Man of Medan, the first in Supermassive Games' upcoming horror anthology The Dark Pictures (opens in new tab), is due out at the end of this month. We already know that this boat of five young people is charting a course for disaster, as is required of any horror vacation. But things can get even better, or worse, when you play with a friend.
Supermassive Games has published another video dev diary, this one on how playing co-op works. Both players will take control of one of the five protagonists and make choices for that character. While one may be on the boat in a conversation with a non-player character, the other might be scuba diving beneath the boat, experiencing a totally different section of the game. Both will be making choices that affect the story, whether they're separate or together.
When your co-op partner is making a decision, you'll be notified on screen, but you won't see what options they're choosing between. You may be able to throw in your two cents as your character before your friend makes their own choice, but they don't need to take your advice.
It sounds a bit like the co-op shenanigans we enjoyed from Larian's Divinity: Original Sin 2, a natural fit for an RPG based on the collaborative feelings of a D&D table, but also interesting in a horror game that explores relationships and has outcomes that can presumably be very bad depending on what choices are made.
You can watch the full dev log for more details on producing the episode above, including some details about the prototyping process. Game director Tom Heaton says that Supermassive plotted out separate sections of Man of Medan well in advance to test how well-balanced the flow of the story felt. Early on, developers were able to play through the narrative of the game with text and storyboards to identify sections where one player may have more to do than the other. After making sure all characters had enough agency to stay engaged with the story, full production on the first episode began.
You'll be able to grab Man of Medan on Steam (opens in new tab) on August 29th.