We’re going to be doing Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land as a 3rd person type game. By that I mean you can see the characters you control, as opposed to 1st person, where you look though the eyes of the character you control. There are a number of reasons for doing this, but I wanted to chat about one in particular today. That reason is to do with fear, fear of pain, damage and death…
In a 3rd person game you see the body of the character you control, so there is a slight dislocation between your view and theirs, but its not long before you see them as you, so when your character gets hurt, so you you. The same happens in 1st person, however because you don’t see the body of the character as much (if at all) then there is (I feel) a slight dislocation of the damage done to your character. For horror games, this is a crucial way to evoke fear. Let me give you an example. This video shows combat from the 2001 horror game Undying (a fun game) and your character taking damage:
Now compare that to another game, this time a 3rd person horror title, the fab Resident Evil 5:
Now I know its a little unfair as there is almost 10 years difference in the technology between the two, but my point is in the sense of damage, hence fear for your virtual body. In the 3rd person I think that fear is much more palpable.