This story has major spoilers. If you’re having a hard time with Until Dawn, you may want to look up some very specific advice on a character –Ed.
This post is all about spoilers in the interactive horror story of Until Dawn, where your goal is to help eight trapped young adults survive a night in a mountain wilderness until dawn.
If you need some tips on how to play the Sony PlayStation 4 exclusive, but don’t want to know the story spoilers behind each character, then check out our previous tips story. But this story is all about the specific tips you’ll need to save every person in the circumstances where they can live or die during the game. (Check out our review here).
I highly recommend that you play Until Dawn without any tips the first couple of times. It is very replayable, and it’s fun to watch a friend who hasn’t played it before play it with you for the very first time. But if you’re frustrated and really want to save one character without having to go through the drill of playing the game for 10 hours again, this post is for you. I’ve played the full game a few times through, and I’ve explore different options in each of the ten episodes (which you can replay after you’ve done a playthrough). I know the excruciating feeling of having to replay the entire game just because of one poor decision or a botched QuickTime Event (or QTE, where you have to hit the right button on your controller before a timer runs out).
Until Dawn’s designers fully embraced the chaos theory of the The Butterfly Effect, where tiny events, such as a butterfly flapping its wings, can have contribute to enormous downstream effects like a hurricane that occurs weeks later. You have to make a lot of small and big decisions in the game, and those lead to either salvation or death. You can get clues to how to save characters in the totems that you find, which show a brief video of a future life-or-death scene. But sometimes, the game is very unfair. You decide to run instead of hide, your character may get caught and die. If two characters aren’t getting along, one character may choose to allow another character to die at a critical moment.
In the game’s ending, you can either emerge with all eight characters alive, or you may emerge with all of them alive, or all of them dead. You’ll get plenty of trophies if you can survive the night. I highly recommend you try to save people for as long as you can, since that unveils more clues and more of the full story. Also, you’ll want to save these characters because the developers at Supermassive Games went out of their way to create an emotional attachment to each character. That’s so rare for a game.
Hannah and Beth
There’s no choice you can make in the prelude that will save these twins. A prank goes wrong, and one of the twins, Hannah, flees into the cold winter night. Her sister Beth follows her, and they wind up falling off a cliff. Their failings are meant to provide the fodder for the plot, which starts a year later when their brother Josh invites all of the friends back for a stay at the mountain lodge. He wants some closure, and wants everybody to have a good time in honor of Beth and Hannah.
Jessica (played by Meaghan Martin) begins the game as an unsympathetic and overly sexualized character. When you play Episode 4, you play Mike. Jessica gets dragged away by a creature, and you have to chase after her. If you fail every QTE button push, Mike won’t reach her in time. She’ll from above and hit the floor dead. If you reach her in time, she lies on the floor of an elevator. Then the elevator gives way and falls down into the mine. Mike believes she’s dead at that point, but we discover in the final episode, Episode 10, that she’s still alive. At that point, she tries to escape a Wendigo creature, the real killers in the game, in the mine.
If she tries to hide and you manage to stay still with the game controller, Jessica will get away. You have to do this absolutely still trick twice with the game controller in order to make her survive. In this latter life-or-death situation, it doesn’t seem like a really fair choice. Jessica dies if she runs, and lives if she hides. But she’s in such good shape that the player should realize she has no chance if she decides to run. In this latter period, Jessica is injured and vulnerable, with none of the annoying swagger of the earlier scenes.
Matt (Jordan Fisher) is the jock boyfriend of Emily, and he catches a lot of verbal abuse from her. In Episode 6, he faces his first life-or-death moment when a herd of deer corner him and Emily on the same cliff where Hannah and Beth fell. In this case, Nature can take revenge. If Matt tries to attack a threatening stag, rather than just do nothing, the deer will start pushing back, driving Matt off the cliff.
Later in the episode, Emily and Matt run into trouble as the tower falls. This one is tricky. When Matt and Emily decide whether to go the ranger tower, Matt should disagree. It seems like a small thing, and it is. On top of the ranger tower, Emily finds a flare gun. If Matt had agreed and Emily gives him the flare gun, then Matt shoots it off needlessly. Then he won’t have it later, when he needs it to save his life. So, again, Matt has to disagree on the ranger tower, then Emily has to give him the flare gun.
Then the ranger tower topples and falls into the mine. Matt has a choice about saving Emily or jumping to safety. Matt survives if he jumps to safety. If he tries to save Emily twice, she falls anyway, and Matt is tossed to a landing. Emily appears to die, but she doesn’t. At that point, a Wendigo creature finds Matt. If he has the flare gun, he can use it. If he doesn’t, he dies a nasty death as the Wendigo impales him on a hanging hook. Once again, the details matter here, and Matt’s fate is tied to some very random decisions that make him hard to save naturally.
Lastly, in Episode 10, Matt runs into Jessica. Together, they play out the same routine that either saves or kills Jessica. If they hide, they can survive. While hiding, Matt has to catch Jessica from falling and making a nice with a very fast QTE. If he fails to catch her, they both die.
As noted, Emily (Nichole Bloom) doesn’t die when she falls into the mine. She catches her foot on a swinging hook, and can swing her way to safety. But in Episode 8, Emily gets chased by a Wendigo in the mines. If you fail the QTEs while running, the Wendigo will catch her and kill her. She is at risk while running, and she’s also at risk when the Wendigo punches through the door and bites her in the neck. That bite has consequences down the road.
Later in Episode 8, Emily goes to the “safe room” in the basement with the others. Ashley notices the bite on her neck and starts freaking out about how Emily is infected, will become a Wendigo, and will turn and kill them all. Mike latches on to this theory and pulls out his gun. Sam disagrees, but Mike points the gun at Emily. If you shoot the gun, Emily dies. Then Ashley reads the stranger’s dropped Wendigo book and discovers that the bites are not infectious. Emily’s death is needless.