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Eight friends. One killer. No escape.

Until Dawn is an interactive drama survival horror adventure game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4, and was officially released worldwide in August 2015.

Until Dawn was initially going to be a PS3 release with Playstation Move compatibility, but an announcement in August 2014 stated that it would be a Playstation 4 exclusive.

Plot

Prologue

In 2014, ten friends; Sam, Josh, his twin sisters Hannah and Beth, Mike, Jessica, Emily, Matt, Ashley, and Chris have gathered together at the Washington Lodge on Blackwood Mountain for their annual winter getaway.

During their celebrations, half of them decide to play a prank on Hannah, who's romantically interested in Mike. While Josh and Chris are passed out drunk in the kitchen, Mike invites Hannah up to his room. Unbeknownst to her, Jess, Emily, Matt and Ashley are hiding under the bed and in the closet. As Mike convinces her to start taking off her clothes, Jess accidentally reveals the presence of the group and by doing so, humiliates Hannah just as Sam bursts in to warn her, finding out that it was too late.

Hannah runs out of the lodge and into the snowy woods as everyone runs after her, trying to apologize and convince her to come back. Beth suddenly appears after hearing the commotion and asks them what happened. After learning that Hannah has been humiliated, she angrily tells them off and chases after Hannah. As Beth finds her way in the middle of the woods, she finally locates Hannah crying in the middle of a small clearing and comforts her. Suddenly, they hear a violent noise and run from an unseen pursuer.

As they're cornered at the edge of a cliff, Hannah slips and falls while holding Beth's hand, taking her down with her. Beth manages to hang onto a large branch at the edge of the cliff, holding Hannah with her other hand. An unknown man crouches by the edge of the cliff and extends his hand to help them, but Hannah and Beth both fall to their apparent deaths, never to be seen again.

Present Day

"Boom: Butterfly Effect." - Spoilers for Until Dawn lie below.

On the one year anniversary of the disappearances of Hannah and Beth Washington, the remaining seven friends accept Josh's invitation back to the mountain and make their way there. As the group separates to partake in their own festivities, their seemingly idyllic getaway begins to quickly turn sinister in more ways than one.

Mike and Jessica head to a guest cabin for some alone time, and Jessica is kidnapped by an unknown creature. Mike chases after her in an attempt to save her. Depending on his choices during the chase, he either finds her dead or alive, but she disappears as the elevator she's laying on falls down the shaft. Mike then follows a mystery man whom he believes killed Jess to an abandoned Sanatorium, in which he explores and discovers information about a mining accident in 1952, which resulted in miners being trapped following a cave-in. Experiments and studies were done on the survivors by doctors at the Sanatorium, and a reporter ran into trouble trying to find out more on the cover-up. 

Ashley, Chris, and Josh use a Ouija board to communicate with spirits and purportedly receive communication from either of the Washington twins. Josh, convinced that either Ashley or Chris are messing with him, storms off. Chris and Ashley investigate the clue that the spirit communicated, but Ashley and Chris are knocked unconscious by a mask-wearing psychopath and Ashley is kidnapped. Chris tracks her down and finds Ashley and Josh on the deadly end of a Jigsaw-like trap and must choose between saving one of them.

After learning of a maniac on the loose, Matt and Emily travel to the cable car station to get help but discover that the keys are missing. The couple then locates a radio tower and calls the mountain rangers for help, who inform them that assistance won't arrive until dawn at the earliest. An unknown creature tries and fails to enter the tower and then causes the tower to collapse by cutting one of its cables, sending it toppling into the mines. In the chaos that follows, Matt discovers Emily in peril on the destroyed fire tower and is forced between trying to save her life or jumping to safety to save his own. Regardless of his decisions, Emily falls with the collapsing tower deeper into the mines. Matt either escapes and also ventures deeper into the mines, or will be killed by the creature.

Meanwhile, Sam is stalked by the psychopath and chased throughout the lodge and is either knocked unconscious or escapes into the killer's workshop. In continuous interludes, a psychiatrist, Dr. Hill, conducts an interview with an unseen figure, asking questions as the narrative progresses. In each interlude, Dr. Hill's office grows more grotesque and dilapidated, reflecting the choices the player makes during each interview interlude. Depending on the former choices of the player, Dr. Hill himself may change in appearance, becoming sickly and maimed. Eventually, he is revealed to simply be a hallucination in the psychopath's mind.

