For the 6th entry in our list of developers we’d love to see on Panic’s Playdate, we’ve veered sharply into horror territory with two very different developers. So far, we’ve listed the likes of Swery 65, thatgamecompany, Platinum Games, and Asymmetric.
Best known for its striking environmental designs, unparalleled attention to detail, and grim worlds, the Danish Playdead is one of the most renowned indie developers of all time, despite having only put out 2 games. It certainly helps that those games are Limbo and Inside, two extremely confident, authored puzzlers.
Both games’ allegorical underpinnings continue to draw the ire of those who would take comfort in a tidy video essay on “what it all means”; but Playdead counters safe explanations, throwing in dead ends aplenty. By design, Inside and Limbo fall further into ambiguity the longer you look upon their nightmares.
Scott Cawthon, the prolific developer behind the Five Nights at Freddy’s series, is an expert in milking horror from the simplest of premises. Despite their mechanical simplicity, his games never fail to deliver an atmosphere of mounting dread, followed by sudden, sharp jolts of terror.
And while FNAF is often unfairly mocked for its obsessive fandom and arguable lack of evolution, it’s impossible to deny Cawthon’s knack for fun worldbuilding and eye for unsettling designs. I reckon he could conjure up another horror classic on Playdate.