|“||Each game in the Dark Pictures series is a complete and original story in its own right.||”|
— From the creators of Until Dawn
The Dark Pictures is a series of intense and choice based horror games developed by Supermassive Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. While the games are all standalone, they are all in the same universe and linked through the Curator, its omniscient voice.
The complete anthology consists of eight planned games released every six-eight months approximately. Each installment is based on a specific horror genre that will feature a unique story not related to the previous ones, which means that every single one of them features new characters, settings and stories completely differents.
The Dark Pictures is designed to be played multiple times every installment, as players cannot see all content with a single playthrough. Each playthrough will last about three to four hours in length, and the games mechanics utilize an in-game system called the "Moral Compass," in which any choice of action by the player may cause unforeseen consequences later on.
Throughout the games, players will make difficult decisions during ethical or moral dilemmas, such as sacrificing one character to save another. The Moral Compass system blurs the line between right and wrong decisions and it is possible for players to keep all characters alive as well as having all of them dead, allowing for many different paths and scenarios as well as offering several different endings for each character.
The Dark Pictures has a strict auto-save system to prevent players from reloading a previous save file to an earlier point in the game if they regret an in-game decision they have made. The only way to change the player's choice is to restart the game from the beginning or continue to the end and start a new game, or even play chapters individually. The developers have stated that The Dark Pictures has "hundreds of endings." Different endings have different variations depending on the combination of characters alive at the end of each game.
The gameplay is focused on exploration, quick-time events and discovering secrets, as well as making decisions. There is an in-game system that will keep track of all of the secrets players have discovered in total, even if there are multiple playthroughs; these secrets will allow the player to piece together the mysteries of every environment in the anthology.
A system is added to keep progress of all the secrets the player find, which can help to piece things together. The player will take control of each character every installment brings and can make simple choices, which will affect the way the game plays out, resulting in deaths or other mayhem.
|“||You see, a story can change a great deal when told from a... different perspective.||”|
The anthology also contains different ways to play it, such as Theatrical Cut or Curator's Cut modes (both known as Solo Story), the opposite perspective to the first one. On the other hand, there is Shared Story mode, which allows the player to enjoy the different stories in co-op with a friend in online playthrough; two players, basically. Supermassive also decided to add a way in which a group of five friends could share their command by passing it to each other and enjoying a night of horror tales together, as if it were a horror movie, all in Movie Night Mode.
Man of Medan
Man of Medan was released on August 30, 2019 and was the first installment in The Dark Pictures Anthology series. The first game is based on the legend of the ghost ship SS Ourang Medan, on which the entire crew was mysteriously dead.
The story of Man of Medan starts off on a dive boat in the South Pacific. With a rumored WWII wreck to find, and plenty of on-deck partying to be had, a group formed by 4 young Americans and their skipper get ready for what should be the trip of a lifetime…but it doesn’t go quite to plan.
As the day unfolds, and a storm rolls in, they find themselves trapped on board a "ghost ship". Subjected to unimaginable stress and terror, they must try to find a way to escape the ship and its sinister history.
Little Hope was released on October 30, 2020 and was the second installment in The Dark Pictures Anthology series. The second game is based on the witch trials in Salem and Andover.
Abandoned and all alone, 4 college students and their teacher become stranded in an isolated town miles from anywhere after their bus crashes by accident. Trapped by a mysterious fog in the town of Little Hope, they search desperately for a means of escape whilst visions from the past haunt them from the shadows.
As they progress through the town, they will discover the origin of evil and an uncomfortable truth: that everything that happens is related to them.
House of Ashes
House of Ashes is the planned third installment in The Dark Pictures Anthology series. It is scheduled to be released in 2021.
Iraq - End of the war. Special Forces, in search of weapons of mass destruction, end up digging up something far more deadly - an ancient Sumerian temple infested with ancient supernatural creatures. To survive this nightmare, and to fight this new threat, the military will have no choice but to forge an alliance with their enemies of yesterday.
In the darkness beneath the Arabian Desert, something evil is awakened, and ancient, unstoppable creatures begin their hunt.
- Every installment brings stories from real world events that happened in the past.
- One of the anthology's plans was to use the typical "Previously in... (Title)" system to introduce every chapter on each installment as Until Dawn did, but being them very short games made that idea disappear.
- Most of the characters' models are from previous Supermassive's games, such as The Inpatient, Hidden Agenda and Shattered State.
- The Collector's Edition contains a map that showing the locations where the events of the first 4 games take place: Man of Medan – South Pacific Ocean, Little Hope – Massachusetts, House of Ashes – eastern Iraq, and an unknown fourth game – Somewhere in Michigan or Wisconsin.