Supermassive Games had three new projects to show at E3 this year, all of which got pushed slightly under the radar thanks to Sony’s awkward marketing tactics (announcing Hidden Agenda in your pre-show? Seriously?!? And why does Bravo Team look like one of those duff mobile games?).
In case you missed it, The Inpatient is a new PlayStation VR title with a strong focus on immersive horror, in which you play as an unnamed patient recently confined to the mysterious hallways of Blackwood Sanatorium. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same psychiatric hospital which appears in Supermassive’s PS4 horror hit Until Dawn.
Yep, The Inpatient is an Until Dawn prequel, set 60 years before the events of that harrowing night, but taking place in a key location from the game nonetheless.
Supermassive has stated that those unfamiliar with Until Dawn won’t be left in the dark (well, at least figuratively speaking), as this is a separate story with a whole cast of new characters. However, there’s no point in a prequel without indulging in at least some of the connective tissue for fans to discover, and a little research already indicates the way in which The Inpatient and Until Dawn might be narratively linked to one another. Spoilers below, obviously.
In The Inpatient, the sanatorium is a fully functioning ward, but fast forward to Until Dawn's 2015 timeline and it's an abandoned ruin, so what happened in between? The key to this conundrum lies with the old, creepy looking fella hogging the camera of the Inpatient's E3 trailer, revealed by Supermassive to be Jefferson Bragg, the owner of Blackwood Sanatorium (there's a cheeky photo of the institution in the reveal trailer).
That same name turns up in the form of a clue note found in Until Dawn, in which it’s revealed that Bragg committed suicide in order to avoid the more grisly fate of being chomped up by the wendigos, Until Dawn's supernatural beasties who must have clearly overrun the sanatorium at the time he was writing. That note was written in 1952. The Inpatient takes places in “its 1950s heydey.” That leaves us with a pretty good idea of what to expect going into this VR experience, which may very well show the collapse of Blackwood Sanatorium to a horde of blood-thirsty wendigos.
See, in Until Dawn the sanatorium is being used to confine and secretly test the miners who were exposed to (and eventually become) the wendigos, until they escape in 1952 and tear the place up. During The Inpatient, we'll likely discover how and why that all happens.
What’s less obvious is what might happen to you, the player, and that question likely won’t be answered until we get to play the Inpatient for ourselves, when it releases next year. Are you the one who frees the wendigos? Or are you one of the lucky few who escape with their lives? We'll find out soon.
Make sure you check out our full E3 2017 schedule to stay tuned for all the details as they arrive, and check out our roundup of all the E3 2017 trailers. For more E3 2017 highlights, check out our Nintendo E3 2017 recap, PlayStation E3 2017 recap, and Xbox E3 2017 recap.