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Dark Pictures Anthology owners can invite a friend to co-op for free throughout February

Sharing is scaring.

Bandai Namco is resurrecting its Dark Pictures Anthology Friend's Pass promotion once more, enabling owners of the three-strong horror series to invite a friend to play through any Shared Story mode for free until the end of February.

All three Dark Pictures Anthology titles - Man of Medan, Little Hope, and House of Ashes - are eligible this time around, and players that own any of them on Steam, Xbox, or PlayStation can invite one friend to complete one full playthrough of the co-operative Shared Story mode for free per game. Own all three games and that's three full playthroughs.

If you've yet to experience developer Supermassive Games' Dark Pictures Anthology in online co-op mode, it's bit of a spooky treat, giving players the chance to experience the same narrative together, with each controlling different characters and making different choices that influence the story's direction - and, ultimately, who lives and who dies.

Sometimes both players might be in the same scene, but at other points, they may go their separate ways, each experiencing a different sequence in tandem - one player might follow the events in one location while the other goes off to explore elsewhere - giving both parties plenty of opportunities to compare notes. It's very cool!

House of Ashes Review - PS5 Gameplay.Watch on YouTube

If that sounds like a suitably intriguing proposition, the process required to get a friend up and running via Bandai Namco's latest Friend's Pass promotion differs notably between PC and consoles; on PlayStation and Xbox, you simply need to get your friend to download and install the free trial version of the selected game from the online store. Then, once you've ensured your own copy is up-to-date, simply invite them to play Shared Story mode from in-game.

Over on Steam, however, things are rather more involved. First, owners of any Dark Pictures Anthology game will need to make sure their selected title is installed and updated, which will add a new Friend's Pass application to their library.

Open this, copy the provided product code, then get your friend of choice to enter that code via Steam's 'Activate a Product' option. Once they've download and installed the game, they'll need to launch their version of the Friend's Pass application and hit Play. Back inside your main game, select Play, then Shared Story, and invite your friend using the interface that pops up. Your friend should then hit Play Game when they receive your notification. All that's left to do after that is select your characters and away you go.

It's worth noting that if you've previously taken advantage of a game's Friend's Pass offer on Steam, the latest promotion will entitle you to another playthrough of that game, but, importantly, it'll have to be with the same friend you played with last time. You can invite any friend if you haven't used a Friend's Pass in the past.

The Friend's Pass promotion is available now on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, and continues until 28th February. Anyone that purchases Man of Medan, Little Hope, or House of Ashes before that end-date will be able to take advantage of the offer.

Additionally, all House of Ashes owners now have access to the previously pre-order-only Curator's Cut. This gives solo players the chance to go through the game again after completing the story once, witnessing scenes from a different perspective as they might in co-op mode.

If you're new to the series and wondering where to start, you might like to know that Eurogamer called last year's House of Ashes the "best entry yet". "It's literal edge of your seat stuff for a large portion of its play time," wrote Ian Higton in his Recommended review. "There aren't big change-ups made in terms of gameplay, but there is a solid story here with some great writing and equally great performances - and that alone is worth an oo-rah."

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