Phasmophobia has had a big impact on indie Horror

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When listing the largest indie games of the 2020s, it is simply necessary to recognize phasmophobia. Kinetic Games’ co-op indie horror hit the scene in September 2020 with early Steam access, giving horror fans around the world an exciting game they could play together in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Phasmophobia is still filled with atmospheric horror and intense encounters with ghosts, especially since Kinetic Games continues to add new types of ghosts, additional maps to explore and other features that make phasmophobia more layered. However, the influence of phasmophobia on the horror genre is as noticeable as the game itself.

Any hit game is likely to generate a lot of imitators. For example, ever since Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in 2017, fans and critics have often compared other open-world games with lush colorful maps with BotW. Similarly, phasmophobia has influenced indie horror. Since it became a hit, many other developers have released their own horror projects, which are somehow borrowed from the team ghost hunting simulator Phasmophobia. At this rate, it seems only a matter of time before several AAA games try their hand at some ideas of phasmophobia.

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Recent games similar to phasmophobia

Many games were aimed at delivering an experience very similar to phasmophobia. One of the most famous examples is Ghost Exorcism INC., a mid-2021 game by StudioGoupil. Ghost Exorcism INC. borrows a lot of ghost hunting tips from the work of Kinetic Games, from the slow ghost identification process to the emphasis on voice recognition mechanics, which encourages players to really talk to ghosts. The game basically differs from phasmophobia with a different list of equipment and an additional stage of exorcism of ghosts, but, in addition to these ideas, Ghost Exorcism INC. — this is a game that any fan of phasmophobia can quickly pick up and play.

Nevertheless, several games deviated more sharply from phasmophobia and gave rise to interesting ideas. For example, in Forewarned, players are a team of archaeologists exploring the ruins of Ancient Egypt in search of artifacts identifying ancient undead warriors buried inside and avoiding them. Egyptian coloring and treasure elements make Forewarned unique, even if its cooperative, equipment system and identification process resemble phasmophobia. Conrad Stevenson’s paranormal private detective is another great example. Released in early 2022, Paranormal P.I. it has a voiced protagonist and more carefully written ghost hunting scenarios. The single-player gameplay and light narrative elements make Paranormal P.I. very different from phasmophobia, but its take on ghost hunting still owes a lot to Kinetic Games for starting this trend.

Phasmophobia already has a legacy

Despite the fact that Phasmophobia has not yet come out of early access, it has clearly become a defining force in the indie horror industry and community. In addition to the wide variety of new ghost hunting games, phasmophobia may be partly responsible for the general surge in the popularity of multiplayer horror, and games such as Pacify 2019 have again attracted attention in the last few years. Regardless of what changes Kinetic Games makes to Phasmophobia in the future, their work has already had an impact on indie horror, which is something to be proud of for such a small studio.

I wonder if there are even more large-scale imitators of phasmophobia in the future. Of course, it would be great to see how well-known AAA horror developers, such as Capcom from Resident Evil, try their hand at a new multiplayer ghost hunting game, possibly developing a reliable story mode along with a multiplayer mode. Koei Tecmo’s Fatal Frame can also be a great IP for a multiplayer game. At the moment, it is still unknown how phasmophobia will affect AAA developers, if at all. Meanwhile, new indie releases such as the brand new Ghost Watchers continue to prove that Phasmophobia is a historic release in the horror genre.

Phasmophobia is already available in Steam Early Access on PC.

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