The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan

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The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan
Cover art Man of Medan.png
Developer(s)Supermassive Games
Publisher(s)Bandai Namco Entertainment
Director(s)Tom Heaton
Producer(s)
  • Dan McDonald
  • Andy Nuttall
  • Jemma Harris
Writer(s)
Composer(s)Jason Graves
SeriesThe Dark Pictures Anthology
EngineUnreal Engine 4
Platform(s)
Release30 August 2019
Genre(s)Interactive drama
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, also known simply as Man of Medan, is an interactive drama video game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It is the first of eight[1] planned installments in The Dark Pictures Anthology series, and was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on 30 August 2019. A successor, Little Hope, was released on 30 October 2020.

Gameplay[edit]

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan is a horror themed video game played from a third-person perspective in which single players or multiplayers assume control of five different characters that become trapped on board a ghost ship.[2] Players are required to make decisions based on their character's "head" or their "heart", or can choose for them to do nothing, while selecting between different options when interacting with other characters. The selection of options are stylised as a compass, which is both representative of the characters' "moral compass" and reflective of the game's nautical themes. The narrative changes and adapts to the choices that the players make, thus making it possible for players to keep all playable characters alive or to have some (or all) of them die. Choices also affect the characters' personality traits (which affects subsequent cutscenes and dialogue options), as well as their relationships with each other. The game can be played multiple times, as there are multiple endings and multiple scenarios based on the decisions that the players make. Action sequences mainly feature quick time events, most of which, if missed, can lead to dire consequences for the characters. As players explore the ghost ship, they can find different "Dark Pictures" that gives them premonitions of what may happen in the future.[3] Players can also uncover the mystery surrounding the tragedy that occurred on the ship in the past, which can help save their character's lives in the present.

Inspired by the popularity of their 2015 game Until Dawn's streaming, and the number of people playing the game with their friends by sharing the controls, Supermassive Games introduced two different multiplayer modes in The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan titled "Shared Story" and "Movie Night".[4] "Shared Story" allows two players to play co-operatively online. "Movie Night" allows up to five multiplayers to select their own characters and prompts them to pass the controller at each turn.

Plot[edit]

Man of Medan is presented as an unfinished story in the possession of the omnipresent Curator (Pip Torrens), who requests the player's assistance in completing it.

A prologue, set post-World War II, details an American warship in Manchuria being overrun by ghostly apparitions, causing the death of the crew.

In the present day, brothers Alex (Kareem Alleyne) and Brad (Chris Sandiford) are preparing for a diving expedition into the South Pacific Ocean alongside Alex's girlfriend, Julia (Arielle Palik), Julia's brother, Conrad (Shawn Ashmore), and the ship's skipper, Fliss (Ayisha Issa). Alex and Julia seek out to find a World War II wreck plane rumoured to have crashed. Meanwhile, a group of fishermen crash into Fliss' boat, the Duke of Milan. After the expedition group celebrate, the fishermen, led by Olson (Kwasi Songui), ambush the boat and take the protagonists hostage; Brad may optionally remain in hiding. Conrad attempts to steal the fishermen's speedboat, which he can either successfully do so and flee, remain captured, or be killed in the attempt. Olson discovers the coordinates of seemingly hidden treasure named Manchurian Gold and seeks out to find it with the Duke crew in his captivity.

The Duke crashes into the SS Ourang Medan, the freighter featured in the prologue, which the fishermen board, taking the Duke of Milan's distributor cap to prevent the crew from fleeing. The protagonists immediately plan to regain the distributor cap and escape. The group is split after Fliss is recaptured and Brad is either too captured or leaves the Duke and re-joins her, while the others secretly follow. Both groups begin to witness unknown threats, optionally resulting in deaths: Fliss searches the ship's lower deck, potentially alongside Brad, and locates the Manchurian Gold, a leaking chemical substance; Conrad, if he remained captured, pursues Fliss and is pursued in turn by a female nurse; and Alex and Julia are attacked by Olson and a hallucinogenic version of Alex.

The surviving protagonists regroup and head towards the radio room to request extraction. They contact the military, optionally revealing their co-ordinates and the ship name. The group then again splits, with one team heading further into the generator room and the other remaining with the radio. The team heading to the engine room successfully reactivate the power and surmise that Manchurian Gold was actually a hallucinogenic bioweapon developed during World War II to induce hallucinations on victims.