As more sinister events unfold, the psychopath reveals himself to be Josh, who was playing a prank on the group the whole time in retaliation for the prank that indirectly caused Hannah and Beth's disappearance the previous year; Mike and Chris capture him and leave him tied up in a shed. In the abandoned mines, Emily is shown to have survived her fall. She may find Beth's head and learn that Hannah had actually survived the fall off the cliff and had buried Beth, only to dig her up weeks later and feed off her corpse as a result of extreme hunger. She encounters the stranger that Mike had followed, who helps her escape from the creature. In her escape, Emily can be killed or manages to get back to the lodge.

As the friends uncover clues about the past, a resident who had been stalking the group, subtitled as The Stranger and referred to by the characters as "Flamethrower Guy," reveals himself to the group as not the Psycho or Mystery Man, but a protector of the mountain. He explains that the mountain is infested by Wendigos, former humans who were possessed by evil spirits after consuming human flesh, and that they will not be able to escape to safety until dawn, which is when the Wendigos cease their hunt. Chris and The Stranger decide to rescue Josh, but discover that he has vanished; The Stranger is decapitated by the Wendigo soon after. Sam, Mike, Ashley and the remaining survivors flee to the lodge basement for safety.

Mike returns to the Sanatorium in search of Josh, hoping to find the key to the cable car, but encounters dozens of Wendigos, forcing him to destroy the Sanatorium to escape; meanwhile, Sam discovers more information about the Wendigos and follows him. They eventually find Josh in the mines suffering from extreme hallucinations. He willingly gives them the key. Mike helps Sam reach the surface, but Hannah, who is revealed to have turned into a Wendigo after being forced to eat Beth's body, drags Josh away or kills him, depending on the player's choices.

If Matt and Jess are still alive at this point, they have separate encounters with the Wendigos in the mines and attempt to evade them and reach rescue. Meanwhile, Sam, Mike, and whoever is alive between Ashley, Chris, and Emily, flee from the Wendigos to the lodge only to encounter Hannah and multiple other Wendigos. The Wendigos begin to fight each other, resulting in gas being released from the furnace into the lodge. The group uses the gas leak to destroy the lodge, killing all of the Wendigos and any survivors still inside just as dawn breaks and rescue helicopters arrive.

In a post-credits scene, the group conducts interviews at a police station where they explain their story. If Josh and, at least, one other person has survived, two policemen exploring the mines discover that he has feasted on the remains of The Stranger and turned into a Wendigo.

Gameplay

Until Dawn is designed to be played multiple times, as players cannot see all content with a single playthrough. Each playthrough will last about seven to nine hours in length, and the game mechanics utilize an in-game system called the "Butterfly Effect", in which any choice of action by the player may cause unforeseen consequences later on. For example, locating a weapon in an earlier chapter may allow the player to pick it up down the line when a chase scene leads back to the same room. Throughout the game, players will make difficult decisions during ethical or moral dilemmas, such as sacrificing one character to save another. The Butterfly Effect system blurs the line between right and wrong decisions and it is possible for players to keep all eight characters alive as well as having all eight of them die, allowing for many different paths and scenarios as well as offering several different endings for each character.

Until Dawn has a strict auto-save system to prevent players from reloading a previous save file to an earlier point in the game if they regret an in-game decision they have made. The only way to change the player's choice is to restart the game from the beginning or continue to the end and start a new game. The developers have stated that Until Dawn has "hundreds of endings." Different endings have different variations depending on the combination of characters alive at the end of the game.

The gameplay is focused on exploration, quick-time events and discovering clues, as well as making decisions. There is an in-game system that will keep track of all of the clues and secrets players have discovered in total, even if there are multiple playthroughs; these clues will allow the player to piece together the mysteries of Blackwood. Regarding the gameplay mechanics and theme, Until Dawn has been noted to be similar to Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls.

A system is added to keep progress of all the secrets you find, which can help you piece things together. The player will take control of each of the eight characters and can make simple choices, which will affect the way the game plays out, resulting in deaths or other mayhem.

See Butterfly Effect, Clues and Totems for more information.

Characters

Until Dawn follows eight main protagonists, who visit Blackwood Mountain for an annual winter getaway, and all eight can be controlled. The playable characters are young adults, most of whom humiliated Josh's sister Hannah, causing her and her twin sister, Beth, to run away into the woods a year before, never to be seen again.

