The moment I booted up The Quarry for this preview, I was excited. An old-looking computer with old scanlines and a moody synth track really indicated the era and the vibe that Supermassive is throwing back to with this game. Despite that, The Quarry is quick to establish itself firmly in the modern-day – and this is particularly exciting. Bringing together the tried-and-true conventions of horror films from the eighties with the complexity of a modern setting is no doubt a formula for success. And if my preview with an early chapter of the game is any indication, it’s on the right track to be one of Supermassive’s best.
While the preview starts with three of our characters discussing some story elements that I’d rather not ruin here, the first proper gameplay section follows Jacob and Nick. Much like Supermassive’s other games, each of the characters fits into the fairly typical archetypes you’d expect to see in the genre. Jacob is the hot-headed jock, who quizzes the more sensitive Nick about his relationship with Abby before they enter into a competition to shoot some melons and win a pack of snacks the pair found earlier in the story.
Acting as a tutorial for the game’s shooting mechanics, it’s already clear that The Quarry feels like a step up from anything Supermassive has done thus far. The shooting feels tight (even though we’re using a shotgun), and I’m excited to see how it’ll play into more intense moments later on in the story. At this point, Kaitlyn jumps in and proves she can more than hold her own against these two guys and is already proving to be one of my favourites in the cast.
We head back to the camp that the group has set up and play a good old-fashioned game of truth or dare as night falls around the campfire. Here we get our first proper look at most of the main cast, and I wasted no time getting to know my fellow campers. At this point, we discover that Abby is implied to be a virgin – which is a plus for her because we all know they survive every and any horror film – but also that she’s got a bit of a crush on Nick. Jacob tries to jump over the fire naked as part of his dare, but is talked down by the group, much to his disappointment.
Kaitlyn is a bit of a shit-stirrer, perhaps why I like her so much, but she dares Emma, the girl who’s clearly too cool for all of this, to kiss Nick. This has a bit of an effect on the group – not only is Abby upset because her crush is being kissed by someone else, but Jacob gets mad because his girlfriend is kissing someone else, though Emma seems to think they’re not as serious as Jacob believes they are. They both storm off while their partners leave the campfire to find them and make sure they’re not upset. While the three left at the campsite continue to speak to one another, we see Lance Henriksen’s character and someone else watching them from a nearby cliff. Spooky indeed.
It felt like a lot of mystery and worldbuilding was being laid down for players to pick up and catch on to during this entire sequence. The titular quarry seems to have a lot of history, with its own fair share of urban legends and horrible history. Even in conversation with the cast, the one that kept coming up was something to do with a character people call “The Hag”, and I have theories as to who this is but won’t be able to confirm during my time with the game in this preview.
The scene changes, and we’re in a run-down shack with Grace Zabriskie’s character, an older woman, perhaps even a witch, called Eliza. Eliza looks to play a similar role to Dr. Hill from Until Dawn or the Curator from the Dark Pictures games. She’ll comment cryptically on events as they’ve transpired and even offer insights to you based on collectible tarot cards you find during your time in the quarry. I started this preview with The Hanged Man card, and she cryptically said something about needing to be strung up before we can be let go before asking me if she could show me more. I agree to it, and I see a premonition of the future, presumably of one of my characters dying.
It’s very similar to both Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures games. While at this point, I’m questioning just how different this will be from Supermassive’s other work, I’m still engrossed. These premonitions are always fun to watch and think about, and they almost always up the tension of certain scenes because of how vague they are. They add more confusion to an already tense moment because you’re thinking about how you could mess it up even if you’re successful in the inputs it throws up on the screen.
What followed is what you’d expect from a game like this – Abby is in the woods alone, upset until Nick finds her and tries to console her. The two get close to sharing a moment (well, at least that’s how I wanted it to play out) before they can hear a creature watch them. This quickly turns into a typical chase sequence from a Supermassive game. There’s some QTEs and some quick on-the-fly choices to make before the two inevitably get separated. I manage to successfully escape the creature – which I won’t describe here for spoilers – and the scene changes back to Jacob.
Upset about what transpired at the bonfire, Jacob is joined by Emma at the pier, who sees that he’s upset. Emma insists that whatever they had between them was always meant to be a summer fling, but Jacob clearly wants more. The two have some playful banter and flirty splash fights before Jacob hears Abby’s scream in the distance. I had the choice to go and save Abby or dive into the lake to find something Jacob had lost, and I chose the latter. Selfish, I know, but I knew whatever was threatening Abby probably wouldn’t have been good news for Jacob either.
I quickly had that moment that I’m sure many Until Dawn players have recognised – that the situation I’m in right now was the one that Eliza showed me in the crystal ball. At the bottom of the lake is a dead body and barbed wire and chains that Jacob gets tangled in. I randomly chose my actions – knowing that there was no way to know for sure what to do – but came out alive, which was a relief. The scene then promptly changed again.
We’re back at the campfire with Kaitlyn, Dylan, and Ryan. They decide to continue their game of truth or dare before Abby catches up, screaming. They quickly decide to go back into the forest (brilliant idea, I know) to find Nick. In this scene, I’m playing Ryan. For reasons I can’t really explain, I made the stupid idea to go back into the forest to find Nick myself with the shotgun I was shooting within the opening scenes of the preview.
I found Nick in the forest after a set of choosing paths and making decisions. While I won’t get into what was happening specifically, an unknown, redneck-type was trying to carry him deeper into the woods. I knew this was my moment, that all that shooting practice from before would pay off right now. I made Ryan shout at the guy and took a shot at him after he was clearly non-responsive. Thankfully, I managed to make him drop Nick and run off into the woods. Ryan checked on Nick to ensure he was okay, and our preview ended.
I’m pretty excited to return to The Quarry when it launches next month. The hour or so that I spent with the game thus far has me liking pretty much all of the characters – and we haven’t even met three of the playable characters nor have I properly meet the heavy hitters like David Arquette, Lin Shaye and the rest. For now, there’s enough mystery and intrigue to really carry the story through. The relationships that I’ve already witnessed and either built up or destroyed are compelling enough to make me already care about the characters.
Suppose my experience with past Supermassive games is any indication. In that case, The Quarry is bound to be a game that’ll keep me guessing from beginning to end. But it feels so much more polished, more of a step above their recent output, that I can’t help but be excited to see where they take things and what I can do with the story. Is it much different from their previous work? So far, no, but the strength of the setting and the characters is easily why The Quarry is worth keeping an eye on.
The Quarry launches on June 10th for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC.