How Man of Medan is engineered to scare you silly

Until Dawn’s creator challenges you and your friends to survive a terrifying night aboard a haunted ship 

 

 
 

1. You're stranded in the middle of the ocean

When a scuba-diving trip goes disastrously wrong, five people are left adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, stranded aboard a derelict warship, unseen since World War II and believed to be cursed.

Play five characters

This third-person story-driven horror switches between five characters caught up in this night of terror. Be in full control of what they do over the course of the game's story. 

Decide their choices

Choose where they explore, what they interact with and define their relationships. As you dictate their actions, you'll see them give in to their weakest impulses or stay strong in the face of adversity. 

Control their fate

Every decision you make, every interaction you take will shape what ultimately happens to every character. All can live, some may survive, but all can die. How this story ends is entirely down to you.

“We looked for an isolated location, somewhere you couldn't walk away from, which is what we’d all do. And where better than right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?”

 

- Supermassive Games CEO Pete Samuels

 
 

2. It's based on a real-world ghost story

The majority of the game is spent in the present day, but a playable 1940’s-set prologue sets up the events to come (and introduces the gameplay mechanics). 

In the 1940s, a Dutch freighter named the SS Ourang Medan was discovered adrift after it transmitted a single, garbled distress message. Its crew were all found dead; every face locked in the same, terrified expression. Before the ship could be dragged to safe waters, it exploded and sank beneath the waves. 

 

 
 

3. It has characters you identify with...

There are no superheroes or gun-wielding soldiers in Man of Medan. But neither are the protagonists your typical dim-witted monster-fodder. They're ordinary people, responding as we all would in a horrific situation. 

The five-strong cast are made up of two pairs of siblings and a ship captain, the fates of whom are in your hands. 

Alex

Brother of Brad and Julia's boyfriend. Despite being cool-headed and confident in most situations, he's uncomfortable with displays of wealth given his middle-class background, which jars against Julia's privileged upbringing. 

 

Julia

An Ivy League university student, Julia's educated and assertive, seeking out thrills and new experiences. She's willing to argue to get her own way. She's close to her brother Conrad and is in a relationsip with Alex. 

Conrad

Julia's brash and utterly self-asborbed older brother. Very confident and forthright, Conrad is now in a holding pattern between college and life as he figures out what to do next.

Fliss

Captain of the Duke of Milan., who hires the boat out to divers. On the surface she's prickly and aggressive, but has worked hard her entire life to make the most of the prospects available to her.  

Brad

Alex's younger brother, who both admires and resents his older sibling for his achievements and poise. He's quiet and quite the history geek, specialising in the WWII era. 

 
 

4. ...And every one of them can die

Every choice has a consequence. Supermassive Games taught us that in Until Dawn, but in Man of Medan, the studio is amplifying the impact those decisions can have.

Separate stories

The group will split and reform as the story progresses. For instance, one pair will explore an underwater wreck while the others keep watch on the boat above. Events unfold below and above the water simultaneously. No one group will have the full story.

Interlinked lives

Whether it's a pair of characters failing to protect each other's backs or one group's earlier actions unwittingly hindering the other's progress later, Man of Medan is full of split-second decisions whose repercussions that may impact anyone at any time. 

Multiple outcomes

But with multiple permutations of how the story could unfold and how it ends, the game is ripe for multiple replays to see just how right - or wrong - things can go. 

“You have five playable characters, and 69 possible deaths.
All of them can live or die in varied horrible ways.”

 

- Supermassive Games CEO Pete Samuels

 
 

5. It forces you to ask if you can trust your friends

Supermassive Games has included two multiplayer modes, letting you experience the full story in a very different way than if you journeyed solo. Settle in for a dedicated night of chills, or divide up your play time for several evenings of scares whether you play alone,  with a friend or with a group.

Play locally

Movie Night mode

Up to five players can play through the events of Man of Medan together with a single Dualshock 4 controller. Assign each player to a character (or characters), then simply grab the controller when your name pops up. Don’t worry: the game will pause until you’re ready, so any wrong choices will be entirely your fault. 

“Movie Night was very much inspired by how we saw people play Until Dawn. We wanted to include something to encourage people to sit around one controller with their friends”

 

- Supermassive Games CEO Pete Samuels

Play online

Shared Story mode

The ultimate test of trust and friendship is Man of Medan’s two player online mode. Buddy up with someone from your friends list and start the story. Controlling one character each at any given time, you’ll be thrown together or split apart as the story dictates. 

While voice chat is enabled, you won’t be able to see exactly what your friend is doing or,more importantly, thinking. Yet stories are interlinked: your actions will impact them and vice-versa. Can you work together to successfully survive the night?

Too much tension? Take a break. The game will save your joint progress, letting you take up the story again when you’ve steadied your nerves. 

“It surprises people how much it changes the experience and how much more stress, pressure and fear it puts on you! You’d think it’d be the opposite, because you have company, but it gives you more responsibility.” 

 

- Supermassive Games CEO Pete Samuels

 
 

6. You'll be observed and judged at every turn

Meet The Curator, played by Pip Torrens (The Crown, Preacher). Ostensibly a well-groomed English gentleman with a love of fine waistcoats and grand libraries, it is he who introduces you into the world of Man of Medan and bookends key scenes of the story.

He’s not a personified game tutorial, but your unsettling observer. The Curator exists very much as an independent entity, seemingly unconnected to yet fully aware of the events of Man of Medan. Or more accurately, how your actions have shaped them. 

What are his origins and what is his ultimate purpose? That will be revealed over Man of Medan... and future games in what is to be The Dark Pictures Anthology. 

“It’s quite traditional in horror anthologies to have a presenter who tries to help you make sense of what’s going on. So we wanted to create somebody synonymous with the series, who people would recognise each time.” 

 

- Supermassive Games CEO Pete Samuels

 

 
 

7. Man of Medan is part of something bigger

Man of Medan is just the first entry into a multi-game anthology series entitled The Dark Pictures. 

Every game will feature the same single player or multiplayer options and have the Curator observing your actions. Dotted throughout each story will be framed pictures of some kind, interaction with which will trigger brief premonitions (Supermassive call these 'The Dark Pictures') that can help you decide your next action. They’ll also be unified by Jason Graves’ ‘Dark Pictures’ theme, which will rearranged to be unique to each game’s setting. 

But each game will be a standalone story, following an entirely different cast in an all-new horror tale. 

“In each of the stories, we take different sub-genres of horror and mash them together. They all have some hook or basis in real world history or existing mythology... That’s what grounds them, keeps them believable” 

 

- Supermassive Games CEO Pete Samuels

 

 
 

Return to Blackwood Mountain

Experience a trio of previously released horror titles crafted by Supermassive Games and interlinked by seemingly supernatural threats terrorising a remote Canadian mountain range. 

Released 2015

Until Dawn

Help a group of teens survive a night atop the danger-filled peaks of Blackwood Mountain as their yearly reunion is threatened by forces beyond their control. 

Released 2018

The Inpatient

Play a newly-admitted patient to Blackwood Sanatorium and uncover its dark secrets, 60 years before the events of Until Dawn unfold in this first-person PS VR tale. 

Released 2016

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

Suspense makes way for all-out action in this on-rails shooter as Until Dawn’s scariest moments are adapted into a horror-fuelled rollercoaster ride. Grab a weapon and start fighting back. 

 
 

Looking for more narrative-driven adventures?

Get started on some of the best examples of the genre playable now on PlayStation 4 with our essential game guide.