Alone in the Dark Illuminates the A-list Talent Behind their Title in Latest Showcase
It should be no surprise to my dear readers that I am a big fan of the Alone in the Dark series and its place as the grandfather of survival horror. I have written before about the lore and history of the series and was even thankfully able to speak with the publisher of the title when I was at PAX East. With all this in mind, I have been absolutely thrilled to see that not only had the people at THQ Nordic would be reviving the series with another remake, but that it would be a retelling of the original story from the 1992 classic. After an ambitious but lackluster reboot in 2008 and an abysmal attempt at a Left 4 Dead styled shooter in 2015 with Alone in the Dark: Illumination, it is nice to see that the series will be treated with the respect it deserves.
Over the past year, we have been drip-fed information about the upcoming remake and reboot of the series’ first outing, and up until now the developers have been somewhat tight lipped about various aspects of the development. When I had spoken to the producer Andreas back at PAX East, he had commented “There’s a lot of things you know, we haven’t really let slip, for instance, you saw the two protagonists approaching the house, but you haven’t seen their faces, which is something we would like to reveal at a date that is soon to come, on that date I think we will also have more info about the release window.” When I first heard this I was not expecting the face reveal to be such a large portion of the reveal, but here we are.
Last week I was invited to a THQ event to see a new preview of the upcoming game, and to hear from the team behind it. The big reveal from the event was that Edward Carnby and Emily Hartwood would be brought to life by the talented work of actors David Harbour and Jodie Comer. When I had initially heard this I was not immediately convinced that the man made famous for playing Jim Hopper in Stranger Things would be a good fit for the melancholy atmosphere of the Alone in the Dark remake. Thankfully these concerns were put to rest, as in the showcase there were several different clips showing David’s range when portraying Carnby. I believe that Carnby’s gruff demeanor and “I don’t believe in no ghosts” attitude will play well to Harbour’s strengths. Judie Comer on the other hand, I had no concerns about, she kills it in front of the camera and I expect her to kill it in the final game as well, the character of Emily Hartwood does not seem like a stretch for her acting capabilities in any capacity.
Aside from the cast reveal, there were other details to go over in the showcase. A deeper focus on the story helps to flesh out the motivations for the newly-revealed faces behind this eldritch expedition into the Decerto Manor. Taking the role of writer and director of the project is Mikael Hedberg, who had previously worked on both SOMA and Amnesia. It is clear that he is intent on maintaining the themes and atmosphere the original conveyed in 1992 without making a title that resurrects its shortcomings, both mechanically, and narratively. As impactful as the original game was there is a reason the entire plot section is three paragraphs on its own wiki. As Mikael said in the showcase “The way that we reimagined the game was basically looking at the original, and It feels like we’ve been cultivating a seed we planted 30 years ago, and it has now grown into something even more dark, even more sinister.” I loved to hear this, and as the showcase continued, Frederick Raynal, the creator of the original title, even gave his blessing for the project and showed great appreciation for the work being done to reintroduce his story to a new generation.
The plot in the remake aims to expand on the base narrative. Hartwood and Carnby may both be heading to the same place, but the reasons are different. This time around Carnby has been hired by Hartwood to help investigate the death of her uncle, as opposed to the original, which essentially had the characters acting separately from each other. In the 1992 outing, Emily investigates Derceto, knowing it is a cursed place, seeking closure for her uncle’s death, whereas Carnby was only hired by an antique dealer to collect a piano, and subsequently unknowingly stumbled into an occult caper. The remake will seemingly maintain the character’s traits from the original, with Emily being more hardened to the Derceto curse and aware of the supernatural happenings within, and Carnby maintaining that classic tough guy “no ghosts” noir-protagonist persona.
The story of Alone in the Dark will follow the duo as they investigate the Decerto Manor, which has been transformed from the empty manor of a lone artist to a home for the mentally fatigued. Emily is compelled to investigate after receiving a distressing letter from her uncle. With the help of Edward’s hired hand, they will untangle the web of monsters and mysteries that lie within. The story will see the duo travel to many interesting places as they look into not only the Hartwood legacy but also the evil entity known as the dark man, whose presence appears to be poisoning Jeremy Hartwood’s mind. At this time, the team has been tight-lipped about the broader strokes of the story. It seems as though we will not be able to get an answer to our questions until the game becomes available on October 25th, 2023.
In the interim, the playable prologue that I was able to play and write about during my time at PAX has now been made available. While Grace in the Dark does not feature any combat and is light on puzzle elements, it is still a nice introduction to the world and atmosphere of Alone in the Dark. The gameplay of the full title seems to be shaping up to be your typical third-person survival horror game as made popular by modern Resident Evil remakes. The combat will be meaningful and weighty, with an emphasis on ammo scarcity and environmental awareness. The transition away from “horde your ammo” and into “use your surroundings” is welcome, and will hopefully ensure that encounters with the various eldritch entities will not devolve into a shooting gallery once you’ve pooled enough ammo. I am excited to see if the team is able to manage this delicate balance well, if executed successfully, it could create a memorable and rewarding experience for players.
With such a short amount of time remaining until we can get our hands on the title, and the amount being shown at this time, it seems as though the project is nearing completion, and hopefully is being polished up to its best possible state before release. To incentivize pre-orders, there is a charming skin pack available to reskin the Hollywood actors with their polygonal counterparts from the 1992 original. For those who choose to pay the extra ten dollars for the deluxe edition, there is a smattering of fun filters, but more importantly, to me at least, there is a director’s commentary which will feature both Mikael Hedberg and Frederick Raynal, the creator of the original 1992 classic.
I am sure that October will be here before I know it. At this time it might be my most anticipated upcoming title. I have said it once and I will say it again, dear readers. Survival horror fans have been eating like kings as of late, and it seems like that trend is not going to slow down in the near future. I am confident that Mikael and the team behind the new Alone in the Dark are going to deliver a compelling and creepy narrative that will honor the original and breathe new life into the too long dormant franchise. But for now, if you are looking to learn more about the most ghoulish and ghastly games, be sure to head back to DreadXP and read more of our frightful features!