Developer Supermassive Games shot onto the gaming scene in a massive way with their 2015 hit Until Dawn. In the years following, the team have honed their skill set and passion for delivering horror experiences with great twists and player choice and have continued to deliver again with their latest game The Quarry. Acting as a spiritual successor of sorts to Until Dawn, The Quarry puts your new group of player characters in the midst of a new horror mystery that pulls from many classic horror influences. And once again depending on the choices you make, the outcome can be drastically different. And in a world where anyone can live, and everyone can die, you’ll quickly learn the your actions have very real consequences.
In The Quarry, you play as a group of camp counsellors in the closing hours of the year’s summer camp. The kids have been sent home, the packing up is just about done, but before being able to call it a day and head home, certain events take place that result in the counselors having to spend one additional night on the grounds of Hackett’s Quarry. The camp leader instructs them all to stay inside while he goes and attempts to find the help they need but in true horror movie fashion, they don’t listen and decide to throw an evening outdoor party instead, leading the group becoming scattered and in some really dangerous situations on the campgrounds.
The plot of the game is clearly inspired by numerous horror movie genres and tropes, and just as you think you understand what kind of story is being told, the game shifts direction to a new trope via some fairly significant plot twists. As this is a longer game than those features as part of Supermassive’s Dark Pictures series, I liked this occasional change of direction as it kept things fresh and interesting across The Quarry’s 10 hour playtime.
Many of Supermassive game’s titles have put player choice at the forefront of the narrative, and The Quarry is no different. While you’ll often swap between which counsellor you’re playing as, the way their story plays out and whether they live to see the next chapter comes down to the dialogue choices you make, the object you find and the outcome of the game’s many Quicktime events. The later of which has evolved to primarily consist of button presses using the analogue stick or button mashes, an addition I liked as the inputs where more telegraphed that the sudden inputs often thrown in at the last second that featured in Until Dawn. There are also quite a number of accessibility options that can be tweaked for the quicktime events too if the default options aren’t suitable.
The Quarry marketing material state that the game has 186 different endings, and while many of these will be slight variations of one another depending on which counsellors make it through the night, it’s clear to see how varied the ending, and the path that leads you there can be drastically different. I played through the game 3 separate times just to test out just how drastically different scenarios could play out and the ramifications of those choices and was pleasantly surprised by just how much things can differ, and also the scenes that can be completely missed from one play through to another.
The overall gameplay is a further refined version of many of the systems that appear in Until Dawn and the Dark Pictures games. You’ll swap between numerous characters, get some time in each chapter to walk around and investigate the environments, which often reward players that take the time to explore by providing the characters with various items that can come in handy in future encounters and the tarot cards you’ve discovered can be traded for a brief premonition of a potential future at the end of a chapter. I just wish these sections didn’t feature a snails pace walking speed, and with some sections, especially those within the moonlit forests, I found them often disorienting as they were too dark to enjoy exploring.
The key highlight of The Quarry for me were it’s characters. With a fairly sizeable cast, I loved how much each felt like they had an impact on the story, and also how each got their moment to shine and develop their stories. The majority of the characters are developed well, are really likeable and give amazing performances with my favourites being Miles Robbins’ Dylan and Ted Raimi’s Travis. The performances of these high profile actors really help bring the individual characters to life and their likenesses are presented really well with the tech powering The Quarry having some great rendering abilities when it comes to the characters. Unfortunately the same can’t be said when it comes to some of the game’s particles and water effects, with them occasionally looking dated and out of place compared to the high fidelity of the rest of the game.
For those that prefer to experience The Quarry more like a typical horror film, the game features a movie mode which allows you to sit back and just let the events play out as you watch the story unfold. Featuring a number of options to suit what you’re looking for such as everyone lives mode, everyone dies, gorefest and a mode where you can tweak the individual personalities and traits of the counsellors and then watch as the game does the rest.
The Quarry is a great step forward for the team at Supermassive and further refines the systems that form the backbone of many of their recent titles. It plays with some classic horror tropes in some interesting ways, has a great cast of characters and plenty of ways the story can play out. While the playable walking sections do slow the overall pacing and the game featuring some technical problems, I did have a blast playing through the game numerous times and really hope to see many of these features implemented and further built upon again in the future Dark Pictures games we know are planned for the future.
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