开发者谈恐怖游戏制造紧张氛围的7个必要元素

开发者谈恐怖游戏制造紧张氛围的7个必要元素

原作者:Daniel Jones 译者:Willow Wu

我们这些玩家之前还在担心恐怖游戏是不是被那些偏爱动作游戏的发行商遗忘在脑后了,从《生化危机5》《生化危机6》等类似的游戏就可以看出原来那些做生存恐怖游戏的开发者许多都转向了以动作为主的游戏。

我的意思不是说动作游戏不好,《生化危机4》的主要玩法也是以动作元素为基础的枪战和格斗,获得了玩家的一致好评。有些人认为它是有史以来最好的恐怖游戏之一。事实上,IGN对PS版本的《生化危机4》给出了9.8的评分,这对恐怖游戏来说真的是非常高了。

在我看来,很多恐怖游戏的评分一般都没有常规的动作游戏高,电影也是如此。或许这就是为什么行业人士想放弃恐怖游戏,寻找一个更吃香的游戏类型。由此我们可以引出一个值得思考的问题:一个优秀的恐怖游戏应具备什么样要素?

我认为,能让一款恐怖游戏载入辉煌史册涉及到一个关键的元素:紧张氛围。恐怖电影和小说也是同样的道理,紧张氛围的塑造能决定一个作品的成败,它也是恐怖剧情的基础。

以下是我认为在恐怖游戏中塑造极致紧张氛围的7个关键因素。

Ashley-Graham-from-Resident-Evil-4(from debugdesign)

1)孤立

在你玩过的恐怖游戏中,有哪些是主角身边有很多角色陪伴的吗?我想应该很少吧。人数增加,甚至是只有多一个人,游戏的紧张氛围就大打折扣。同类数量多总是能让人感到安全,群居也是人类生存的一大策略选择。因此,要给玩家、观众或者读者制造最紧张的恐怖氛围,那就让他们脱离舒适区,独自冒险。

比如《生化危机5》《生化危机6》,游戏中的多数时间都是有伙伴陪同的。玩家在这些场景中不会感觉很紧张,游戏自然也就不恐怖了。即使是在《生化危机4》中,主角大部分时候也和Ashley一起行动。但是在这个例子中,配角陷入困境也能在一定程度上增加紧张的气氛。

2)资源缺乏

恐怖游戏总是有很多怪物,还有不知道从哪冒出的巨多食尸鬼,而武器、弹药和医疗物品从来就不多给。这是游戏开发者的最主要的设计手段之一,尤其是生存恐怖游戏。

想象一下,你身处寂静岭的一个黑暗小镇,但是你有一支子弹无限量的机关枪和火箭发射器,这样根本就毫无压力。打偏了也没关系,换个弹匣再战。

对玩家加以限制,他们就会一直留心这个问题,不断调整策略,在已经焦头烂额的情况下又压下一块大石。医疗物品也是同样的情况。给太多,玩家就会毫无顾忌地去战斗,不讲究策略;给太少,玩家就会尽力避免冲突,少了很多刺激体验。关键在于如何找到合适的平衡点。

在我玩过的众多游戏中,最令人紧张的时刻就是在对抗敌人时,你手上没有足够摧毁它的资源,或者只剩一点血,再一击就能让你彻底失败。

3)光效

黑暗的地方往往藏着最可怕的怪物,恐怖游戏也是如此。

恐怖游戏的紧张感大多来源于对未知的恐惧。我在玩《死亡空间》《寂静岭》这样的游戏时,常常会调高亮度来缓解紧张。

然而,我们还是得说到尺度问题。游戏利用我们孩童时期内心对黑暗的恐惧,产生令人窒息的恐怖氛围。但光线不足也会惹恼玩家,太暗了就玩不了。

Nofilmschool.com详细讲解了8个令恐怖电影更加吓人的光线设计技巧。这同样也能应用到恐怖游戏上:

·向上照射的光线

·剪影

·聚光

·朦胧的光线

·明暗对比

·投射阴影

·从物体内部视角拍摄(比如钥匙孔)

·透过物体拍摄(比如玻璃墙、窗户等)

4)镜头角度

在恐怖游戏中利用不同的镜头角度可以制造不同的氛围。近些年,更多游戏使用的是自由旋转的镜头或者是第一人称视角。这样的恐怖游戏会更有身临其境的感觉。然而,开发者们确实需要耗费更多心思确保某些内容不会露馅,维持游戏的神秘、紧张感。

