The Quarry Hands-On Preview: A Love Letter That Puts The Camp in Summer Camp
It’s a cool summer's night at Hackett’s Quarry, an eerie voice blows in over the water, and a group of typically attractive camp counsellors gather around the fire. From the moment you boot up Supermassive Games' The Quarry, it's like dusting off an old Friday the 13th VHS and hearing the clunk as it loads into the VCR.
That's just it though, this isn't Friday the 13th, this is what Friday the 13th could be if it got a "prequel" akin to 2022's Scream. As a love letter to the horror of yore, The Quarry is a cannibalistic cocktail of Deliverance, The Cabin in the Woods, and the franchise that made Jason Voorhees a household horror. Although I've only just scratched the surface with a dull blade, this hands-on preview of The Quarry teased something special.
Putting The Camp In Summer Camp
There are the usual stereotypes of the bookish one, the pretty cheerleader, the quiet hero, and the dickish jock. Although these aren't officially their backstories, we guess these are the archetypes the writers dished out at the start of The Quarry. Some seem a little one-dimensional right now, but it's exciting to see where their arcs go. If you've ever sat down for a Supermassive game, you’ll know the premise of a choose-your-own-adventure story where you can opt to save or sacrifice your characters.
The problem is, even in my short 45-minute preview of The Quarry, I royally stuffed that up. One of the characters quickly became my favourite, and having had enough of their love interest, tried to off the latter. In a spoiler that we can't reveal here, it's definitely doomed my favourite to a fate that's clearly a major plot point. Then again, that's the dice you roll, so sorry to [insert name here].
You're largely free to send a conversation going down the route you want - whether it be romancing someone or sending them off into the night as a weeping mess when you reject their advances. There's also some exploration and the standard quick time events. Key moments are marked out by a "Path Chosen" cue meaning there's no going back. These are interrupted by smaller "Path Updated" interludes which confirm your main branch is branching out yet again. Choice is the dish of the day here.
Another bit I loved about The Quarry hands-on preview was the LGBTQ+ romance options. During the lengthy Truth or Dare scene, you can choose whether to make two of the male characters kiss or the man kiss a woman. Wanting to see whether Supermassive was going to lean into macho stereotypes of some dude shouting "urgh gross," it was refreshing that the man on man kiss played out as a perfectly normal occurrence. Even if the chances are some of the characters will be leaving in a body bag, the monster(s) don't judge on sexual preference, so at least Supermassive has firmly buried the "Bury Your Gays" trope
Night Of The Living Dread
The hands-on preview of The Quarry also feels like it needs a mention for Brenda Song's Kaitlyn as the no-nonsense lead. Giving a 21st Century update to your typical horror tropes, Kaitlyn is a revamped final girl - well, that's assuming she makes it through the night. No matter what, there's a dark sense of foreboding, which might come from the reminder you can save all nine of the playable characters or might end up losing them all.
You want to shout out "don’t jump in the lake… there’s something under the water" or "don't wander off into the forest alone," and while us savvy horror hounds know it's a one-way trip to the grave, The Quarry doesn't quite give you the choice to stop them. Well, a whole survival horror playing Truth or Dare while singing Kumbaya doesn’t quite make a thrilling game.
Sadly, the preview doesn't give us a look at David Arquette's Chris. Nor do other horror icons like Lin Shaye, Ted Raimi, and Lance Henriksen pop by for a spooky story, but you can’t have everything. Remembering that Supermassive makes such a big deal out of the above horror icons, we hope they're being saved for some stellar performances. There is a small snippet with Grace Zabriskie's Eliza, and much like Resident Evil Village's Duke, we're sure there's more to this spooky spinster.
Back For Blood
It's also unclear how the Tarot Card and Evidence systems come into play just yet, although I guess they're here to piece together the story of those who reside in Hackett's Quarry and the slack-jawed yokels lurking around it. My only gripe is that I wish you could move things along a little quicker. Instead of slumping around a dock to investigate that weird noise, we'd like to get a realistic wiggle on as we dash toward this unknown danger.
The Quarry is much like some genetically modified monster that's been locked in a lab and learned from its captors. Even though it doesn't officially fit under the banner of Supermassive's Dark Pictures Anthology, the beats of House of Ashes and co. are definitely here... but smarter. Supermassive will likely live in the shadow of its previous releases, so it's a good job The Quarry comes across as a natural evolution of the interactive horror genre.
It's hard to believe it's been seven years since we saw a likeness of Raimi Malek in Until Dawn, but either way, The Quarry feels like a beefier and bloodier older brother that should have you reaching for the popcorn and the butcher knife in equal measure. If this is just a taste of what’s to come, the corn syrup will still be flowing long after the final credits roll on The Quarry. Even then, we'll be sure to rewind and tape over our first adventure with a gorier sequel. Hey, aren't sequels always supposed to be bigger and bloodier?