Here's a twist nobody saw coming - a new game bearing the Until Dawn name is trading dialogue options, clue hunting, and cinematic terror for a virtual-reality theme-park ride. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood (opens in new tab) is brand new spin-off designed exclusively for PlayStation VR, where your main goal is no longer to make the right choices to keep a teenage cast alive (and survive their cheesy dialogue), but to shoot at gory targets as you fly by in the world's ricketiest roller coaster, arcade style. But as different as it is from the original, this is a project the creators are truly passionate about, according Sony Xdev producer Garreg Hansen, who worked with developer Supermassive Games to bring Until Dawn to the PS4.
"We'd just been starting to explore VR, and we thought it would be really cool to do something with the world and the sets and everything we've already built [for Until Dawn]," said Hansen in a recent interview with GamesRadar+. "Until Dawn is about pacing, it builds up and builds down and that's how you get good horror. And I think the roller coaster aspect allows us to do that. We can build it up, we can make it go fast for the rush, slow it down for the scary moments... It's all about having a really good time, good fun, and then obviously there's the arcade shooter side of it."
That's a fairly good summary of how Rush of Blood actually plays. Decked out with a Playstation VR headset and two Move wands for guns, you ride a horror themed-roller coaster (one of six such levels planned for the final product, according to Hansen) that plays on the scenery-based rides you see at amusement parks and county fairs, with a few speedy sections and targets to shoot at peppered throughout the ride. It's like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (opens in new tab) mixed with The Haunted Mansion (or the Men in Black ride (opens in new tab) as-is), with more pig heads on spikes and sentient clown mannequins to shoot at.
All of that fits well with the B-movie silliness (opens in new tab) that Until Dawn puts to such great use, in a more physical but equally cheesy context. "It's an experience everyone knows, you've all been to the fairground, you've all enjoyed the thrill of the rides," says Hansen. "That's what we're trying to get across, that fun aspect. [Plus] there's no motion sickness, it's just how you normally expect to feel on a ride." That may of course still mean motion sickness for some, but it's not as likely you'll get sick because your brain and body can't agree on whether they're moving or not.
While it might sound like Rush of Blood just makes use of Until Dawn's visual assets rather than its deeper ideas, apparently that won't be the case in the final game, where your choices will matter for how events play out. Yes, on a roller coaster. "We've got a choice mechanic, so you can choose different tracks, so you can go through the level in different ways," says Hansen. "It's not the butterfly effect from Until Dawn, but it's a flavor of that... You're going to have cool, different experiences depending on which way you go, so it encourages that replay." Plus, you can expect to see other characters from the original game (crossing my fingers for Mike) and learn how the ghastly ride fits in with the main story - "We like to think the story is a descent into madness for one of the characters," says Hansen. If you've already beaten Until Dawn, you probably know the one.