Until Dawn wowed us when it released on PS4 back in 2015.
Developer Supermassive Games has done well expanding on the formula since, too, releasing three similar games in its Dark Pictures Anthology. But while new modes and features are welcome, none have managed to yet capture the Until Dawn magic. Working with 2K, however, it might just do so with The Quarry.
Launching this June, The Quarry finds a group of nine summer camp counsellors getting ready to celebrate the last day of summer in Hackett’s Quarry. But of course, this is a horror game, so something’s destined to wrong.
And indeed it does. We’ve had some hands-on time with a small portion of The Quarry, just enough to familiarise ourselves with some of its characters, mechanics and scares. It’s safe to say we’ve come away intrigued. Our time with the game began in chapter 2, with the majority of the group just returning from a forested area after completing a supply run. Wood has been obtained for a fire, and there’s food and drink aplenty. But one of the group has also returned with a shotgun.
This scene serves as a perfect introduction to The Quarry‘s choice system. In dialogue, you generally can choose to say one of two options, and your decisions will have an impact on relationships and actions. What’s more, most dialogue choices seemingly don’t have to be made under pressure, giving you time to mull things over. The jovial hijinks of what appears to be the alpha male of the group also leads to a shooting competition, letting us get to grips with aiming and shooting in the game. Though of course, it’s limited to select scenes.
It’s when moving into chapter 3 that we get a true taste of what to expect from The Quarry. With the group entertaining a game of truth or dare, insecurities are tested and some of the group storm off in a huff. Now we get direct control of some of the characters, which reveals that a mix of locked and free cameras are employed. The former is great for leading players and creating atmosphere, but angle changes can lead to some awkwardness with the controls.
In any case, it’s not long before the night takes a turn for the worse; something lurking in the forest makes its move. When horror unfolds, quick time events come into the mix, tasking players with either pressing, tapping or holding buttons to perform actions that will save their lives. Choices have to made under strict time restraints, too, and it’s a valid choice to sometimes not speak or take action. Ultimately, the fate of The Quarry‘s cast rests in your hands, though the best course of action won’t always be clear-cut.
For anyone that has played one of Supermassive Games’ previous cinematic adventures, nothing here will feel particularly new. Between chapters, there’s even a narrator of sorts, a tarot reading woman who can offer a glimpse of the future. But it’s not so much an issue: the real value of The Quarry will be determined by its characters and story.
So far, the cast here seems like what you’d expect. There some with level heads, some that are dorky, and others that are buffoons. You’ll likely warm to at least a few of them, rooting for their survival. And that’s largely down to the believable writing. While we’re still quite in the dark of what the real evil lurking in Hackett’s Quarry is, the fact that we’re interested in finding out is a positive. Will it be paranormal, or will there be a more natural explanation like in the majority of the Dark Pictures games? We’re keen to find out.
There’s also the fact that The Quarry looks absolutely gorgeous. While some of the character animations seem a bit unnatural, whack the settings up to max on PC and things here look pretty much photo-realistic. It goes a long way in building tension and the atmosphere. The voice acting is top-notch, too. The only thing we’re not sure about so far is the font choice for dialogue choices and menus, but it goes with the 80s VHS theme that the game seems to be going for.
As fans of Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures Anthology, it’s safe to say we’re very excited about The Quarry. Our time with the preview build has been brief, but it’s clear it has all the ingredients that have made Supermassive Games’ previous titles a success. And with it promising more choices and endings than ever before – as well as a suite of modes that allow you to enjoy it alone or with friends – we can’t wait to see what horrors it has in store for us.
No one else makes cinematic experiences quite like Supermassive Games, and we have a feeling that The Quarry might prove to be the studio’s best yet.
The Quarry is launching on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC on 10th June.