Alone in the Dark pays homage to the 1992 original in this reimagining

We don’t truly realize it at the time, but our imaginations do a lot of work when playing games, particularly if they’re as old as the original Alone in the Dark. Take a look at a few screenshots or some gameplay of something from over ten years ago, and you’ll find it doesn’t look as good as it does in your head – everything seems blockier and a little out of focus.

But that’s where remakes, remasters, and reimaginings come in. They can give everything a modern look and feel that helps everything more closely aligned with your memories. Alone in the Dark is the latter of those three things, and Pieces Interactive hopes to bring the 1992 survival horror into the modern day.

What’s in a reimagining?

It’s probably handy at this point to define what a reimagining is since it’s slightly different compared to a remake or a remaster. Generally speaking, a reimagining takes the original premise but changes a lot of elements significantly, which is why Pieces Interactive has described it as a love letter to the original that retains its essence.

So, while some characters might be the same and some of the plot is familiar, you can expect some big changes elsewhere, from gameplay to story. Still, there should be enough similarity that fans of the original feel right at home. That’s the idea of a reimagining, after all. It seems to be in good hands, with Mikael Hedberg, who wrote SOMA and Amnesia, taking the narrative reigns. 

What’s Alone in the Dark all about?

The story follows private investigator Edward Carnby and his client, Emily Hartwood, as they travel to Derceto Manor for answers. You see, Emily’s uncle went missing, and the manor seems key to discovering what happened to him. The problem is that the place is teeming with Eldritch horrors that are apt to make people mad if they don’t simply murder them. 

As with the original, you can step into the shoes of either Edward or Emily. So, you will probably have to play Alone in the Dark twice to get the whole experience. Whichever path you choose, you will spend your time solving puzzles, battling ghastly creatures, and trying to scavenge enough ammunition to fight the threats lurking in the shadows. 

Top-tier acting talent

Presumably, to bring some extra gravitas to proceedings, Pieces Interactive has hired two well-known actors to play the lead characters. Jodie Comer (Killing Eve and Free Guy) plays Emily, while David Harbour (Stranger Things) takes on the role of Edward. 

It goes without saying they’re not reprising their roles. In fact, it’s the first foray into video game acting for both of them. They’ve dived in deep as well, lending their likenesses to the two leads, alongside voicing them. If you ask me, good acting is a must for psychological thrillers. Madness is difficult to sell without becoming laughable or corny, so it’s good to see the developers hiring well-respected actors.

Help us forget Alone in the Dark (2008)

Depending on your age, your memories of Alone in the Dark may differ. So, while this new game might be a nice way for fans to remember the original, I’m hoping it’ll help me forget the 2008 entry in the series, which bore the same name. 

It was a frustrating experience marred by an array of technical issues and poor UI design. Still, some of its narrative elements were interesting, but that was the only reason to push through it otherwise. So, hopefully, this homage to the original can return some of the polish to the name.

A more palatable entry point for those unfamiliar

Another wonderful thing about reimaginings is that they allow people to experience something in a more palatable way. A gaming connoisseur will try to play everything, but, for some titles, going back is often a pain. 

Not only are some older PC games tricky to run on new hardware, but dated gameplay makes everything a chore. It’s the downside of being spoiled by modernization, where everything is usually smoother. So, if we can enjoy the original’s vibes minus the clunkiness, what’s not to like?

Alone in the Dark will release on Steam, PlayStation, and Xbox on March 20th 

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This Article was written by: Stephen Gregson-Wood