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How to save the wolf in Until Dawn (no spoilers)

Until Dawn is a game that’s best played without spoilers.

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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.

How to save the wolf in Until Dawn - butterflyThere 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.

How to save the wolf in Until Dawn - kickYou’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.

How to save the wolf in Until Dawn - approach

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.

How to save the wolf in Until Dawn - barrel 1

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.

How to save the wolf in Until Dawn - barrel 2

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.

How to save the wolf in Until Dawn - barrel 3

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.

How to save the wolf in Until Dawn - barricade

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.

How to save the wolf in Until Dawn - catch you on the flip-side

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.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

Guides

What are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

Smartphone? Check. 3D-printed taser? Check. Massive, impractical drone? Check. But what are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

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Watch Dogs Legion system requirements
Ubisoft

Smartphone? Check. 3D-printed taser? Check. Massive, impractical drone? Check. But what are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

Watch Dogs Legion launches on a bunch of systems over the next two months.

First, it’ll launch on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia (yeah, remember that?) on October 29, 2020. Then a fortnight later, it’s a launch title for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, on November 10. Then (if you’re in the right country) it’ll be a launch title on PlayStation 5 on November 12. Then, a week later, it’ll become available when the PS5 does, in the less fortunate countries.

That’s a lot of ways to play Watch Dogs Legion and, in practice, will mean a lot of different experiences between the generations. (Yeah, we’ve got a lot of that to look forward to over the next couple of years.)

The experience is not too dissimilar to PC gaming, where the performance any individual will receive is dependent on what hardware they have. Thankfully, Ubisoft has done a thoroughly comprehensive job of breaking down the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements based on target resolutions and settings. There’s even a section on Ray Tracing, a feature (currently) only available on Nvidia’s RTX series of cards.

But what are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

Watch Dogs Legion system requirements

1080p / Low Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 / AMD Ryzen 5 1400
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or AMD Radeon R9 290X
  • VRAM: 4 GB
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

1080p / High Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 / AMD Ryzen 5 1600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480
  • VRAM: 6 GB
  • RAM: 8 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

1440p / High Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K / AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060S or AMD Radeon RX 5700
  • VRAM: 8GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

4K / Ultra Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K / AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti or AMD Radeon VII
  • VRAM: 11 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB (+ 20 GB HD Textures Pack)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

1080p / High Settings (with Ray Tracing)

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-9600K / AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
  • VRAM: 8 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

4K / Ultra Settings (with Ray Tracing)

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K / AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
  • VRAM: 11 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45GB (+20 GB HD Textures Pack)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

Pre-order Watch Dogs Legion on Amazon, or shop for Nvidia RTX-series graphics cards if your system needs a boost.

We may receive a small commission on purchases made from online stores.

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Where are the secret tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2?

Finding all the Secret Tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 doesn’t have to be as difficult as finding an IRL VHS in 2020.

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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes Guide
Activision / Thumbsticks

Finding all the Secret Tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 doesn’t have to be as difficult as finding an IRL VHS in 2020.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is good. We have a review that says just that. Here’s a different review, if you need a second opinion. See? It’s good.

Additionally, you can find an in-depth feature on the impact the soundtrack had for the featured bands here. If you want to find every tape from the first game, click here. But if you’re looking for the tapes from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 read on.

Hangar

From the starting ramp, skate down into the section with the half-pipe and plane. Use the ramp on the far left to enter the area with the helicopter. Then, use the ramp to boost onto the helicopter and grind along its blades. This will cause the helicopter to take off, crashing through the wall and out of the hangar. Make the same exit, to find the Secret Tape suspended above the furthest ramp, which you can easily boost off to reach it.

School II

This one is a little more difficult. From the start, skate to the right and down the hallway to enter the courtyard. Skate forward to find a section with planters leading into ramps. Build up your special meter to gain speed, then boost off the leftmost ramp to get onto the awning. Wallride into a grind to access the rooftop, then make a hard stop. From here, you should see a ramp which you can ride off to reach a tape. But, be sure to line up your jump before you go or you may have to do this section all over again.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 school

New York

This one is pretty easy if you know what to do. (And a little tricky if your brightness settings are on the darker side.)

From the start, skate straight ahead until you see a pipe leaning against a fence. Grind up the pipe to reach New York’s second major area. Once you’re in, skate up the spiralling concrete ramp where you’ll see metal pipes leading most of the way to a floating Secret Tape. The trick here is to Ollie from the first pipe early and lean hard to the left to land on a second pipe which curves inward. Maintain your balance and you’ll easily get the tape.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 New York

Venice

This tape is deceptively easy to get. Skate forward from the start and look for the ramp above. Build up your special to gain some speed, then boost off the ramp, land, skate back toward the second table on the left. Ramp off it and you can pretty easily grab the tape.

