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Until Dawn is a horror game from Supermassive Games that wants you to know the decisions you make will have long-lasting consequences.
The latest trailer (via VG247) takes you through a labyrinthine dwelling where you're shown several different outcomes for the characters in the game, depending on what actions you choose to take.
While this isn't exactly a new idea when it comes to games (I can think of plenty with branching decision paths) Supermassive Games really wants to hammer it home that Until Dawn is a much more cerebral title than you think.
The system, or the Butterfly Effect system, if you will, is arranged so that you won't immediately know the outcome of the choices you make until later in the game. You won't be given cues as to whether what you did in one instant is right or wrong until, quite possibly, the end of the game.
“There are thousands of potential branches to every player’s individual story. Some of your decisions might appear to be inconsequential – a conversation choice that makes a character come across as a bit of an ass, for example – but if you’d made a different choice that character might have ended up the hero," explains Supermassive Games when speaking on the newest trailer.
“Everything you choose can affect how other characters react, potentially with dire consequences. Some choices are more obvious but much more difficult, like choosing which friend will live and which will die.”
Until Dawn follows eight friends who are suddenly trapped together in a remote mountain retreat, and slowly they realize they're not alone. They're stuck there with a ruthless killer who'll stop at nothing to see them all dead. Eventually you'll play as each of the eight characters as you find yourself locked in a struggle for life, solving the mystery across branching storylines. Supposedly no two games will be the same as you make different choices each time, but one has to wonder how truly different each playthrough will be.
Until Dawn has me intrigued, mainly because of its horror slasher flick element, but in no way is its interactive choice system unique. Most recently we've seen examples of this in games like Telltale's Game of Thrones adventure game and Life is Strange, where the consequences you find yourself living with in certain situations are quite dire, especially the latest episode. But that's all understandable marketing gimmickry.
The game has every chance to shine, and hopefully it will. It certainly looks great, running on an altered version of Killzone: Shadow Fall's engine. Until Dawn is headed out for release at the end of this month.