Best known for developing Until Dawn, the decision-filled, horror adventure game, Supermassive Games has a new project in the works called The Dark Pictures Anthology. This will be a series of standalone games connected only in tone and style. The first of these games will be The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan and it will be approximately 4 hours long. Supermassive Games’ decision to opt for shorter experiences came directly from criticisms of Until Dawn.
While many enjoyed the classic horror campiness of Until Dawn, there was also plenty of negative feedback to sift through outside of the standard “it’s not my genre” comments. The team dug in with a detailed spreadsheet analysis of criticisms to seek patterns and, ultimately, solutions.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, the managing director of Supermassive Games, Pete Samuels, reflected on the process and its results.
We weren’t sure if anything would come out of it, but a bunch of things did, which drove us down the route of shorter stories. Then we looked at how we would do that, and what the strengths of smaller stories would be… For us, one of the strengths was that we could tell more stories. We loved that idea. We loved developing the stories and the characters, and we could do that multiple times in the same period if we did an anthology…
And we think people will like it. Certainly horror fans, who have often been fans of shorter format, anthology-type approaches. There is a place for it, a model for it in other media, it just hasn’t been done in games. That was another reason to do it.
Supermassive Games may never quite shake their association with story-driven experiences, nor do they necessarily want to. But Samuels knows continuously rehashing the ideas that made Until Dawn a success is a surefire way to lose in the long run.
The Dark Pictures Anthology is meant to explore new territory for the studio even if the hook is similar.
The Dark Pictures Anthology Comes From Until Dawn Criticisms
What do you think of this anthology approach to games? Let us know in the comments below.