Existing Horror Franchises Continue To Impress
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The Outlast Trials
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Perhaps the most interesting examples of the best horror games in 2021 are some of the mainstay franchises, still iterating to this day. Resident Evil Village is the prime example of this; the franchise made a significant change with Resident Evil 7, and Resident Evil Village carried that tradition while harkening back to previous entries as well. Capcom producer Peter Fabiano mentioned the game was borrowing inspiration from Resident Evil 4, which is pretty clear in the setting and gameplay design as well.

House of Ashes, the third entry in the supposed eight-game-long horror game series, continues the series' ambitious stretch with a similarly successful entry. Regardless of whether or not The Dark Pictures Anthology meets the same acclaim as Until Dawn, House of Ashes still shows the series of games is still going strong. House of Ashes carried a similar degree of intensity as Until Dawn, and even if it never reaches quite the same balance between thrilling and campy, it's still a compelling entry in the series. With The Devil in Me set to end the first season of the Anthology, House of Ashes continues to move the series along at a good pace.

Another surprise was Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water Remaster on Switch, a notoriously mediocre Wii U game that was recently remastered for modern consoles. Even if this wasn't the most popular entry in the Fatal Frame franchise, franchise producer Keisuke Kikuchi hopes and believes that this recent remaster could lead to a new entry in the Fatal Frame horror franchise. Fans do consider Fatal Frame to be generally underrated, Maiden of Black Water included, but a new entry could help remedy that.

There are also some horror-adjacent experiences, like Metroid Dread, where elements of horror are injected into existing foundations. However, mainline horror experiences like these (and others) have a bright future ahead of them, assuming 2021 is an indication of the future of existing horror franchises.

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