in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse in various places in the United States. Nothing get the tension than with the sudden barrage of zombies coming at you from all directions and you constantly shoot to survive. But the real fun in the game comes from its various gameplay modes, which feature some of the best co-op shooting to be found, and, let’s be honest, it’s more fun when you’re shooting zombies. Especially that damn witch.

#6: “Telltale’s The Walking Dead” series (2012-)

Many fans of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” find themselves shouting at characters that they’re making a stupid choice. Well, Telltale Games provided those fans with an opportunity to see exactly how they would fare in a zombie apocalypse. This point-and-click adventure is loosely related to the television series, existing in the same universe but features a whole new cast of characters. In this series, the story progression is decided based on choices the player makes, often in split-second, life-or-death situations. You’ll really never feel like you made the right choice, and often there is no right choice, though there are certainly wrong ones. If you end up causing the death of one of your friends, there’s no second chance-they are gone. No pressure, though.

#5: “Clock Tower” series (1996-2002)

Likely one of the most little-known series on this list, all entries feature the Scissorman, a horrifying villain that stalks each protagonist. It differentiates itself from other survival horror games by making the player characters relatively defenseless and forcing them to hide from the dangerous antagonist while solving puzzles to progress the story. Though the series technically ended with “Clock Tower 3,” the game’s presence is still felt, as two spiritual successors, entitled “Haunting Ground” and “NightCry” were released in 2005 and 2016, respectively. (Although the latter wasn’t very good) Quite possibly the most underrated, yet still influential game series in the horror genre, it may be a bit dated now, but no list of horror series would be complete without it.

#4: “Dead Space” series (2008-)
2 parts Resident evil 4 plus 1 part System Shock 2 gets you Dead Space: a perfect and truly unique mix of sci-fi and horror. Set five hundred years in the future, the series focuses on Isaac Clarke, an initially silent protagonist who ends up smack in the middle of an attack from creatures known as Necromorphs, reanimated and disfigured corpses of the dead space station crew. What makes the gameplay in this over-the-shoulder shooter different is that the player must weaken the enemies by dismembering them, rather than just headshots. But be ready to lose your lunch when they manage to kill you – they spent a looooot of time on those death animations.

#3: “Fatal Frame” series (2001-)

Though each entry in Fatal Frame is only loosely connected in terms of story, the gameplay remains similar, utilizing the Camera Obscura to capture various ghost, both malicious and otherwise. After capturing a ghost, the player is able to learn about the ghost’s life, adding a lot of depth to the already unique gameplay. Though it’s a relatively long-running series, it has still managed to innovate gameplay, recently moving to the Wii U, allowing the gamepad to be used as the camera, and a 3DS spinoff that placed the ghosts in the player’s environment. This series really didn’t need to get any spookier, but honestly, we’re happy they did.

#2: “Silent Hill” series (1999-2014)

Many of the previously mentioned franchises owe a lot to this iconic survival horror series. It follows various characters in the titular, foggy town steeped in a complex mythology involving a cult and a young girl with mysterious powers. Most notably, “Silent Hill 2” provides one of gaming’s best explorations of psychological horror, introducing the series’ most memorable and horrifying villain, Pyramid Head. Though some recent games had dipped in quality following a change in developers, fans were filled with excitement when the mysterious and terrifying “P.T.” dropped, which turned out to be a teaser for a reboot titled “Silent Hills”. Sadly with Konami cancelling that project, the series has been left in limbo and costing the series the top spot.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honourable mentions.

“F.E.A.R.” series (2005-14)

“Condemned” series (2006-08)

“Amnesia” series (2010-13)

#1: “Resident Evil” series (1996-)

It was a close call between our top two choices, but “Resident Evil” has consistently transgressed a variety of gaming genres over its lengthy lifetime. Enemies range from zombies to other horrific enemies, almost all of them resulting from experiments from the evil Umbrella Corporation. Although Alone in the Dark definitely laid the ground work, Resident Evil was the first to truly coin the term Survival Horror as a genre. In addition to the main series, several subseries have sprouted from the original games, fleshing out a huge universe spanning over twenty games with no signs of slowing down – let’s just hope they can recapture the magic of the originals with their upcoming releases.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favourite horror video game franchise? For more terrifying top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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