The moment it was announced, The Quarry became one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year. What many people would consider to be the true follow up to Supermassive Games’ 2015 classic Until Dawn. While the studio has since released titles such as Little Hope, and Houses of Ashes, as well as multiple VR games, it is safe to say that The Quarry is the one that people have been waiting for.
Until Dawn was a superb mix of choose your own adventure, 80s B-movie horror, and general gaming goodness that offered players a refreshing blend of choice and consequence. The good news is that anybody who was hoping for the same from The Quarry will not be disappointed.
The Quarry will see players exploring that most murderous of locations, a summer camp located in the aptly titled Hackett’s Quarry. An all-star cast will bring the ill-fated visitors to life, and once again, it will be up to players to try and get as many people out alive as they can.
After spending some time with the game, I can happily say that tensions get gloriously high as the well-written and believable characters get themselves into all kinds of trouble. While the character might occupy a relatively predictable middle ground between archetype and stereotype, how the characters interact feels believable. The Quarry is promising a lot of emotional minefields to navigate as you attempt to keep their relationships intact despite the stresses they are about to endure. The Quarry doesn’t make the mistake of thinking that characters need to be likable to be worth saving, and it is all the better for it.
As I played through the small portion of the game that made up the preview, I needed to make various choices. They ranged from minor elements like what questions to ask another character or how to respond to a question to more important things like what route to take while escaping a threat or searching for a friend who was in trouble.
The real magic of The Quarry, and the same fun spirit that was captured in Until Dawn, is that as players, we know what is coming, and we are aware of all the tropes that the game is flirting with. While two characters talk about a midnight swim in a lake, we can see all manner of clues as to why this would be a bad idea, yet we do it anyway. The desire to push the story forward clashes with the desire to keep characters safe, resulting in that wondrous anxiety that only the best horror can deliver.
The Quarry also looks fantastic outside of some slight Uncanny Valley facial animations. While daytime can be just a little harsh when it comes to glare, the game engine does beautiful things with light, especially at night time. The areas you explore feel dense and foreboding, thanks to the stunning murky details you will need to wade through.
The portion I played was also pretty heavy on Quick-Time Events and what the developers called “button bursts,” periods of intense keyboard slamming. While not a problem for me, some folks out there simply don’t enjoy this type of gameplay mechanic all that much. The good news for those suffering from a physical issue that prevents engaging with these types of controls is that the games will launch with a Movie Mode that allows you to assign personality traits to characters and then watch their entire social circle combust in a torrent of blood.
From what I have played, The Quarry is shaping up to be everything that I wanted, and will once again allow the voyeur in me to act as both writer and director for an unwitting cast of turbulent teens. How many of them will actually survive until the final credits remains to be seen.