The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes is an upcoming survival horror interactive drama video game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes is an upcoming survival horror interactive drama video game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It is the third of eight planned installments in The Dark Pictures Anthology series, and it is set to be released in October 2021 for Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S. It is the third of eight planned installments in The Dark Pictures Anthology series, following 2019's Man of Medan and 2020's Little Hope.
Similar to its predecessor, the game is an interactive drama. The player controls five characters who are trapped under an underground Mesopotamian temple during the 2003 Iraq War where they are hunted by monsters awoken by the chaos. The five characters include CIA officer Rachel King (Ashley Tisdale), her husband, Colonel Eric King (Alex Gravenstein), US Marines Jason Kolchek (Paul Zinno) and Nick Kay (Moe Jeudy-Lamour), and Iraqi soldier Salim Othman (Nick Tarabay). Throughout the game, players need to make different decisions which can have long-term consequences as they influence how characters perceive each other and the course of the narrative. All five characters can survive or die depending on the player's decision. As a result, the game has multiple endings.
House of Ashes introduces several gameplay changes. The game camera is no longer fixed and is replaced by a 360-degree player-controlled camera. The player character is also equipped with a flashlight which can be used to illuminate dark areas and discover new paths. The game also introduces various difficulty levels for the quick time events. The game features 4 main modes. In addition to the main theratical mode, players who pre-order the game also gained access to the Curator's cut, which allows players to experience the story from the perspective of another character. "Shared Story" and "Movie Night", the two multiplayer modes from the previous games, also return in House of Ashes.
House of Ashes is the third of the eight installment planned in the Dark Pictures Anthology series. Developer Supermassive Games listened to players' feedback and introduced various gameplay changes, such as overhauling the camera system and introducing various difficulty levels. The game would also be less linear when compared to Little Hope. Unlike the previous installments, the monsters featured in the game are not hallucinations, and the team had spent an extensive amount of time designing and motion capturing them. The game was inspired by the story of Naram-Sin, a Mesopotamian king cursed by gods. Game director Will Doyle described House of Ashes as an "exploration horror" game, in which "a group of trained experts, beyond safety, with no backup, and they encounter something horrible". Aliens, Predator, The Descent, and At the Mountains of Madness were important sources of inspiration for the team.
While the game is set during the Iraq War, Doyle added that the game was not about war and politics, and the team only chose this as the game's setting due to its story potential. The team consulted Arabic and military specialist during the game's production to ensure that their depiction of the setting is authentic. The team believed that using the war as the setting helped build interesting dynamics and tension between the five central characters. Supermassive approached Ashley Tisdale to play the lead role early during the game's development, and Tisdale agreed to provide her voice and likeness to the character as she felt that the project was outside her comfort zone.
The game was revealed as a hidden trailer in Little Hope. Publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment revealed the game officially on 27 May 2021. The game is set to be released for Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S on 22 October 2021.
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