Before the conclusion of its first season of The Dark Pictures Anthology, Supermassive Games has teamed up with 2K Games for something a bit different. The Quarry is a choice-based horror adventure that sees players spending a night at an empty summer camp while being hunted by malevolent forces. A throwback to classic slasher films, The Quarry is Supermassive’s best work since Until Dawn.
Moonlight in your hands
The Quarry follows a group of counselors at Hackett’s Quarry Summer Camp. After sending the kids home at the end of the summer, the counselors prepare to leave as well. However, an unforeseen obstacle means they’ll have to spend one more night at the camp, which proves to be anything but a peaceful evening. A dangerous threat means the counselors will need to do everything in their power to stay alive and survive the night.
The Quarry’s story is classic slasher movie goodness as Supermassive plays on horror tropes in a way that honors the genre. There are excellent kills, a building sense of dread, and some genuinely frightening sequences. I was also impressed with some of the twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. There’s vibes of Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp, as well as various other indie horror flicks and creature features.
The cinematic feel of The Quarry is also thanks to the stellar cast of actors that has been assembled. Not only are there horror legends like David Arquette, Ted Raimi, and Lance Henriksen, but the cast also includes Brenda Song, Justice Smith, Ariel Winter, and Lin Shaye, among others. Each actor brings something unique to the table and their performance gives a sense of authenticity to the narrative.
Of course, acting performances can only go so far if there isn’t solid material to work with. The characters of The Quarry had interesting relationships and unique motivations that I was excited to dig into. The characters actually feel like real people, rather than two-dimensional archetypes. It increased the stakes for me, as I would’ve been devastated if any of them were killed. It’s in that regard that The Quarry surpasses a lot of the old horror that it draws inspiration from.
Dangerous paths converge
In a similar structure to other Supermassive titles, players control various characters throughout The Quarry. The narrative is shaped by your decisions, both small and large. After playing through the game a couple of times, I was pretty blown away with how far-reaching the consequences of even the tiniest decisions were. The Path menu keeps track of The Quarry’s different storylines, informing you of how your decisions lead to specific outcomes. There were multiple instances where choices I made in the first couple of chapters came back to bite (or save me) in the final moments.
The Quarry finds a great sense of replayability in its seemingly endless amount of possible narrative pathways. Everyone can die, everyone can live, and just about any combination of playable characters can survive the night. There are also story revelations that are significantly altered depending on where the player takes the story. After nearly every major decision, I felt compelled to go back later on to see what would happen if I made different choices.
The Quarry also features a movie mode that lets players watch all of the cutscenes as one big movie. The neat thing here is that you can tailor the Movie Night experience to your liking, determining the behavioral traits and personalities of each character. It’s fun to tinker around with after you’ve already played the game for yourself and just want to see different scenarios play out. I do however wish there was an option to fast-forward or even skip through dialogue scenes after you’ve already seen them.
Quick time events are also at the heart of gameplay once again in Supermassive’s latest game. In a bit of a departure from past titles, the majority of QTEs in The Quarry task players moving the left stick (on controller) in a certain direction within a limited window of time. There are also several instances in which you have to repeatedly mash a button as fast as possible.
One of the best changes, however, comes with the new Don’t Breathe QTEs. These require the player to hold down a button so that the character can hold their breath and stay concealed from a nearby enemy. You have to wait until you’re clear of danger in order to stop holding your breath and take off; stopping early or waiting too long could spell death. It’s the one QTE challenge that really kept me on my toes.
The Quarry is stuffed with clues and special items for players to discover, many of which will help inform your decision-making throughout the story. Tarot Cards are this game’s version of Totems, giving players an early glimpse at a potential outcome. I found a lot of enjoyment in just exploring the camp, uncovering details about its past, and trying to connect the dots before the game revealed them to me.
The Quarry is without a doubt the best-looking game from Supermassive to date. Not only is Hackett’s Quarry a scenic setting, but the character models themselves are incredibly well done. Digital Domain delivered detailed facial models that further contributed to the authenticity of the characters. While there’s certainly still some uncanny valley moments with facial animations, it’s a vast improvement over previous games from the developer.
I loved how The Quarry used music not only to set the tone, but cleverly nod to the events of the story. Ariana Grande’s 'Moonlight', one of my favorite songs, takes on a whole new meaning and I’ll probably think of this game every time I hear it going forward. There’s even a subtle musical nod to Dewey’s theme from Scream 2 when David Arquette’s character appears on screen and it had me smiling from ear-to-ear.
While The Quarry feels incredibly cinematic, the fixed camera did make things a bit difficult at times. There were instances where a character was extremely close to the camera, making it hard to properly navigate the area. There’s also a handful of cinematic views that were a bit disorienting and led me to move in the opposite direction than what I intended. It’s more frustrating when you consider that Supermassive’s 2021 release, The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes, finally introduced 360 camera control for the entire game.
The Quarry feels like a true spiritual successor to Until Dawn. Not just because it follows a group of young people running for their lives in the middle of the woods, but the emphasis on putting characters first in the story. Strong performances and solid writing actually made me care about the characters, which made the constant threat of danger all the more impactful. With dynamically branching pathways and some truly frightening sequences, The Quarry just might be my favorite game from Supermassive.
This review is based on a digital Steam Code provided by the publisher. The Quarry releases on June 10, 2022, for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, and PS5.
- Dynamically branching storylines
- Solid scares
- Unique and interesting characters
- Great voice performances
- Fun throwbacks to classic horror
- Fixed camera leads to some awkward moments
- No way to fast-forward through cutscenes on repeat playthroughs
Donovan Erskine posted a new article, The Quarry review: A modern slasher classic
This definitely is a step above The Dark Pictures games from a production standpoint. I consider Until Dawn and The Quarry AAA games, Dark Pictures is more AA.
The Quarry is much more polished and looks a hell of a lot better than House of Ashes, which released last year. I think the big difference is that 2K published The Quarry and Sony published Until Dawn. That extra cash and resources are very apparent in the final product.