Until Dawn EP16: Skeleton Time

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Jan 18, 2017

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 58 comments

Link (YouTube)

At the start of the episode I referred to the fact that Emily ought to be dead, but then I blanked on what specific event should have killed her. Now I remember: It was the part where she was on top of a massive metal tower that collapsed, fell into a hole, and landed on top of our quarrelsome lovebirds. I’m sure they survived because they were under the effect of movie physics, where you’re only impacted by acceleration happening within your local frame of referenceYou can ask people who have been in airplane accidents why this isn’t true. Or rather, you can’t ask them. Which is kind of the point I’m making..

One details that’s confusing me: There’s a grave marker for Beth. But Beth wasn’t buried. And she’s not terribly close to the sign. If the game is saying that Hannah made the sign for her sister, then why didn’t she put the sign near the body? And Beth’s body isn’t eaten, which is confusing considering what’s lurking down here.



[1] You can ask people who have been in airplane accidents why this isn’t true. Or rather, you can’t ask them. Which is kind of the point I’m making.

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58 thoughts on “Until Dawn EP16: Skeleton Time

  1. baseless_research says:

    I’m warming to this game’s QTE’s as narrative/gameplay. Are there any games that do QTE’s well? Asura’s Wrath is the only one that comes to mind but maybe I haven’t been playing the “right” games for this?

    1. Bespectacled Gentleman says:

      Telltale makes heavy use of QTEs and they’re doing well enough for themselves.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        That’s different from doing QTEs well.

        1. Bespectacled Gentleman says:

          Fair point.

        2. Echo Tango says:

          I’d say Telltale makes pretty decent use of quick-time events. Sure, they rarely have an option to not do one, and I don’t think they’ve ever had a negative event, where you must quickly deduce that it’s correct to avoid the thing, but they’re pretty good overall. In particular, Telltale has some quick-time events where you experience the physicality of the performed action, by proxy of the button-mashing, and there’s conversations where you can choose to listen to the other characters instead of speaking yourself.

          1. Tintenseher says:

            I don’t recall if it’s ever been “correct” to stop/avoid one in Telltale games, but there are a few with different outcomes, like with strangling the Stranger in The Walking Dead, Season 1, Episode 5.

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Considering I’m not playing and I experience large chunks of the episodes as audio only I’d say some of those I’ve actually seen still feel rather arbitrary. I do realise that the game is actually meant for multiple playthroughs in order to figure out how various choices mesh with each other but I’d hate to have to replay the whole thing just to see if jumping on this or that rock gets me killed.

      That said the anyone can die thing definitely makes this better than the typical DIAS quicktime event section, and I appreciate when QTEs are used to translate to the player the time pressure on the character but not making a choice can be a valid option. Also, I liked when in the deer scene they used the crosshair QTE to try to trigger that instictive response in the player.

    3. Christopher says:

      They are pretty good in games like God Hand or Resident Evil 4 as a way to activate special moves you couldn’t normally do on staggared enemies(and very occasionally guard against special moves). Shooting kneecaps in RE4 allowed you to kick or suplex the enemy, and staggering any enemy in God Hand let you do a move with a special animation to it. I’m pretty sure every enemy body type had their own move you could do, from Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs to spankings, cobra twists and suplexes, with somewhat more crazy ones for big bosses. Bayonetta has torture attacks that work somewhat similarly, but they involve a bit too much mashing for my tastes.

      Asura is really great with its QTEs, but they made up for it by having the normal combat system be as shallow as humanly possible, even more than a Dynasty Warriors game. I do think it’s awesome when they use QTEs for comedic purposes, or the bosses suddenly get their own QTE prompts that they start _missing_ when things go bad for them and stuff like that though.

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Press x to not die does them perfectly.Yes that exists.Its a comedy game.

      As for other examples,Id say that the first half of fahrenheit,the good half,does them well.

      And of course,there are games where there is regular gameplay,but qtes are done as finishers,like god of war.

    5. IFS says:

      I generally dislike QTEs but I thought Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance did them fairly well, though those were almost all ‘press 2 buttons and something awesome happens’ while giving you slowmo to have plenty of time to hit them. It did also have a few moments that were effectively unlabeled QTEs like when you just need to keep jumping across missiles or keep slashing at a giant robot in a set-piece.

  2. David says:

    I am slightly disappointed that Rachael didn’t stay on to do Spoiler Warning after the Diecast. I think she’d make a good addition to the cast rotation.

    And unrelated, but I normally consume Spoiler Warning as an audio-only thing, while doing other stuff. So far, the game-audio experience of this episode has been mostly silence, punctuated by Emily going “Auggh!” I’m having a lot of fun imagining her in a Spooky’s House of Jumpscares environment.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Far too terrifying, that game. Often ends up totally NSFW when folks play Spooky’s.

