Supermassive Games has been known in recent years to focus on making games exclusively for the PlayStation 4, including the cult classic Until Dawn. The developers have now branched out into multiplatform gaming with the upcoming release of The Dark Pictures, from the Bandai Namco publishing label. This is an anthology horror series themed around several short stories involving a diverse cast of characters in terrifying situations. The game is still very much designed within the DNA spectrum that Supermassive Games have become renown for, using Hollywood actors and cinematic-style storytelling to bring the project to life. This was made rather evident with the announcement trailer that debuted during this year's GamesCom in Cologne, Germany.
The first trailer for The Dark Pictures is for the nautical exploration thriller featuring a few familiar faces. It's called the Man of Medan. The near two minute trailer introduces a handful of explorers on a diving trip in the middle of the Pacific ocean. The group explores a wreck deep below the surface where they uncover a mysterious and ancient evil. They begin to experience horrific entities, some of which pick off the adventurers one by one. The trailer depicts the ghastly entity as a shape-shifting and undefined force of supernatural power, using its abilities to grab at the divers, suffocate, and submerge them. The trailer ends with Shawn Ashmore calling out to the others when a woman begins to smile behind him, and as he turns toward her, her face turns into a ghoul.
It's a nice little collage of tension and horror, almost a grade above a typical indie horror flick. The atmosphere looks very similar to the kind of lighting and set dressing that Supermassive used for Until Dawn and Hidden Agenda. There's a lot of crushed blacks and the use of split-lighting to create a dynamic contrast between the characters and the shadows.
The premise for Man of Medan seems very similar to Ghost Ship and the 2002 horror-thriller, Below. We don't know why exactly the supernatural entity is killing off the explorers, but the gameplay will be similar to other Supermassive games, insofar that the characters will live or die based on your decisions, very similar to Until Dawn.
This is going to be the first of many short games in the Dark Pictures anthology series, and, according to the CEO and executive producer at Supermassive Games, Pete Samuels, the team has plans on tackling 39 different sub-genres within the horror theme. However, 39 sub-genres is a lot, and Samuels admits in a post over on the PlayStation Blog that it would take a while to get around to all of them.
You can look for Man of Medan to launch as the first entry in The Dark Pictures starting 2019 for Xbox One, PC and PS4.