The excitement that comes from knowing a revered franchise is coming back but not knowing in what form is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the rumor-reveal-release cycle. Whatever new Silent Hil we’re getting, it has been in that stage of the cycle for so long that it’s just got a bit frustrating because there’s still nothing concrete. We just know it is a thing.
Alone in the Dark’s own revival has been whispered about just a bit quieter than Konami’s survival horror franchise, so the weight of worry and expectation is lighter. It probably helps that since THQ Nordic acquired the license, anything new from Alone in the Dark could only be better than previous license holder Atari’s truly horrendous 2015 effort that seemingly buried the grandfather of survival horror for good. You can’t get Alone in the Dark more wrong than being a co-op multiplayer game that features a lot of brightly-lit areas. Also, it was a terrible game in general.
Swedish studio Pieces Interactive has been tasked with vaulting that considerably low bar and from what we were shown in THQ Nordic’s Digital Showcase, it’s done that with ease. In fact, it could well manage to bring a sleeping giant out of its slumber and maybe even put it back in its place as a prominent cornerstone of an entire genre.
Pieces’ Alone in the Dark began in 2019 and is a reimagining of the original Alone in the Dark which was released thirty years ago. Obviously, games have come on leaps and bounds technically in that time, so the studio is not simply polishing up the old ways with a few new bells and whistles, it’s expanding on it and forging a largely new path through the game’s iconic Derceto Manor.
Key aspects of the 1992 game remain such as the aforementioned manor, puzzles, and protagonists Edward Carnby and Emily Hartwood. The driving force for their arrival is even somewhat intact, as they come to Derceto Manor to investigate the disappearance of Emily’s uncle. Nearly everything else, however, goes in a different direction. Derceto is now a private hospital for the ‘mentally fatigued’, and has an assortment of colorful characters inhabiting its walls.
This version will also expand on the world outside Derceto a lot more, taking in the flavors of the Louisina area surrounding it. Pieces wish to add a heavy dose of Southern Gothic to this Alone in the Dark, and you can certainly get a taste of that in the pre-alpha footage. Its yellowed light gives weight to the oppressive humidity of the South, even in some of the darkest of places.
It also looks set to go to 'places beyond' and explore strange new areas housing some freakish-looking monstrosities. These are being designed by Guy Davis, who is a frequent collaborator with Guiilermo Del Toro on creature design. The few we got to see show great promise for some memorable monster moments, but we’ll have to wait and see just how well implemented they are in the finished game.
Two things about the reveal stood out for us. Firstly, the involvement of former Frictional Games writer Mikael Hedberg for the story. Hedberg was involved in both Amnesia: The Dark Descent and SOMA, so it gives me significant hope that Alone in the Dark will treat both the mental health focus of the reborn Derceto Manor and the monster horror with some respect.
The other thing was the soundtrack. Pieces are using a Doom Jazz score for Alone in the Dark. Doom Jazz is a strange post-metal beast of a musical genre that fans of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, as its Angelo Badalamenti score is often cited as the bedrock for its creation, influencing artists such as The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and fittingly, The Dale Cooper Quartet. It’s a stifling, oppressive, moody, and dreamlike thing that sounds like the perfect fit for Alone in the Dark’s look.
One of the more interesting changes brings a fleshed-out role for Emily Hartwood. Relegated to the sidelines for Edward Carnby in later games, she will share equal billing with Edward here, and both will have specific moments only found in their stories, so the campaign isn’t just a ‘choose your skin’ situation. Both stories effectively happen at the same time, so there will be intersections akin to what Resident Evil 2’s remake did.
All signs currently point towards a proper comeback for Alone in the Dark, which is a really big deal for the horror genre. Having seen so many of the pillars of survival horror crumble over the years - from Clock Tower to Dead Space - it’s a relief to see the staunch disgust some publishers held for horror in the early part of the last decade has been recognized for the big dumb mistake it was. It seemed almost impossible a few years ago, but in the near future, we could yet see a thriving Resident Evil living alongside successful revivals of the likes of Alone in the Dark, Silent Hill, and Dead Space.
Keep updated on the latest PC Gaming news by following GameWatcher on, checking out our videos on , giving us a like on , and joining us on . We may also include links to affiliate stores, which gives us a small commission if you purchase anything via them. Thank you.