Philadelphia

This one is straightforward. The Secret Tape is floating above the fountain on a wire. Follow the wire to its source, on an elevated planter nearby. Ollie up to the grass, then grind along the wire to grab the tape. If you keep going you can get the Vicarious Visions V, as well.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Philadelphia

Missed our guide on the secret tape locations from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1? We’ve got a guide for that, too.

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Where are the secret tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1?

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 brings back those pesky Secret Tapes. Here’s where to find them.

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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes Guide
Activision / Thumbsticks

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 brings back those pesky Secret Tapes. Here’s where to find them.

The Tony Hawk games were always just really good 3D platformers — check out this video of Mario grinding all over Bo- Omb Battlefield if you don’t believe me. And, because they’re 3D platformers, each level has a ton of collectables hidden in hard-to-reach places. And in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, none is quite as elusive as the Secret Tape.

These glowing VHS tapes show up in every level, save the competitive stages like Burnside and Skate Park. If you’re anything like me, you’ll often see a tape and have no idea how to reach it. This guide is for you.

This article details how to find each tape in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. We’ll have a separate guide for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 later this week.

Warehouse

From the starting section, take the right ramp down into the more open area below. Here, you’ll see a half-pipe with a glassed-in room jutting out from the wall above. Build up speed until you can jump to the glassed-in room – this is easier if you’ve upgraded your skater’s speed stats – where you’ll find this level’s secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

School

From your start position on the green awning, drop down and to the right. From here, you’ll see a concrete ramp leading to the roof of the school. Skate up there, then turn around and skate back toward the other side of the roof. You’ll see a pipe leading diagonally from the roof to the other green awning. Grind down it, or transfer from the ramp, to reach the awning. Skate it until it ends, then jump to grab the secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Mall

After manoeuvring around the twisty ramps at the beginning of the level, emerge into the main mall. Skate straight ahead until you reach the ramp overlooking the two sets of pipes – one on the ground and one suspended from the ceiling. Grind along the top set of pipes until you reach the tape at the end.

Downtown

Skate out of the alley where the level begins, then turn right and head up toward the movie theatre. From here, you should see a semi-truck with a bed that’s suspiciously ramp-like. Roll up the ramp and through the glass then follow the hallway across the sky bridge to the rooftops. Here, you’ll find a wooden pool with gaps in the sides that provide a ramp across the street to other buildings. You want to use the one that’s on your left as you enter the pool.

But, before you make the jump, you’ll need to build up some speed. This will be easier if you’ve levelled up your skater’s speed, ollie and hangtime stats. Once you’ve built enough speed, make the jump to the rooftop across the street where you’ll find the secret tape.

Downhill Jam

This is one of the trickier secret tapes to get. That is, at least for me, who has fallen while attempting the gap dozens, if not hundreds, of times.

That said, here’s how you (theoretically) do it. From the start, skate until you reach the diagonal pipe immediately before the halfpipe. Grind up it, then skate down the incline on the right side of the halfpipe until you reach another pipe. Grind across, then jump the gap. From here, you should be able to see the secret tape in the centre of the toilet bowl. Circle around, then jump onto the platform where the tape rests.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Streets

From the start position, skate down the brick path to the pair of buildings that separate the street from the fountain. Use the ramp to boost up toward the roof, then grind along the roof when you reach the proper height. Immediately stop and turn around, then follow the ramp until you reach the top of the building. Here, you’ll find a large wooden ramp overlooking a squat building with a glass roof. Ramp off, and break through the glass to earn Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’s final secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Okay. Now that you’ve acquired every tape, check out Tom’s feature on the bands that defined the series’ iconic soundtracks. And for more on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 check back in later this week for our full review.

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Guides

What are the Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements?

Now that Horizon Zero Dawn has made the trip from PS4 exclusive to PC, you’ll need to know if your machine can handle it.

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horizon zero dawn system requirements
Guerrilla Games

Now that Horizon Zero Dawn has made the trip from PS4 exclusive to PC, you’ll need to know if your machine can handle it.

Rumours swirled for a long time before Horizon Zero Dawn’s PC release was officially announced. The fact that Death Stranding – which uses the Decima Engine developed for Horizon Zero Dawn – was announced (and subsequently released) for PC seemed to only add fuel to that fire.

