Until Dawn Preview – E3 2015

June 22, 2015

Given the huge amount of influence that horror movies have had on video games, and the fact that video games with strong horror themes are generally pretty popular, it’s always seemed a little odd that nobody’s really tried to directly translate the classic 1980s slasher movie into game form. Sure, there were licensed Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th games for the NES, but they were pretty awful and didn’t really convey the suspense of the movies at all.

Supermassive Games are here to finally bring the idea of the slasher movie into game form with Until Dawn. We got a good look at it at E3, and it’s shaping up reasonably well. The game actually started out life as a PS3 title with Move controls, which explains why it has extensive support for the PS4’s motion controls.If those aren’t your thing, it supports regular control schemes as well.

As it’s intended to evoke slasher movies, it should come as no surprise to learn that Until Dawn’s story revolves around a small group of teenagers who don’t really get along with each other. The group, are, of course, trapped in a remote location with no way to contact anyone who could help them. This is, of course, the part where a mysterious entity starts killing them off one by one.


The game is designed around multiple playthroughs to unlock the full story, and each playthrough comes in at a bit under 10 hours in length. The game uses a “butterfly effect” mechanic, which is to say that it implements a choice-and-consequence system, with seemingly insignificant choices early on having major repercussions later. Supermassive promise that the game will allow for a huge number of possible outcomes, from every character surviving to every character being killed off.

Until Dawn reminded us a lot of David Cage’s work on Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. Those games tend to be very much love-them-or-hate them affairs, and it remains to be seen whether or not the strength of writing and storytelling can carry Until Dawn, or whether it will offer up meatier play elements to match the story. Our preview did show that the game had a lot of atmosphere to it, and there were certainly some genuinely scary moments.

Supermassive clearly have big ambitions for Until Dawn, and we were definitely impressed by what they showed of the game at E3. With an expected release date of August, we won’t have to wait too much longer to see if this Playstation 4 exclusive  delivers on its slasher-movie promise.