比较简单的做法就是使用固定镜头角度。早些年的PS游戏,比如《生化危机:代号维罗妮卡》和《恐龙危机》都是使用固定镜头,让玩家战栗不已。隐藏的敌人对主角来说是目光可及的,但是坐在屏幕前的玩家就不一定了,所以玩家每次过走廊都悬着一颗心。

5)音乐

事实上,音乐大概是开发者在制造紧张气氛时最被低估的一个武器了。在没有任何声音的情况下,开发者有时很难光靠画面表现出想要的效果。有了背景音乐和音效我们才能猜测之后会遇到什么。

充满悬疑的音乐会让玩家提心吊胆。即使角落那边没有敌人或者吓人的东西,仅仅是猜测之后场景就足够让玩家紧张了。另一方面,音乐也可以起到放松作用,让玩家缓一缓,防止他们玩到后面都麻木了。

就像之前说的,尺度把握不好就无法制造紧张。其实这就好比圣诞节(虽说这个类比有点奇怪),如果每天都是圣诞节,那么12月25日也就没什么特别之处了。紧张感也是如此,如果背景音乐在游戏的所有场景都能听到,那整个游戏就没有出人意料的感觉,变得平淡无味。

6)引人入胜的剧情

恐怖游戏通常都不是因为剧情而出名的,但是在我看来,引人入胜的剧情也是确保玩家能够勇往直前的重要因素。

《寂静岭2》就是一个非常典型的例子。在每个厚雾弥漫的角落都有难以形容的恐怖威胁,足以让玩家吓到关闭游戏。但是James的亡妻是怎么写信联系他的?这个奇怪的小镇究竟是怎么回事?这些谜团激励着玩家克服一切,寻找真相。

拥有优质剧情的恐怖游戏还包括《异形隔离》《零·红蝶》和《活体脑细胞》。

7)出乎意料

虽说这是非常显而易见的,但优秀恐怖游戏之所以能够保持悬念、持续吸引玩家注意力,部分原因就在于游戏过程中有各种意想不到的冲击。拐角杀是非常常见的套路,有时你就可以反套路,让玩家安全通过。曾经安全的走廊你也可以时不时制造些危机。主要目的就是确保玩家一直处于紧张不安的状态。

这里“有时”是个关键词。无论是多好的东西,都需要适度使用,不能破坏平衡。能形成意外效果一定程度上是因为它们出现的频率并不高。

就如上文所说的,任何一个元素使用过度都可能会对紧张氛围的塑造形成反效果,平衡是确保一切效果的重要前提。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

Horror Games have benefited from a renaissance of late. There was a concern among gamers in the industry like myself they were being left behind by publishers in favour of a more action orientated approach. You only had to look at the likes of Residence Evil 5 and 6 to see a swerve away from survival horror to more action based games.

That is not to say that action games are a terrible thing. Resident Evil 4 also focussed on the action based gunplay and combat and was a fantastically received. In some quarters it is seen as one of the best horror games of all time. In fact IGN gave the Playstation title a review score of 9.8 which is incredibly high for the horror genre of games.

It is my belief that many horror games and perhaps movies similarly will always average lower scores than your typical action genre media. Perhaps this is why the industry likes to pull away from the typical horror tropes in search of a more well received genre. In light of this, it is worth considering what are the foundations to a great horror game.

For me, there is one overriding attribute that really elevates a horror game to the upper echelons of gaming. Tension. Much the same as a horror film or even a horror book, tension can make or break a horror series. Tension is the foundation of the many storied building that is horror. Too late and the game will fall in on itself.

In light of this…or dark. As gamers we must look at the key staples needed to bake up a nice spongy, moist (euugh!) tension. So here is my list of 7 key ingredients that build up the perfect tension in horror games.

1) Isolation

How many terrifying horror games have you played whereby you, the protagonist are surrounded by a large party of characters? Not many I imagine. There is much less tension when in a large group or even with one other person. Humans seek safety in numbers and have always lived in group as part of our survival. Therefore, it makes sense that to maximise discomfort of the player, watcher or reader you must take them out of their comfort zone.

Resident Evil 5 and 6 for instance have large portions of the game whereby you have a companion. As a result these areas are instantly less terrifying as there is less tension. Once again even in Resident Evil 4 you have Ashley with you for many areas. This removal of tension is somewhat negated by the helplessness of your supporting character in this instance.

