Until Dawn is a game that’s best played without spoilers.
Admittedly that’s true of most games – in the same way that it’s better not to know what Soylent Green is (and if anybody tells you before you watch it, they’re not your friend and you don’t need them in your life) – but it’s especially important when playing a game like Until Dawn, where your lack of awareness of what’s happening and your reaction to certain fearful stimuli is, for the most part, the essence of the game.
Who am I kidding? It’s literally the whole game, but do you know what’s also really important? The fucking dog not dying.
There are eight fairly typical slasher-movie teens to protect in Until Dawn, and your objective is literally to get as many of them to survive until dawn as possible. If you were to read around on a wiki beforehand you’d be prepared for some of the bad stuff that’s going to happen, and might even get a few more of them to survive, but that takes the fun out of it.
There are no retries. There’s no save spamming. There are no mulligans. You get one shot at each event and you have to play right through the game from start to finish on one auto-save; once someone’s dead, that’s it.
Given some of the teens are of severely questionable likeability at times (read: all the time, for one in particular) it’s easy to shrug off a death as merely a disappointment. Sure, it’s a bit of a bump in the road for perfectionists and you might lose someone you kind of liked, but ultimately horror-movie teens are designed to be expendable.
So we’ve established that peeking ahead is wrong. It’s like leaving your finger in a choose-your-own-adventure book in case you made a poor choice… but nobody wants to see the dog die and that leaves you in a bit of a moral quandary; you want to know, without any shadow of a doubt, how to save the dog, but you also don’t want to spoil the game for yourself.
So we’ve created this short – and completely spoiler-free – guide on how to save the wolf in Until Dawn.
Befriending the wolf in Until Dawn
First up, in order to have the chance to save the wolf in Until Dawn, you’re going to have to make him your buddy.
This isn’t an especially difficult QTE in the grand scheme of things, particularly in a game that sees you having to correctly chain sub-second button presses then immediately hold the controller perfectly still for (what feels like) an eternity, but if you mess it up early then the wolf won’t be your friend when it counts.
When <protagonist name redacted> enters the <scary generic horror-movie building> they’re going to run into some wolves. The first one, a dark grey-coloured snarling Cerberus from the gates of hell itself, is going to chase you down a corridor and you’re barely going to escape without getting your face mauled off.
Until Dawn is however setting you up for one of its many bait-and-switch situations, and when presented with a second wolf shortly afterwards – a majestic white beast – you’re given the option to smack it in the face to defend yourself.
DO NOT SMACK THE WOLF IN THE FACE.
You’ll notice that this wolf isn’t snarling or charging at you. Anybody who has even a vague understanding of canine body language will see that this wolf isn’t in attack mode; it’s a little defensive, but it’s more curious than anything else about the stranger who’s just rocked up in his bedroom.
And then the game presents you with a QTE that on first glance, could be mistaken for a ‘pet wolf’ command. But it’s not. If you look closely, you’ll see it’s actually a clenched fist and not an open palm. In certain situations Until Dawngives you the option of doing nothing – it even expresses this in an early tutorial where it says “sometimes doing nothing is the best option” – and you would be wise to listen.
REPEAT: DO NOT SMACK THE WOLF IN THE FACE.
If you managed to avoid the temptation to smack the wolf in the face, he’ll sniff you a little, cock his head on one side, and <protagonist name redacted> will have the opportunity to approach or back away.
APPROACH THE WOLF.
You’ll get a chance to give him a little pat. This furry guy is a very welcome friendly face in an increasingly stressful scenario.
You’re not quite done yet, though. Head to the very back of the room, to what looks like a Legend of Zelda-esque treasure chest on top of a little raised dais. Open it, and you’ll find human bones – don’t ask, just accept it – then grab one of the bones out of the box using the R2 button.
You’re going to want to head back over to the beautiful white wolf and hand him your macabre chew toy. He’ll make some approving noises, and you’ve made a friend for life. This friend will come in very handy later, but for now, <protagonist name redacted> leaves the <scary generic horror-movie building> and we zip the story on a few hours.
Well done! You’ve taken the first step to save the wolf in Until Dawn.
Reconnecting with the wolf in Until Dawn
<Protagonist name redacted> is, for some inexplicable reason, going to return to the <scary generic horror-movie building> they met the wolf in earlier. Don’t question it; it’s simply a horror movie in game form, and you know people have to do dumb things to progress the story. It’s one of the unwritten rules of horror.
Unfortunately in this later visit to <scary generic horror-movie building> you’re going to be hunted by a large number of <enemy name redacted> and they’re really rather unpleasant. The only thing that can kill them is <redacted> and needless to say, you’re damn short on that. You do have a sawn-off shotgun which can slow them down, but all that really does is buy you time.
<Protagonist name redacted> is therefore very pleased to run into their wolf friend from earlier. This however filled me with a dreadful sense of foreboding: The very fact we’ve run back into this wolf during a time of heightened danger, an animal we’ve grown attached to in our short time with him, means he must be on the Until Dawn hit list.