    2. Tizzy says:

      No Rachael is fine with me. I’m glad they decided to keep a skeleton crew for this episode.

      1. lurkey says:

        Au contraire here — too bare bones for my taste.

  3. MichaelGC says:

    Serious typographical error above. I’m not having a dig. Just being a little cryptic. Don’t get cross.

  4. Baron Tanks says:

    Just a heads-up, but the after episode credits are a bit spoilerific this week, although largely predictable at this point. Gotta say, I’m pretty into this season so far.

  5. Cinebeast says:

    Not that it makes Emily’s escape any more credible, but people have survived some pretty ridiculous falls, even without breaking a single bone.

    A little dash of movie logic and bam, safe and sound.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      There’s also Vesna Vulović, who survived a fall from an aeroplane, albeit in significantly worse shape than the zipline person:


  6. MichaelGC says:

    My brain certainly seems to ‘file’ things under their initial letters. If I’m struggling to remember something I’ll often get the first letter, and then a while later the whole thing will bubble up.

    It doesn’t often happen that I’ll get a wrong first letter, either – at least, I don’t recall that happening, ahahaha. Nothing at all is common enough, but if a first letter does present itself it usually turns out to be correct.

    1. Jay Allman says:

      This is something that every book on the craft of fiction-writing says: Don’t give the characters names that sound too much alike. The Mike/Matt thing here is especially bad — besides the initial consonant, they are both one-syllable names. If it were Mike and Matthew, or Matt and Montgomery, it would still be problem, but not quite as bad.

      Am I the only one who thinks they need more distinctive visual designs, too? Chris is the only one of the guys with a distinctive look. To my eye, the other three are interchangeable brunette jocks.

      1. Christopher says:

        Matt’s black while the others are white, so I don’t see how they’re interchangeable. Josh and Mike are kinda similar if you just list their features, but one is a square-jawed, generic handsome dude while Josh is… kinda weird? I’m not sure how I’d describe him, but I wouldn’t confuse him with Mike either.

        When it comes to the names, I wonder if Matt and Mike are similar-sounding just because Emily dated both of them.

      2. King Marth says:

        Tolkien was the worst for this. Only the most dedicated of fans can recall more than a couple of the thirteen dwarves from the Hobbit; I could only ever recall Oin and Gloin because of the rhyme (which made Gimli being son of Gloin be perfectly effective for me), and Thorin Oakenshield with some effort. Introducing a huge cast of near-identical characters with similar names is annoying, though to be fair it’s only necessary to differentiate characters when they each do different things in the story, while the dwarven company is more of one big character with several faces.

        1. MichaelGC says:

          Aye right. Let’s see, there’s Dori, Nori and Ori, who I only remembered because you mentioned the rhyme. There’s Bifur (not sure if spelled right), another one beginning (ha!) with ‘B’, and Bombur. Oo, oo – Balin and Dwalin (only got the first because I thought of Moria, and then there’s a helpful rhyme again).

          What we up to? Ten and a half. Well, ten and a bit. That’s pretty bad considering how many times I’ve read it… But I’m happy to join you in blaming Tolkien for that!

          1. Tintenseher says:

            Ori, Dori, Nori, Fili, Kili, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dwalin, Balin, Oin, Gloin, and Thorin Oakenshield.

            I have read the book several times, and yet fully admit that I can only recall these by running through Ian McKellen saying them in my head.

      3. Jay Allman says:

        “Matt’s black while the others are white.”

        Fair point, but skin tone is a suboptimal visual marker in a world as underlit as “Until Dawn.” Otherwise, Matt, Mike and Josh are all gym-trim brunettes with short hair, conventionally regular features, and neither facial hair nor glasses. All cats are gray in the dark, which is why you should be careful about populating your world with too many cats.

        “Tolkien was the worst for this.”

        Tolkien got the dwarf names from the Poetic Edda. I don’t know what his excuse was for the infamous Sauron/Saruman thing.

        1. Shamus says:

          I thought the problem was that I was watching the game on a stream, but you’re right. Everyone is too same-y. Where’s the “fat guy”? The scrawny guy? The really short chick? Everyone in the whole story is basically “medium build”.

          This is worse when you take into account the winter setting and how much time everyone spends wearing long pants, hats, and coats. You don’t even get signifiers like, “This is the girl in the mini-skirt”, or “this is the dude in shorts”. It even covers up teenage tribal clothing, like T-shirt vs. polo shirt. (Matt’s letterman jacket is a huge help. That’s basically how I remember who he is.)

          I’m finally able to tell them apart, but it might have clicked a lot sooner if the cast had more body types.

        2. MichaelGC says:

          I’m happy to blame Poetic Eddy instead of Tolkien! And with a name like that, that explains all the rhymes…

  7. Cinebeast says:

    This is where I started to really get invested in the game. I mean, it’s not like the last four or five hours were boring, mind you. I was having fun, getting to know the characters, and I liked getting spooked.

