Video Games

Review: The Quarry a howling good time, folklore wise

The Quarry

Supermassive Games

Microsoft Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S


I grew up in the 1980s, the peak of Choose Your Own Adventure books.

So, when the novelty of a game like Until Dawn first manifested itself on the PS4 console, I picked it up. I wanted to see how the butterfly effect played out in video-game format. I binge-played it for 18 hours straight. I beat it, then tried to unlock all the achievements. I loved every minute of it.

Now, eight years later, The Quarry has been touted as Until Dawn’s spiritual successor. For me, it was a decent reinterpretation of creatures that have skulked around our subconscious for millennia: werewolves.

The idea of humans shapeshifting into another creature, or at least an anthropomorphized version of an animal has stalked us throughout our Judeo-Christian lives. The Epic of Gilgamesh’s Enkidu. The Greek tale of Lycaon. Rome’s origin tale of Romulus and Remus being suckled by a wolf mother, as well as the Satyricon short story about Niciros. The Latvian tale of vilkacis. The Romanian pricolici. The French account of the Beast of Gevaudan and finally, the French-Canadian contribution of Loup-Garou.

Now, for The Quarry, we travel to the fictional upstate New York campsite, Hackett’s Quarry. Named for the family that owns the land, the story unfolds with two pre-college teens driving up a day early to visit the camp —  during a full moon.

Once their destination is reached, albeit after being run off the road and questioned by a distracted officer, the tone is set.

Fast forward two months later, seven counsellors are readying to leave the camp when the oafish alpha male decides he wants one more night with his summer fling. But, forces conspire to thwart him, no matter the path you take. Also on the quest to not become quarry for werewolves are the stoic loner (Ryan), social media darling (Emma), jester (Dylan), artistic wallflower (Abigail), awkward subject of affection (Nick) and the take-no-shit sisterly figure (Kaitlyn).

These are the characters you have to keep alive (and/or cure) as the story progresses. Not to forget the strong female lead (Laura) and her hapless beau (Max) who gets bitten a la David Kessler.

I do appreciate The Quarry’s modern take on the werewolf lore, which includes a tip of the fur pelt cap to the 1941 film, The Wolf Man, with its Romani-inspired characters Eliza and Silas mirroring Maleva and Bela.

There are many familiar faces from the horror genre who have assembled too, including David Arquette, Lance Henriksen, Lin Shaye and Ted Raimi.

And if you look hard enough, you’ll see other horror Easter eggs ranging from An American Werewolf in London (Landis University) to Evil Dead II (Groovy chainsaw) to Friday the 13th and Predator (McTiernan shotgun shells).

Even the characters’ names have hidden meanings once translated. Emma Mountebank lives up to her surname as a charlatan. Ryan Erzahler is the narrator. Dylan Lenivy is the lazy one. Abigail Blyg is the shy one. Jacob Custos was the one who made the costly decision.

Italy (lupu mannaro), Germany (Werwolf), Russia (vukodlak), Sweden (varulv) and Portugal (corredor) all have their werewolf tales. The most poignant, however, is Laura Kearney. Although many European languages create the last names of the characters, Kearney is derived from the Gaelic cearnach, which means warlike. The hero of The Quarry, if you get to that point, is Laura. In Celtic folklore, the werewolf is known as faoladh.

Maybe I’ve dug a little too deep into director-writer Will Byles’ inspiration. Supermassive Games has done a great job at diving into folklore from ghost ships to witch hunts to the Wendigo to Akkadian demons.

Aside from my hunger for werewolves, the game itself is enjoyable to play. Just make good choices, because those choices set the tone for your adventure.

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