Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Supermassive Games has been making waves in the choice and consequence horror genre to varying degrees of success for a good seven years now. You could say that the studio has honed its craft in that time, but when the credits rolled on The Quarry – effectively the spiritual successor to Until Dawn – I don’t think I’ve been so disappointed in a game’s ending, possibly ever. And I’ve played Mass Effect 3!
Before I proceed, we’re obviously talking about The Quarry’s ending here, so there are obviously going to be spoilers. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!
Right, let’s set the scene. We’re deep into Chapter 10. Laura, Ryan and Travis are deep in the woods where everything kicked off a good eight or nine hours ago, and the story is coming to a crescendo. There he is, at long last. Silas, the dog boy; aka Silas, the White Wolf - the one whose demise is necessary to release the Hacketts from their curse. The option comes up, you take aim, and then you're given the choice to shoot the boy wolf. And then, bang! The gun goes off.
Such an abrupt and anti-climactic conclusion to events is a concern, but it’s the delivery of The Quarry's ending that really wound me up. After what I found to be a rather piss-poor final sequence, almost completely devoid of drama, the camera then pans through the woods as the sun comes up the next morning, as The Monkees' 'Daydream Believer' plays in the background. Then, instead of wrapping everything up, what The Quarry delivers is a brief shot of every character and of their status, summarising whether they made it through the nightmare dead or alive. And that’s it.
No matter how your journey wraps up, whether it’s out in the woods, or a lot earlier within the confines of Hackett Lodge, every ending is effectively the same. It’s this completely unsatisfying wrap up, one that doesn’t give you any real closure on the events of that infamous night in the woods, that really rankles. There’s no reunion for the cast of survivors. Nothing. No fallout from what happened, except a podcast over the credits, the content of which changes slightly, depending on which pieces of evidence you managed to collect. That’s it. The 186 purported endings, teased by Supermassive, are seemingly only permutations based upon who lives and who dies.
The worst aspect of this frankly abysmal ending is that the game makes out early on that you need to gather proof throughout the game, or the cops won’t believe you at the end – assuming you survive, of course. Sure, Until Dawn’s ending was similarly abrupt, but the credits actually gave you a little closure, as the survivors recounted their story to the police, in a bid to convince them of the terrible goings on they've just been subjected to. Man of Medan, the opener in Supermassive's Dark Pictures Anthology, went one step further, delivering a proper ending, with proper cutscenes.
The Quarry, however, does no such thing. It essentially tells you what you already know… i.e. who you killed and who you managed to rescue. And that’s it. I’m sorry, folks, but not even a podcast running over the final credits can salvage such a sudden and disappointing ending, especially when it’s from the perspective of two hosts who you have no attachment to. I want to know what happened with the relationships that were forged during the game's first third, and subsequently not touched upon for the game's latter half. I want to know what occurred with the police's enquiries when they turned up on the scene, where the werewolves' curse came from, what happened to dog boy’s mother (the spirit version, obviously), and what became of the teens after the shocking events of their last night at camp. So many more questions remain dangling, left unanswered and unresolved. Instead we got nothing but a lacklustre procession of outcomes we already knew, smothered in oodles of disappointment. It’s probably the most unsatisfying ending I’ve ever experienced in my time playing video games.
The Quarry is the perfect example of an engaging journey with a truly awful ending. Not how it ends per se, but its delivery of said ending. There is simply too little in the way of satisfying closure, and not enough shown of the aftermath. Sure, they say that the journey is more important than the destination, but the fact that Supermassive made a big deal regarding The Quarry’s supposed 186 endings, only to deliver what is perhaps the most arbitrary and unsatisfactory ending in the history of video games, is disappointing. Especially when the studio has proved it can do a better job, as it did in Until Dawn and the Dark Pictures Anthology games. Is this a publisher issue? Did 2K rush them to get the game out the door at the expense of the ending? Who knows?
All I do know is that I absolutely adored The Quarry. Its cast of characters, the storyline, and the twists are all handled with aplomb. But then that ending drops on you like a ton of bricks, and all it left was a sour taste I couldn't shake. Now that's scary.
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