Survival Horror is a genre we take for granted, but back in 1992 a little game called Alone in the Dark really kickstarted the whole idea, giving us a taste of limited resources and investigative adventure against the odds. Now Pieces Interactive is remaking that classic in a star-studded, atmospheric take that promises to deliver the classic horror plot to modern audiences. Heading that up is Mikael Hedberg, writer and director of Amnesia and Soma, and between his answers and answers from publisher THQ Nordic at a press Q&A things are looking pretty promising as we gear up to return to the deeply haunted Louisiana Bayou around Derceto.
The big reveal is that Stranger Things actor David Harbour will be playing the role of detective Edward Carnby, a hard boiled scenery-chewing role that’s a perfect cast for Harbour and one that he seems genuinely excited to undertake. Meanwhile Killing Eve actress Jodie Comer will take over as Emily Hartwood, the woman who has hired Carnby to investigate the fate of her uncle while she pries deeper into her family secret, the mystery-shrouded “Hartwood Curse.”
Alone in the Dark – Gamescom 2022
Pieces looks to be keeping many key elements of the early Alone in the Dark games in their remake, especially the series’ classic melee combat: While getting stuck in with a monster was a death sentence in later Survival Horror, carving up Ghouls with a sword was always a much better choice than wasting precious bullets on them.
The original Alone in the Dark is a pretty big deal. It’s one of those things where, when looking at it, nothing seems special only because so many games since have done everything exactly like Alone in the Dark did them. That fixed camera for a 3D space? The way the mystery is investigated? All Alone in the Dark’s creations. It all showed up again later in a little game called Resident Evil, which you might have heard of. That makes it all the cooler to see where the new Alone in the Dark is drawing from design work done in the Resident Evil remakes while still staying unique to what it is. An over the shoulder camera should be a real improvement to both navigating and appreciating the locales, not to mention fighting monsters.
Being Southern myself, one of the most important bits of Alone in the Dark is the setting. The Louisiana Bayou is iconic for a reason, and the Southern Gothic is a genre far older than Survival Horror. Mikael Hedberg gave me a pretty satisfying answer to whether Alone in the Dark will explore those roots, noting that expanding the story in the remake gave Pieces space to expand on the local historic traditions and connect the story more deeply to Voudou, among other things. He also referenced the oppressive atmosphere of the 1986 movie Angel Heart, a psychological thriller that I think will set him on the right path to some good old down-home horror.
While the setting is certainly home-grown for me, I’m even more pleased to hear the musical choices that Pieces has made. Jazz is a Louisiana staple, but the Alone in the Dark directors have pulled in a modern European twist: The metal-infused ambience of Doom Jazz. Most horror games aren’t willing to risk a heavy soundtrack, but it looks like Pieces knows you can’t have noir—even horror noir—without a good saxophone. The involvement of Doom Jazz legend Jason Köhnen is a really powerful choice for the aesthetic direction of Alone in the Dark: There’s just not much like the power that these strange ambient pluckings and pressurized drum rolls can achieve.
In all, the team and motivation seem right to deliver an exciting take on a classic of horror gaming. I’m looking forward to learning more about Alone in the Dark as we get closer to release, and you can bet I’m downloading the free prologue Grace in the Dark right now.