Since the release of Until Dawn in 2015, it feels like the world has been chasing that perfect blend of horror game and movie-like mystery that Supermassive Games proved they could offer. They’ve been whetting our appetite with The Dark Pictures Anthology, but nothing has quite managed to replicate the particular brand of classic fear and drama that their biggest title evoked. With The Quarry, it seems like we might finally get what we’ve been waiting for – and thanks to 2K, we were lucky to get hands-on with a taste of the action.
The Quarry is a “cinematic teen horror game” that focuses on a group of camp counselors at a place called Hackett’s Quarry, where in true horror movie fashion, everything is not as it seems. The counselors, having just bid farewell to the campers for the summer, wind up forced to spend an extra night at the campgrounds where hopes of nurturing blossoming romances are high and shenanigans are sure to ensue – just maybe not the kind any of them were planning for.
Much like Until Dawn before it, The Quarry’s cast includes a roster of recognisable faces, many of whom fit into classic horror movie character tropes. The mysterious Mr. H, played by long-time Scream franchise staple David Arquette, clearly has a host of secrets and is less than thrilled when he finds out that the group of youngsters are going to be gracing him with their presence for an extra night. Though he didn’t feature much in the preview section I got to experience, he’s bound to play a big part in the experience.
Many of the main teens themselves are also familiar, and it’s clear that everyone’s going to instantly pick favourites. I’m torn between Kaitlyn (Brenda Song, Disney channel babe of my childhood), who is kind, funny, and a bit of a shitstirrer, but who also seems to be the most responsible one of the group, and Abigail (Ariel Winter of Modern Family fame), the shy, nerdy, gently goth artist who easily has the best hair. Abigail’s love interest, Nick (Australian Evan Evagora) is the quiet, sporty one, a clear foil to Jacob (daytime soap regular Zach Tinker) the loud, confident jock whose romantic aspirations are tied to summer fling Emma (Halston Sage, best known for TV series’ The Orville and Prodigal Son) an aspiring influencer who clearly lives for the drama. Rounding out the group of seven are brooding loner Ryan (Detective Pikachu, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and genera+ion star Justice Smith) who seems to play his cards close to his chest and Dylan (Halloween 2018 actor Miles Robbins), frequent comic relief and avid playlist-creator. Though a lot of drama is clearly served up from the start, the actual relationships between the teens are totally at the mercy of the player, so fostering love and breaking hearts is all part of the joy of The Quarry.
As frightening as the prospect of navigating teen relationships is, there are obviously actual horrors to be feared at Hackett’s Quarry. Things moving in the shadows, creepy noises in the woods, menacing, mysterious characters with unclear motives – all of these are abundant, and the atmosphere in this game is tense. As is always the case in Supermassive games, it’s unlikely to be clear which of these are real threats until the very end (and which real threats we shouldn’t have dismissed), but even though we don’t know the true nature of these horrors yet (I’ve obviously been engaging in wild speculation, but would never want to spoil anything), we know they’re vicious and creepy.
Above everything else, it’s clear that this game is going to be a love letter to the horror genre. From the game menus styled to look like an old VHS tape to the sweeping cinematic shots of the woods and its landmarks, every choice here was made with the classics in mind, and it shows. Supermassive understand the genre and they understand that the fans love the genre too, which even comes through in the game modes being offered. While I didn’t get a chance to test it out in my preview build, this title will introduce a new game mode called ‘Movie Mode’, which allows you to set some general characteristics and approaches for each character and then sit back and watch the story unfold on its own, which surely opens up the game to a whole new audience of people who might not be confident gamers, but who dig the style of the game.
Unsurprisingly, the preview – which gave me just under an hour of gameplay – left me wanting more. I’m curious to understand the role of Eliza, who seems to guide the player through the use of tarot cards collected by the player, similarly to how totems worked in Until Dawn. The tarot cards show you a prophecy of what might unfold, but is it a desirable outcome, or one to try and avoid? I’m ready to meddle in every single one of these teens’ lives, and to attempt to keep them all alive while keeping their relationships intact. Can they all actually survive and get some form of a happily ever after? Probably not, with me in the driver’s seat! But boy am I ready to try. This game looks like it’s going to be polished, dramatic and unbearably tense, and I can’t wait to hate myself for leaping into what promises to be a deliciously terrifying adventure.
The Quarry releases on June 10th, on PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S and can be pre-ordered now.
Time Until Launch (June 10th, 2022)
Player 2 was kindly provided access to this preview by 2K Australia.