Gather around the campfire and make a choice: truth or dare? While this binary prompt is the bane of existence for many a camper at sleepaway camp, it’s one of the more low-stakes choices that The Quarry offers. A spiritual successor to 2015’s Until Dawn, the latest game by Supermassive is a similar choose-your-own-adventure horror title. Choose wisely, and view the teenagers evade the terror at Hackett’s Quarry, or watch them get dismembered in various gory ways.
Game Name: The Quarry Platforms: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC Publisher: 2K Games Developer: Supermassive Games Release Date: June 10th, 2022 Price: $59.99 (PS4, Xbox One, PC), $69.99 (PS5, Xbox Series X/S)
While Supermassive is also known for its more bite-sized Dark Pictures Anthology, The Quarry is a more fleshed-out experience in the vein of Until Dawn. And yes, all these allusions to blood and gore are intentional. The Quarry draws inspiration from classic 80s and 90s horror in its interactive tale of a group of camp counselors trapped overnight at a summer camp where someone, or something, is out to get them. And whether they do or not is largely up to you.
The cast consists of typical horror stock characters but with fun and welcome subversions and layers. Jacob, “the jock,” is a bit of a meathead but also has a sensitive side. Ryan, “the loner,” starts off on the quiet side but has the option to build trust with a couple of characters and can become quite talkative. The actors made me care about the characters and will likely make most players want to see more of them. It helps that many of the actors have starred in comedies. For example, Justice Smith (Detective Pikachu) and Brenda Song (The SuiteLife) deliver some of the best deadpan lines in the game.
When I played previous Supermassive titles, I didn’t mind having the characters bite it, but the cast here is so lovable I didn’t want to lose any of my precious babies. Personalities can get a bit more tailored, which helps. In Until Dawn, characters would sometimes act entirely unreasonable to drive up tension, with little leeway. For The Quarry, I could always understand where the counselors were coming from, even when options favored butting heads or acting under duress. Potential dialogue choices can run the gamut from serious to silly or mean-sprinted to kindhearted.
And yes, The Quarry gives players the option to say some truly cheesy lines, but these will oftentimes get called out by other characters or riffed on. Some exchanges can get as campy as the great outdoors, but hey, that’s the point. The game has multiple nods to The Evil Dead, even outright name-checking the schlocky horror movie at one point. Horror veterans round out the cast, including Ted Raimi (The Evil Dead), Lin Shaye (Insidious), David Arquette (Scream), and Grace Zabriskie (Twin Peaks). They have some of the more macabre roles and seem to enjoy chewing the virtual scenery, figuratively and sometimes literally.
As an interactive movie with occasional third-person exploration moments, The Quarry has plot and gameplay go hand in hand. The story itself is a bit routine and it should be easy to figure out the central conceit, but this also means that players can play into the tropes they recognize. Solid signposting, often through lighting, guides players where they need to go during the exploratory sections. Collectables, such as clues and Tarot cards, actually serve gameplay purposes. In between chapters, players meet with a Tarot card reader who speaks to the player directly. You have the option to use a card to see the future or to hold onto it. I thought holding onto a card would allow for a later opportunity for a sneak peek, but the game never gave me the option. In short, tarot cards don’t have a rollover plan but can prove helpful in the moment.
That being said, the meat of the game consists of making choices and passing quick-time events, and sometimes a combination of both. Throughout the game, the vast majority of choices have a clear rationale to them, with few unforeseeable circumstances. Gathering optional collectibles can provide context to shed light on dark paths. As such, The Quarry offers players a satisfying feedback loop of collecting clues to make informed decisions that pay off accordingly. That flies out the lodge window in the last chapter when several arbitrary life or death decisions occur rapidly. However, the silver lining comes with the chapter selection, as one could easily simply replay just the last section for a vastly different outcome. That’s just what I did, and while I still don’t see the reasoning for certain late-game ultimatums, I at least got to easily see how events could’ve gone differently.
The Quarry also sees the addition of a rewind feature that allows players to go back to the inciting incident leading to a character’s death to prevent it. It’s a much-appreciated addition, but a shame it only features in a first-time playthrough in the deluxe edition. Those with the standard edition must finish the game at least once to unlock this feature, though hindsight renders it less useful on repeat playthroughs.
On the technical side, the game looks and sounds exactly like an homage to a horror B-movie should, for better or for worse. The lighting and sound design really sell the inspiration, and at one point, I actually stopped my exploration for a moment to appreciate the creepy ambient noises of the game. The character models look realistic, though the sound would fall out of sync with the mouth movements on rare occasions. I noticed some other small bugs—- not the campsite kind—-such as lines repeating at the top of cutscenes or frame rate dropping. The only major bug that appeared during my roughly nine-hour playthrough came from trying to rewind one character’s death, only to have the game itself die with an error screen. I imagine this will get patched soon, likely when online multiplayer arrives next month.
Even without an online multiplayer mode just yet, The Quarry offers a dedicated couch co-op mode for those playing at home. And when it comes to other gameplay modes, The Quarry already has several. It has a movie mode with three different options to view a version of the story where everyone lines, where everyone dies, or where you can decide who lives and who dies. The deluxe edition has a fourth option, “Gorefest,” for a smorgasbord of blood splatter. As for other modes, streamer mode replaces all the licensed music with royalty-free music. Streamers can play without worrying about potential copyright strikes, though they may miss out on a sweet cover of “Fly Me to the Moon.” Perhaps when you’re trying to keep so many people alive–and The Quarry has several supporting characters who can live or die in addition to the nine counselors–the choice of gameplay mode is not the most crucial.
Review Disclosure Statement: The Quarry was provided to us by 2K Games for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
The Quarry Review
The Quarry may have a fairly predictable plot, but the horror tale gets help up by its all-star cast of veteran actors and up-and-coming performers. They help imbue decisions with both a sense of meaning and weight, so that making a choice provides all the front-seat fun of your favorite horror flick. The game rewards clever reasoning and gathering information for satisfying gameplay, which is only occasionally hindered by bugs and a rushed final act.
A cast of talented actors playing characters I genuinely cared about
Fun dialogue options and choices
Findables facilitate gameplay
Most choices have strong logic behind their outcomes