Supermassive Games’ The Dark Pictures Anthology reaches its season finale with The Devil in Me. I got to spend an hour or so with the upcoming horror game.
The Devil in Me is the fourth title in The Dark Pictures Anthology. The series of games are presented in a manner very similar of that of a TV show, like Alfred Hitchcock Presents. They mainly employ psychological horror to portray events that may, or may not, be supernatural.
The preview introduced me to the cast, a production crew filming a low-budget documentary about a serial killer. The cast is led by British actor/comedian Paul Kaye playing egotistical director Charles Lonnit.
The story is based on the crimes of H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer. The crew has been invited to film in a replica of Holmes’ “murder castle”, a building that the killer refitted with murder rooms and acid vats to dispatch and dispose of his victims.
The game uses similar mechanics to those Supermassive Games first established with their 2015 PlayStation 4 exclusive, Until Dawn, and most recently utilised in 2K Games’ teen horror game, The Quarry. Players get to control each of the protagonists as they explore and interact with the environment and each other.
The player’s choices affect the direction of the story and whether or not characters survive. This can be direct action-based interactions (usually via quick-time events, or via dialogue responses with the other characters. The result is a branching story with many potential outcomes.
The preview starts towards the beginning of the game, likely jumping in just after the initial plot set-up. The characters are just getting settled in their hotel rooms. The director, Charles Lonnit is missing his cigarettes, and so goes out in search of some. A sinister-looking animatronic figure behind the bar is the first sign that suggests that the hotel has been retro-fit as some sort of themed attraction. But not only does the animatronic seem a little too sentient, there is also someone else lurking in the hotel.
The previous games in the series spend some time allowing the player to get to know the characters, and this preview was no different. The director Charles Lonnit is established as a bit of a prat early on. The documentary’s presenter, Kate Wilder comes across as ruthlessly ambitious, as opposed to her still-smitten ex-boyfriend and camera operator, Mark. Asthmatic sound technician, Erin, and grip, Jamie, seem to be the only ones with their heads screwed on properly. Looks like it’s going to be a wild ride, not just because of the booby-trapped murder house, but also due to the conflicting personalities.
The anthology’s enigmatic host, The Curator (who may or may not be the Grim Reaper, himself), only made a brief appearance in the preview. The short intermission had the rather sinister character breaking the forth wall, in his signature style, to utter some less than comforting words follow the death of one of the characters.
Supermassive Games have done a great job in brining together four very different stories for its anthology. The Devil in Me seems to have drawn on the Saw movies for inspiration, with one sequence giving players the choice of either letting a character get stabbed or stepping off a pressure plate allowing a scythe to swing down on a hooded and caged stranger.
Even during my short time with the game, I witnessed the very gruesome death of one of the characters, most definitely down to my poor choice, and numerous unsettling situations. I’d keep the lights on playing this when it comes out later in November.
The Devil in Me comes out on 18 November for Window PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.