Until Dawn Rail Shooter Spin-off Coming Exclusively to PlayStation VR

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Hey, waitaminute: According to the rules of teen slasher films, you’re supposed to be rewarded for making good choices, not punished. The machete upside the forehead’s reserved for the blockhead who splits from the group or engages in premarital tent sex. How then to explain this week’s announcement that Until Dawn, Sony’s little horror title that could, has been tabbed for a spin-off game…for PlayStation’s forthcoming VR headset?

With its strong voice-acting and strong-enough system of impacting the story’s winding and bloody path through player choice, Until Dawn exceeded Sony’s sales expectations by a much wider margin than the game’s teen heroes exceeded the killer’s ax—and that’s with a marketing push that was only slightly less nonexistent than Rand Paul’s presidential campaign. It’s been dubbed a sleeper hit, and as recently as a few weeks ago, Sony execs were talking about greenlighting a sequel.

Instead, we’re suddenly being introduced to Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, a “haunted rollercoaster” that has you using a pair of PlayStation Move controllers—I’m sure you can dig them out from under the several feet of dust where they’ve been languishing for the last few years—to shoot at all manner of spooky things that pop up at you as you ride the rails through VR-enhanced darkened environs.

Go ahead, say it with me: Wuuuuuuut?

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Okay, let’s slap on the devil horns and advocate a little here. You can see how it makes marketing sense for Sony to try to use a new/popular gaming franchise to push new and unfamiliar tech that, if recent history is any indication, is probably going to take some serious time to work out its shortcomings and kinks. (Assuming it ever does.)

And it’s certainly possible that the Until Dawn VR thrill ride will be both functional and entertaining—most of us have probably forgotten Dead Space: Extraction, the horror-in-space franchise’s lone entry on the Nintendo Wii (Ed note: and later released in HD on PS3 for PlayStation Move), a game that also happened to lock the action entirely onto rails with a surprising level of success. And that game didn’t have a virtual reality angle to help put it over.

But here’s the thing: Early games that showcase new gaming tech don’t exactly have a stunning track record of turning the industry on its head, and shackling them to recognizable licenses doesn’t seem to make much difference in the outcome. Anyone still playing Kinect Star Wars? Yeah, didn’t think so. Frankly, Microsoft is lucky if anyone’s using Kinect for anything other than menu navigation at this point.

I’m among the fans of what Supermassive Games was able to accomplish with Until Dawn. Yes, the game had its shortcomings, beginning with that inexplicable addiction to quick-time-events, but it also had great, creepy ambience and did a fantastic job using foreboding and fear to season its story. It’d be a serious shame if all the buzz for this shiny new franchise ended up sacrificed/tarnished on the altar of Sony’s newest toy. Its pile of teen corpses just propped up your year-ends, guys: Have you no respect for the dead?

About the Author

Aaron R. Conklin has been writing about games and games culture for more than 15 years. A former contributor to Computer Games Magazine and Massive Magazine, his writing has appeared on IGN.com and in newspapers and alt-weeklies across the country. Conklin's an unapologetic Minnesota sports fan living in Madison, Wisconsin, home of the Midwest's most underrated gaming vibe.