The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan

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The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan
Man of Medan cover art.jpg
Developer(s)Supermassive Games
Publisher(s)Bandai Namco Entertainment
Director(s)Tom Heaton
Producer(s)Dan McDonald
Writer(s)
Composer(s)Jason Graves
EngineUnreal Engine 4
Platform(s)
Release30 August 2019
Genre(s)Interactive drama, survival horror
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan is an interactive drama survival horror 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.

Premise[edit]

The main plot of 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. Decisions made by the player alter the outcome of the story and the fates of its characters.

The Curator's story centers on five individuals partaking in an underwater diving expedition to find a submerged WWII plane wreck in the South Pacific Ocean: brothers Alex (Kareem Alleyne) and Brad Smith (Chris Sandiford), Alex's girlfriend Julia (Arielle Palik), Julia's brother Conrad (Shawn Ashmore), and Félicité "Fliss" DuBois (Ayisha Issa), the captain of the group's dive boat. The expedition quickly turns dangerous, however, when the five are taken hostage by fishermen Olson (Kwasi Songui), Junior (Chimwemwe Miller), and Danny (Russell Yuen). Against their will, the group is brought to a large ghost ship – the fabled Indonesian Ourang Medan[2] – where their worst nightmares become reality. With their safety threatened, their sanity tested, and their survival at stake, the five must make swift life-or-death choices that could either lead them to freedom or cause them to suffer fatal consequences.[3]

Gameplay[edit]

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan is a survival horror 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 of a ghost ship.[4] Players are required to make decisions based on their character's "head" or their "heart", or can choose for them to do nothing, whilst 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.[5] 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".[6] "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.

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.[7] 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[8] 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, while there is speculation as to whether the ship even existed at all.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 30 August 2019.[12]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic(PC) 75/100[13]
(PS4) 69/100[14]
(XONE) 70/100[15]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid7/10[18]
Game Informer7/10[19]
GameSpot6/10[20]
GamesRadar+3.5/5[21]
IGN7/10[16]
PC Gamer (US)81/100[17]

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.[13][14][15]

Sales[edit]

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.[22]

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2019 The Independent Game Developers' Association Awards Best Action and Adventure Game Won [23]
Best Audio Design Nominated
Creativity Award Nominated
Best Social Game Won
Golden Joystick Awards Best Multiplayer Game Nominated [24]

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. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  2. ^ Jecks, Chris (August 21, 2018). "Man of Medan: What the Name of the Ship Is (Spoilers)". Twinfinite. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  3. ^ Samuels, Pete (August 21, 2018). "Until Dawn creator returns with The Dark Pictures Anthology, a series of standalone horror games for PS4". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Souppouris, Aaron (August 24, 2018). "'Man of Medan' could usher in a golden age of horror games". Engadget. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  5. ^ Takahashi, Dean (April 2, 2019). "Man of Medan hands-on — Supermassive tries horror on the high seas". VentureBeat. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  6. ^ Holt, Kris (July 11, 2019). "Supermassive's 'Man of Medan' is officially multiplayer". Engadget. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  7. ^ Makuch, Eddie (May 8, 2019). "Why There Is No Until Dawn 2". GameSpot. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  8. ^ 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. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  9. ^ Morphy, Rob (November 29, 2011). "Death Ship: The Ourang Medan Mystery". Mysterious Universe. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  10. ^ Donnelly, Joe (August 21, 2018). "The Dark Pictures is a horror anthology series from the creators of Until Dawn". PC Gamer. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  11. ^ Roberts, Samuel (November 1, 2018). "The new trailer for horror game Man of Medan reveals its spooky curator". PC Gamer. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  12. ^ Moyse, Chris (November 21, 2018). "Upcoming Horror Title Man of Medan Receives Dramatic Extended Trailer". Destructoid. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "The Dark Pictures - Man of Medan for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  14. ^ a b "The Dark Pictures - Man of Medan for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  15. ^ a b "The Dark Pictures - Man of Medan for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  16. ^ O'Brien, Lucy (August 30, 2019). "The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan Review". IGN. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  17. ^ Davenport, James (August 29, 2019). "MAN OF MEDAN REVIEW". PC Gamer. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  18. ^ Carter, Chris (September 1, 2019). "Review: The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan". Destructoid. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Reiner, Andrew (August 28, 2019). "The Dark Pictures: Man Of Medan". Game Informer. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  20. ^ O'Connor, James (August 31, 2019). "The Dark Pictures - Man of Medan Review". GameSpot. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  21. ^ Hurley, Leon (August 29, 2019). "MAN OF MEDAN REVIEW: "WHEN FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS THERE ARE SOME GREAT SCARES"". GamesRadar+. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  22. ^ Dealessandri, Marie (2 September 2019). "Astral Chain beats Wreckfest, Man of Medan and Control to No.1". MCV.
  23. ^ "2019 Winners". The Independent Game Developers' Association. November 7, 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  24. ^ Tailby, Stephen (20 September 2019). "Days Gone Rides Off with Three Nominations in This Year's Golden Joystick Awards". Push Square. Retrieved 8 November 2019.

External links[edit]