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Blumhouse comes to video games with six different indie horror projects

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Blumhouse comes to video games with six different indie horror projects

A new independent video game publisher made its debut in Los Angeles last week: Blumhouse Games, a division of the horror film production company co-founded by director Jason Blum in 2000. Unsurprisingly, its specialty will be horror. During the Summer Game Fest livestreamed presentation, Blum and creative lead Louise Blain announced a slate of six experimental horror games, the first of which, Fear the Spotlight, will be released later this year.

Blum described the game’s label as “a return to our roots, with a focus on indie horror, pushing boundaries and elevating new, original stories.” Like the company’s films, from Paranormal Activity to M3GAN, its games are all low-budget productions with interesting ideas. The list includes Project C, a new project from the creators of the brilliant and unusual cinema game Immortality; Grave Seasons, a farm life game in which one of the townspeople is a serial killer; and Fear the Spotlight, a ’90s-style low-poly horror game about two teenagers and a seance gone wrong, created by a two-person husband-and-wife team.

Zachary Wood, co-founder and CEO of Blumhouse Games Photography: Blumhouse

“It’s a pretty conservative business model,” explains Blumhouse Games president Zach Wood (Elijah’s brother), who has worked in video games for more than 20 years, including eight years at PlayStation during the PS4 era, when the company’s investment The company in the independent games earned it great popularity among gamers. “We don’t need everything to be a success. Everyone can make money with a moderate level of success, and that is very important to us, especially given market conditions. We want to obtain benefits for everyone we work with. “It is important that our development partners have a sustainable business and can continue creating games.”

Crusol: Theater of Idols, from Vermila Studios, part of the Blumhouse Games horror catalog. Photography: Vermila Studios

The release comes at a time when the relationship between film and television studios and video games is closer than ever, thanks to several highly successful video game adaptations. Both Illumination’s Super Mario Bros. movie and HBO’s The Last of Us were made in close collaboration with the game developers who created them. But Blumhouse Games isn’t simply looking to adapt its film IP: its first signings are one-off games that aren’t tied to any franchise (although Blum doesn’t rule out games based on Blumhouse’s own stable in the future, “if the time is right). “. “).

“We were looking for an innovative approach to horror, something we hadn’t seen before,” said Blain, who joined the company late last year. “There’s no prerequisite, we just take what’s interesting… I’ve been a big Blumhouse lover for a long time, and a lot of my favorite Blumhouse movies come from limitations: something like Paranormal Activity, smaller projects they were doing interesting stuff. And when you translate that into games, it means taking different approaches to scary stories.”

Louise Blain, Creative Lead, Blumhouse Games Photography: Blumhouse

The six games Blumhouse has signed on so far are very different, from slow-paced narrative games to gruesome action games like Crucible: Theater of Idols, in which you battle statues of possessed saints in a nightmarish version of Spain. Sleep Awake is described as a first-person psychedelic game: people disappear while they sleep, so all of humanity is trapped in a desperate attempt to stay awake. The Simulation, meanwhile, is a fourth-wall-breaking murder mystery set within a game whose events are eerily connected to reality.

What connects them all? Blain and Wood agree that a good horror game should be an exploration of the unknown. “And a human exploration,” adds Blain. “I think fear is a very common emotion, and when we experience a good horror, we are experiencing a human story that we can relate to. “All of us, as human beings, have individual fears, but good horror takes us on an empathetic journey.”

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