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True crime and Chicago’s ‘murder castle’ fuel the new Dark Pictures game, The Devil in Me

Please come into my H.H. Holmes replica estate. It’ll be fine.

The Devil In Me - Two people, a Black man and woman, look worried and concerned. The camera is close up on their faces, which are under a red light. Image: Supermassive Games/Bandai Namco
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

The Dark Pictures Anthology games follow a classic supernatural horror formula: A group of unfortunate individuals stumbles upon some sort of grisly situation, and through a mix of choices, quick-time events, and exploration, struggle to make it out alive. The player is the survivors’ shepherd. A wrong choice, made either by accident or as part of a malevolent spree to kill the cast, can lead to a grotesque end.

The goal is to enjoy a good story — and if you’re lucky, everyone makes it out alive. The next game in the anthology, The Devil in Me, which developer Supermassive Games originally revealed with a Saw-style teaser, looks like one of the most fun takes on that formula yet. While previous Dark Pictures games have starred a group of young adults on a vacation, a college class, and a military unit, this time, we’re getting the production cast of a small-budget serial killer show titled Architecture of Murder. They’re running out of money and ideas, and they need a killer season finale if they ever want a season 2.

Swooping in to save the day, ostensibly, is an eccentric patron who offers the crew use of his family estate, a massive building modeled after H.H. Holmes’ infamous hotel. Holmes was one of the first urban American serial killers, and he used grifted funds and embezzled labor to first create a hotel and then create a series of murder rooms and laboratories in that hotel. Holmes would not just kill his victims, but sell their skeletons and collect their life insurance. This is a perfect find for the production crew of Architecture of Murder, and all they have to do is show up.

What could possibly go wrong? Turns out, everything. This patron is less a nice and helpful fan of local cable and more of a classic slasher villain. The Saw franchise and the cultural phenomenon of H.H. Holmes are massive inspirations for The Devil in Me, along with classic slasher films like Psycho, Friday the 13th, and The Shining.

While there are quick-time events for players to dodge, shoot a pistol, hold their breath, or secure an explosive, many pivotal choices take place through conversation. Characters bicker under tension, or build a bond through humor, depending on what players pick. Some of the best moments from the Dark Pictures games come from leaning into a character’s worst traits and watching chaos ensue. Sometimes, you want everyone to live, and other times, it’s very satisfying to watch your least favorite character bite the dust.

The Devil in Me will be released in November. Earlier this year, Supermassive released The Quarry, a summer camp slasher story in the vein of original hit Until Dawn.

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