Carpenter began to realize the potential for horror in videogames after playing the first F.E.A.R. game, stating: "I was so impressed with the first (F.E.A.R.) that I did some publicity for that game. When I was asked to participate in the third one, it was an easy choice." Carpenter ended up actively directing the cinematic storytelling in F.E.A.R. 3.
"If you care about the characters in a movie or game, you're more likely to be frightened, shocked, or anxious about what happens to them," Carpenter noted.
"There is a difference between creating a sense of dread and terror for video-game audiences and movie audiences," the director added. "With movie audiences, you have them watch a story unfold with a three-act narrative where you can help audiences look at a certain place through the use of camera or effects. With video games, the player takes part in the action, and there is no guarantee that the player will look one direction or another, so it's more about creating a tension- and dread-filled environment."
When a game is grounded in emotional realism, the horror is magnified. "The key to a potent interactive horror experience isn't so much putting scary six-armed zombies or baby cannibals into your game as it is creating settings that instill a genuine sense of fear within players."