DreadXP Is About To Be The Biggest Name In Horror

Dread Central’s game division, DreadXP, only just launched in 2020, but it’s quickly become one of the most innovative and exciting horror publishers around. While known for its anthology series of horror microgame collections, the Dread X Collection, DreadXP is now expanding into standalone games with full versions of its most popular microgames, as well as entirely original projects from up-and-coming creators. DreadXP appeared at PAX East this weekend for the first time with four of its new and upcoming horror games, and each one is more bizarre and intriguing than the next. If you’re not already a DreadXP fan, now is the time to start paying attention.

DreadXP’s biggest success to date is Lovecraftian dating sim Sucker for Love: First Date by Akabaka. Sucker for Love began as a microgame in the second Dread X Collection and was so popular that Akabaka was asked to expand the game into a standalone title, which launched on Steam this January. The original Sucker for Love was made in just ten days according to Akabaka, who I spoke with at the DreadXP booth during the first day of PAX East. Despite the short development time for the ten games in each Dread X Collection, Akabaka says the developers don’t think of these projects as game jams. The limited time frames are meant to encourage creativity and experimentation, he says. Ted Hentschke, the head of productions of DreadXP, wants each developer to go all-in on their weirdest ideas. It’s this philosophy that breeds things like Sucker for Love, as well as DreadXP’s first standalone game, Spookware, a pun-filled horror-themed WarioWare-like about three skeleton brothers on a deadly road trip.

The fifth Dread X Collection is coming May 3, but DreadXP had a batch of upcoming standalone games to show off this weekend. My favorite is The Mortuary Assistant, a first-person puzzle game that starts out as a macabre job simulator about embalming corpses and quickly escalates into a demonic, Phasmophobia-like exorcism experience. It has accurate mortician gameplay, a complex narrative system that creates unique horror scenarios in every playthrough, and like the Dread X Collection games, is created by a solo developer. The Mortuary Assistant comes out this spring and has a demo available on Steam right now. Its developer Brian Clarke, AKA Darkstone Digital, is also making a game for the next Dread X Collection.

Because of its unique approach to development and publishing, DreadXP is able to offer an enormous range of game types and experiences, all under a broad horror genre. At the booth, DreadXP also showed off Dread Delusion, an open-world RPG set in a world of floating continents and horrifying monsters. The publisher also showed off My Friendly Neighbor, a shooter set in a fucked-up Sesame Street nightmare about an abandoned studio where a canceled kid’s show suddenly starts producing new, disturbing episodes.

When Dread X Collection 5 launches in May, DreadXP will have published nearly 50 games in just two years. If you haven’t seen what the Dread X Collection has to offer, you’re missing out on some of the most fascinating horror games today. DreadXP may not be well known yet, but it’s doing great things for indie projects and small game dev.

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