Despite the lack of a Sony press conference at Gamescom this year the console manufacturer still has a presence on the show floor, with its games and developers on hand to try and build hype for their respective products. No PS4 game is in more need of some hype than Until Dawn from Supermassive Games, which is right around the corner. Today we got a new trailer and a new post over at the PS Blog.
While the trailer doesn’t really show anything of the game at all, what it does do is highlight the myriad of choices that will be at your fingertips as you play. Until Dawn is built entirely around the Butterfly Effect system; a gameplay mechanic that tracks every choice you make, whether big or small, and adjusts the rest of the story accordingly. Sometimes the consequence of your choice will be immediate, sometimes it’ll take hours for you to see the aftermath.
According to Tim Hodges, product manager at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, there are thousands of of potential branches in the narrative:
“The way we have implemented this system in game means there are thousands of potential branches to every player’s individual story. Some of your decisions might appear to be inconsequential – a conversation choice that makes a character come across as a bit of an ass, for example – but if you’d made a different choice that character might have ended up the hero. Everything you choose can affect how other characters react, potentially with dire consequences. Some choices are more obvious but much more difficult, like choosing which friend will live and which will die.
The thing is, you won’t always know what impact your choices will have until after you’ve made them – it was important to us that players shouldn’t second guess their path through the story of Until Dawn. It’s only after you’ve made a decision that you’ll find out the consequences of that choice, sometimes only hours later.”
From my brief experience playing a small snippet of the game, there are a lot of choices that are being tracked. Something as simple as reading a newspaper article, which we do in almost all horror games, makes an impact on the narrative. Some of the choices you’ll make are pretty rapid fire as well, as evidenced by last month’s E3 gameplay demo, with choices that can apparently cause major variations on what actually happens to the story and its characters.
For example; at the end of my demo at last years EGX I was faced with a pretty gruelling choice that was, without a shadow of a doubt, going to end with the death of one of two of Until Dawn’s characters. However it is possible for everyone to live in Until Dawn, so there exists the possibility for the entire scene I played to either unfold completely differently, or maybe not happen at all.
The most intriguing piece of Until Dawn news released over Gamescom, however, came from the games official Twitter account a few days ago:
It appears that not only will your choices affect the narrative of Until Dawn, they’ll also have an affect on the personalities of the games characters. A screenshot uploaded over at NeoGAF shows the character info page of Mike, with stats for his character traits and relationships with the other protagonists:
If this games manages to pull of what it’s aiming for, then it will be quite frankly an amazing experience. We won’t have to wait long to find out either; Until Dawn releases exclusively for Playstation 4 on August 28.