Date: May 26, 2023
Remakes may be standard fare these days, but it takes guts to try and recreate a true classic — and that’s exactly what Pieces Interactive and THQNordic are attempting with Alone in the Dark. Not content with the brand recognition of one of the most well-known horror game franchises, they’ve brought on two well-known actors for voice talent in David Harbour and Jodie Comer; you probably know the former as Jim Hopper from Stranger Things, and the latter from her work on British TV, especially as Villanelle in Killing Eve.
The original, which released in 1992, is generally credited with spawning the survival horror genre, and led to a number of followup games (6, to be exact), plus two comic books and two films. It’s an undeniably important piece of video game history, and with the remake a new generation of survival horror gamers will get the chance to experience it — without having to suffer through 90s jank. As excellent as the bones of some of the old classics are, it’s hard to go back to fixed camera combat and 5-pixel environmental objects after playing, say, the RE2 remake.
Even if you aren’t generally a fan of remakes, it’s hard to argue that a 21 year old game couldn’t benefit from being brought into the modern era. Fans of the series will also be heartened to hear that the creator of the original game, Frédérick Raynal, says that he “think[s] that Mikael at the team at Pieces did a great job preserving the core feeling of the game”. Who better to judge than the man who directed the original title?
With the exception of the fixed camera angles, all the core aspects of the original title that made it so magical have been preserved: Alone in the Dark will feature a fairly even blend of combat, puzzle solving, story, and getting the pee scared out of you while exploring a haunted mansion. Once again, you’ll be able to choose from two playable protagonists: Emily Hartwood, who’s trying to find her uncle, and Edward Carnby, the private detective she hires to help her do so. NPCs will react differently to your chosen character, the cutscenes will change, and there are multiple endings in any case, so it sounds like there’s at least a couple playthroughs in order.
This isn’t a by-the-numbers reboot, however. According to THQNordic, Alone in the Dark will feature “a unique story that takes the original’s premise to all new places”. That doesn’t mean they’re leaving the old game’s narrative behind entirely, however: “If you remember the original story, you’ll find a lot of hints and references, but also a couple of surprises”. While the game is holding onto the haunted house vibe, judging by the preview footage it looks as if that won’t be the game’s only location.
Harbour and Comer aren’t the only recognizable names showing up in the game’s credits — Mikael Hedberg, well known for his work on Amnesia and SOMA, is both writer and game director for Alone in the Dark. Supporting the spookiness sound-wise is Árni Bergur Zoëga, who created the soundtrack by utilizing original compositions from Doom Jazz legend Jason Köhnen, AKA Bong-Ra.
Alone in the Dark is set to release on October 25th, 2023, just in time for Halloween, and you can pre-order it now. Before you do, you might want to try it out first. Well, as luck should have it, a sample of the game is currently available now on all platforms. In it, you play as young Grace Saunders; the sample serves a brief prologue to the game’s campaign, and while it doesn’t let you try out combat — the developers said they didn’t want a small child being torn apart by eldritch entities — it definitely gives you a good sense of the look and feel of the game.