2) Lack of Resources

Monsters in abundance, unsightly ghouls from god knows where in abundance. Weapons, ammo, and medication are most certainly not in horror games. This is a key weapon of horror games especially those of a survival horror nature.

Imagine this, you are in the dark town of Silent Hill but you have a machine gun with unlimited ammo and a rocket launcher of unlimited missiles. The pressure evaporates almost before your very eyes. After all if you miss? no problem just unload the name clip.

By placing a constraint on the gamer, the player is always aware of it and it becomes another worry in the already anxious mind. The same applies with medication. Too much and the player can charge into situations with little thought, too little and the player will seek to avoid confrontation wherever possible. Horror games are all about getting the right balance.

In many games I play the most tense moment are where you are confronted with enemies you do not have the resources to destroy or whereby one attack could fell you.

3) Lighting

The dark always hides the nastiest of monsters. In horror games this is no different. However once again. Developers must negotiate the tightrope between too much and too little.

Much of the tension from horror games comes from fear of the unknown. Often a trick I would use to allow myself to become more relaxed playing Dead Space and Silent Hill would be to turn up the brightness.

The darkness in games exploit our inner child’s fear of the dark to devastating effect. At the same time a game with too little light can become irksome, irritating and often unplayable.

Nofilmschool.com details 8 areas a lighting that make horror movies so scary. The same can certainly be applied to horror games.

·Uplighting

·Silhouette

·Spotlighting

·Underexposure

·Harsh light (hard light, chiaroscuro)

·Prominent and projected shadows

·Shooting through objects (internal frames)

·Shooting through elements

Screen Prism also has a great video below that is certainly worth a look for those interested in video game lighting. As mentioned before the prime focus is that of film but can easily be applied to games.

4) Camera Angles

Camera angles can be used in horror games to achieve different atmospheres. More modern games tend to feature a free rotating camera or even first person. These can be fantastically used in horror games to immerse the player in the game. They do however require a lot more work in making sure the tension is upheld by not revealing too much.

A far simpler way of achieving this was through fixed camera angles. Older Playstation titles such as Resident Evil Code Veronica and Dino Crisis utilised this to great effect. Concealing enemies that should be in plain site for the protagonist but unseen for the player made you anxious to traverse every corridor.

TVTropes.org can some great content showing the uses of various video game camera angles and even lists examples where you might see them in effect.

5) Music

Music is probably one of the most underrated weapons in a developers arsenal to build tension. A scene seen in isolation with no sound can sometimes be difficult to interpret and it is through music and of course audio we can what to expect in the coming scenes.

Dark suspenseful music can set the player on edge. Even if no enemies or horrors around the corner, it is the sheer anticipation of whats to come that is enough to build tension. On the other hand they can also relax the player and allow their senses to recuperate.

This is important too. Like anything too much can ruin the tension. A good albeit odd comparison to draw upon is Christmas. If every day was Christmas day. There would be nothing special about the 25th December. Tension is much the same. If atmospheric music is used in every scene. All scenes will become dull and unsurprising.

WatchMojo.com lists some fantastic horror themes in the video below.

6) Compelling Narrative

Often horror games are not known for their strong narrative but in my opinion a solid enticing narrative is an important ingredient to ensure the horrors do not stop the players desire to see what is around the next corner.

One of the best games for this was Silent Hill 2. The threat of unspeakable horrors around every misty corner would have understandably been enough to make any player turn the game off. The anticipation of finding out how James’ dead wife was able to contact him and what was happening in this strange town was enough to keep you motivated to confront the terrors to come.

Some examples of great horror narrative include Alien Isolation, Fatal Frame 2 and S.O.M.A.

7) The Unexpected

This may seem obvious but part of what keep suspense and attention in attendance in any good horror game is delivering the unexpected. Corners where you expect confrontation there should be none on occasion. Corridors once safe should occasionally be unsafe. The primary target here is to ensure the player is permanently on edge.

“Occasionally” is the key word here. Once again like any good thing, moderation and balance is the key. Part of what keeps things unexpected is that they do not happen all the time.

As you can see from all of the above. Any of these tropes can be overused thus negating the effectiveness of the attribute. Balance as always is the key to make sure events remain surprising and important. If you enjoyed this article why not visit my website for more articles like this.

(source: gamasutra.com

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