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Are The Hunters in The Quarry Good?

Are The Hunters in The Quarry Good?

Throughout a lot of the promotional material for Supermassive Games’ recent hit The Quarry and for much of the title’s runtime, a mysterious group of hunters is shown prowling the land around Hackett’s Quarry. Early on, several of the summer camp counsellors that act as the playable characters make note that the area is entering into hunting season, but what exactly are these people hunting here? Wildlife? Or perhaps naughty counsellors who don’t leave when they’re told to? One question on many players’ minds — particularly if and when they have close encounters with these hunters — is whether or not these hunters are on their side. There are, of course, a few ways one could try to answer that question, but most of them would require going into spoiler territory. Of course, anyone who would click on an article attempting to answer this question without playing through the rest of the game likely doesn’t mind that, but the internet is a vast swath of people, so consider this your final warning: full game spoilers ahead. Anything less, and I wouldn’t be able to answer this question to my own satisfaction.

All good? Great. Let’s go on.

Now, at their most basic level, the hunters — at the start of the game — are indeed trying to avoid hurting the counsellors. The main reason they’re creeping around the areas that the kids are in is because there’s something quite dangerous in the woods at night. The two main hunters are thereby just trying to keep that danger at bay to prevent it from attacking the counsellors. In that simple sense, yes, the hunters are very much on the counsellors’ — and maybe even the player’s — side. If you’re still at the start of the game and you’re worried about what might happen if one of the hunters gets close, don’t worry! They probably just want to smear blood over the counsellors’ faces! That’s probably fine! A bit unsanitary, but it helps to disguise their scents from what’s out there.

However, the hunters are still very much trying to keep what’s going on in the area a secret, so they won’t ever stop to explain what’s going on and, at some point, they might even decide that the best way to keep the kids safe is to lock them up for the night. After all, the reason all of this danger is happening is because of the hunters themselves.

Here’s a quick explanation: The hunters are part of the local Hackett family — the same one that the camp leader, Chris Hackett, is from. Years ago, members of the family accidentally burnt down a travelling circus while trying to create a distraction so that Silas the Dog Boy, one of the attractions/members of the circus, could escape. However, the fire spread too quickly and killed many of the people there and Silas ended up biting the very people trying to ‘save’ him, thereby inadvertently infecting three members of the Hackett family with lycanthropy — the curse of being a werewolf. Every full moon since, the Hacketts have been trying to hunt Silas with silver bullets, as the only known way to cure lycanthropy is to kill one of the previous werewolves in a given ‘lineage’ and silver is the only thing that can kill a werewolf.

That’s all well and good then, isn’t it? The Hacketts made a terrible mistake and are just trying to mend it! That would make the hunters flawed, yet human. And moreover, good in the ultimate sense. Except… it’s not Silas that’s running around and trying to attack and kill or maim the counsellors: it’s some of the bitten Hacketts. Silas is around, yes, but he mostly only shows up when actively threatened. He spends most of his time hiding, nothing more than a scared kid who had his whole family ripped away through flames, lashing out against the people trying to murder him for a mistake they made. The Hackett family home is shown to have several measures in place that could keep a werewolf contained, but they still left at least two of their more wolfish members out and about without using those measures.

So… the Hacketts and the hunting members of the group are bad then, right? I mean, one of the Hacketts is even the town sheriff who abuses his position to unjustly keep two camp counsellors imprisoned for two months without even accusing them of a crime. All they did was get attacked by one of the werewolf Hacketts when they showed up to camp a day early! Clearly, he’s corrupt, using his position in an attempt to silence people that could reasonably try to reveal what his family’s been hiding!

Except… one of those kids got bitten. He turned into a werewolf later that night. And, since that sheriff knew what his family had gone through, he knew the two of them wouldn’t have believed that one of them was now a werewolf unless he could show them proof. And how could he just let loose someone with the power to potentially kill hundreds and cause a mass lycanthropy outbreak? Clearly, from a rigid moral standpoint, locking them up for two whole months isn’t the solution, but it’s not so cut and dry. Plus, he acted alone in that, hiding much of what happened there from the rest of his family for at least a month. Can the whole family be blamed for his actions alone, particularly since some of them even express that doing such a thing is unjust?

That’s not even mentioning how some of the Hacketts, once they hear what the sheriff did, claim that he should have taken even stricter action and killed the hapless counsellors. Of course, that claim is said in grief and anger after one of those former prisoners kills one of the werewolf members of the Hackett family. But while it is understandable and human for grief to move someone to do and say stupid and reckless things, moving to kill people for it can’t be acceptable.

Okay, so yes. The hunting Hackett family is evil. For wanting to kill what is essentially a scared kid with no family left… even though killing him is their only recourse if they want to cure the lycanthropy of at least five people. But they’re still evil! For wanting to kill the murderer of the youngest member of their family who can’t even be older than the counsellors themselves. That’s not good, but am I willing to call that evil? Is it evil to lash out at someone who’s killed your youngest grandchild and aims to kill other members of your family next?

But then, it’s not the entire Hackett family who decides that. They aren’t a monolith. Some of them are just trying to survive and others are desperately looking for another way to end this curse on their family without resorting to killing anyone. Can you truly look at someone at the end of their rope, desperately tugging and pulling in a last-ditch effort to hold together everything they hold dear, and call them evil?

The Hacketts have done good. They try — and mostly succeed, beyond several fuck-ups — to keep the counsellors alive and uninfected. They take measures to prevent their own werewolf members from hurting other people — but those measures can and do fail. One of them does his best to inform a new werewolf what’s happened to him — after locking him and his girlfriend up for a month.

The Hacketts have done evil. They burned down a circus, killing Silas’s mother, the old sheriff, and many others — but it was an accident done while attempting to do good. They try to kill some of the counsellors — after one of them kills the youngest member of the family. They hunt Silas and try to kill him in the woods — but it’s the only way to ensure that there are no more werewolves in the area and, even if he doesn’t seek people out to hurt, Silas doesn’t hesitate to tear people’s faces off while in his werewolf form. No werewolf does. They are dangerous.

Are the Hacketts good? They think so. But are good intentions enough to excuse paving hell? Are the Hacketts bad? The ghost of Silas’s mother, who talks to the player throughout the game, thinks so. But are mistakes enough to condemn a family?

Are the Hacketts struggling to get anything right and keep digging themselves deeper and deeper? Yes. But can we leave it at that? Morality can be such a loose concept, for when we act strict about it, we can lose sight of perspective. Do good people only do good things? Do bad people only do bad things? When does a mistake become a choice to do wrong? In the end, it’s left up to the player to decide this family’s fate. The Quarry itself offers no direct answer. And maybe that’s how it should be.

Erin McAllister

Erin McAllister

Staff Writer

Erin is a massive fan of mustard, writes articles that are too long, and is a little bit sorry about the second thing.