Long Night At Camp Hackett’s Quarry
HIGH When a last name reveals the villain.
LOW There are some incredibly cheap unexpected deaths.
WTF Is this whole game based on a cryptid meme?
Seven years ago, Supermassive Games made a splash with Until Dawn, a game designed to look and feel like a Hollywood-level horror movie that offered recognizable (if not quite-yet-famous) cast members, dramatic action setpieces, and truly disturbing gore. Now they’re back with The Quarry, a spiritual successor which aims to outdo Until Dawn in every way possible. Bigger names in the cast, scarier action, bloodier gore. The Quarry wants to be everything Until Dawn was, and more — and in nearly every aspect, it succeeds.
Tellingly, The Quarry opens with a solid five minutes of characters talking and quick-time events before the player is ever given the chance to take control of a character and have them walk around the beautifully designed 3D environments. An interactive movie through and through, it lets players know that while they’ll be free to walk around the maps from time to time to look for clues, the meat of play is in the branching conversations between characters and the many timed decisions they’ll have to make.
Unlike the Dark Pictures titles, which are of a similar ‘scary movie’ nature but built with a co-op focus, The Quarry is a decidedly single-player experience. Only one character is ever controlled at a time, and the developers do a fairly good job of sharing screentime between cast members for most of the running time. However, a few do wind up as standouts towards the end of the story and one gets sidelined very early on, but there are strong narrative reasons in both cases.
There are multiplayer options as well. First is a couch co-op mode where up to eight players assign themselves characters at the outset, then pass the controller back and forth every time there’s a switch. there’s also an online mode where one player controls searching and action sequences while an audience votes on decision points along the way, but this latter mode was not available during the review period.
Whether singleplayer or multiplayer, every design decision seems built around making the game as accessible as possible to as wide an audience as possible.
The industry standard for QTEs is to have players tap a face button on the controller to perform an action, but anyone who’s ever tried to get a newcomer to play a console game will know that screams of ‘Which one is the Y button?’ are a common occurrence. So, The Quarry has players pushing thumbsticks in different directions for all of its action scenes, which is a more difficult instruction to misinterpret.
QTEs aren’t the only things that are streamlined. Have trouble aiming guns with the right thumbstick or have issues with tapping buttons quickly? The game can be set to either help with or simply auto-complete challenges for the player, ensuring that literally anyone will be able to play from beginning to end.
The Quarry goes one step beyond accessibility, though, by offering “Movie” Mode. This mode lets players choose what kind of story they want to watch, and then they can sit back and take in the game as a viewer rather than participant. There are two preset versions initially available — “everyone lives” and “everyone dies” — but there’s also a “Director’s Chair” setting which allows players to decide how each character will react in a given situation. In this mode The Quarry isn’t an interactive movie any longer, it’s transformed into a storytelling experiment where the player winds characters up and sees what happens when they start bumping into one another.
For those interested in engaging directly, The Quarry offers exciting action setpieces and scenes packed with enemies both human and otherwise, and it never fails to find new and interesting ways to put the eight main characters in peril The camerawork and choreography in these sequences is magnificent, making every brush with death a nail-biter.
Another of The Quarry‘s main attractions just how replayable it is. Every conversational interaction offers the player a chance to be aggressive or understanding in one way or another, and those choices can have momentous impacts on the plot. Scouring the map for clues is also vital. The developers have come up with some truly clever consequences based on whether certain items are found or not. I was shocked and impressed when a seemingly random thing I picked up in the first hour wound up being integral to my survival in the final showdown, and the campaign is absolutely packed with tons of twists and surprises just like that one.
I can’t talk too much about the plot without spoiling the surprises that are The Quarry‘s bread and butter, but I will say that its greatest strength is the labyrinthine plotting. The first half is all about setting up a series of bizarre and baffling mysteries that the second half pays off beautifully.
The cast acquit themselves quite well in their roles, although there are two standouts — Siobhan Williams as Laura, whose journey is meant to mirror Until Dawn‘s Mike and proves every bit as harrowing, and Ted Raimi, who puts in a fantastic performance as Travis, the most complex and compelling character. The only place where the experience suffers in comparison to Until Dawn is in emotional resonance. In The Quarry all of the characters are innocent people who stumble into a bad situation through no fault of their own, whereas in Until Dawn they’re all dealing with the consequences of their own actions.
The Quarry sits comfortably near the top of the interactive movie genre. Equal parts clever and terrifying, it earns its ten-hour runtime with a series of twists and turns that are sure to delight. There’s action, romance, comedy, and unbelievably disgusting violence. Supermassive Games have delivered a rollercoaster that serves as a fabulous follow-up to Until Dawn, so anyone who enjoys the genre will be in for one hell of a ride.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Supermassive Games and published by 2K Games. It is currently available on PS4/5, XBO/S/X, PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS5. Approximately 10 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. 10 hours of play were devoted to couch co-op.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M and contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mild Sexual Themes, and Strong Language. It’s not just that the game is gory, it’s that the game dwells on the gore to an almost obscene extent. Faces aren’t simply blown apart by shotguns, the camera then lingers on the blown-apart face for a few seconds, making sure that the player didn’t miss any detail. There’s plenty of swearing and a few people kiss, but for a title inspired by ’80s slasher horror, the game is surprisingly chaste. Beer is discussed, but no one is ever depicted actually drinking any. While a number of characters appear in their underwear, there’s zero nudity, even though the plot literally calls for it on a number of occasions. Although that’s likely a consequence of the performers having no-nudity clauses in their contracts.
Colorblind Modes: Colorblind modes are available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All dialogue in the game is subtitled, and there is a close-captioning mode in which key sound effects are listed as well as dialogue. Text can be resized, and there is a dyslexia-friendly font available. It’s fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: No, the game’s controls are not remappable.