The third episode of The Dark Pictures anthology will feature more feedback utilised by Supermassive Games.
Polygon interviewed Dan McDonald, the executive producer of The Dark Pictures Anthology, and they also talked about the game’s plot. It features Rachel King, a marine who is played by Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical), and she is fighting in the Iraq War in 2003. (So yes, this year, it won’t be just Six Days in Fallujah that is set in this period…)
King’s ex-husband shows up while she is also in a new relationship; her team is looking for weapons of mass destruction that never existed, and both the Americans and the Iraqis end up being pulled underground to find some underground ruins based on Sumerian myths. „From a theme and location point of view, we knew we wanted it to be military. We knew we wanted to link this specific kind of threat to a desert location. We’ve talked to lots of people from an Arabic point of view, to make sure the script we’ve written is good. We’ve had script doctors check it from a military point of view to make sure it’s good,” McDonald said.
However, he explicitly said that this game is not focused on the war that happened in Iraq: „The Iraq War, as a setting for us, is not what the story is about. It’s where they start, but quite quickly [the main cast] is in a different location; they’re trapped underground and there’s something otherworldly going on.” He also mentioned how Supermassive uses fan feedback: „We go through a process whenever we finish each game, to collate [all feedback and criticism] and look at it. The difficulty for us is, in this franchise, each game is almost finished before the next one comes out. So we need to listen to that feedback and work out how we can force it into the next game.”
For instance, Little Hope, the previous game in the series, got critiqued for its linear narrative. „We had some challenges in the Little Hope story. At one point during development, [the characters] were always together,” McDonald said. This is why House of Ashes splits the team of characters up often to keep them in the dark. There are other changes, too: the camera is less locked into specific angles, the characters move faster, and there are difficulty settings. However, McDonald admitted that there are still clues about The Dark Pictures’ world that we still haven’t found on the Ourang Medan: „I think we made them too obscure — you know, numbers and stuff. It’s not something you could work out without someone pointing it out to you, which … we’re not going to do.”
The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes will launch this year on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.