We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Resident Evil and Dark Souls inspire brutal new WWI horror game

Taking cues from Resident Evil and Dark Souls, a new WWI horror game promises unflinching brutality, and PCGamesN played it live at WASD.

Conscript Steam horror game: A soldier in a gas mask raises a weapon in new Steam horror game Conscript

In the Resident Evil games, the monsters that hunt you are impossible and cartoonish. The zombie dogs bursting through the windows of the Spencer mansion. William Birkin stalking you through the RPD building. The fixed-camera classics mix outlandish, imaginative monster designs with bizarro puzzles to create unease, discomfort, and suspense. So let’s imagine that we dial that back. Let’s picture a horror game that takes cues from the mechanical and structural basics of RE, but remains grounded in reality and authenticity. Set in the unforgiving confines of WWI, an upcoming indie achieves just that. Also inspired by the enigmatic storytelling of Dark Souls, PCGamesN played it first-hand at WASD 2024, and spoke with its creator about making fear feel more real.

Conscript is a new horror game from solo developer Jordan Mochi. You play a French soldier during the battle of Verdun, trying to survive one of the most destructive battles in history as you search for your missing brother. Violent, bleak, and driven by authenticity, Mochi explains the game’s lineage, and why a WWI setting suits the conventions of survival horror.

“I have a history degree, so I’ve always been a history nerd, and super interested in WWI specifically,” Mochi says, during an exclusive interview with PCGamesN at WASD. “I made sure I was doing my research. I visited Verdun two years ago when I went to Gamescom, and I took pictures of everything and went to all the battlefields. I was drawing maps and doing a lot of work to make sure it’s all authentic, which means a lot to me.

“There is something about the conditions of WWI that lend themselves to survival horror. It’s very claustrophobic. It immediately matches the level design of survival horror. It’s a depressing game. It’s brutal. I don’t want to spoil it, but don’t expect much happiness. It’s trying to show how bad the war is. Even if something may seem like a good ending, it kind of really isn’t.”

YouTube Thumbnail

Played from a side-on, semi-2D perspective, Conscript combines weighty, challenging combat with exploration, discovery, and puzzles. It begins in the trenches of Verdun, but later expands into old forts, destroyed villages, and the surrounding landscape. Mochi wants to keep the game firmly grounded in truth. At the same time, variety is important.

“In Resident Evil, you can get away with quite goofy puzzles,” Mochi says. “In Conscript, I did have more limitations. It had to be historically relevant. I didn’t want the game to be known for just the trenches, even if that is the most iconic area and it’s where the game starts.

“At Verdun, there are old forts and villages that were being defended. Also, the French uniform was bright blue, which made for a better contrast and a more visible player character. If it were the Somme and a British uniform, it would all blend together. Like with the old Resident Evil games. You have the mansion, but then you go out and go to different areas – I wanted to replicate that, and battles like the Somme didn’t really let me do that.”

Mochi also draws inspiration from Dark Souls. The decrepit, decaying world of Lordran serves as the model for Conscript’s approach to environmental storytelling. The world is sallow and withdrawn. The people who meet are hollowed out by trauma. But if you pay close attention and make the connections, various personal stories begin to emerge.

Conscript Steam horror game: Soldiers fighting one another in Steam horror game Conscript

“There is quite a little bit of everything in Conscript,” Mochi says. “Obviously the main inspiration is Resident Evil, but there’s a little bit of Dark Souls as well, with the stamina and the dodging, and I like the way that Dark Souls does environmental storytelling. You’ll find an NPC and they won’t give you that much – they’re kind of mysterious. But you might find them again later. It’s all very subtle.”

Conscript is still in development, but you can already try it for yourself thanks to a demo available on Steam. Just head right here.

Alternatively, you might want to try some of the best WW2 games, or maybe the best survival games that you can get on PC.

You can also follow us on Google News for daily PC games news, reviews, and guides, or grab our PCGN deals tracker to net yourself some bargains.

Additional reporting from WASD provided by Nat Smith.