As Olson pursues, one of the protagonists at the radio decides to investigate after hearing a gunshot. If Alex stayed behind, he goes down with whomever is with him and finds Olson dead before being attacked by rats and optionally destroying the distributor cap and/or dying. If Alex did not stay in the radio room, only one protagonist will investigate. This protagonist is forced into a fight with Olson, with the distributor cap either being recovered or destroyed in the onslaught. If at least one of the generator protagonists survived, they emerge and send a cargo door crashing down on Olson to kill him, with the other protagonist either escaping or being crushed also. Otherwise, Olson kills the radio protagonist before succumbing to a heart attack.

The surviving group members reunite on the outer deck of the ship, with the overall outcome depending on the fate of the group via player choice, whether the Duke of Milan's distributor cap was saved or destroyed, and whether the military was called for assistance alongside whether the ship name was disclosed.

Development[edit]

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan was developed by Supermassive Games. After favourable reception of their 2015 title Until Dawn, the team realized that there was a market for interactive drama horror games, and wanted to expand the concept to a larger audience.[5] Thus, The Dark Pictures Anthology series was created, with Man of Medan being the first of eight[1] planned installments in the series. Supermassive Games stated that they plan on releasing the subsequent seven games every six months in the anthology, with each game based on a horror trope that will feature a unique story that has no correlation to the other entries in the series.

Man of Medan was inspired[6] by the urban legend of the SS Ourang Medan, which is about a ghost ship that had allegedly become a shipwreck in Dutch East Indies waters in the late 1940s. Its entire crew was found deceased under suspicious and mysterious circumstances, with their faces twisted into horrified expressions, which seemed to indicate that they were terrified and had suffered before passing, despite having no visible signs of injury to their bodies and the ship being seemingly unscathed. An effort was made to bring the SS Ourang Medan back to port, but before it could be transported, the ship exploded and sunk underwater. Theories of how the ill-fated crew perished vary, ranging from the rational to the paranormal, though the story is most likely a work of fiction, as there is no evidence of the ship having existed at all.[7] The word Ourang is Malay or Indonesian for "man" or "person", while Medan is the largest city on the Indonesian island of Sumatra; giving an approximate translation of "Man from Medan".

Supermassive and publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment officially announced the title on 21 August 2018.[8] The game's cast includes Shawn Ashmore as one of the playable characters and Pip Torrens as the Curator, an omniscient individual who observes the events of the game and communicates directly with the player.[9] It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 30 August 2019.[10]

Reception[edit]

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan received "generally favorable reviews" for the Windows version, while the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions were met with "mixed or average reviews", according to review aggregator Metacritic.[11][12][13]

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan was the third best-selling game in the United Kingdom in its week of release, behind Astral Chain and Wreckfest. During its first week on sale, 81% of the game's retail copies were sold on PlayStation 4, versus 19% on Xbox One. However, Man of Medan didn't reach the same level of physical sales in comparison to Supermassive's 2015 title Until Dawn, selling 61% fewer physical copies at launch than the PlayStation 4 exclusive.[28]

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2019 The Independent Game Developers' Association Awards Best Action and Adventure Game Won [29]
Best Audio Design Nominated
Creativity Award Nominated
Best Social Game Won
2019 Golden Joystick Awards Best Multiplayer Game Nominated [30]
2020 NAVGTR Awards Animation, Technical Nominated [31]
Camera Direction in a Game Engine Nominated
Direction in a Game Cinema Nominated
Lighting/Texturing Nominated
MCV/Develop Awards Visual Innovation of the Year Nominated [32][33]
Narrative Innovation of the Year Won
16th British Academy Games Awards Performer in a Supporting Role (Ayisha Issa) Nominated [34]

Sequel[edit]

