Are There Any Horror eSports Games?

Competitive gaming is all the rage today. Every game publisher and developer is dreaming of creating the next big eSports title. The competition is tough, considering that the scene is flooded by the big names – DotA, LoL, CS: GO, and Valorant – with triple-A developers also pushing their own games (think EA with its sports simulators, Blizzard with Overwatch and StarCraft, and Respawn/EA with Apex).

eSports is said to be the fastest-growing spectator sport today, one that’s perfect for this day and age: it involves video games and online streaming. And you can even bet on it, not just at obscure outlets using cryptocurrency but at mainstream brands like Betway that covers the biggest eSports titles and their biggest events.

Today’s most popular eSports titles are either set in fantasy (think DotA and LoL) or science fantasy worlds (Overwatch, Apex, Valorant, and StarCraft II) or, like CS: GO and Rainbow Six Siege, they are realistic and militaristic. And none of them has a horror theme, even if they do have monsters, zombies, and other baddies that you can slay. It’s a pity, considering how many great horror video games have eSports potential – Left 4 Dead 2, for example, could have a “last man standing” tournament or a “versus” competition, and Back 4 Blood is also a promising alternative.

Then again, there are pure horror games that are played competitively in an eSports format, showing promise that one day our zombie-slaying dread-inducing favourites will also earn their place among the big names like League of Legends or CounterStrike.

Dead by Daylight

Dead by Daylight is a five-player asymmetrical competitive horror game where a group of four survivors must repair five power generators while avoiding the (also human-controlled) killer – and, of course, being slain in the most gruesome and bloody fashion. It has classic slasher elements combined with hints of the supernatural… and blood everywhere.

The range of killers available in the game is stunning – there are more than a dozen, most of them created specifically for the game, but there are also familiar faces like Michael Myers, Pinhead, and Leatherface.

Dead by Daylight may not be a big eSports title internationally but it has a pretty active competitive scene in some Asian countries, especially in Japan and Thailand. While DbD was purposely not built with eSports elements, the developers did add them later as updates – like the Spectator mode that allows the broadcast of games, and the possibility to disable certain perks.

DbD eSports are going strong in Thailand since 2017, and Behavior Interactive itself organized a DbD tournament in Japan in early 2021 – limited to the PlayStation version of the game that’s huge in the land of the rising sun.

Hunt: Showdown

Hunt: Showdown is a game that’s reminiscent of Red Dead Redemption – but it comes with all the supernatural phenomena and monsters that you can imagine. Set in 1895, it follows a Hunter (you) tasked to eliminate the “nightmarish” monsters that infested the Louisiana Bayou – and pocket the bounty offered for it. But it’s not just another monster-hunting game: you play in an open world with other hunters in it that can hunt you down – it has a semi-permadeath mechanic, meaning that if you die, all the things on you are lost.

The game was not meant to be an eSports title but it does have an eSports league – the fan-powered Bayou Bowl (not to be confused with the American Football tournament with the same name). The competition gathers players from 25 countries and even has a cash prize, which makes it qualify as a bona fide professional eSports event (the top 10 players that participate win cash prizes between 40% and 1% of the prize pool).

Although there are many horror games with eSports potential, none of them has become truly big on the scene so far. Let us hope that the example of the two titles above will inspire game developers to create more competitive games that involve more flesh-hungry zombies, ruthless serial killers and other characters that will chill our bones.

Author

  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!