Want to know why no triple-A studio wants to touch 'pure' survival horror these days? Well according to Wasteland, Dead Space, and ZombiU scribe Antony Johnston, it's a matter of "simple economics".Johnston, how penned the story for the original Dead Space and ZombiU, has been dealing with a bit of fan-feedback, to put it mildly, since describing EA's decision to broaden Dead Space's fanbase by incorporating more action elements "a necessary evil". But he recently responded with another blog post, stating that the survival horror genre is simply too small to sustain triple-A interest at this point in time, an that the only way to do it successfully is to think smaller.
"The survival horror market is small," he wrote. "Too small to support huge triple-A titles from major publishers. AAA games cost as much to make as a Hollywood movie, and sometimes more. They have to sell millions — not a million, many millions — to make a profit, and justify their cost. And there just aren’t enough “purist” survival horror fans out there to achieve that, not any more.
"You want to know why games like Resident Evil and Dead Space have evolved to become more accessible, less “pure”? That’s why. Simple economics."
But he went on to say that it isn't all bad news.
"AAA is not the only way. If you only watch the big console market, you may not know about recent indie games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, or Lone Survivor, or Home. These are all great survival horror games, and they are all profitable. Because they are not triple-A.
"Look, this isn’t rocket science. There is money to be made from survival horror games, so long as you don’t spend a fortune making them. And the more people support those small, indie survival horror titles, the more chance there is of other developers taking a similar gamble, maybe even a major publisher or two, and that’s the sort of thing that leads to another boom in the genre.
"But if not? If we only continue as a niche, with superb, terrifying games like Amnesia released every so often? That still sounds pretty damn good to me."
That sounds pretty damn good to us too. But how about you? Can triple-A survival horror make it these days.