    Now the plot finally hands out answers to the questions it’s been asking, though. What had been a quirky but shallow experience before started to solidify into something more interesting for me.

  8. guy says:

    I think Emily banged into a bunch of things on the way down, so she didn’t actually have a lot of uninterrupted fall time.

    1. DerJüngerLudendorff says:

      But shorter falls can also do some serious damage, especially when you land wrong or hit something very solid. So it’s still not exactly reccommended (though more excusable)

      1. ehlijen says:

        Is this maybe meant to be a subversion of the zombie mating call trope? (‘ow, my ankle!’)

  9. MichaelGC says:

    I have the same VVVVVV thing Rutskarn mentioned when it’s titles like Bravely Default or Dream Drop Distance or Parse You This Won’t, Tuesday-Asshole. I’m sure those are fine games – well, Tuesday-Asshole is just a bog-standard 7/10; don’t even bother – but my brain can’t get in the front door with them. Divine Divinity – that’s another one that wants workin’ on if y’ask me.

    1. Blake says:

      Also never really tried hard to read VVVVVV in my head. It just seems like too much effort.

      1. Lachlan the Mad says:

        I personally read it as “down arrows”.

  10. Zak McKracken says:

    The things I found weird in this episode:

    So… the girls fell down this thing but did not manage to get out although it took Emily less than 10 minutes? Or maybe Hannah did but not Beth, although she must have been alive enough to get to where we find her…?

    Emily hiding behind a corner, with a torch in her hand, in a dark place … how does that work? Also, when she starts moving, the guy is looking directly at her. why wouldn’t he just fry her?

    And then, she throws her torch away rather than setting the stuff on fire and keeping the torch… although, alright, not having a torch should actually be safer for her, what with trying to not be spotted. Although it would have made a nice weapon when she was hiding behind he elevator corner. Just hit the guy in the face with it.

    … but I am quite curious about how it goes on, despite the spoilerous end credits.

    1. Landralin says:

      I don’t remember where in the game it tells you, but Hannah’s leg was broken, so she wasn’t able to do any of the climbing you see Emily doing in this episode.

      1. Tizzy says:

        This is not revealed until the last chapter.

  11. Ninety-Three says:

    I always pronounce VVVVVV as “Veeveevee”, only saying half the letters. It’s long enough that it’s not ambiguous, but short enough that a reasonable person would bother saying it.

    1. ehlijen says:

      Fun fact, that’s kind of how I pronounce the ‘www’ part of web addresses (being originaly german) even in english. So much easier than saying double-u three times.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Whats wrong with pronouncing it like a single vvvvvv sound?Like a motorcycle:


    3. Christopher says:

      I don’t pronounce it. If any unspeakable horrors want a name no mortal can pronounce, just make it be something like jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj.

  12. Abnaxis says:

    The IT guy at the last place I worked goes by Dick. It took me forever to not do a double take whenever I sent him an email.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Part of why I became so accustomed to Dick, is the yellow-coated detective with that name. :)

      1. Henson says:

        Ah, but is that really his name, or just his job description?

    2. Shoeboxjeddy says:

      Most people can get used to Dick, after repeated exposures.

      1. ehlijen says:

        But they might get sad and moby about it after a while.

  13. Mike Munroe says:

    Was that a Freeman’s Mind reference at 3:38? It sounded like one.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You can ask people who have been in airplane accidents why this isn't true. Or rather, you can't ask them. Which is kind of the point I'm making.

    There are a few people that have survived terminal velocity falls.So its merely highly unlikely,not impossible.

  15. MrGuy says:

    Why would someone dress a corpse up like Beth?

    1. ? says:

      Why would someone draw a face on a volleyball like in “Cast Away”?

  16. Doomcat says:

    *Bored tourguide voice*

    Exposition caverns and backstory cove invite you to come tour our affiliated company: storytwist junctioooooonnnn.

    Storytwist junction is a lovely spot for those willing to turn on your best friends, and reveal your darkest secrets.

    1. BigTiki says:

      … and now, please turn to your left as we pass… scenic… Flashback Falls…. you may remember Flashback Falls from such flashbacks as “kids in a high school”… and “last summer”… or “earlier this episode” yes that was one of my favorites too… Flashback Falls is available for birthday parties and funerals just ask at the Information desk and ask for Ronnie.

  17. Wait, Campster knows who Radiskull is but he’s barely aware of “Steve Bad?”

  18. Tektotherriggen says:

    I loved the presentation of the minecart/door puzzle. You see the minecart first, then see the locked door. You immediately think, “Hey, I bet I can use the minecart to break that down!”. You get the feeling of solving a puzzle, even if it’s actually trivial. If the door had been shown first, I think the minecart would be such an obvious solution that it wouldn’t even register as solving a puzzle.

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