Until Dawn is a 2015 interactive drama survival horror video game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. Players assume control of eight young adults who have to survive on Blackwood Mountain when their lives are threatened. The game features a butterfly effect system in which players must make choices that may change the story. All playable characters can survive or die, depending on the choices made. Players explore the environment from a third-person perspective and find clues that may help solve the mystery.
The game was originally planned as a first-person game for the PlayStation 3’s motion controller PlayStation Move. The motion controls were dropped when it became a PlayStation 4 game. The story was written by Larry Fessenden and Graham Reznick, who sought to create the video game equivalent of a slasher film. The development team took inspiration from various sources. These include the movies Evil Dead II and Poltergeist, and video games
Heavy Rain, Resident Evil, and Silent Hill. To ensure the game was scary, the team used a galvanic skin response test to measure playtesters’ fear levels when playing it. Jason Graves composed the soundtrack and Guerrilla Games’ Decima game engine was used for the graphics. Several noted actors, including Rami Malek, Hayden Panettiere, Meaghan Martin, Brett Dalton, Jordan Fisher, Nichole Bloom, and Peter Stormare, provided motion capture and voice acting.
Until Dawn was announced at Gamescom 2012 and released in August 2015. Although the title received little marketing effort from Sony, its sales surpassed expectations. The game received generally positive reviews. Critics praised the branching nature of the story, butterfly effect system, world building, characters, and use of quick time events. Criticisms were aimed at the incorporation of motion controls, lack of build up in the second act, and cliché dialogue. Until Dawn was nominated for multiple year-end accolades. Supermassive followed the game with a virtual reality spin-off, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood (2016), and a prequel, The Inpatient (2018).