At today's THQ Nordic 2022 Digital Showcase, developer Pieces Interactive announced an Alone in the Dark reboot, due to release on PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC. There's no release date yet, but in a behind-closed-doors preview event, we were told the game is currently in 'pre-alpha' – so don't expect it anytime soon (though it has been in development since 'late 2019').
THQ Nordic's executive producer Michael Paeck says that recent games (like the Resident Evil remakes, Silent Hill titles, and Dead Space) go for ‘terror’ more than 'horror', and the team wants this new title to go back to what made the original 1992 Alone in the Dark special. The team constantly referred to the dense, rich atmosphere of the first game, and how much it wants to recreate that in this new game – some 30 years after the original launched.
From a debut trailer we've seen so far, the game seems similar to the Resident Evil remakes Capcom has seen so much success with. It's a complete rethink of the first game, with the SOMA and Amnesia: Dark Descent writer, Mikael Hedberg, coming in to head up the narrative on the the project.
"Derceto Manor, the setting for the first Alone in the Dark game had both character and backstory, that’s why we wanted to go back, at least in some way," Hedberg explains during the preview. "But we also wanted to understand its time and place – it takes place in Louisiana, not your typical New England location [other horror titles have used]. The Southern Gothic element has its own flavour, that’s not explored very much in games."
Hedberg goes on to say that he "over-analysed story beats and the setting of the original" to pull more out of the setting and location of the original game. The game is something of a reboot, rather than a remake, then: elements of the first game run through this title, but it's got its own story, and its own identity.
But it's still drawing on the first game for a lot: we see our setting in Derceto Manor: a mental hospital for the rich and wealthy. The game kicks off with Jeremy Hartwood, a patient at the facility, sending a letter to his niece, Emily, who gets concerned and makes plans to see him. Getting bad vibes from his letter, she hires a Private Investigator (series mainstay, Edward Carnby) to come with her.
Similarly to the Resident Evil remakes, you can play as either Emily Hartwood or Edward Carnby to get through the game – and Hedberg tells us "you’ll want to play through the game twice to get the most out of this one".
The game isn't just set in the manor, either: per the preview, we were told you will also open portals to worlds beyond the mansion itself. This means you will also explore the depths of the bayou, and a cemetery near New Orleans, at the very least.
Guy Davis, a creature concept designer that's worked with Guillermo del Toro, provided monster art for Pacific Rim, and more, has given his talents to the game and created the monsters you'll see in screenshots on this page. Per Hedberg, he "had a lot of room to extrapolate from the inspirations of the original game".
You'll need to use shotguns, handguns, and melee weapons to fend off the weird creatures that are becoming a part of this twisted reality. In true survival horror fashion, you'll pick up what you find and fight back against the monsters that you encounter. There will – like Resi – be enemies that cannot be defeated, and so sometimes running away will be your only option. “Especailly when your weapons don’t work as you think they will,” says Paeck. Intriguing.
From what we've seen so far, Alone in the Dark looks like a fascinating prospect from a young studio – and a great way for THQ Nordic to put the IP it acquired from Atari to work. We're apparently going to hear more about a release date soon – we just hope the develope doesn't leave us (alone) in the dark for too long.