With the spooky season still in the air, perhaps we should look back at one of this year’s spookiest games, The Quarry, featuring Brisbane and Adelaide Supa-Star Evan Evagora! While 2022 certainly has been a boon for horror games, with the likes of Evil Dead The Game, and The Callisto Protocol in December to cap off the year, nothing hits the spot quite like The Quarry.
As a spiritual successor to 2015’s hit Until Dawn, The Quarry once again re-envisions classic slasher and teen horror movies, in which a group of teenagers have to band together to try and survive whatever horror lies waiting for them in the middle of nowhere. It’s no spoiler to say pretty much everyone could die. The studio that developed both titles, Supermassive, have managed to create two games that have felt like a breath of fresh air, despite their inspirations being rooted in the past.
The Quarry sees a group of nine teenage counsellors having a party at Hackett’s Quarry summer camp to celebrate their last night together, before being set upon by something stalking the area. What’s more classic than someone (or something) executing a bunch of teens in the grizzliest ways possible? Not to mention that a summer camp is the epitome of a classic spooky movie location — even the Addams Family have spent time at one!
A fine line is toed in The Quarry’s vibe, as it’s set in the modern day, but is instilled with a classic ’80s horror vibe. It’s not easy to balance two radically different eras, but it was intentional as the game’s director Will Byles said in an interview with Gameinformer:
“It’s a very helpless era. It’s quite an innocent era. We’ve definitely tried to keep a part of that whilst we’ve got very contemporary characters as our protagonists. We want to keep that. We’ve got this, like, quite anachronistic feel to it, where [we’ve] got contemporary characters, and it’s not set in the ’80s, but there’s a very ’80s feel about stuff.”
Byles has said the game draws upon a range of inspirations from films, such as Scream, Psycho, Friday the 13th, An American Werewolf in London, The Evil Dead 2, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Deliverance.
But the team behind The Quarry didn’t just rely on classic movies to instill fear into their game, but also psychological theory, putting plenty of research into understanding how fear really affects people. As Byles also said to Gameinformer:
“I mean, fear really comes from the lack of control. When you’re suddenly in a situation that’s not of your making, all of your values start to change. We work very much with the idea of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Right at the very top, you’ve got the ‘self-actualisation.’
“We’ve got all these contemporary teenagers all happily right at the top with their self-actualisation, then we just take away bits of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and the characters start to come away. The thing about that is that you’re deciding what those characteristics are. So, you’re deciding with the choices that you make how they deteriorate.”
The game also has an impressive cast, including Grace Zabriskie (The Grudge, Child’s Play 2, Twin Peaks), David Arquette (the Scream franchise, Eight Legged Freaks), Ted Raimi (Ash and the Evil Dead, Twin Peaks, and brother of Sam Raimi), Lin Shaye (Insidious franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Grudge), Justice Smith (Detective Pikachu — what’s more terrifying than being turned into a Pikachu??), and Supa-Star Evan Evagora! Evagora plays Nick, the character with perhaps the most tragic potential death in the game — or the cause of the most gruesome.
Until Dawn and The Quarry even harken back to classic ‘choose your own adventure’ books, particularly ones like Goosebumps. There are many choices for the player to choose — do you hide from the monsters, try to help your friends, or run — and each choice alters the story leading to plenty of endings — and potentially plenty of deaths.
The result is essentially an interactive horror movie, which is why the franchise has quickly grown in popularity. If you’re a horror buff but haven’t played The Quarry or Until Dawn yet, you are missing out on some of the best that modern horror has to offer!