The Dark Pictures anthology kicks things up a notch with new entry House of Ashes

Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes - Courtesy of Bandai Namco Entertainment
Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes - Courtesy of Bandai Namco Entertainment /

The Dark Pictures Anthology is back this year with House of Ashes, the third game in the series of standalone, narrative-driven, horror games. This time, the story takes place toward the end of the Iraq War in 2003 with High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale playing the lead role of Rachel King.

Polygon had the chance to speak with the anthology’s executive producer Dan McDonald and watch some of the narrative and gameplay footage for the installment. Additional first-look footage and gameplay reveals have also been released, which you can find attached to this article if you scroll down.

According to the outlet, House of Ashes will focus on Rachel on a mission in Iraq. She and her team are searching for WMDs that apparently never existed before getting ambushed. The subsequent fight awakens an ancient supernatural entity and causes the American and Iraqi fighters to fall down into an “underground ruin from Sumerian myth.”

In the video below, you can listen to Supermassive Games game director Will Doyle introduce House of Ashes. He talks about the different myths they’ve tackled in Man of Medan and Little Hope, adding that the new myth is the oldest they’ve tackled yet. There are monsters hiding in the darkness of the ruin. If you watch the clip, it shows Rachel wading through blood, holding a human thigh bone as a torch. It reminded me a little of Tomb Raider.

Houses of Ashes will learn from fan feedback & mistakes made by the previous games.

While the game might be set during the Iraq War, rest assured the main focus is still supernatural horror.

“The Iraq War, as a setting for us, is not what the story is about. It’s where they start, but quite quickly [the main cast] is in a different location; they’re trapped underground and there’s something otherworldly going on,” McDonald told Polygon.

McDonald also promised that he and his team had used fan feedback from the earlier games to guide the development of this one.

"“We go through a process whenever we finish each game, to collate [all feedback and criticism] and look at it. The difficulty for us is, in this franchise, each game is almost finished before the next one comes out. So we need to listen to that feedback and work out how we can force it into the next game.”"

For Little Hope, some fans weren’t as enthused by the linear narrative, which didn’t have as many branching storylines as Man of Medan. The characters were frequently together, rather than splitting up to venture out into the unknown alone.

Polygon also reported that, based on the gameplay footage, “There are also some nice technical changes to the formula. The camera is less locked into specific angles, characters move faster, and there are difficulty settings for each player to make things as tense as they can handle.”

Check out some additional footage below:

Next. Resident Evil: 20 scariest monsters in the game franchise. dark

House of Ashes will be released later in 2021, on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.