Protagonists

Supporting Characters

Antagonists

Development

Until Dawn was originally announced for the PlayStation 3 and had the intent of utilizing Sony's PlayStation Move controller. Set in a first-person perspective, the PlayStation Move controlled the player's flashlight, and a torch would be used to switch between the eight playable characters.

The game first appeared at Gamescom 2012, with a trailer and gameplay footage being shown to the public. The gameplay footage focused on Mike and Jessica as they head towards a secluded cabin to have sex and be away from their friends. Soon after they arrive at the cabin, Jessica is dragged out a window by an unidentified assailant and Mike pursues her all the way to a mine shaft, only to discover her dead body on an elevator lift. The footage concluded with Mike about to be attacked by an unknown man.[3]

With the game unreleased as 2013 came to a close, reports surfaced that Until Dawn was canceled. This was denied by developer Supermassive Games, who stated the game would be out at a later date.

Until Dawn reappeared at Gamescom 2014, where it was revealed the game was now a PlayStation 4 exclusive and took place in a third-person perspective. The DualShock 4's motion sensor replaced the PlayStation Move for controlling the player's flashlight, and the torch feature was dropped for a more traditional level approach, with the characters becoming playable in different parts of the game.[4] In addition to a new trailer, a demo was presented to the public for the first time, which focused on Ashley and Chris in their attempts to locate their missing friend Sam. This demo ended with the two in a deadly trap and Chris forced to either shoot Ashley or himself to stop the trap.[5]

Another trailer and demo were released in December 2014. Intended to highlight the game's more action-oriented side (as opposed to the previous demo, which dealt with moral decisions), the demo placed players in the role of Sam during an encounter with the killer. Sam could either die, be knocked out, or escape by the demo's end.[6]

A fourth trailer was released on Valentine's Day, which paid attention to the romantic relationships between the eight characters.[7]

On May 26th, 2015, the game's release date was confirmed to be August 25th, 2015. This announcement coincided with a new trailer, which revealed the presence of Dr. Hill, a psychiatrist portrayed by Peter Stormare. It also announced a pre-order bonus which would include a bonus scene between Matt and Emily in the mountains, soon learning that they aren't alone. Multiple additions of the game were confirmed, which will include a standard edition of the game, an extended edition, and a steelbook edition.[8]

At E3 2015, a demo was shown that followed Emily and Matt while they traveled to the radio tower in hopes of signaling for help. Depending on the choices made, Matt could be knocked off of a cliff or impaled on a fish hook, and Emily would fall off of the radio tower.

On July 13, 2015, Supermassive Games allowed certain video game reviewers to post ten minutes of footage. This footage included a video with showed the prologue of the game, where Beth searched for her sister Hannah after some of the survivors played a prank on her, an updated version of the original video where Jessica and Mike head up to the cabin to have sex, only for Jessica to be captured and possibly killed, and several other nine to ten minute segments of gameplay footage.

Reception

Until Dawn received positive reviews from critics. It received an aggregated score of 80.26% on GameRankings based on 54 reviews and 79/100 on Metacritic based on 68 reviews. It was the second best-selling game in the UK in its first week of release, debuting at No. 2 on the UK retail software sales chart, behind Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.

Until Dawn was met with a mostly positive critical response upon release, with praise directed at the visuals, choice mechanic, horror elements, music, voice acting and gameplay design. Most of the criticism the game drew were concerning the story, mostly the second half, camera angles, character movements and partially linear plot. 

The game sold 1.38 million units as of January 2nd, 2016, making it a financial success, surpassing the developer's expectations.

Special Releases

Presskit

Press Kit Edition

The Until Dawn Press Kit is a limited edition release of Until Dawn. The Press Kit features a copy of the game, a booklet with information on Blackwood Pines, as well as a guidebook, a local map, location postcards and a class confidential page, with elaborate information and details on the characters. It is available in English, Spanish, French, Russian and German.

Extended Edition

The Extended Edition of Until Dawn consists of the original game, with a DLC bonus chapter of Matt and Emily.

