Nintendo appears to be teasing a new horror game

Could "Emio" refer to a new Nintendo Switch horror game?
nintendo horror game

Nintendo has released a mysterious teaser that has many speculating the company is releasing a new horror game. Overnight, Nintendo posted a video to all of its social channels subtitled “Emio” accompanied by the hashtag #WhoIsEmio? The video, which is preceded by a content warning, features a man wearing a smiling paper bag over his head, standing in a dark room.

In flashes, the paper bag-wearing man appears to flit in and out of the space, looming menacingly at the camera. The teaser ends on kanji that seemingly translating to “smiling man” but beyond this, there are few clues about what the video is.

As is natural, its appearance has led to wild speculation from Nintendo’s fan base. It’s incredibly rare that Nintendo dabbles in the field of horror, beyond some core game releases like Luigi’s Mansion (which is more kid-friendly horror) and Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (a Nintendo Switch exclusive), so the teaser video has sparked much discussion.

Read: Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD review – Dark Moon rising

Is Nintendo working on a new horror game?

Nintendo’s teaser for “Emio” has arrived out of the blue – which is partially why it’s become such a viral topic. The video is incredibly strange and lacks any sort of context, so discussions around it are wild and feverish.

Hideo Kojima’s name has been thrown around, as he’s now become entwined with any talk of horror games. (For what it’s worth, “Emio” is unlikely to involve Kojima, as he already has several other projects in the works.) Some have speculated it could be a new Fatal Frame game, developed in partnership with Koei Tecmo. This feels the most likely, as Nintendo already has a working relationship with the company.

Another company brought up in discussions is Bloober Team. While the studio is currently working on the Silent Hill 2 remake, it’s also got an array of other projects in development, including a handful yet to be announced. Some have speculated that one of these games could be a project for Nintendo.

Wilder speculation is that “Emio” could be a teaser for the next Nintendo console, with the strangeness of the video designed to spark intrigue. This feels unlikely, as the video is disturbing and lacks mainstream appeal, but there have been stranger campaigns in the world of gaming.

Beyond these options, there’s every chance Nintendo could be working on a new horror game. To date, the company has largely focussed on kid-friendly titles, with few forays into new franchises, characters, or genres. That approach has worked incredibly well, and it will likely continue to work for the company into the future. But it’s also possible that it’s trying something experimental, and breaking away from the expectations that surround it.

Whatever the case, Emio is a tantalising prospect – and we’re likely to hear much more about it over the coming months. At this stage, it’s unclear how far along the project is, what it is, and whether it will eventuate into a horror game, so we’ll have to wait to see when Nintendo is ready to reveal more.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.