As an avid horror fan, I was delighted by how Supermassive Game’s title Until Dawn played with horror tropes to give the player what they expected at certain moments, and to subvert those expectations at others. It appears they aren’t done providing scares for Playstation adopters, even though their new project The Dark Pictures anthology will be released across all platforms.
In an interview by 4PDA.ru (translation is needed), the Supermassive Games executive director Pete Samuels shared that besides the upcoming anthology games that are currently in the works, they have “several unannounced PS-exclusives” as their “relationship with Sony is still excellent“. This is great news, since Until Dawn is one of the better horror games to be released over the last few years (Outlast and SOMA being two others), and Supermassive is bringing their style of story-telling to a series, the first of which is titled The Man of Medan.
But don’t expect them to create a shared universe, something that most other studios, no matter the medium, are trying to accomplish. Because of the nature of their games, creating a shared universe that would also allow for all of the contingencies created by each individual player would be a (super)massive undertaking. It has also been heavily reported that The Dark Pictures is a trilogy– something else that Samuels refutes. He states that “the studio is engaged in three chapters to release them in a year. We have plans for the fourth project…there are ideas for the fifth edition, and for the sixth.”
What is allowing them to spread their genre-cleaving ideas so far? According to Samuels, the studio “identified 39 sub-genres of horror” from which they choose their base components. When that process is complete they “study real myths or historical events reflecting these ideas…[they] get acquainted with the legends… [and] Therefore, each of our creations has a… factual basis.” In other words, much like Until Dawn, the player can expect surprises when it comes to horror tropes, and Supermassive Games is using this technique to add to the tension and the player’s inability to guess at what’s to come. Their first attempt, The Man of Medan, will utilize the disappearance of a real-world ship and its crew, the Ourang Medan– how they twist the theories of what happened to make an entertaining game will be interesting to see.
And for those who despise Quantic Dream’s attempts at telling dramatic, hyper-real stories, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to The Dark Pictures. As reassurance, Pete Samuels explained to the interviewer that “our team understands that it primarily creates entertainment, and does not send political or moral messages to the masses…There is no wrong choice. Each decision simply changes the story.”
It looks like there will be a wealth of horror-related content stalking the PS4’s game library in the near future, and Supermassive Games is to thank for it. If Until Dawn is any indication, they have as firm a grasp on how to create good horror as a serial killer does on his favorite murder weapon; they can count me in for every one of their upcoming episodes.
Until Dawn and The Inpatient are available exclusively on Playstation 4.