The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan — Preview

July 11, 2019
Also on: PC, Xbox One

This week I found myself trapped aboard the HMS Wellington, a World War II Navy Sloop moored on the River Thames since 1948. The reason for my imprisonment? I was trying out the new build of Supermassive Games’ latest title: Man of Medan. Well. I say imprisoned, but there was coffee and a nice selection of small triangular sandwiches. It was quite pleasant really.

The studio’s previous title Until Dawn was something of a sleeper hit, winning a BAFTA award for Original Property in 2016. Seeing no reason to tinker with a winning formula, Man of Medan is the studio’s newest cinematic horror title and first in a planned series of games titled The Dark Pictures Anthology.

But wait. There’s a twist. The main gameplay in Man of Medan takes place aboard the Ourang Medan, a Dutch transport ship mysteriously lost with all hands back in the ‘50s. There’s a whole bunch of theories on what might have doomed the ship and its crew, ranging from simple accident to something more…. bamboozling.

Swim into a terrifying hole? HOLD MY BEER.

Game director Tom Heaton said:

“It seemed like the ideal setting for a group of friends to be isolated and unable to easily escape the terror.”

But this time round, you don’t need to face the horror alone. Supermassive Games revealed Man of Medan has been built from the ground up to support multiplayer. The single player experience is still there, but you also have the choice to play online with a friend or host a local-mode ‘Movie Night’ with up to 5 players offline.

That’s right: you can finally experience the joy of shitting your pants right next to your best friends, all from the comfort of your own couch.

Characters can find themselves separated throughout the game.

What I saw on the day was impressive. I paired up with another journo and we played around 90 minutes of the PS4 version. The game switches you between the five main characters as you go. But you’re not always together, so the choices you make could be the one thing that keeps your friend alive.

Just on that point. Paul from the Nottingham Post, if you do read this: I am genuinely, genuinely sorry that I stabbed you to death “by accident”. I hope this isn’t the start of a beef between our publications.

The game generally looks great, with a high degree of polish already. It’s pretty similar to Until Dawn in most respects: a narrative experience full of snap decisions and quick time events, all of which take you down multiple branching experiences stacked on your previous choices. There’s a real depth to the cast and the choices you can make for them. I often found myself roleplaying a character, which is a great sign of solid writing. It looks and sounds gorgeous, and I’m genuinely excited for the full release – and that’s from someone who rarely, if ever, plays narrative games!

I regret the terrible life decisions which brought me to this moment.

Man of Medan is due for release on the 30th August 2019 and will be available on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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Shaun McHugh

In the winter of 1998, my father made a terrible mistake. He bought me a gift that would forever change my life. That gift? The DMG-01 Nintendo GameBoy. Since then, life has been a blur of consoles, gaming rigs, and modding it till it breaks.