A few years ago, the survival horror genre was thought to be on its last legs. I can remember how some of my friends got frustrated playing Resident Evil 6, complaining that it was just an action game with zombies. I understood their distress about the genre that they loved. I too was a big fan of Dead Space, Fatal Frame and Clock Tower. But if Sony’s Until Dawn is any indication, the reports of survival horror’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
Recent survival horror games such as Amnesia and Alien: Isolation have toyed with the traditional horror formula, adding new elements that make them chilling and frightening experiences. Going by what we’ve seen so far, Until Dawn will herald a new leap forward for survival horror.
Supermassive Games are behind Until Dawn, and I have to admit it’s one of the games I am really looking forward to. The developers haven’t pinned down a release date, but I hope that the game comes out this year because I truly believe Until Dawn can breathe new life into the survival horror genre and finally—FINALLY—make quick-time events into something fun.
Before The Dawn
Until Dawn focuses on a group of eight young adults led by Hayden Panettiere as they go out to an isolated cabin to commemorate the anniversary of their friend’s death. In classic horror movie fashion, they end up being stalked and successively snuffed out by a crazed serial killer.
But this game is more than simply about evading the killer: Until Dawn has you forming relationships with your fellow victims, the outcome of which will determine how the story plays out. For example, one of the main characters (played by Rami Malek) starts out as the protagonist’s friend, and if your relationship with him deepens, he’ll be more willing to protect you. However, you can’t please everyone at the same time: according to designer Pete Samuels, if you make enemies within the group, they might not come riding to your rescue when you need them.
What I like about Until Dawn is that you aren’t playing a superhuman, you’re playing as one of the cloddish dolts who usually get eviscerated in horror films. Can you do better than the airheaded teens who go gallivanting about the dark and scary woods? Before you start thinking that beating the game will be easy, watch the gameplay demo below:
Still convinced you’ve got what it takes?
Until Dawn looks like it’s going to be awesome, and I’ll be first in line to try play it when it comes out. There are no ghosts, no poltergeists and no M. Night Shyamalan-style plot holes: just good ol’ fashioned slasher scares. I might be biased, but Until Dawn looks like it may very well redefine the survival horror genre.
What are your thoughts on this game? Do you think it can deliver? Or will it be just another over-hyped mess?