I don't know if there's a term for it, but a pre-positioned, following camera is the best possibility for a Survival/Horror game.
Static cameras, like Resident Evil
, are great because it gives you a view of your surroundings. Being able to see the whole room is perfect for developing a fearful atmosphere. Also, static cameras player can memorize an area quickly without getting lost. However, the problem with static cameras is when the camera jumps. Because static camera jumping tank controls are a must, and modern video gamers just aren't accustom to tank controls. There are also the issues that, and this happens often in the Resident Evil series, the player will be forced to shoot at hostiles that are not on the screen. That causes me, as the player, to miss out on what is happening on screen. That's probably my biggest issue with static cameras.
An over-the-shoulder and a FPS are both limiting on several aspects when compared to classic static cameras. FPS cameras are good for immersion but are incredibly
limiting when it comes to puzzles. That's not to say it's impossible to have great puzzles in an FPS survival/horror game, but there are many puzzles that work better when seen from a certain angle. And there's feelings of fear that static cameras can better develop than an over-the-shoulder camera can. An example would be crossing a rickety bridge. Walking along a dangerous bridge that's swaying, creaking, and looks like it's ready to fall at any moment, is much more tense when you can actually see where you'd fall. No doubt a good developer can make it scary either way, but when you can actually see how far you would fall if that bridge snaps... That really raises the tension. Another thing good that static cameras do that either an FPS camera or an over-the-shoulder camera can do is blind the player in a good way. Walking towards the unknown can be tension mounding, as Silent Hill 2
showed us all too well. Problem is that not every setting can use opaque fog to block vision, and in replacement they can use static cameras. There is a difference between walking down stairs with your character, and watching your character walk down a flight of stairs, without knowing what's at the bottom of the stairs.Haunting Ground
is the best example of how Survival/Horror cameras *should* work. Here's a visual example
. I've talked about why static cameras are generally better when it comes to building atmosphere, memorizing the layout of an area, advanced puzzles, and over all exploring, but I've also talking about some issues and Haunting Ground
handles those like a champ. The first is that the positioned camera follows the protagonist around so the camera doesn't have to jump so often. Second on that same topic, right before the camera jumps, the following camera almost always stops, so the player, whether he notices or not, expects a camera jump. I didn't notice this until I started analyzing the game a bit more. Never once did the camera change and I wasn't shocked at it. Goodness knows, Resident Evil
knocked me down in surprise with all of the camera jumps it gave me at times (and not always in a good way). As far as seeing what you're shooting at? You were supposed to get as much distance between you and the pursuers, so not seeing them was a good thing. But if that kind of camera was in a Resident Evil game, I imagine the camera could be programmed to where if a hostile is in a certain range the camera could zoom out a bit so the player can see the hostile and his/herself. A pre-positioned, following camera is definitely the way to go when designing a survival/horror game.
tl;dr: Use the camera system that Haunting Ground