Until Dawn Changes The Game Based On Your Fears

By Jenni . December 6, 2014 . 11:40pm

until dawn samantha

Sorry, Hayden Panettiere. Your character died in Until Dawn and it’s all my fault. I thought I was making the right choices, taking into account the things I’ve learned from watching horror movies and playing games like Silent Hill 3 and Fatal Frame. I was wrong.


The demo began with a few questions. Until Dawn wanted to know what scared me, and would take that into consideration with the game. It knew I was more afraid of crowds than the dark and that needles terrified me. The former wasn’t taken into account, but I quickly saw the second was.


As Samantha and her magic towel’s story began in a bathtub. Though, I must say, Until Dawn lampshaded the idea. I was able to have her search the bathroom, and come across a single sock that had been left behind. So it wasn’t that she chose not to dress, she couldn’t. The boogieman is a pervert, I guess.


She roamed the lodge, searching for her friends and calling them out on what she believed was their "prank." As she did, I couldn’t help but notice the little details. A grandfather clock sounded the hour, scaring Sam and making me jump. Red balloons with arrows guided her way. When one loosed itself from the banister and floated skyward, I stopped to see what would happen. Nothing did, but it was a nice touch.


Then, the hunt began. I followed the guideline set up in the keynote’s demo. I threw the vase. I jumped over the bed. A door was pushed down. I didn’t bother trying to hide in the cellar, I ran again. When I reached the door without a handle, I pulled down the wine rack. However, my undoing was nigh. I reached a point where I had gained the advantage and had a lead. I could run, or hide. I chose to run, since it had been working so well for me.


That was it. The masked man was waiting, grabbed Sam, and injected a syringe of something straight into her heart. A butterfly icon appeared in the upper left corner, indicating I had made a choice that mattered and would make a greater implication on the story.


Sam died, but I feel it was worth it. The fact that there are so many possibilities available in Until Dawn when it comes makes me feel as though deaths won’t matter if they happen. It felt akin to visual novels, except one where even if the "wrong" choices are made, you would still want to see the result.

Read more stories about & & & on Siliconera.

  • SuperSailorV

    I knew nothing about this game before reading this and I’m very excited already!

  • Go2hell66

    reminds me of the monsters changing in SH shattered memories to resemble the players psyche. by the end of my playthrough all the monsters in my game had giant boobs. (not sure what thats supposed to mean :/) would be awesome if they could implement a similar concept in this but better.

    • JadeiteAX

      “by the end of my playthrough all the monsters in my game had giant boobs. (not sure what thats supposed to mean :/)” It means you were Prince Laharl in a previous life.

    • AJ

      That was a pretty cool concept. I think my playthrough involved the alcoholism subtext. It was a bit weird.

  • Raze

    This kind of game is something that I’d rather to watch than play

    • machomuu

      Really? Because it seems like it’d be pretty boring watching a game meant for somebody else, considering that it adapts to the player.

      • It wouldn’t be boring, but it would certainly be more fun to play.

  • Taylor Koch

    Is this game going to make me speak in public?

    • Woot Woot


  • Charles Parker

    Eh, Shattered Memories at least had the framing device of a session with a therapist from first person trying to reason out your fears. Flat out asking you what your fears are feels a little lame.

    • Ryo Shenmue

      It’s a demo, genius. David Jeffe put their demo there asking people to give live feedback.

  • So whatever we do, she still die because plot ? I’m not sure I like that to force player to change MC.

    • A.Yeh

      No, how you play the game can result in everyone surviving, or everyone dieing or anything in between.

  • Souffrir

    “The boogieman is a pervert, I guess.”

    Is that who’s developing this game?

  • HellMuT

    Press X to Jason, I mean hide.

    • JeySigma

      im glad someone still remembers that ol’ Heavy rain joke lol

      • Raine


  • Adrian Duran

    I only fear G-d

  • Joseph A. Garcia

    I fear that this game will be terrible….

    Your move video game.

  • James Robert Thompson

    I’m only afraid of cats… good luck game designers, good luck!

  • Rohan Viajar

    Aww yeah. The concept reminds me of the choose your own adventure Goosebumps books I used to read as a kid.

    Man I loved those.

    • search for gamebooks on internet those books that ypu loved are booming now in digital version

    • It is exactly like that, but with a Heavy Rain/Beyond take.

  • ArminJrpg

    I WANT

  • Mnstrzero00

    They’ve chosen another random hollywood actor to half ass their performance and take jobs from actors who have dedicated their careers to the industry. I really disagree with this trend.