The second installment in the Dark Pictures Anthology series, Little Hope, was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on 30 October 2020.[35][36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Murray, Sean (July 15, 2019). "Man Of Medan Will Be First Of Eight In Dark Pictures Series, Will Introduce Multiplayer". TheGamer. Archived from the original on September 1, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Souppouris, Aaron (August 24, 2018). "'Man of Medan' could usher in a golden age of horror games". Engadget. Archived from the original on November 1, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Takahashi, Dean (April 2, 2019). "Man of Medan hands-on — Supermassive tries horror on the high seas". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on June 9, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Holt, Kris (July 11, 2019). "Supermassive's 'Man of Medan' is officially multiplayer". Engadget. Archived from the original on July 18, 2019. Retrieved July 27, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Makuch, Eddie (May 8, 2019). "Why There Is No Until Dawn 2". GameSpot. Archived from the original on May 15, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Wallace, Kimberly (May 7, 2019). "The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan - Five Big Takeaways From Our Hands-On With Supermassive's Next Big Venture". Game Informer. Archived from the original on May 10, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Morphy, Rob (November 29, 2011). "Death Ship: The Ourang Medan Mystery". Mysterious Universe. Archived from the original on September 1, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Donnelly, Joe (August 21, 2018). "The Dark Pictures is a horror anthology series from the creators of Until Dawn". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on May 15, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Roberts, Samuel (November 1, 2018). "The new trailer for horror game Man of Medan reveals its spooky curator". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on May 15, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Moyse, Chris (November 21, 2018). "Upcoming Horror Title Man of Medan Receives Dramatic Extended Trailer". Destructoid. Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved May 15, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ a b "The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  12. ^ a b "The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  13. ^ a b "The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 7, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ Tekaia, Pascal (September 20, 2019). "Man of Medan review". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved September 20, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Carter, Chris (September 1, 2019). "Review: The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan". Destructoid. Retrieved September 1, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ L Patterson, Mollie (August 28, 2019). "The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan review". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Retrieved August 28, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ Reiner, Andrew (August 28, 2019). "The Dark Pictures: Man Of Medan Review – Big Scares, Little Substance". Game Informer. Retrieved August 28, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ Leri, Michael (August 28, 2019). "Man of Medan Review - Scary stories to tell with some dorks". Game Revolution. Retrieved August 28, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ O'Connor, James (September 5, 2019). "The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan Review - Drown And Out". GameSpot. Retrieved September 5, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ Hurley, Leon (August 28, 2019). "Man of Medan review: "When firing on all cylinders there are some great scares"". GamesRadar. Retrieved August 28, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ LeClair, Kyle (August 28, 2019). "Review: The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved August 28, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ O'Brien, Lucy (August 28, 2019). "The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan Review". IGN. Retrieved August 28, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ Davenport, James (August 28, 2019). "Man of Medan review". PC Gamer. Retrieved August 28, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ McCormick, John Cal (August 28, 2019). "The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan Review (PS4)". Push Square. Retrieved August 28, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ Hawkins, Josh (August 28, 2019). "Man of Medan review: Troubled waters ahead". Shacknews. Retrieved August 28, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  26. ^ Williams, Mike (August 28, 2019). "The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan Review". USgamer. Retrieved August 28, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  27. ^ Iwaniuk, Phil (August 28, 2019). "The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man Of Medan review – fun hammy horror, despite the flaws". VG247. Retrieved August 28, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  28. ^ Dealessandri, Marie (2 September 2019). "Astral Chain beats Wreckfest, Man of Medan and Control to No.1". MCV.
  29. ^ "2019 Winners". The Independent Game Developers' Association. November 7, 2019. Archived from the original on 8 November 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  30. ^ Tailby, Stephen (20 September 2019). "Days Gone Rides Off with Three Nominations in This Year's Golden Joystick Awards". Push Square. Archived from the original on 20 September 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  31. ^ "2019 Nominees". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 13 January 2020. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  32. ^ Wallace, Chris (14 February 2020). "It's your last chance to vote for the MCV/DEVELOP Awards winners 2020". MCV/Develop. Archived from the original on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  33. ^ Barton, Seth (6 March 2020). "Here are your MCV/DEVELOP Awards 2020 winners – with Media Molecule, Nintendo and Rare all winning big – Thanks to everyone who voted!". MCV/Develop. Archived from the original on 18 September 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  34. ^ Stuart, Keith (3 March 2020). "Death Stranding and Control dominate Bafta games awards nominations". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  35. ^ Sheridan, Connor (February 27, 2020). "The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope is coming this summer". GamesRadar. Archived from the original on February 29, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  36. ^ DelGreco, Marina (October 5, 2020). "Supermassive Games to Play Before The Release of The Dark Pictures: Little Hope". Game Rant. Game Rant. Archived from the original on October 24, 2020. Retrieved October 21, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]