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Blumhouse Games is more than a year ahead of schedule

The publisher shares its plans to release nine low budget, low risk, high potential horror games within three years

When horror movie specialist Blumhouse announced its move towards video games, it had initially planned to release its first title in 2026.

Yet at Summer Games Fest last month, the Blumhouse Games team revealed it had signed six games, including one that's out this year.

"We're kind of at capacity at the moment," Blumhouse Games president Zach Wood tells "We are further than a year ahead of schedule. Our plan was to start releasing games in 2026. But Fear The Spotlight is out this year, and we have three in 2025, three in 2026, a couple in 2027 and we're going to maintain that pace. A few games a year and making sure we have time to dedicate to each of them."

Blumhouse Games at Summer Games Fest 2024

The Blumhouse Games team currently consists of seven employees but expects to grow as its slate expands. And it offers all the usual things a publisher offers, including funding, marketing, sales, PR, QA and so on. Where things differ is in its focus on horror, and its connection to its parent company.

"We can access the broader Blumhouse organisation," says CFO Don Sechler. "Like pairing up [horror movie writer and director] Brandon Cronenberg with [game writer and director] Sam Barlow [for the upcoming Project C]. That came from the Blumhouse film side. We tried to make that happen and we were able to."

Zach Wood, Blumhouse Games

He adds: "There's a lot of creative support. Whether it is filmmakers, directors, writers… we can provide narrative support. James Wan [Insidious, Saw, The Conjuring] is a gamer himself, and we show him everything we're doing and he is very excited. He gives us a lot of feedback a lot on the key art. It's a really great, eclectic creative environment."

The developers that Blumhouse works with typically retain the rights to their games, however, the firm gets the option to turn them into a film or TV show.

"We don't look at games through that lens, but certainly that is a bonus," Wood says. "If something resonates with our audience, we have opportunities to make a film or a series, and that is exciting.

"But we endeavour to have our partners own the IP. We are not interested in taking ownership. It is their baby. We hope to be a long-term partner for them and keep working with them. We want to build a relationship. But this is their story."

Sechler adds: "But we do like to think that us having the movie and TV rights is a feature and not a bug."

"If something resonates with our audience, we have opportunities to make a film or a series"Zach Wood, Blumhouse Games

All six titles that Blumhouse has announced are original concepts: Fear the Spotlight, Sleep Awake, Crisol: Theater of Idols, Grave Seasons, The Simulation and Project C. Yet the firm's film side produces some well-known horror franchises, including The Purge, Paranormal Activity and Insidious. Wood says they have already received pitches for games based on Blumhouse movies, but the team was eager to prove itself with original concepts, first.

"With existing Blumhouse IP, we want to get it right; we don't want to rush into anything," he says. "So much of it is timing. It's the right idea, the right creative team to do it… fans have expectations with our films, and we want to make sure we're doing right by those properties. We will eventually do it, for sure. We have seen a couple of pitches, and we will continue to look at them. But we wanted to start with a sold line-up of originals and come out strongly there."

Don Sechler, Blumhouse Games

Sechler adds: "And just build credibility in making great games in and of themselves. So when we do something that is an IP, people will know the sort-of quality experience we will deliver."

So what exactly is a 'Blumhouse game'? The firm's overall boss Jason Blum says the company is going back to its roots with small budget, low risk, high upside projects that are creative and new. And there are certainly some unique concepts. The Simulation is a horror game within a horror game, for example, whereas Grave Seasons is a bloodthirsty farming sim.

"Blumhouse movies have so many subgenres of horror that they explore, and that is something that we want to mirror in games as well," says Blumhouse Games creative lead Louise Blain.

"Some people are surprised with some of these things. 'Wow, really, a farming sim with murder?' There are creative twists on horror that Blumhouse does so well with its movies, and we're taking that across to games. We want to embrace all of the horror in all of its forms."

Farming simulator meets murder in Grave Seasons

She continues: "All of these games are playing in interesting ways in that horror sandbox. People might think they have an idea of what horror games are, incredible games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, and some people might not like that. Maybe they're too scary or too gory. But they like horror in other forms, like maybe they feel safer reading a horror book. So, it's finding the attraction for those people.

"To be a Blumhouse Games, you have to be in that world and explore scary stories in a different way. We are just looking for great things that make you go 'yes'. That is what happened with Fear The Spotlight. We played it and we became immediately excited about it. It's a great story with tactile mechanics, it felt really good, it's creepy… it had all these things that naturally appealed to us, and we felt would appeal to other people."

Wood, Sechler and Blain are clearly enthusiastic about its slate. Wood feels that Fear the Spotlight "scratches that itch" of a good 1990s teen horror and would make a great TV show or film. Sechler is enthusiastic about the multiple layers offered by The Simulation. "It's nothing you've played before," he says. Meanwhile, Blain feels that Grave Seasons will be a surprise for players.

Louise Blain, Blumhouse Games

"People will look at it and think it'll be a horror story layered over a farming experience, but that's not what it is," she says. "It is a cohesive game that is equally a horror and farming experience. It is all the better for that. It is embracing its genre. It knows what it is, but it is also subverting expectations, too. I think it will surprise people in a delightful way."

"I don't think anyone will ever be bored of horror games, as long as they're different"

Louise Blain, Blumhouse Games

It's a good time for horror fans. There are upcoming new games and remakes from established franchises including Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Little Nightmares and Until Dawn. There are promising new projects from big name game developers, such as Slitterhead (from Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama), The Casting of Frank Stone (a collaboration between Dark Pictures developer Supermassive Games and Dead by Daylight's Behaviour Interactive) and OD (from Hideo Kojima). And that's before you get to the nine games that Blumhouse is working on over the next three to four years.

It may seem congested, but horror isn't a genre in the same way that 'first person shooter' or 'RPG' are genres. And that's why the team at Blumhouse is confident that there's not just room for these games, but space for a publisher that's dedicated entirely to funding and releasing them.

"I don't think we'll ever run out of ways to tell scary stories," Blain concludes. "And I don't think anyone will ever be bored of them, as long as they're different, as long as they're innovative and as long as they're creative. I have been a consumer of scary stories since I read my first Goosebumps book under the covers, and the different way games can tell those stories are constantly surprising. The human experience is to experience fear, and as long as we can tap into that and explore that in safe spaces, I don't think there will be any shortage of horror to come."

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Christopher Dring avatar
Christopher Dring: Chris is a 17-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who
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