TRANSCRIPT: Alone in the Dark is back! After a 15 year absence — and yes, I’m aware of the terrible co-op shooter from 2015, it doesn’t count — the literal first name in survival horror is back! GameCritics was invited to an online preview event, and I have thoughts!

The third game in the series to be simply titled “Alone in the Dark”, this one functions as something of a reboot, as it takes the action back to Louisiana in the 1920s — exactly when and where the original was set.

This new AitD seems to aspire to be something more than just a simple do-over, though, as this line of dialogue from Emily Hartwood (played by prominent actress Jodie Comer) lays out an interesting connection to the infogrames classic —

“Last night I dreamt that my uncle hung himself in the attic. That we were too late.”

That, of course, is a reference to the original AitD from 1992, in which Jeremy Hartwood (Emily’s uncle) hanged himself in the attic of the family estate. It was the inciting incident that drew Private Investigator Edward Carnby into the investigation that makes up the plot of the first game.

So what does it mean that this new Edward and Emily remember the old adventure? Will this new investigation cross decades and dimensions? Only time will tell, but it’s an intriguing possibility.

Regardless, players can expect a greatly-expanded narrative. While investigating the estate, they’ll discover that this time it’s not just a family home, but an asylum for the deranged, full of characters to interact with and mysteries to solve.

Further, while there was no meaningful difference when playing as Emily or Edward in the past, this time the developers promise that NPCs will react very differently depending on which character the player chooses to control, leading to meaningfully different experiences. Is it marketing hype, or is Alone in the Dark planning to be the new Resident Evil 2, since the actual new Resident Evil 2 had no interest in doing so?

Story aside, the gameplay certainly has the look of a modern third-person shooter inspired by Resident Evil, with static cameras and pre-rendered backgrounds both a thing of the past. And, if the preview is to be believed, the estate will be absolutely crawling with slimy, malformed beasts that have to be blasted back to whatever dimension they crawled out of.

The thing I’m most excited about, however, is the obvious passion that the developers appear to have for the source material. Not only are they embracing the game’s genres – hard-boiled detective meets Lovecraftian horror – there are nods to the rest of the franchise, most notably the appearance of Grace Saunders (the kidnapping victim from Alone in the Dark 2) as a key figure in the story.

Grace is most famous for having been the star of Jack in the Dark, a non-canonical playable teaser for Alone in the Dark 2, in which she had to escape a sinister Jack in the Box in a toy store. The developers are keeping this tradition alive by making Grace the playable star of their brand-new demo, which is available now.

While nothing in the preview suggests that Alone in the Dark is looking to break any new ground – at least not to the degree that Alone in the Dark 2008’s revolutionary fire and crafting mechanics did — but everything I’ve seen so far suggests a dedication to providing an eerie and intense horror experience that lives up to the series’ legacy. If you ask me, horror fans have every reason to be excited for Alone in the Dark’s release this Halloween!


Jason Ricardo
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