The protagonists of The Quarry are a delightful range of dipshits. They straddle the line between fun and naughtiness, spanning the gamut of teenage archetypes from shy bookworms to riverdaleEsque melodramatic people. Some of these kids are a little more realistic, while others aren’t here to make friends—they’re here to cause trouble or break hearts. There are dramatic love triangles, secret kisses and unrequited longing.
But they all have one thing in common: They are here to be murdered. How many of them survive is up to you.
The Quarry Developer Supermassive Games takes another swipe to recover the magic of Until dawnthe studio’s 2015 teen horror debut, for its new multi-platform game. The Quarry shares many of the same pillars: a sprawling cast of characters, slasher-movie aesthetic, and an emphasis on player choice.
Here’s the setup for Supermassive’s new horror story: Due to unexpected circumstances, the children of The Quarry have to spend an extra night at Hackett’s Quarry Summer Camp. The adults in her life are strangely startled by this news, but for the teens, it’s just another chance for an epic party. The night starts out like a normal summer party, but things quickly get out of hand. There is some out in the woods, and it doesn’t take well to strangers. Add in crows, mysterious whispers, tarot cards, 80’s VHS technology and country fairy tales, and it’s a recipe for a fun mix of camp and chills.
The cast is large and the campers bounce off each other in interesting ways. They are also very proactive, which continually drives the storyline forward. The characters do not reflect deep-seated trauma or complex moral dilemmas. Instead, they make choices like Wouldn’t it be fun to swing that gun around? or Why wait inside like a bunch of nerds when we can have a campfire rager?
The teenagers – played by young Hollywood talent like Justice Smith, Brenda Song, Skyler Gisondo and Ariel Winter – have simple problems at first, but things get more complicated when they have to focus on survival. This is an easy dilemma to delve into, and it means the player has choices. My character’s love interest is mistreated terribly. Should I try to save him or flee into the forest? An athlete swims desperately for a piece of equipment and runs out of breath. Do I surface and risk losing the precious loot, or stay underwater with all those chains and corpses?
Because the cast is so large and crammed with painfully stupid choices, there’s room for joy in some of their horrifying deaths. Supermassive’s The Dark Pictures Anthology has a smaller main cast and encourages the player to carefully protect them, but The Quarry is far more unconcerned about throwing members of his cast into the meat grinder.
The Quarry is also a lot less cerebral than the Dark Pictures Anthology, which loves to complicate its narrative with twists and turns. The Dark Pictures games are full of military conspiracies, childhood trauma, and other narrative curveballs. Even the most interpersonally chaotic game house of ashesis tame compared to The Quarry – There is only one romantic conflict, as opposed to a whole lot.
These aren’t Marines, or even adults with fully developed frontal lobes – they’re dumb kids, so many of the decisions I had to make during my playtime were petty and silly. There are more of these little choices that can branch out in interesting ways, divide the group, or set the mood for a scene.
The player must navigate through the game using dialogue options and quick-time encounters. Are the teenagers honest with each other or evasive? How will the group split up and return to save each other from danger? Can a survivor climb a tree or should they focus on escaping through the undergrowth? Supermassive has added a lot of useful accessibility features that make the skill trials very flexible. The player can toggle various options to adjust the difficulty and requirements of these trials, allowing them to be completed in a split second or slower.
The Quarry is scheduled for release on June 10th for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. The game’s online multiplayer component, where a group gets to decide the fate of the teenagers, was pushed back for the July 8 release.