Last week we were all treated to a gameplay reveal for the next game in the Dark Pictures Anthology, House of Ashes. Game Director at Supermassive Games, Will Doyle, took us through what to expect as well as a few changes that have been made following feedback to the previous entries in the series.

It’s no secret that I love what Supermassive Games do and despite the Dark Pictures Anthology dividing some critics, I have personally really enjoyed both Man of Medan and Little Hope, scoring them at 7.5 and 9/10 respectively. With this in mind I am already counting down the days until I can get my hands on House of Ashes despite not actually knowing a full release date yet! In this article I’m going to do a deep dive into this latest gameplay reveal as well as go over a few additions I’d like to see added.

As always, if you’d prefer to watch the video version of this preview then you can do just that in the link below..

https://youtu.be/fRwQGjrQqmE

Firstly let’s jump into the new story. It was revealed that the story takes place in Iraq 2003 at the end of the Iraq war where our playable characters are on the hunt for weapons of mass destruction. As you can imagine it all goes south quickly and the special forces unit you control finds themselves trapped in an ancient underground temple where things aren’t quite as they seem. Just like before, players will once again take on the task of trying to keep our five protagonists alive while finding clues and secrets about what is really going on in this latest real life nightmare. 

I really like this idea and although it still feels like a very classic Dark Pictures game, it’s also got a unique twist in that the new location has a very different feel to the previous two and in theory should have very different characters as well. In both Man of Medan, Little Hope and even the pre Dark Pictures classic, Until Dawn, all featured characters who ticked every box as horror clichés. Air headed teenagers and stubborn idiots who you were often as happy to see get killed off as you were to save them. There’s nothing wrong with this and it really fitted with the Dark Pictures aesthetic, however it’ll be interesting to see what dialogue options we get with these new characters who you’d expect to be more calm and prepared as trained soldiers. It’ll be a nice change of pace and I hope they don’t all suddenly transform into helpless dummies when shit hits the fan.

Elsewhere we know that the only returning character in the series – The Curator is back to take us through the story and probably make us feel uneasy about the decisions we’re yet to make. The Curator is great so more of the same here would be good for me. The only thing I’m quietly hoping for is for him to give us more hints at what this all means.. Are these anthology stories related? Will he make mention of the two stories that have come before? Without going into spoiler territory, there were very subtle nods to Man of Medan in Little Hope so a bit more of that in House of Ashes to help pull all of these together would be really cool. I don’t need too much, especially if the plan is to still have eight games in the anthology but just a few breadcrumbs to keep me guessing will make me a happy boy.

Gameplay wise House of Ashes unsurprisingly looks to be more of the same. Just as before they’ll be a single player theatrical cut alongside the curator’s cut for people who pre-order as well as couch co-op aka movie night and of course shared story online. Dialogue choices and quick time events that determine where the story goes is a mainstay for Supermassive Games and if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it! What is new however is the addition of difficulty settings. We can now choose to lower or raise the difficulty how we see fit which might be really cool for some people but I know I’ll still play on medium, unless there’s a trophy involved then count me in for the new no holds barred mode! 

Fixed camera angles that we saw in the previous titles are also now a thing of the past. I completely get why Supermassive have done this as searching an area when the camera is fixed a certain way could be a royal pain in the arse, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I really liked the cinematic feel those camera angles gave to the overall experience. However I know I’m in the minority here so fair play to them. It might have been cool to have the option of going back to the old style and maybe call it cinematic mode or something, but that is probably a lot to ask from a team of developers who are impressively churning these games out on an annual basis.

Last but not least, it was confirmed that House of Ashes is coming to next-gen consoles as well as current gen. Are we at the point where we can start calling PS5 and Series X current gen yet? Somebody let me know because I never really know when that point is, we should have an official day or something.. Anyway, House of Ashes will be available on PS5 and given how strong the visuals were on PS4 and Xbox One, I’m hyped to see how great this will look on new consoles. Fingers crossed they also find a way to take advantage of other next-gen features like haptic feedback but only time will tell.

House of Ashes is yet to get a full release date but we do know it’ll be this year. Man of Medan had an August release back in 2019 whilst Little Hope was moved from Summer 2020 to Halloween 2020 due to the pandemic. The Halloween release for Little Hope felt really special and added to the spookyness of it all so my guess is we get the same again for House of Ashes. Having said that, the sooner I get my hands on the game the better! 

Makes sure to let me know what you think of the latest House of Ashes news either in the comments or by hitting us up on twitter @RespawningUK

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