“Losing Control: ‘Until Dawn’ as Interactive Movie”

Until Dawn presents players with two options they must decide between, resulting in branching narratives.
by Tanine Allison

Excerpt: “In terms of its gameplay and narrative structure, Until Dawn follows the lead of the interactive movies of the 1990s and their modern-day counterparts, like David Cage’s Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. Well-known video game critic Yahtzee Croshaw (2015) called Until Dawn ‘probably the best David Cage-style “interactive story” type game I’ve played,’ which he acknowledged might be ‘damning with faint praise’ because of the poor reputation of such games among hardcore gamers and some critics. One critic even suggested that because of Until Dawn’s visual and narrative style, game publisher Sony ‘sent it to die’ by refusing to promote it heavily. He proposed that after critics panned Sony’s previous cinematic and photorealistic game The Order: 1886 (Ready to Die and SCE Santa Monica Studio, 2015), “‘interactive movie” is a label the gaming juggernaut would rather not bandy about here’ (Seppala 2015). Although Until Dawn got very positive reviews on the whole, perhaps Sony was right to worry. The game does follow the kinds of gameplay popularized by previous video games that were deemed “interactive movies,” such as Heavy Rain: timed button pressing, dialogue and narrative choices, and exploration of the environment hunting for clues. These sorts of gameplay often prompt hardcore gamers to declare that the product is ‘not a game.'” Read full article here