  • Rin

    One of the reasons why I want to get a PS4 A lot of people buy the ps4 for Uncharted and Order 18831232132 or whatever boring those games are but this game is interesting because it’s not a grey shooter like games I’ve mentioned above

    • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

      negging like a true PUA

    • RocKM001 .

      Pfft I bought it for Oneechanbara Z2 Chaos!

      I stand by my decision! =P

    • JadeiteAX

      Is there any footage? Have you watched it? Cause this review made it seem like sleep genre rather than horror genre.

      • Rin
        • Slash the stampede

          so its like teen drama mixed with saw?

          • Ash_Riot

            Uh, never seen any slasher movies? Wes Craven’s filmography (Scream series), Halloween etc?

          • Ryo Shenmue

            Scream is actually Kevin Williamson’s creation.

          • JadeiteAX

            Funny, that dude that killed the first girl immediately made me think of Halloween, lol.

          • Ryo Shenmue

            They’re not teenagers, Brett Dalton is in the game too…but it is inspired by films like I Know What You Did Last Summer.

        • Charles Parker

          That….makes me think of Obscure 2. Whether that’s good or bad…I can’t say.

      • Rin

        It’s like a heavy rain type of game but I seem to enjoy those kinds of games more because of the tell tale games

        • JadeiteAX

          Ah, I see. I hope it doesn’t bring back “press X to Jason” though. (in the sense that I hope it’s not buggy, the meme was actually amusing.)

  • Michael Richardson

    The PS4 is looking like the best machine for horror experiences this gen. That’s enough for me.

  • Matt

    It looks a lot better than it did earlier this year, from what I remember.

  • Strain42

    My biggest fear is actually balloons so I would’ve been uncomfortable before the death in this case. I’m curious if the game would incorporate my fear into the game at all xD

    • Sebastian Lothian

      Why balloons if you don’t mind me asking?

      • 하세요

        I’m not scared of balloons themselves, but the anxiety of knowing one could pop freaks me out. I always jump when they do.

      • Strain42

        Well to quote IT Crowd…

        “They explode suddenly, and unexpectedly. They are
        filled with the capacity to give me a little fright, and I find that

        That, coupled with just being genuinely uncomfortable around them, hating the way they feel, and being traumatized by a children’s book about this girl who turns into a balloon version of herself and I believe ends up popping (I forget the name of it)

        So yeah…I do just get genuinely unnerved around balloons. I don’t run screaming from the room like people might over a spider or something, but the quickest way to see my expression change to horror is to suddenly bring a balloon around me.

        • Maria Francisca Mena

          I’m the same, but if it’s in a video game I wouldn’t be afraid really

  • Well, if it takes your fears into account, then it’s going to be no better than any RPG to me. I’m afraid of spiders…

  • ReMeDyIII

    Wait, this is for Playstation Move? Can I play it without Playstation Move? Please say yes.

    • DemonShadowX

      When this game was originally in development for PS3, it was supposed to be a PSMove game. I imagine that the Move may still be compatible with this game but that it’ll likely use the DualShock 4 as well.

      • It only used the Dualshock 4 at PSX.

  • ReMeDyIII

    I wonder what the percentage of players will put spiders in as a fear. I’d say fear of heights also, but that doesn’t seem to bother too many people in video games (ex. Assassin’s Creed).

  • Terr

    Hmm I don’t really have any fears like that. I would be at a loss as to what I’d put in

  • chronocide

    Man, I’d buy a PS4 for this game… and it’s bad enough I’m easy to scare. The dark, heights, needles…

  • Learii

    this game be hard since thee no save point btw when they say if you died you die does that mean if you death you have to start the game over from the beginning again?

    • WhyWai

      no, it’s same concept with Heavy Rain. Characters live or die, but the game goes on and the story adapt.

      • Learii

        oh ok

  • Ryudo9

    So it’s a modern gritty Night Trap. Yay…I guess :S

    • Nothing like Night Trap. Night Trap had you manning cameras around the house. This is more like a choose-your-own-adventure where each action is decided to determine if the characters live or die.

  • César H. Sandoval

    So… Is she gonna friendzone me? Man this is like High-school all over…

  • ReMeDyIII

    Oh jeez, it’d be crazy if they let us put a fear of “jump scares.”

  • Göran Isacson

    Huh. One wonders if Kairi will die regardless of what choice on makes, running or hiding.

