Until Dawn Game Theory

Having watched the Until Dawn Let’s Plays from various Youtubers who have played the series including Markiplier, Cryaotic and, yes, even PewDiePie, I have to say that I have probably seen quite a lot of variations on gameplay and endings. I have seen everything from how to kill all 8 characters to how to save everyone and unlock the secret ending with Josh. For those of you who have not yet played the game or watched any playthroughs, please be advised that there are major spoilers ahead!

Of course, with any playthrough, there are points in the game that are the same for everyone. Josh is the psycho, we learn. The Stranger with the flamethrower is actually a good guy fighting in the woods to stop the Wendigo, and the Wendigo are the main monsters that attack and kill characters in the game.

And no matter what you do in the game, The Stranger ends up being killed. Whether you accidentally move and cause the Wendigo to find you or The Stranger shouts for you to run and then you are attacked, there is no changing this. The Stranger’s head is sliced clean off by a Wendigo and Chris is left to fend for himself. But why is The Stranger so easy to kill after all the time he’s spent studying, chasing and capturing Wendigos? It seems that the moment he steps outside his normal routine, he’s gunned down and in such an easy manner that it’s a wonder he’s such an expert on Wendigo in the first place.

1.) Plot: It’s easier on the plot if The Stranger does not survive. Of course, this is an easy way out, but it makes sense that it then leaves the remaining friends on the mountain to figure out what to do on their own, which drives the plot in a new direction. It’s also terrifying to think that someone so skilled like The Stranger could get murdered so easily and escalates the horror you feel when being pursued after that point in the game.

2.) Wolfie: When The Stranger goes to meet up with the friends, he does not take Wolfie with him despite evidence that he travels with them or at least has them around while he is in The Sanatorium. Why he did not take Wolfie or the other wolves with him is not clear, but regardless, he doesn’t have them as an early warning sign that the Wendigo are upon them.

3.) Traveling Together: Up until this point, The Stranger has been fighting the Wendigo alone. That means he was able to only look after himself and be able to keep quiet. There’s no real reason to talk out loud to yourself, after all. So, the minute he begins to talk to Emily and then later meets up with the rest of the gang and travels with Chris to go find Josh, he drops this routine. The Stranger is now talking to Chris and worried about instructing Chris on what to do and not do. This opens him up right there for danger. The Wendigo might also be more active because they know there is a lot of prey on the Mountain at that point, where The Stranger kept himself in check and under the radar as much as possible before.

4.) Getting Old/Rusty: It’s not clear but I think that The Stranger does not spend all of his time up on the Mountain. In fact, the game shows him following the others up via the snow lift. He wouldn’t need to take this if he was spending all his time up in the Mountain fighting off the Wendigo. Therefore, it’s possible that he himself hasn’t been up on the Mountain in a while but returned because he heard that the group was going to be reuniting up there.

5.) A Matter of Time: Anybody that puts themselves in a position to fight the Wendigo is putting themselves constantly in danger. That means that it was really just a matter of time before he made a mistake that could lead to his death; the Stranger just happens to die in front of Chris.

What are you thoughts on this part of Until Dawn? Did you feel that the story would have been better or worse if The Stranger hadn’t been killed?


2 thoughts on “Until Dawn Game Theory

  1. The expert has to die. It’s a simple matter of plot necessity creating the horror trope. We need the expert to explain the danger and provide the sense that things are finally getting manageable, then we need him to die so that we get a sense that what the characters are facing is insurmountable. Then it becomes the ultimate fight for survival.
    Sometimes, movies don’t kill the expert (one example is Lieutenant Adendorff in Zulu), but killing him is necessary especially if he’s seen successfully fighting the threat.


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