Aug 24

Until Dawn Interview with Pete Samuels of Supermassive Games

A horror game that uses the PlayStation Move was announced at this year’s Gamescom. This startled me, so I decided to wander off to investigate. Pete Samuels, Co-Founder and CEO of Supermassive Games and Executive Producer for Until Dawn, has graciously agreed to answer my questions.

Travis Blair: First off, thanks for creating such a game for the Move. The trailer for Until Dawn that was shown at Gamescom last week has me intrigued, and I know I’m not the only one.

Pete Samuels: Thanks Travis. It was great to finally announce last week and the team have been really delighted about the feedback and levels of interest so far. We’re all super-excited.

Travis: Could you briefly summarize what type of game people should expect, and could you elaborate on how the story works when we will be playing through the story as multiple characters?

Pete: As Will Byles, the game’s Exec Creative Director quite rightly points out, Until Dawn is unashamedly Teen Horror. What he means is that we have included all of the classic Teen Horror tropes, brought up-to-date, to make it scary, sexy and funny. It’s also important to us that the game is as watchable as it is playable, that people can enjoy it in couples or groups as well as on their own, so we’ve been working directly with a horror-movie legend to bring that classic horror movie feel to the story and the script, and some talented young American TV actors to get those scripts performed in a way that’s true to the genre. Obviously, in the movies you the viewer have no control over who lives and dies in a Teen Horror, and there’s always a significant body-count. In the game you’ll play each of the eight teenagers as they attempt to make through Until Dawn and the script adapts according to the way you play. The number of characters that survive the night really comes down to how you play it.

Travis: I understand movies like SCREAM, Halloween, and Friday the 13th are sources of inspiration. What originally brought about the idea to make Until Dawn?

Pete: We’ve been looking, with Sony XDEV, at various approaches to making a new horror game for some time now. Not all were Move and nor were they all Teen Horror in style and tone, but we really wanted to bring a brand new experience to the Playstation and this seemed such a natural fit for us. We all felt that it was a game that just had to be made for Move owners.

Travis: What are some of your favorite horror movies that you suggest people watch this Halloween?

Pete: Movie taste is such an individual and personal thing that I’m loath to make recommendations but the influences on what we’re making include the classic late 70s and 80s Slasher movies like Halloween, Friday the13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, as well as the earlier thrillers, like Hitchcock’s Original Psycho, that influenced the genre, and those that have come since, like Cabin in the Woods. My personal favourite horror movie, but not really of this subgenre, is The Ring. Love it.

Travis: Supermassive Games is familiar with the Move, with Tumble being one of my favorite Move games. With Until Dawn, will players use the controller by itself, or paired with the navigation controller? Are you introducing players to any new ways to use their motion controller?

Pete: Thanks for that. A lot of people call Tumble out as the definitive Move showcase and Tom Heaton, who led Tumble’s design, is leading the interface design for Until Dawn so players can expect it to be intuitive and fun to interact with. Players will use the Move controller by itself either as their navigation device, usually a torch, or mapped to the character’s hand to manipulate objects in the world, both of which are incredibly intuitive. In navigating the world, players will use the analogue trigger to control their walk speed.

Travis: With a 2013 release date, what else can you reveal about the game to appease those who will now be anticipating the release of this horror game?

Pete: We’re really excited about the uniqueness of Until Dawn and what it’s bringing to the PlayStation audience. Whilst Teen Horror movies need to hold the viewers’ attention for 90 minutes or so, we clearly need to do much more than that, so expect plenty of atmosphere, shocks, scares and twists that’ll keep you coming back for more!

Travis: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me!

Pete: Thank you Travis. It’s been a pleasure.