    (Yeah I know that she’s more well known as Claire, but I am and remain a filthy weeb so whaddayagonnado)

    At any rate, I actually tested this a while back on a recent Swedish game convention. It looks pretty good, though it was strange having to re-adapt myself to a locked camera. You essentially walked around a spooooky cellar that lead to ye old torture dungeon and ended in a sadistic Saw-style choice that I think you could have avoided if you made a different choice, but on the other hand I think the other option would’ve just lead to another death-trap so characters dying seems to be a guarantee. You essentially walk around the cellar, pick up objects, rotate them by twisting the controller, look at them closely and it’s all pretty David Cage, except in ten minutes I actually managed to care more for the characters than I cared for Jodie during all of Ellen Page: Ghost Buddy Awakens. Sure, the script was pretty typical US horror movie, but it’s still a step up.

    There were conversations between the characters as well as hidden objects spread around here and there in the game that let you get “clues” as to what’s really going on, and since I saw a prompt saying I had discovered 1 out of 2 clues when I found the first one (never encountered the second) I guess it’s possible that finding all of them might trigger something new? It’s really one of those systems that you’ll probably only truly figure out once you’ve played through it all and can compare stories to other people, but it seemed neat enough. Had a jump-scare pop up in my face (the view turned to first person when opening the door) once, but apart from that it was decently atmospheric. Could be a real neat game, provided they actually succeed at making the little choices mean something more than just window dressing. I was also asked if I was a man or woman, not sure what that choice could have changed though… maybe, considering there was a male and female character walking around the cellar, and I answered I was a man and subsequently got to control the male character during the sadistic choice, answering you were a woman would’ve put you in the shoes of the female character? Maybe…

    • ReMeDyIII

      What I’m curious is in the video, I see no response on picking your fears. What I did see were the following options, in addition to what you mentioned, and I wonder what they could mean:

      1.) I see myself as a leader.
      2.) I prefer to be led.
      ^ I assume this means your NPC partner tells you where to go more often (ie. the game is less difficult and holds your hand). I doubt it means the game picks decisions for you, as that would lock you into a pre-defined path, ruining most of the game.

      1.) Movies are more frightening.
      2.) Games are more frightening.
      ^ If you say movies are more frightening, are you telling the developers games aren’t scary enough, so the game ups the fear factor?

      1.) Horror’s all about suspense.
      2.) Horror’s all about gore.
      ^ Is this simply a gore option? If you pick the first option, you’ll see the same scenes, but with less blood, or edited out gore scenes? I find it hard to believe you’ll miss certain scenes entirely by picking one option over the other, as that could impact the ending.

      1.) I stop if it gets too scary.
      2.) Fear makes me play better.
      ^ This is the big one. Is this based on quantity or quality of scares? For quantity, the first option might mean scares are distributed more evenly. The second could mean they’re more frequent. For quality, the first could mean jump scares or more horrific moments are removed, while the second embraces them.

      • The only question in the early survey that influenced the demo was if someone was afraid of needles or suffocation. If you chose needles, as I did, the killer stabbed Sam in the heart. Suffocation meant a rag to the face.

        • ReMeDyIII

          Yea but in the 20-min video I didn’t see that survey option. Are there various surveys throughout the game then?

          • I’m not sure. All I know is when I walked up to the demo in the press room, it had three questions. It asked if I was afraid of the dark or crowds, a second one I can’t remember because I’ve been up waaaaay too long at the moment XD, and the one about needles/suffocation.

      • Göran Isacson

        I do find the “Do you think movies or games are scarier” question interesting. It could possibly be the case that depending on what you pick, they make the scares either more “gamey”, perhaps interactive moments that you have to look for, whereas if you find movies scarier, maybe the game railroads you more- after all, a big part of what makes movies scary is that they can decide what you see and when you see it and what way you see it, whereas games are far more interactive experiences. Heh, a choice that either turns the game into “Heavy Rain” or into “Penumbra”, maybe?

    • Notquitesure?

      Kingdom hearts on your mind.

  • melvin2898

    lol I remember people were saying that’s the best towel ever since it wouldn’t drop

    • Testsubject909

      A good towel is a must when hitchhicking across the universe. And apparently it’s also a must in a horror setting.

  • Ramón Navas

    Sounds cool, but I think the game is going to be a “nope” for me

    • If you enjoyed games like Beyond or Heavy Rain, I think you’d like it. It feels quite similar.

    • ReMeDyIII

      Then how can it sound cool?

      • Testsubject909


        I really really want to experience and play Silent Hill and Fatal Frame. They’re well made games and incredible experiences that have shaped a horror genre back in the day that many still hold as glory golden days.


        I dislike horror. Mainly. I dislike being horrified once I close the game. Having thoughts linger in my head that haunts me (which is the big difference between being startled with a jump scare and a musical string then actually having some meat in your horror).

        So. I can understand his statement. Sounds cool. But a big nope.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos