gamescom 2012: Until Dawn Preview
When told that you’re going to be shown a game with a plot surrounding eight teenagers in the woods who get killed off one by one, in a teen horror movie-esque scenario, you would probably be forgiven if you tried to stifle a laugh. I did. Until Dawn has been made exclusively for use with the Move wand, which again can seem a little… unassuming, but I have to say after seeing this game in action I am now more than tempted to actually go out and buy said Move wand (even if it does look like a light-up dildo).
The game is set in Mt Washington, British Columbia, somewhere in some snowy woods, and spans one whole night (hence the title). Eight kids have decided it would be a fun idea to go into said creepy woods and stay the night in a family cabin. All’s well and good until the power goes out… typical.
As you progress through the story you get the chance to play as each character, living and breathing the downright ridiculous ‘why the hell would you do that’ moments with each one of them, until inevitably they all get picked off depending on the choices you make throughout. Each teen is equipped with a form of light source; usually a flashlight, and the player controls their movements using only the Move wand. Point the light in the direction you want to go, and you go. It’s intuitive to how you gesture, and you can also do certain moves to open doors, fight etc. You uncover clues as you go, which offer up a basis as to why this mass murder is taking place around you, other than the fact that they are stupid teenagers doing all the wrong things at the wrong time with a crazy ‘thing’ on the lose.
The developers want players to feel as though they are immersed in the game, while at the same time people watching can enjoy doing just that, like they would do a horror movie. We got the opportunity to watch a section of chapter three, and I did genuinely feel a part of the action without even touching a controller. Basically… I shit my pants a few times when things jumped out, but also enjoyed the corny narration from those pesky teens. This chapter included two characters, who have been banished from the main lodge because they were a wee bit too horny for everyone to deal with. They have set off into the woods to find another hut along the trail, illuminated only by the moonlight and a single torch they are carrying.
The eerie woods and soft snow crunching underfoot, with a foreboding feeling that something might happen, is played against the ridiculousness of the two character’s conversation. There is no question why they are heading out into the woods alone – to get some sexy time, and the narrative is both humorous and direct, especially from the young girl, Jessica. “My feet are getting so moist” was just one of the many phrases I could pull from her very obvious teasing tactics, and it didn’t get any less ‘sexy’.
Things play out in the woods how you might expect; the two kids fooling around and jumping out at each other, whilst occasionally looking into the trees with the common phrase of ‘did you hear something?’ Eventually though, and this is the bit where I shit myself, a huge stag ran across the path. It then disappeared, only to wander slowly down the path ahead a minute or so later into the darkness. You then hear a crazy noise ahead, and the kids sprint forwards to see what has happened. Lying on the path is the deer, twitching within an inch of it’s life, having been slashed open across the stomach. They lean in to try and comfort it, only for the stag to sharply get tugged into the undergrowth in a quite unnatural fashion. Obviously, as most would, the kids run for their lives and end up at the hut they were seeking.
‘Safe’ in the cabin, they get a fire started, and using the Move wand you can slowly help to undress Jessica. It’s so erotic… They get interrupted from time to time with noises from outside and eventually some crazy shit goes down. Jessica is standing with her back to the front door, just after having shouted outside in her underwear, thinking her friends were trying to mess with them. She suddenly gets dragged through the closed door with some force, and off into the night. As the male character you chase after her, following her screams and blood trails as you try to save her. You end up at the entrance to a mine, with her screams and cries echoing through the tunnels. All goes quiet, and you find her body.
Although the main plot revolves around the almost inevitable and untimely deaths of these eight teenagers, it was hinted at that depending on how you play each section; the choices you make, the weapons you utilise and the clues you find could determine if some get out alive. The fragments of information in this section of plot revolve around an old mine in the woods, and the men who worked there. Jessica’s narrative, summing up the photo they found of some of the old work force went a little like this: “Something about these old miners gives me the willies, and not the good kind of willies.” It made me chuckle.
I can honestly say this game won’t be for everyone. It’s exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a cheesy teen horror flick that will make you jump, and something you can enjoy whilst playing or watching. The way it is written makes for a very funny narrative and the scary bits are indeed scary. If you like that sort of thing then this is definitely one for you, and being on the Move it utilises the peripheral perfectly; you could sit in the dark playing Until Dawn, and you could genuinely feel like you’re the one pointing the light source in the game due to the glow of the Move wand. I might have to purchase one for when the game launches in 2013.