Gamereactor recently attended a preview event in Hamburg for Man of Medan - the first in the Dark Pictures anthology of horror games - and during our time in the German city we also spoke to Supermassive Games' CEO Pete Samuels and Bandai Namco producer Gareth Betts about the philosophy behind the collection as a whole.
"A couple of key things about it, one is that we want to surprise every time, and I can virtually guarantee that when we announce the second game -whose title I nearly say every time I interview - it'll look fresh, it'll be a surprise that we've gone where we've gone and the subgenres that we've chosen. The third will be nothing short of a shock in terms of where we've gone with that. The fourth is about to go into design now - we've got the story mapped out - and the fifth one is out there somewhere. We know what it is, and it is very, very different," Samuels told us (he's also the executive producer on the anthology too).
"So that's the big mantra for the anthology - every time a surprise. Let's not let it even look like it's starting to get stale - different characters, different setting, different stories, from two-and-a-half thousand years BC to 5,000 years, 10,000 years in the future; we've got the whole spectrum. Anywhere in the universe, any time - we've got all of that to play with, so no excuses for letting it go stale."
"The other thing [...] they need to be great stories with great characters, and stories that the player genuinely feels they have influence to take in any direction for better or worse [...] and that they have many ways to play them, many ways to enjoy them."
"We're trying to pack a lot into each one, and then deliver two games a year."
After this answer we questioned Samuels a bit more on these five games and why they've chosen this approach, to which he said:
"Well it's not five games in an anthology. We've got the first eight planned [laughs] and I don't know if there's going to be 16; we're just gonna keep going until somebody tells us to stop."
"The thing about an anthology and running parallel teams to deliver two games in any 12-month period, is we get to tell a lot of stories, so we get to make it fresh every time. We'd much rather be delivering two great stories a year, two great horror stories a year, than one great story every two years, or three years. We like getting stuff out there. We really want to engage with the community, but we first need to build that community around The Dark Pictures, which is really high on our priority list, and one way we can do that is by delivering regularly and supporting that community with additional content - free content - and we want to build a big audience around The Dark Pictures, and you need some kind of regular beat of release to do that."
Do you like the idea of an anthology approach to games?