Soulmask, Bellwright, Enshrouded & Co - Why are Survival Games in the Hype?

15 June 2024, 00:01 / by Tom Schwiha
Soulmask, Bellwright, Enshrouded & Co - Why are Survival Games in the Hype?

It's nothing new that in a dynamic environment like the gaming industry, there are constantly new trends emerging. Interestingly, these trends don't necessarily have to be about sudden technical upgrades everyone is talking about or brand-new games hitting the market. Currently, there is a true hype surrounding Survival Games, even though the concept of these games has been around since the 90s.

What's truly new are the incredibly realistic game worlds players navigate through today, offering an immense number of options for the course of the game. While the core idea remains survival, the decisions players make over time and how adeptly they adapt can turn the experience into an incredibly thrilling one. Let's delve into what makes Survival Games unique and explore the reasons behind their immense popularity.

Survival Games: Action Games with a Twist

Since the dawn of the computer and video game era, there have been various game genres catering to a wide audience. With the rise of online games where players can interact virtually, the range has expanded even further. Action games have always been at the top of the popularity charts.

Unlike entertainment media based solely on chance, such as digital slot machines like Razor Shark, action games require tactics and quick reflexes. This means players can actively influence the game's outcome and achieve better results with practice or a detailed knowledge of the game mechanics.

While the most well-known subcategories of action games are role-playing games and first-person shooters, Survival Games are also classified under this genre due to some similarities. However, they have distinct features that set them apart.

The Origins

The titles UnReal World and SOS are considered the first true Survival Games, released in the early 90s and initially playable only on PCs. Since then, a lot has changed, with most games now relying on cloud gaming or being available on mobile devices. DayZ remains celebrated as an extremely successful Survival Game, challenging players to survive in a post-apocalyptic hostile world.

Even in Minecraft, a classic game, there is a Survival Mode where players must gather resources, explore the environment, and build protective structures. Streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch have also played a significant role in spreading these games and growing their fan base.

The Battle for Survival on Screen

While other games focus on acquiring powerful weapons or engaging in constant combat, Survival Games have a different emphasis. While survival is key, the storytelling is unique, and challenges extend beyond mere combat avoidance.

In most Survival Games, players start with minimal resources like basic clothing and primitive tools. The game settings vary from surviving in the jungle to navigating icy terrains, alien planets, historical or futuristic worlds.

Players must fulfill basic needs like eating, drinking, sleeping, and maintaining good physical condition to survive. This often involves tasks like gathering firewood and making fires to avoid freezing.

Players also strive to build things from simple objects - like constructing a basic hut in the forest from leaves, planting vegetables, or crafting essential items - known as the crafting system integrated into most Survival Games.

Various Threats

Progress in the game is not only hindered by managing limited resources like materials, food, and water but also by facing additional dangers. These can range from realistic natural disasters like floods or earthquakes to toxic animals, menacing monsters, or other players.

Players can get injured, fall ill, and the list goes on. Only those who effectively protect themselves and defend against such threats can endure in such circumstances.

Different Variants of Survival Games

Not only do difficulty levels vary significantly between different Survival Games, but their structure, visual design, and content also differ greatly. In the vast array of Survival Games, common sub-genres include:

  • Open-World Survival Games
  • Horror Survival Games
  • Realistic Survival Games

There may be overlaps or different gameplay modes within these categories. While some games challenge players as solitary castaways facing external threats, others require players to form teams, which may include defeated enemies.

Creativity and Strategic Thinking Are Key

Survival Games demand forward-thinking and strategic planning beyond mere combat skills. Players need to manage their energy reserves and available resources wisely, requiring creativity and strategic actions. Sometimes taking risks may be necessary to progress significantly.

Whether the game restarts completely from scratch upon the character's death or allows players to return to a certain point in their previous life depends on the game's concept. Each new attempt leads players down different paths, ensuring no dull moments in the quest for survival.

The Allure of Survival Games

Survival Games tap into humanity's primal instinct to thrive. Every decision alters the course of the game, offering ample room for new developments and a realistic touch. Players are confronted with their own mortality, requiring intelligence, fresh ideas, and the opportunity to compete with others.

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