Then, earlier this year, Horizon Zero Dawn’s PC release was confirmed by Sony.

The release window we were given at the time was “summer 2020” which was, after a time, narrowed down to August 7, 2020. That’s just two days away. But if you’re thinking of picking it up for PC, you’re going to need to know if your machine can handle it.

Minimum Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core [email protected] or AMD FX [email protected]
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 (3 GB) or AMD Radeon R9 290 (4GB)
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 100 GB available space

Recommended Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core [email protected] or Ryzen 5 [email protected]
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB) or AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB)
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 100 GB available space

All told, those aren’t too onerous, but we don’t know what the target resolutions and frame rates are for the “minimum” and “recommended” specs.

And it is a sign of the times that even the minimum Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements require at least 3 or 4GB of VRAM on your graphics card. That rules out a bunch of lower-end systems and cut-down, mobile graphics cards. The requirement for DirectX 12 will also automatically exclude some older, lower-end systems that might otherwise get close to the specs.

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Features

Every licensed song and cover on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack

Here’s every real-life song – original, licensed recording or cast-recorded cover – featured on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack.

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licensed songs covers the last of us part ii soundtrack
Naughty Dog

Here’s every real-life song – original, licensed recording or cast-recorded cover – featured on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack.

The Last of Us Part II must’ve been a licensing nightmare. There’s that official Taylor 314ce guitar, for one thing, before we even get to the tunes. And we’ve already seen how rights expiry can disappear games from sale, so when Naughty Dog told Sony’s licensing team they wanted Pearl Jam and a-ha (among others) on the soundtrack? That was probably not a popular decision.

But in addition to Gustavo Santaolalla’s original score, there are a whole bunch of licensed songs that made it onto the Last of Us Part II’s soundtrack. (We only wonder what didn’t make the cut, given some of the massive names that did. Let us know if you didn’t get any songs you pushed for, Neil.)

Some of the licensed songs on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack are the original versions, played as background or incidental music. Others are covers, played in part or in full by characters in the game. What’s really neat is that the voice actors behind Ellie and Joel, Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker respectively, played guitar and sang the vocals in the motion capture studio. There’s no sneaky session musicians or dubbing going on here.

So, here’s the full list of every licensed song and cover on The Last of Us Part II soundtrack.

Spoiler warning: This article will contain general location, character and story spoilers for The Last of Us Part II.

Through the Valley – Shawn James (original recording)

It’s super quiet and difficult to make out, but Ellie listens to this on a Walkman in a flashback scene right before Joel gifts her the guitar.

Bonus: This is also the song that Ellie sings while playing the guitar on the trailer for the game from the PlayStation Experience event in 2016.

Future Days – Pearl Jam (covered by Joel, Ellie)

Here’s an interesting one. You first hear Joel playing Future Days for Ellie as he gifts her that beautiful Taylor guitar, then throughout the game, you’ll hear snippets of it, played by Ellie. It includes the lyrics “if I ever were to lose you, I’d surely lose myself” which is thematically appropriate for The Last of Us Part II. So far, so sensible.

But did you know that Future Days appears on Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt album, which was released on October 11, 2013? That’s interesting because “outbreak day” – when the Cordyceps brain infection struck – happens on September 27, 2013. So in the fictional universe of The Last of Us, Pearl Jam never actually got to release Lightning Bolt.

So how does Joel know a song that was never released? Game director Neil Druckmann has the answer:

I mean, sure, it sounds a little like a retcon, but it technically works.

Bonus: There’s a poster for Pearl Jam’s Lighting Bolt in the music store Ellie visits with Dina in Seattle.

Take on Me – a-ha (covered by Ellie)

In a game filled with violence (spoiler warning on that article) and the bleakest parts of the human character, there are a few small moments of light. They’re pretty few and far, and they decrease as the game goes on, but one of the nicest comes just after Ellie and Dina arrive in Seattle.

In the aforementioned guitar shop, Ellie finds an acoustic guitar that’s locked away inside a hard shell flight case. She pops open the case, tunes the guitar, and sings a song for Dina. That song? It’s a beautiful acoustic rendition of 80s pop anthem Take on Me, by Norwegian synth heroes a-ha.

For a game that’s split the discourse so heavily, it probably speaks volumes that this – a hands-off cut scene, of characters having a pleasant singalong – is my favourite bit of the game.

