THQ Nordic, during their Spotlight has revealed that their upcoming survival horror game, Alone in the Dark (2023) is scheduled to launch this 25th October 2023 on PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S and PC via Steam.
The game is based on the 1992 version that is hailed by many as the game that kickstarted the survival-horror genre which lets you experience a haunting story through the eyes of the two protagonists, Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood.
According to Writer and Game Director Mikael Hedberg, the team wants this new game to return to the qualities that made the original 1992 Alone in the Dark unique. This meant going back to the atmospheric and psychological horror that defined the genre’s beginnings rather than relying solely on jump scares.
Mikael Hedberg was quoted saying that:
“For me, at the core of making horror games (or any narrative games, in fact) is creating a mystery. At the foundation, there is always a drama going on. Something to keep you on your toes and to keep you engaged. So it’s less about the jumpscares or something constantly happening, but rather the opposite, when the player is expecting something to happen. The scare only releases the tension. So from my side it’s about crafting that experience that has its roots in the story and the mystery the player is after. Working on Amnesia: The Dark Descent and SOMA of course helped a lot, even though Alone in the Dark is a different kind of narrative – due to the fact that it’s 3rd person, but also thematically different and more of a genre-piece than the other games.”
As mentioned earlier, the story will follow the two protagonists Edward Carnby (played by David Harbour) or Emily Hartwood (played by Jodie Comer) as they explore Derceto Manor to uncover its unsettling truth. Depending on who you play, you may also explore exclusive levels which evolves the narrative differently. This also extends to the characters you will meet which react differently to you as well.
While some of the elements from the original trilogy are present such as the people, setting and ideas, the narrative is completely new and no prior experience with the title is necessary to enjoy this upcoming one.
The goal of the game remains the same as the original which is to escape the mansion by avoiding, outsmarting or defeating various supernatural foes, however, the means on how the player will go about it have been changed substantially. For instance, as opposed to the fixed camera angles in the original, Alone in the Dark (2023) will use an “over-the-shoulder” third person perspective similar to the recent Resident Evil remakes.
Players will have a wide variety of ways to deal with threats which includes using firearms such as a Shotgun or Revolver or utilize melee weapons such as an Axe or a Shovel. Players could also utilize throwable objects such as bottles that may start fires in the right conditions.
A large portion of the game does involve exploration and puzzle-solving, which has players looking around for hints regarding events that happened before our protagonists arrived. Based on the Spotlight, the Manor is not the only location available as the game also includes a nearby Cemetery and the depths of the Bayou.
While the game is focused to have an equal distribution between the action, exploration and puzzle aspects of the game, there is more of a light tendency towards the exploration and puzzle aspect of the game. However, THQ has mentioned that the players will be able to influence these aspects as they can choose how many hints they want for the numerous puzzles found in Derceto Manor.
As stated from THQ Nordic:
“Going into the puzzles without any aid will require some patience as well as a willingness to do non-linear thinking and finding your own path through the mansion. Many players will enjoy this; however we don’t want this to be a limit for players who enjoy going through the game a bit faster. This is why we are offering additional help with puzzles and navigation – they will affect how much information you will find on your map, how many hints you get for a puzzle and how easy it will be to find interaction points.”
Not only that, in regards to quality of life improvements regarding the game to make it more modernized, THQ Nordic mentioned that, “There are of course numerous quality of life – features that modern players expect, which mostly pertains to controls, item handling and guidance. Additionally, by modern standards, the game would be rather short and lacking in its gameplay and location variety. However, as stated above, the core experience of exploring a scary mansion still holds up well and is therefore something we’re building our approach upon.”
Players can get an understanding of the atmosphere in Alone in The Dark (2023) as a playable demo titled, “Grace in the Dark” will be made available and serves as a prologue to the game. The prologue will give players a first glimpse into the story and atmosphere of the game and features some exploration and basic puzzles. The demo is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S as well as PC.
We also managed to get further information from Andreas Schmiedecker (THQ Nordic GmbH) the Associate Producer of Alone in The Dark in regards to the upcoming game.
How would Alone in the Dark Remake’s lore be handled in the reboot? Would the story of this game would be consistent with the established canon of the series, or would it be a completely new narrative that was distinct from Edward Carnby’s original story?
Andreas Schmiedecker: While we play a lot with elements and characters from the 1992 game and our story starts a lot like the original, we actually have a unique story that takes the original’s premise to all new places. If you remember the original story, you’ll find a lot of hints and references, but also a couple of surprises; while new players will get to enjoy the story without the need for any prior knowledge.
The original Alone in The Dark was created by Frederick Raynal. Regarding the new Alone In The Dark game and how he would like the franchise to develop, did he offer any advice, input or contributions?
Andreas Schmiedecker: The whole team are big fans of the 1992 game and Frédérick Raynal’s work in particular. It was such a technical and narrative achievement that it’s hard to overestimate it’s impact. We’re happy to have Frédérick’s blessing and approval for where we took the story and the mechanics of the game. He was, however, not involved in the hands-on-development of the game.
With the two playable characters, how different can players expect the gameplay to be, be it for the narrative, combat, or puzzles?
Andreas Schmiedecker: From a narrative perspective it’s very exciting to show how the story plays out differently, depending on who you chose. Emily and Edward are very different characters and have different relations to the plot – while Edward is more of a hired gun who learns step by step how the mystery of Derceto is related to him, Emily has a more personal connection to the plot as she needs to find her own uncle and deal with the strange affliction called “The Hartwood Curse”. All this will be reflected in the cutscenes the player gets to see and in the reactions from the different NPCs you meet.
Additionally, the player will get to see exclusive levels and parts of the mansion depending on your chosen protagonist. So it’s a great incentive to play through the game more than once. If you go for a second playthrough with the other characters, there will be slight influences in your game depending on which items you found in your first playthrough.
In your perspective as the developer, what do you believe is the core essence or defining characteristic of the franchise? How have you approached capturing and maintaining that core essence while creating this new instalment?
Andreas Schmiedecker: At the core, the original game is a haunted house – experience: A creepy mansion that you get to explore step by step as you uncover the plot of the game. Mechanically, we conserve the classic survival horror elements of (scary) exploration, challenging puzzles, fraught combat and a deep story (in the best tradition of Silent Hill and earlier Resident Evil games) with the presentation of a contemporary 3rd-person game.
For further information regarding the game you may visit their official website.
Discussion about this post