Bloodborne is a bloody fantastic horror game. That’s because From Software made a genius decision. They decided to base Bloodborne around perhaps the greatest horror writer of all time: H.P. Lovecraft.
We’re not just talking about the insanity and the tentacles, either. Bloodborne is heavily based on Lovecraft’s horror masterpieces. It’s not the first horror game to be influence by Lovecraft. As Youtube uploader Super Bunnyhop says, “Video games tend to have a rocky relationship with Lovecraft,” Super Bunnyhop noted. “They love the imagery and style of his horror, but the underlying tones that set it apart are a bit hard to convey with traditional mechanics.”
Lovecraft wasn’t the type of writer to have a hero save humanity by defeating a super-powerful creature—which is the basis for the vast majority of horror games. Lovecraft enjoyed seeing humanity screwed. And that’s precisely what Bloodborne does. Sure, you kill hordes of beasties, but humanity is still screwed. Now that’s good Lovecraftian horror.
The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination. – H.P. Lovecraft quote.
Of course there are differences between Lovecraft’s work and Bloodborne. Lovecraft didn’t often write about werewolves. He did, interestingly, write notes about werewolves and vampires, but they never actually made it into his work.
But the similarities far outweigh the differences. From Bloodborne’s Insight mechanic to its status-altering Caryll Runes, the game is full of Lovecraft references.
In this excellent video, Super Bunnyhop analyses the relationship between Bloodborne and Lovecraft. It’s an absolutely fantastic look at one of the best games of the year. Enjoy.