Awards and Nominations

Date Ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
2015 Golden Joystick Awards PlayStation Game of the Year Until Dawn Nominated [9]
Global Game Awards Best Horror Game Won [10]
Best Original Game Third
The Game Awards Best Narrative Nominated [11]
2016 New Statesmen's Top 10 Video Games of 2015 Best Game Seventh [12]
Hardcore Gamer's Best of 2015 Best Adventure Game Runner-Up [13]
PlayStation Blog's Best of 2015 Best PS4 Game Nominated [14][15]
Best Story Runner-Up
SXSW Gaming Awards Excellence in Technical Achievement Nominated [16][17]
National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Performance in a Drama Supporting Brett Dalton as Mike Nominated [18]
Use of Sound, New IP Until Dawn Nominated
British Academy Games Awards British Game Nominated [19]
Game Innovation Nominated
Original Property Won
Story Nominated

Trivia

  • The film posters in the private theater that the killer traps Sam in are all from indie horror films - namely, "The House of the Devil", "Stake Land", "The Innkeepers", "Bitter Feast", "Automatons", and "Hypothermia".
  • All achievements names are film references. For example, the outcome of one Emily scene will get you either "The Exorcism of Emily" or "Let eM In"; and keeping all four boys alive in one playthrough gets you "The Quicker Man".
  • The game utilizes a modified and upgraded Killzone: Shadow Fall engine.
  • In the Japanese version of the game, most of the deaths are censored and are replaced with black screens instead.
  • Although a behind-the-scenes video says that the script consists of a thousand pages, the writers have said that Until Dawn actually has a 10,000 page script.[20]

Gallery

Videos

References

  1. "Until Dawn ESRB Rating" ESRB.
  2. "Until Dawn PEGI Rating" PEGI.
  3. Machinima (August 14, 2012) "Until Dawn Gamescom 2012 Trailer" YouTube.
  4. Arif, Fahad "Gamescom 2014: Until Dawn Re-Revealed Exclusively for PS4 with a New Dark Trailer" WCCFtech.
  5. McCaffrey, Ryan (August 13, 2014) "Until Dawn rebooted for PS4, and it's terrifying" IGN Australia.
  6. GameNewsOfficial (December 15, 2014) "Until Dawn Gameplay" YouTube.
  7. PlayStation (February 13, 2015) "Until Dawn - Valentines Day Trailer" Youtube.
  8. Samuels, Pete (May 26, 2015) "Until Dawn release date confirmed, new trailer debuts" PlayStation Blog.
  9. Reynolds, Matthew (September 2, 2015) "Golden Joystick Awards 2015 voting now open to the public". Digital Spy. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  10. "Until Dawn Global Game Awards 2015". Game Debate. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  11. Nunnely, Stephany (December 4, 2015) "The Game Awards 2015 – Game of the Year goes to The Witcher 3" VG247. Retrieved on December 4, 2015.
  12. Ahmed, Emad (December 31, 2015) "The top ten best videogames of 2015" Newstatesman.
  13. HG Staff (January 4, 2016) "Best of 2015 – Day Four: Adventure, Platformer, DLC/Expansion, Mobile" Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved on 6 January 2016.
  14. Massongill, Justin (December 18, 2015) "Vote Now: PS.Blog Game of the Year 2015 Awards" PlayStation Blog. Retrieved on December 22, 2015.
  15. Massongill, Justin (January 12, 2016) "Winners: PlayStation.Blog 2015 Game of the Year Awards" Playstation Blog. Retrieved on January 13, 2016.
  16. "SXSW Gaming Awards" South by Southwest. Retrieved on February 22, 2016.
  17. Aviles, Estevan (March 19, 2016) "2016 SXSW Gaming Awards Winners Announced!" South by Southwest. Retrieved on March 20, 2016.
  18. (February 9, 2016) "Nominees" National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. Retrieved on February 22, 2016.
  19. (March 10, 2016) "British Academy Games Awards Nominees in 2016" British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved on March 17, 2016.
  20. Klepek, Patrick (September 22, 2015) "How Until Dawn Ended Up With A 10,000-Page Script" Kotaku. Retrieved on October 10, 2016.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Until Dawn

  • Favourite Death in Until Dawn?

    17 messages
    • 1. Dealing with Matt's face 2. A trip to ore grinderwith Emily  3. Hell yeah i will slash your head Ashley
    • 3. Matt's face bashed in 2. Mike's suicide 1. Ashley locks the door to Chris.
  • Who survived your playthrough?

    152 messages
    • Me: First time playing this game ==> Jess died "aw man, this game is too scary maybe i should stop playing it for a while"... Sec...
    • Sam, Chris, Ashley, and Josh. Matt and Jessica died because he moved !!!! Mike was killed by the wendigo. I killed Emily with Mike because ...

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