The Best Upcoming Indie Horror Games of 2023

Tired of the endless remakes and craving a more unique horror gaming experience? Here are the top 6 indie horror games to look forward to in 2023

The year 2023 is set to be a prolific one for horror games. Several classics such as Dead Space, Resident Evil 4, and Silent Hill 2 are getting high-profile remakes, and although I am excited to relive those fond memories in better resolution, my eye keeps wandering towards the best indie horror games on the horizon. When it comes to the horror genre, AAA publishers tend to toe well-trodden territory (most of the high-profile horror games of the year being remakes pretty much says it all). It is in the indie space where unique horror experiences truly get a chance to shine. With that in mind, here are the six best indie horror games to keep your eye on in 2023.

6. Slitterhead

While the upcoming Silent Hill 2 remake has garnered most of the attention, there is another hugely promising upcoming horror game that also draws inspiration from the original series. That game is Slitterhead, the upcoming action horror game from Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama.

Details on the gameplay and story have been light, but a short reveal trailer from 2021 showcased a run-down dystopian mega complex in a fictional Asian setting, grotesque body horror, hack-and-slash combat, as well as some intrigue surrounding these parasitic creatures which can disguise as human. Slitterhead is the first major project by Japanese developer Bokeh Game Studio, founded by Keiichiro Toyama in 2020. The game’s score is being composed by the original Team Silent composer Akira Yamaoka, something you can certainly tell even from the very short reveal trailer.

Slitterhead does not have a firm release date yet, but the game is expected to arrive sometime in 2023 on PC, with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S releases soon to follow.

5. Amnesia: The Bunker

Swedish indie game developer Friction Games’ seminal survival horror series is making a comeback in 2023 with Amnesia: The Bunker, the second game on this list with the desolation of World War 1 as its backdrop. In keeping with series tradition, you play as a lone French soldier with no memory of the past and armed with nothing but a single bullet and a flashlight. However, this time the game will feature a semi-open world and a non-linear gameplay experience with multiple solutions for the same obstacles. Assuming the role of a WW1 soldier, players will also be able to fight back against the diabolical abominations inhabiting the world of Amnesia for the first time, adding an element of action to the series’ classic formula of environmental puzzles and stealth gameplay.

While Amnesia: The Bunker has an intriguing concept and remarkable pedigree, there are a few reasons for concern. While the original Amnesia: The Dark Descent remains a cult classic after all these years, the subsequent sequels Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and Amnesia: Rebirth had more mixed receptions. The introduction of weaponry and combat also has the potential to dilute the atmospheric horror the series is best known for. However, the captivating aesthetic and the gameplay revisions in Amnesia: The Bunker certainly make for a tantalizing proposition for horror game purists.

Amnesia: The Bunker is scheduled to release in March 2023 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/Series S.

4. Bloody Hell Hotel

If a gaming experience full of jumpscares and violent imagery isn’t your cup of tea but you still enjoy an easygoing gameplay experience with a charming Tim Burton-esque horror aesthetic, upcoming vampire-themed building and management game Bloody Hell Hotel just might be for you. In the game, you play a telekinetic vampire who wakes up after centuries of slumber only to find his once palatial mansion reduced to dust and rubble. Blessed with an entrepreneurial spirit, our vampire decides that the best way to ensure a steady supply of fresh human blood is to turn his dilapidated mansion into a luxury hotel.

Bloody Hell Hotel will put you in the first person perspective of the vampire as you go about building, repairing, renovating, and upgrading your mansion using your magical powers of telekinesis and hospitality. You can also grow and cook various kinds of foods for your guests in order to feed them, before you can later feed on them. Besides the building and management aspects of gameplay, Bloody Hell Hotel will feature first person melee combat against armed skeletons and various other graveyard monsters.

Developed by Los Angeles-based indie developer Unfold Games, Bloody Hell Hotel does not have a firm release date yet but could be one to keep your eye on in 2023. The game will initially launch on PC via Steam, GOG, and Epic Games Store, although the developers have indicated a desire to make the jump to consoles eventually.

3. The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR

Fans of The Dark Pictures Anthology and VR gaming rejoice! BAFTA-winning British indie developer Supermassive Games is reimagining its interactive drama/horror series within the goggles of virtual reality. Horror as a genre lends itself perfectly to VR, and for The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR it looks like a match made in heaven.

The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR will feature on rails first person shooter gameplay, with the reveal trailer showcasing a wide variety of guns on offer as the player-character takes a roller coaster ride through various nightmarish locations from the first season of the Anthology (if you tend to get motion sick in VR, this game might not be for you). Usually, I’m not a big fan of rail shooters, but I think it could work surprisingly well in VR and provide a streamlined action horror experience by avoiding the usual VR pitfalls of clunky and complex control schemes.

Besides The Dark Pictures Anthology, Supermassive Games are best known for the highly successful 2015 PlayStation 4 exclusive interactive horror game Until Dawn, as well as the subsequent VR spin-off Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. Like those two games, The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR is set to be a PlayStation exclusive and will release on February 22, 2023 as a launch title for the PSVR 2, utilizing all the fancy new features and haptics of Sony’s next big VR platform.

2. Sons of the Forest

From Vancouver-based indie studio Endnight Games, Sons of the Forest is the upcoming sequel to the 2018 co-op survival horror game The Forest. The original game managed to stand out from the crowd of its genre due to the creepy premise, subtle visual storytelling, and hardcore survival gameplay. What’s more, the game offered a genuinely immersive co-op experience that only served to heighten the tension and horror.

Sons of the Forest seeks to retain everything that made the original game so compelling while building upon it with expanded combat and crafting systems, revamped AI, dynamic seasons, companions, and an open world that is roughly four times the size of the original game. The main plot follows the player character sent to a remote island called Site 2 in search of a missing billionaire as the story ties into events that unfolded in the first game.

Sons of the Forest is set to release on February 23, 2023 on PC via Steam. There are no concrete details regarding a console release yet but considering how the original made its way onto consoles eventually, there is some cause for optimism.

1. Ad Infinitum

World War 1, also known as the Great War, is not a setting that has been explored extensively in modern video games. The few WW1-themed games we’ve had in recent years have mostly been action-heavy shooters focusing on glory, gore, and spectacle. Ad Infinitum is an upcoming indie horror game that instead focuses on the despair and devastating psychological aspects of one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.

In Ad Infinitum, you take on the role of a German soldier in the trenches of WW1 whose mind has succumbed to the nightmare. Much of the horror in the game takes on a psychological aspect, with the enemies and monsters being manifestations of a deeply disturbed mind suffering from the debilitating effects of PTSD. Gameplay will largely focus on stealth and survival along with solving a slew of environmental puzzles, all tied together by a deeply personal storyline focusing on family tragedy.

Ad Infinitum has had a somewhat troubled development history, with the game disappearing from notice for years after it was initially announced by publisher Nacon way back in 2015. However, with newly founded German indie game studio Hekate now in charge of the project, the game is set to release in April 2023 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/Series S.

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