Supermassive Games’ The Quarry is getting a hands-off “Movie Mode,” and I couldn’t be happier. No, I’ve not been at the gin, suggesting that the sequel to a famously interactive horror game should drop the interactivity. But if Supermassive delivers, The Quarry Movie Mode could give horror aficionados something special – an interactive experience where your choices matter and a secondary gorefest where characters are dispatched in horrifying but hugely creative ways.
In the past, it was questionable how much some games’ choices mattered. Games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead had claimed to offer meaningful choices, but I quickly discovered that wasn’t always the case. For example, no matter what happened, Ben always died. However, when Supermassive’s first interactive horror movie came out, Until Dawn, I was overjoyed that my choices really did matter.
If one character repeatedly treats his would-be love interest like crap, she’ll have little interest in saving him, which will in turn lead to his gruesome death. If a character dies failing a quick-time event, Until Dawn won’t force you to replay that section till you get it right the way The Walking Dead does. Instead, the story carries on without them.
But best of all, you get to override all those idiotic decisions that get horror movie protagonists killed. When Chris is wandering through the mines and hears another character call from him, you have the option to follow the noise. If you do so, he dies horribly and you have no one to blame but yourself.
However, if you simply choose to have him ignore it, he’ll live (unless you really fumble a quick-time event). At the time, I felt so, so smug about having averted his demise. It took all my willpower not to hop over to my Blu-ray/DVD shelf, which is largely horror, and do some kind of celebratory dance. Even better, when the credits rolled, everyone lived! Hurrah!
But the more time I’ve spent playing Supermassive’s titles like Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures, the more I’ve found myself wishing the body count were a little higher and a little more unpredictable. I’ve tried cranking up the difficulty level, but it’s still tough to fail the quick-time events, accessibility issues aside. And while I’m not advocating that Supermassive go full final girl, horror movies should have a body count, with at least a couple of the main characters expiring.
Granted, Supermassive does at least attempt to bait you into making bad choices. Nonetheless, the prospect of “everyone lives” diminishes a horror story’s impact when dealing with so many hapless protagonists. The alternative is to deliberately fail QTEs or make purposefully bad decisions. But that makes you directly responsible for the death of those characters, instead of a poorly designed rock crusher or some lunatic with an axe, and that’s just not the same.
That’s where The Quarry’s non-interactive Movie Mode comes in. Supermassive hasn’t revealed an awful lot about the mode, except that, if you want maximum gore (“Gorefest,” as it is described), you will have to purchase the game’s deluxe edition. I’m not particularly happy about that part. What does have me grinning though is the prospect of sitting back, popcorn in hand, and watching the characters live or die based on some kind of random factor.
“Press play, sit back, and indulge in the most gruesome, gory, splatter-filled version of The Quarry,” boasts the official website of Gorefest Movie Mode, which suggests there’s at least one version of Movie Mode that dispatches most of the cast.
I’m hoping that Movie Mode doesn’t play out the same way every time, so that you can rewatch it at a later date and witness different characters meet a bloody end. Their respective deaths, in turn, could impact the survival – or otherwise – of other characters. Maybe summer camp owner Chris (not Until Dawn Chris) will have his torso torn off because Abigail, who would have been there to unlock a door, fell face-first onto a rotating saw.
At this point, if you think I sound a little bloodthirsty, you’re absolutely right. Ghost stories are great and horror doesn’t have to equate to gore, but it’s clear from the trailer – and the movie filters featured in the deluxe edition – that The Quarry is going for an ‘80s-style horror aesthetic. There may not be a masked killer, given that Until Dawn already went there, but there’ll be homicidal rednecks and, quite possibly, werewolves.
So, on the one hand, there’s the urge to “win” by upturning any stupid decisions that The Quarry throws at you, e.g., we’re not going to split up, and we’re all going to get out of this alive. On the other hand, Supermassive will have piled on the gore, and it’d be a disservice to all those in-house artists if you don’t get to see at least one ray-traced pile of intestines. (Disclaimer: The game has made no promise of ray tracing.)
With the addition of Movie Mode, The Quarry should give you the best of both worlds. You can play the game “properly,” feeling thoroughly smug about the time that, instead of just stepping over an unconscious murderer, you paused to drop a rock on their skull. Then once you’ve got your “everyone lives” ending, you can fire up Movie Mode and get an eyeful of all the gore you missed, laughing at the idiot who decides that splitting up is the best way to deal with multiple murderous rednecks. Have these people never seen a horror movie in their entire lives?
At least, that’s assuming The Quarry Movie Mode pans out that way. It’s possible that there will just be a “Who should live / die?” option, which, while better than nothing, would lack the random factor that could make Movie Mode hugely rewatchable. Is your favorite character going to make it through alive this time?
In the end, will The Quarry still be worth playing if it lacks that unpredictability? Unless Supermassive has really messed things up, it should be. I’ll still pull out Until Dawn every now and then, even though I know how events are likely to unfold, and when you’ve got friends around, passing the controller is a riot. But Movie Mode has the potential to make The Quarry even more special; that June 10 release date can’t come soon enough.