British developer Supermassive Games sure caused a splash with Until Dawn in 2015. It’s action, adventure and horror game was one of the PS4’s top hits that year, and a must-play PS4 exclusive for many people during the console’s early years. It was also one of the best games of the 2010’s decade too…
Starring a bunch of teenagers who travel to a mountain cabin in British Columbia to spend a few days together, this played like a slasher flick in the first half, and a monster movie during the second.
During the game, players took control of each of the game’s eight characters, each of which could live or die depending on your choices in the game. Until Dawn also had “quick time events” in which players had to react quickly or face the consequences, for instance by pressing the right controller button to avoid an obstacle while running or avoid falling during a climb.
And after breaking up with Sony, developer Supermassive revealed that its next video game project, The Dark Pictures Anthology, would be multiplatform, also hitting the PC and Xbox consoles, as well as the PS4 (and PS5).
The Dark Pictures Anthology is actually a series of horror video games, each featuring a new cast of characters and setting. This survival horror, “interactive drama” games all follow Until Dawn’s template, and are narrated by the same character (the curator) who was introduced in the first Dark Pictures instalment in 2019, Man of Medan.
In Man of Medan, a group of friends end up trapped on a WW2-era ghost ship after their diving trip goes awry. Meanwhile, the second Dark Pictures Anthology game, Little Hope, takes place in a ghost town. A group of students and their teacher end up in the US town of Little Hope after a bus accident.
As in the previous Dark Pictures game and in the earlier Until Dawn, you take control of each character in the game at different points in the story, your conversation choices and other decisions during the game affecting the outcome, while this also has action sequences based on quick time events like the other Supermassive games.
And now Supermassive is getting ready to launch the third Dark Pictures game, which is titled “House of Ashes”, and is coming sometime this year. And watching the recently-released gameplay trailer, it’s hard not to get Call of Duty vibes, as House of Ashes’ plot follows a US military unit during the Iraq War.
After a shootout in an Iraqi town, the team ends up trapped in an ancient underground Sumerian temple, where “something ancient and evil has awakened in the shadows”. The video below shows that the game might feature monsters similar to Until Dawn’s wendigos, and aside to comparisons to Activision’s Call of Duty series due to the military theme, this might also bring back memories of The Descent movie to some.
So maybe this time Supermassive won’t settle for simple quick time events for the game’s action sequences, and perhaps include a few shooting sequences here (as in Activision’s military-themed hit series), even if this is more likely to stick to the template of the two earlier Dark Pictures releases when it comes to gameplay.
Aside from a single player mode, this is also expected to deliver the same multiplayer modes as the previous Dark Pictures game, which include a 2-player co-op “shared story” mode in which two players take control of a different character in concurrent scenes. This will also have a “curator’s cut” version of the story, which will be available once you finish the game, and lets you experience the original story from a slightly different perspective.
The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes, has no release date yet, but it’s certain we’ll be seeing the game’s curator character again, who as in the earlier games will present the story and comment on it at certain points in the game. It’s also hard not to notice that Supermassive has reused some character models from the earlier Dark Pictures games for this instalment too…
Here’s hoping, though, that this next Dark Pictures instalment (which will be the third out of eight planned games) turns out to be a worthy addition to the series when it lands sometime this year.