Supermassive Games has launched a new gameplay trailer for their upcoming horror title House of Ashes. House of Ashes is the latest in their The Dark Pictures Anthology, following on from previous standalone titles Man of Medan and Little Hope. It gave us a closer look at what we can expect from this latest installment. Here are five key things that we learned from the House of Ashes trailer.
1. We’re going deeper underground
The Dark Pictures Anthology mixes up the settings of its horror titles, and House of Ashes is no different. This time, our band of protagonists is stuck underground in Iraq. Following a skirmish on the surface, a freak earthquake leaves the five controllable characters stuck deep down. They are away from rescue, and seemingly separated right from the outset. The lack of light instantly provides the eerie atmosphere that veterans of the series will be used to.
2. The enemy of my enemy is my friend
There are also two main differences of note in the cast of protagonists this time around. Firstly, they aren’t all friends or known to each other from the start. In both Man of Medan and Little Hope, the characters are known to each other, and relationships are fairly cordial. However the majority of the cast this time is made up of US soldiers, but also an Iraqi officer, known as Salim, who on the surface would have been an enemy of the others. But, to survive their predicament they will need to work together and forge bonds with unlikely allies.
The other key difference is that these characters are all military personnel. This not only affords them weapons to use in a pinch but also the training and athletic prowess that goes with such positions. Previous titles have focussed more on the vulnerability of the cast, groups of young inexperienced people, or in the case of Little Hope, some older and trailer members too. It will be interesting to see how the fear is captured given the protagonists now seemingly have more odds stacked in their favour.
3. A real threat
What was interesting is that the gameplay trailer and the commentary from Will Doyle, Game Director at Supermassive Games implied that what is waiting for our heroes underground is a very real and disturbing threat. The use of the term “nest” implies a living, breeding group of an unknown enemy that must be overcome if we want to make it out alive.
Veterans of The Dark Pictures Anthology will know that this certainly feels like a slight departure – arguably for the better – from Man of Medan and Little Hope. If anything the small scrawny fingers of the enemies we see in the trailer have more of the Wendigo about them from Until Dawn. And any comparison to that much-loved title is a welcome one.
4. Tailor your horror challenge
QTEs in any genre are a bit of a divisive mechanic. Some enjoy them, others loathe them. Some find them too challenging, whilst others find them a too simplistic way of completing more complex gaming actions. The Dark Pictures Anthology has always had QTEs and has dabbled with different levels of difficulty for them. More recently it has erred on the simpler side of the difficulty curve. This catered to those wanting to experience the story rather than get bogged down in inputs and fast reactions.
However, others have bemoaned this easing difficulty. So for the first time in House of Ashes, you can set the speed of the QTEs. It means each player can have the experience of this divisive mechanic just how they fancy it.
5. Next-gen scares
For the first time in the series, House of Ashes will have enhanced versions for next-gen consoles. That means that PS5 or Xbox Series X|S owners will enjoy enhanced graphical fidelity whilst being scared out of their skin. Dark and dingy caverns have never looked this good. You will still be able to play The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes on Xbox One and PS4 if you don’t currently have a newer console. The game will also be available on PC.
Those are 5 things we learned from the House of Ashes trailer. You can check out the full video below:
The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes will launch on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S later in 2021.