Hydrogen – M|O|O|N (Hotline Miami soundtrack)

When Ellie is looking for Nora at the hospital, she happens upon a member of the WLF who is playing on her PS Vita. Ellie interrogates the girl at knifepoint and, ultimately, kills her when she fights back. But the game she’s playing? It’s hyper-violent shooter Hotline Miami. (A game that asks, “do you like hurting other people?” which can’t be a coincidence, given The Last of Us Part II’s themes.)

But the song that’s playing is the thing, here, and that tune is Hydrogen by M|O|O|N.

It Was a Good Day – Ice Cube (original recording)

This is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Ice Cube, but you can hear this classic tune playing in the WLF hospital as Ellie listens in on Nora being questioned by other WLF soldiers looking for Abby.

The Winding Sheet – Mark Lanegan (original recording)

The brilliant Mark Lanegan – vocalist for Screaming Trees and latterly with Queens of the Stone Age – released his first solo album, The Winding Sheet, in 1990. The title track from that album appears on the soundtrack for The Last of Us Part II. You’ll hear it on the boombox at Owen’s aquarium.

Christmas Wish – Roberts, Fletcher, Sturrock (original recording)

This modern Christmas tune is playing during one of Abby’s flashbacks at the aquarium with Owen.

Rock Around the Christmas Tree – Fiddy, Burdson (original recording)

Another Christmas tune from the aquarium flashback at Christmas.

Ecstasy – Crooked Still (covered by Ellie)

Ellie plays this one as part of one of the guitar minigames when she’s having trouble sleeping, at the farm with Dina and JJ.

Little Sadie – Crooked Still (original recording?)

This is the song that’s playing at the dance, during the flashback where Ellie and Dina kiss for the first time.

(We’ve put this down as “original recording?” with a big question mark because it’s not clear if the performance in the game is supposed to be just the original record, played over a PA system, or if it’s supposed to be a “live” band at the party.)

Ain’t No Grave – Crooked Still (original recording)

This is the song Ellie puts on with JJ when Dina requests some tunes to wash up to. Or, more specifically, this is the track on the B-side of the LP, where Ellie starts the needle. The album is Crooked Still’s Shaken By a Low Sound from 2006, and Ain’t No Grave is the seventh song on the record.

But what’s interesting is that a bunch of other Crooked Still tunes crop up in the game’s credits, but this appears to be the last time we hear them. So where are they, exactly? If you go and dance with Dina straight away, they’ll move to the backyard to hang out laundry and the music will end. But if you don’t interact with Dina immediately, you’ll also hear…

Ecstasy – Crooked Still (original recording)

The eighth track on Crooked Still’s Shaken By a Low Sound.

Mountain Jumper – Crooked Still (original recording)

Track number nine on Shaken By a Low Sound.

Railroad Bill – Crooked Still (original recording)

Track ten on Shaken By a Low Sound by Crooked Still.

Wind and Rain – Crooked Still (original recording)

The final track on Crooked Still’s Shaken By a Low Sound.

Young Men Dead – The Black Angels (original recording)

You’ll hear this one playing on a stereo as you battle the Rattlers in Santa Barbara.

Helplessly Hoping – Crosby, Stills & Nash (covered by Joel)

This is a tricky one because it’s not in the game’s credits. Presumably, the snippet of fingerpicking is so short and with Joel not singing any of the lyrics, licensing wasn’t a concern. But in the game’s final flashback between Joel and Ellie, Helplessly Hoping is the song you hear him playing on his front porch when Ellie disturbs him.

Unknown – Unknown (covered by Ellie)

The final song that Ellie plays – or, at least, attempts to play – in The Last of Us Part II is pretty unrecognisable. She lost two fingers on her left hand in the final fight with Abby and can no longer form those chords.

It’s a safe bet that it’s probably Future Days by Pearl Jam, given the chord progression Ellie’s trying to follow and the song’s significance to the story, but it’s hard to say for sure. (And that’s exactly the point, right?)

Wayfaring Stranger – Johnny Cash (covered by Ellie and Joel)

This is the song that plays for the final few minutes of the credits for The Last of Us Part II. But don’t give up that easy – there’s still a post-credits surprise (of sorts) after the end of the trailer.

Bonus: True Faith – New Order (covered by Ellie)

This is the song that Ellie plays on the TV spot for The Last of Us Part II.

It’s also something that Naughty Dog got into trouble over, because it’s very clearly inspired by (if not directly copied from) Lotte Kestner’s 2011 arrangement of the New Order classic.


Forgotten what happened in the original The Last of Us? You’ll want to read our comprehensive story recap. Found this guide useful? Please consider supporting Thumbsticks or buying us a coffee to say thanks.

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