House of Ashes is the latest entry in Supermassive Games’ Dark Pictures Anthology. You may have already spotted Rachel King in our previous trailers. In this 15-minute playthrough, you’ll get to see more of her character and learn more about her relationships with the others.
That’s why today, I want to talk about the star character of House of Ashes, Rachel King, who is played in the game by none other than the very talented Ashley Tisdale, “High School Musical” star, pop star, and actor! In House of Ashes, Rachel is a hard-bitten CIA Officer assigned to the search for weapons of mass destruction. In the darkness under the Zagros Mountains, she finds much more than she bargained for!
For those who don’t know already, House of Ashes takes place near the end of the 2003 Iraq war. Coalition forces are scouring the country for evidence of weapons of mass destruction, which are widely believed to be buried underground in secret storage depots. In our story, the allies are aided by the Caelus program: a breakthrough satellite radar system that can penetrate the ground to sniff out underground structures. When Caelus detects a suspicious structure on the border with Iran, a Special Forces team led by Rachel King is dispatched to investigate. Unfortunately, Caelus has got it wrong—the structure they end up raiding turns out to be a 4,000-year-old Sumerian temple. A temple that is now home to a nest of horrifying creatures!
From the off, we designed Rachel as a tough character. She’s in charge of an elite team operating in hostile territory, so she needs to be capable of making hard decisions under pressure. Interesting characters are always layered, so we asked ourselves what could pull such a person out of their comfort zone. The answer was clear: her own, personal relationships.
Rachel’s tough, uncompromising demeanor surely couldn’t persist in her own love life: she must have a softer side! With that in mind, we created her marriage to Eric, a genius scientist assigned to the US Air Force (and the brains behind the Caelus program). When our story begins, Eric and Rachel’s marriage is on the rocks: following a split, they’ve both become absorbed by their work and haven’t seen each other for a year. Rachel has moved on, beginning a new relationship with Nick, one of the marines on her team. When Eric unexpectedly arrives on base and takes over her command, all the troubles of this love triangle are forced into the open.
When casting Rachel, we needed somebody who could act tough, but also have a softer side ; Ashley Tisdale had all the qualities we were looking for. Aside from being a fantastic actor, she’s got a sensitivity that grounded Rachel in her most vulnerable moments. Ashley also has great comic timing, so she really gave Rachel an edge when delivering a cutting put-down. Rachel’s journey has some real twists and turns—some of which must remain a mystery for now—and like all Dark Pictures characters, she can perish in a variety of horrific ways. It was tremendous fun directing her through all this madness, and she approached it all with great humour and boundless tenacity.
In the video you can see Rachel and Eric come under fire from the Iraqi guard who have also been trapped underground in this ancient temple. At this point the threat from our monsters is not so apparent to them so they continue the fight and Rachel and Eric need to escape. Another brief tremor pitches Rachel over the side of a crevice and Eric desperately struggles to hold onto her whilst also trying to avoid being shot himself. This would be a difficult situation even if they were complete strangers but Rachel is Eric’s wife and as a player you will be faced with some very tough choices here – cut the rope to save yourself, or hang on and save Rachel but risk being shot. This scenario can play out in a number of different ways depending on the choices you make not only at this point but your actions in previous scenes will also have consequences for this very pivotal scene!
We hope you enjoyed this brief excerpt into working with Ashley Tisdale – It was tremendous fun directing her through all this madness, and she approached it all with great humour and boundless tenacity. We can’t wait for you to meet her character in the game.
Look for House of Ashes to launch for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S on October 22.
The Dark Pictures Anthology House of Ashes Pre-Order
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