Initial survey results

The Data

I’ve left the survey going for a week. The survey was only open to students of Abertay University. I’ve managed to gather 24 responses:

Ruined House





As a remainder; Those who took the survey were asked to rate what setting they found scariest, from 1 being least to 5 being most scary. The bigger the bar, the more people voted for that “rating” of each setting. Additionally, I provided an “Other” option. Not many people responded to it:


Analysing the Data

The data I received from this survey strongly supported my previous secondary research on cliches. Though people have come to expect such settings and have seen them many times before, the majority of people rated an asylum setting as the scariest, (12 people rated it at 5, most scary), followed by the hospital setting (Just under 12 rated it at a 4).

Interestingly, a ruined/abandoned house seemed to garner fairly mediocre responses – A once very effective trope seems to be dropping off. Perhaps a result of oversaturation of the setting? Resident Evil 1, an acclaimed horror game, took place in a seemingly abandoned mansion, however it was released in 1996. This could be a sign of changing perceptions amongst audiences. A Sci-fi setting seems to be viable, on average getting a higher rating than the ruined house. There is a chance this is due to the Alien franchise – Both the films and the games (particularly Alien: Isolation developed by Creative Assembly and SEGA)

A Scientific/Research lab setting also seemed to gather average ratings, getting 14 people rating it at 3. However, nobody rated it at 1 and it received some higher ones (4’s and 5’s). An interesting way to look at this is that it can be taken as a blank-slate setting. People may not immediately associate it with a horror setting and as such, you can use it to your advantage to subvert player expectations so that once you begin introducing scarier elements, the effect is amplified as it is not expected.

Other settings

Very interestingly, the few people that provided “Other” settings almost universally suggested external environments can also be scary, specifically nighttime forests. Due to the scope of this project and the assets available, I’ll have to stick to interior environments however it is important to note that horror settings don’t need to be constrained to just cramped, claustrophobic spaces but rather can be adapted to a variety of locations.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.