H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horror influence can be seen in movies, books, and even games. Here are the best Lovecraftian video games. The games on this unranked list were inspired by Lovecraft’s works in certain ways, but they may not be directly related to his novels. Cosmic horror is one of the most beloved genres ever and there aren’t really many games based on it. Hopefully, these games will satisfy your craving for a great and compelling cosmic horror tale.
You may have not expected to find the Fallout series on this list, but it has a ton of Lovecraft-inspired tales and monsters. The above image is a good example. I won’t spoil anything about it, but you can find a horrid cosmic horror tale in the Dunwich building in Fallout 3. As for Lovecraftian monsters, the Lakelurks and Swamplurks (of Point Lookout DLC of Fallout 3) are very Lovecraftian. Be mindful of your environments in the games, and you’ll find lots of stuff like this.
The Sinking City
The Sinking City is directly inspired by H.P. Lovecraft novels. The creatures and setting of the game are drawn from his books. There are the Deep Ones and tons of other creatures which were in his stories.
However, The Sinking City is a flawed game. Because of its clunky and dated gameplay, many players are put off. But it has a good story and lots of unique places to explore. It will be worth your time if you don’t mind the said clunky gameplay and if you like detective games.
Call of Cthulhu
As the name implies, Call of Cthulhu is an adaptation of Lovecraft’s story of the same name. It’s also based on the classic tabletop RPG of the same name. It’s a dark, atmospheric and gritty story. You are Pierce, a private detective who investigates the deaths of the Hawkins family. In this investigation, you will come across a multitude of cryptic mysteries and stories about the Eldritch God, Cthulhu.
Also, H.P. Lovecraft’s Dagon is another game that will definitely be worth your time. It’s completely free to play on Steam too. Definitely check it out.
FromSoftware’s unforgiving RPG Bloodborne is truly a masterpiece in every sense of the word. There are many Soulsborne fans who say their favorite game is Bloodborne, and it’s completely understandable. The inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft in this gem is very noticeable and that’s probably a major reason why it gets so much love. Unfortunately, Bloodborne is only available on PlayStation currently. Hopefully, it will release for the PC and Xbox in the future.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Here’s another game that you might not think is inspired by Lovecraft. But Mass Effect’s enemy design (for example, the Reapers) is very Lovecraftian. There are a lot of things that are not explainable in the Mass Effect universe, and that’s the very nature of cosmic horror. The Leviathan DLC of Mass Effect 3 bears a lot of similarities to the Cthulhu mythos as well. Mass Effect Legendary Edition comes with all three games, so it is definitely worth buying.
In my opinion, Remedy’s Control is one of the best cosmic horror games ever. While it doesn’t feature Lovecraftian monsters like Cthulhu, the inexplicable horrors of the game are very intriguing. Like Lovecraft himself said, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”. Control doesn’t waste time explaining things to you; it makes the game all the more sinister and scary.
Like Bloodborne, Elden Ring’s lore and story are very twisted and sinister. The bosses are very Lovecraftian – for example, Astel, which is the monster in the above image. Its design is very grotesque and at the same time, somewhat beautiful in a weird way. The Gods of Elden Ring – for example, the Greater Will – are also good examples of cosmic horror. You have never seen these Gods and their appearance is up to your imagination.
The mysterious nature of the Zone and its creatures is very Lovecraftian. For example, the Monolith and the soldiers that worship it are very inexplicable at first sight. The number of horrifying, grotesque, and twisted monsters of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games are good examples of cosmic horror. These days, the free-to-play Anomaly mod is very popular. I recommend playing the original trilogy as well.