My wife, an animal lover, did a cursory Google search on the matter to protect me from spoilers. “Can the wolf die in Until Dawn?” She asked, plaintively, and I saw her face sink.
Mrs B then scanned ahead in the wiki pages, to learn about the wolf’s possible fates, and she spoiled a crap-load of the next section of the game for herself. This was a real shame, because Until Dawn is a game that – with its horror-movie sensibilities and Hollywood presentation – is almost as entertaining to watch as it is to play.
But ultimately, the desire to save the wolf in Until Dawn was stronger than the desire to avoid spoilers – we’re all animal lovers at heart – which is what ultimately prompted me to create this spoiler-free guide on how to save the wolf in Until Dawn.
How to save the wolf in Until Dawn
This is where we really get down to business. <Protagonist name redacted> is making their way through the corridors of <scary generic horror-movie building> with his wolf buddy by his side for backup.
The wolf is exceedingly useful. He’ll give you clues of where you need to go to next, and he’ll growl and become agitated to warn you of danger. He’ll also throw himself at any of the <enemy name redacted> you don’t stop with your shotgun, to protect his new best friend. Unfortunately this loyalty has the potential to get the wolf killed, and there are two key moments where you need to be especially on the ball, in order to save the wolf in Until Dawn:
Moment 1: Barrel
<Protagonist name redacted> has been making their way along the corridors of <scary generic horror-movie building> being chased by <enemy name redacted> at every turn. You’re slamming doors in their faces, hitting QTEs to avoid their cloying grasp, and giving them both barrels in the face with your trusty – and mercifully, ammo-unlimited-with-zero-reload-time – sawn-off shotgun.
Needless to say you don’t want to miss any of these QTEs or bad things will happen, but there comes a point where the <enemy name redacted> gets a bit smarter; they gang up on you in a narrow corridor and <protagonist name redacted> unfortunately can’t shoulder-charge the final door to escape through.
This leaves <protagonist name redacted> and wolf vulnerable. You’d only have time to shoot one of the <enemy name redacted> while your wolf would take on the other; this would unfortunately prove fatal for your canine buddy, who would sacrifice his life to save his best friend in the whole world.
But you can be smarter.
After giving one of the enemies a tap with the shotgun to keep it at bay, <Protagonist name redacted> finds a barrel by the door. Specifically, a red video game barrel, and we all know what that means; queue two rapid-fire QTEs that you must nail in order to save the wolf in Until Dawn.
YOU MUST TIP THE BARREL.
First, you’ll reach to the right and tip the barrel over onto its side. In case you’ve not cottoned on to the Until Dawn QTE mechanics yet, an event to the right-hand side of the active character – be it dodging, climbing or grabbing – will be the Circle button. Then you’ll need to nudge it with the right stick, and the barrel will tip onto its side.
YOU MUST ROLL THE BARREL.
The camera will switch back to the approaching enemies, fanning out on either wall then quick as a flash, QTE number two happens – it’s to the right, so it’s Circle again – and <protagonist name redacted> rolls the barrel slowly down the corridor towards the on-rushing nasties.
Seems pretty ineffectual, but we know what red barrels do.
YOU MUST HIT THE BARREL, NOT THE ENEMIES.
The game switches into shotgun-aiming mode. You’ve got the choice of three targets, but only the time to make a single shot. If you hit the barrel (the centre target) as it approaches the enemies, it’ll blow the whole corridor. This dispatches the pair of <enemy name redacted> and blows the door open for <protagonist name redacted> and the wolf to scarper through.
Don’t rest easy though; you’re not done yet.
Moment 2: Barricade
<Protagonist name redacted> will run along the corridor away from the blown door, and shortly after, winds up in a room with a choice. That choice – barricade the door, or run for your life – seems like a no-brainer. Your instinct is to run; most people will want to put as much distance between themselves and the enemy as possible.
YOU MUST BARRICADE THE DOOR.
Flip the analog stick over to the left to select the ‘barricade’ option, and hold it there for dear life. <Protagonist name redacted> will slide a cabinet over in front of the door, and prevent any ingress from nasties.
Well done – you’ve just managed to save the wolf in Until Dawn – but it doesn’t seem immediately apparent why the ‘barricade’ option has made such a big difference.
As <protagonist name redacted> heads away from the door, you’ll find a hole in the floor to drop down. The room’s a dead end, so you’ll naturally need to do it, but your wolf buddy won’t follow you; despite <protagonist name redacted> trying to encourage him down, he’s afraid of the drop and won’t budge.
So you say goodbye to your faithful canine companion and head on your way, with a tinge of sadness that you won’t see him again, but happy in the knowledge that he’s out of harm’s way (now that he’s no longer loitering around classic horror-movie locales with the expendable teen cast).
The game also confirms that you managed to save the wolf in Until Dawn by giving you ‘The Skilful Wolfman’ PlayStation Trophy and updating the game’s in-built ‘Butterfly Effect’ chart – the scorecard of your progress – to unequivocally confirm that the wolf survived the experience.
But who cares about trophies? The wolf survived!
Ready to save the wolf in Until Dawn for yourself? Pick the game up from Amazon now.