The Quarry Preview: 80s Horror meets modern adolescent storytelling with huge potential

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I personally hold Supermassive Games up in very high regard after they burst onto the scene with Until Dawn and followed this up with the stellar Dark Pictures Anthology. Now we look forward to The Quarry, another interactive story title that looks to take everything they've learnt from similar past projects to create their magnum opus.

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We recently took a look at a small slice of the game and if these 45 minutes are anything to go by, Supermassive are onto a winner with The Quarry. In this preview, I'll take you through my experience and initial thoughts about the game as well as the hopes I have for launch.

What we played

For this preview, I had access to around 45 minutes of gameplay that took place just after the opening of the game. A short story catch up was provided so that I knew where the story was and essentially I was taking over control just as the camp councillors were spending their first unsupervised night at Hackett's Quarry.

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I'm going to intentionally keep things very broad and non-descript for fear of spoilers as no one should go into this game knowing too much. That being said, despite having access to just a short part of the game across chapters two and three, there was a lot going on.

Pacing issues have been a point of criticism for previous Supermassive titles, so getting straight into the action - even if that action is just strong character development - was blissful.

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Traditional, yet modern

The first thing that jumped out to me about how the story of The Quarry was playing out. It's clearly taking inspiration from 80s slasher films but is doing so without perpetuating the less desirable side of those films. There's no over-sexualisation of characters, forced gender cliches or tokenism on display.

Think about how Camp Crystal Lake might look and run with a crowd of 2020s teens at the helm. It's a wonderfully diverse cast that all had their moment to shine even in my short time with the game. There are clearly way more characters that I'm yet to interact with who can step in and steal the show at any time.

Speaking of stealing the show, the standout performer in this preview was Brenda Song as Kaitlyn. Every moment she spent on screen was done so as the centre of attention in the best way possible. Humourous when she needed to be and a badass when the time called, I'm excited to see where her character goes in the full game.

A bump in the night

Faithful to the way that I will play The Quarry when it releases, I stuck with my first instinct on all decisions and didn't opt to replay the preview to see how different decisions would change certain interactions.

One surprising feature within this preview was that we got to take a look at the 'big bad' that we'll be going up against throughout the game, or at least, that's the way it seems.

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Some very clever set-up has been done so that it was actually a little surprising where things went and naturally, all I wanted to do once my time was up is play more of the game.

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The core gameplay of The Quarry still has those Supermassive fingerprints all over it. You're essentially the puppet master of a horror film playing out in real-time. You have the power to make or break relationships and often have life or death decisions to make.

Tarot cards can be found which appear to be The Quarry's way of foreshadowing character moments of great importance. Heeding these warnings can lead to you saving a character in a perilous situation but it's finding these cards that will be the real challenge.

Interacting with objects and clues around the world will also help fill the intentional storytelling gaps like little breadcrumbs on a journey to complete clarity. Like in previous titles I don't expect the main story to leave any massive details out but you can add layers to your own experience by exploring the world when you're given the chance.

It's a vibe

The Quarry has me wrapped around its little finger and I won't be satisfied until I've played it to completion. While it's releasing in a particularly baron period of games in 2022, that shouldn't take away from the fact that if this quality in the preview is maintained throughout the entire game, we're looking at a genuine GOTY contender.

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With a cast that rivals if not succeeds Until Dawn and a premise that always leaves you guessing, The Quarry seems to know exactly what it wants us to feel as we step into our role within this world.

Only time will tell if it has the legs to fulfil its early potential but the early signs are looking good.