Not content with releasing annual entries in the Dark Pictures Anthology, Supermassive has developed The Quarry, a new standalone horror game that feels even more like a spiritual successor to Until Dawn than their others. The Curator doesn’t preside over this terror-filled tale, seemingly replaced by a spooky fortune teller, and there appear to be multiple potential threats – both supernatural and human, just like Until Dawn. I sat down with a preview of an early section of the game (spanning Chapters 2 and 3) so pull up a log, grab a beer and a s’more and let me tell you a spooky story.
Fans of Supermassive’s earlier titles will be in familiar territory with the general mechanics and ideas in The Quarry, as it is a continuation of the interactive movie genre that the developer has become a world leader in. There are some new additions, though, which aim to take the genre forward a few steps. Controllable combat is promised as well as the usual dialogue options, path choices, and collectables to find. The range of new (and old) mechanics can be seen in the wonderfully quirky animated tutorials available in the main menu – all of which are tailor made to fit the particular setting of this title.
The setting for The Quarry is perfect in its genre trappings. Hackett’s Quarry is a summer camp in the rural part of upstate New York, and the game sees nine teenage counsellors taking the chance to party, now that their younger charges have left. As the teens prepare for one last blowout party end of the summer, all is not as it seems and the Quarry turns out to have been the site for a multitude of horrors. There is no attempt to reinvent the wheel here – this is peak slasher territory and the game seems all the better for it. What follows is a mixture of hormone fuelled teen interactions, exploration, QTEs and a massive dose of terror.
The budget for this title seems especially high with some big star names in the cast. David Arquette of Scream fame (and former WCW world wrestling champion) is the standout genre name and plays the owner of the camp, a mysterious figure who may know more about the area than he lets on. Alongside Arquette, Lance Henriksen will play a shadowy character that only appeared in one cutscene of the preview, and Justice Smith trades in his escapades with Detective Pikachu for panic as one of the teens.
The quality of the cast promises to really add to the atmosphere of the game and the motion capture takes us even further into the uncanny valley than their previous games. The voice acting seemed good in the parts that I played, but I’ll hold judgement until I’ve met the whole cast.
Starting in the middle of Chapter 2, I met the teens very much in media res and so was left guessing somewhat as to their relationships and dynamics. All of the familiar teen stereotypes seem to be present and correct, though – the sarcastic Kayleigh, the quiet jock Ryan, the nerdy Abigail, etc. In what promises to be a welcome addition, however, there seems to be the suggestion of LGBTQ+ representation in the form of the camp (possibly in both senses) DJ, Dylan. This was most apparent during a game of Truth or Dare around a campfire in which you could choose to kiss Dylan as Ryan. I’m keen to see how the full game handles this; it’s something that should be seen as normal.
The preview allowed me to experience a range of the game’s mechanics, as well as throwing me into the middle of the story just as things began to get frightening. Gunplay was nicely introduced by way of a shooting contest and looks set to offer an entirely new approach, albeit one that will surely be narratively constrained to prevent you from going all Doom guy. Walking off the beaten path revealed collectables, there were clear path choices where the story would go in different directions, and I got a glimpse of the QTE systems which felt as clean and streamlined as you’d expect.
All in all, The Quarry looks set to further cement Supermassive’s reputation as the masters of interactive horror and I can’t wait to get my hands on the full game and discover the depths of terror to be found within. The hints so far point to an over the top experience along the lines of the subversive film The Cabin in the Woods, so here’s hoping it lives up to that promise when it comes out on 10th June. In the meantime, don’t have nightmares… I’m sure that noise behind you is just the wind.