I'm playing this new game, Outlast. Just started playing it for a while, still playing it and i found out it has a brilliant 1st person style (my opinion) compared to other hiding & running horror games because it gives me some kind of different horror feeling..which make the protagonist more 'lively'.
What I mean by lively is that you can see your lower body, feet and shadow when looking down, and for me this make the protagonist more of a human character. (If your game already have this than its wonderful!) Even when u open doors u can push it slowly like Amnesia (to give it sense of interaction in game) the difference is only that u can really see your hand opening it! For me this is really something new. And when someone/thing attack you, not just slashes on screen then disappear later, but remain to your body like the fingers being cut off in Outlast. Not saying Outlast is a perfect game, just agree with including the whole body to interact, and I haven't found yet other games in this genre (no shooting) like it! So my idea is that you can include something like this (details to the character himself) because it will add up the horror elements itself.
Because for me personally, playing a true 1st person horror game which involve hiding & running really depends on the player's interactions, feelings & senses throughout the game world. If its a shooting game I won't bother. Like us (you and me) in the real world we look at things in 1st person, and what do you see if u look down? Of course your whole body, even your shoulders! So to feel and create real horror I believe to include the body of the player and make it interact.
So my idea is: 1) If there's a chance, try to create the body from shoulder to feet. Just imagining the protagonist is yourself. The rectangular screen is just your face. You don't point your gun under your chin right? (example like creating a better horror version of Mirror's Edge) 2) Create 2 different protagonist. Doesn't really have to show their face or talking in-game just start the game either as a male or female, because the character reflects the player him/herself. Even if there are cutscenes, just show it in 1st person view and their voice are only their heartbeat, panting sound or groaning etc. (like Fallout or Skyrim only that he has a body!) 3) If a monster grabs you from below the floor or pop up from crates etc and scratch you, its leaves scar/wound to your body, arms or legs (not only slashes on screen which is obviously just your face) and u see your character walking haltingly (which affects the camera focus maybe its a bit shaky whatsoever) or unsteadily with dripping blood/severed injure or even limbs being cut off but still alive! Searching for bandages! 4) If your blood lost is very much indeed with scars and slashes, blood all over your body and still dripping wet maybe leaving a trail for the monster. 5) After the protagonist being chased by the monster, his insanity meter will totally fill up and at certain point he'll stop bending down holding his knees gasping some air, or holding his chest.. Wouldn't that be great? (kinda like I am Alive) 6) Or maybe when his waist or elbow is injured, u see his hand is pressing towards the injured area while walking. 7) If your'e hiding then you hear your breath and heart whimpering fast (Most game does this like Amnesia, Outlast) 8) Maybe the right click mouse controls the right hand weapon (if there are) and left click mouse controls the flashlight. 9) If u have something to store maybe u bring a backpack or your coats have pockets (like Alone in the Dark 2008 which i like its style) 10) Maybe when your'e walking or sneaking then suddenly your left leg stuck or been grabbed, could release it by shaking mouse while clicking left click (left leg) or kicking it (monster) with right click (right leg)
Actually maybe there are more thing that we can think about. I'm just sharing my ideas (if I had a chance of creating a game I would totally try and apply those). Im just thinking the horror elements as a part of a real human being interacting with the environment. Wouldn't this makes it even scarier? It's just that this Outlast gave me some ideas of what real horror feels, and just trying to develop it further. I'm just sharing maybe u get my general idea of horror. The monster itself has a horror feature (like Amnesia) and the environment bring real spooks or darkness (like Silent Hills or Fatal Frames) while the player struggling with himself. (like I Am Alive)
However not necessary to follow all the ideas. If u could just create the protagonist as lively as possible its enough I think you could create a new style of horror game! (Try combining Outlast and Amnesia) Sorry if its to long. And if your'e not interested then hope u can share with your other friends about this idea.
Thanks. Hope you success in creating that indie game and would love to play it someday.