House of Ashes: How to Keep Everyone Alive

Making the wrong decision in Supermassive games can result in the death of a character. Let's take a look at which choices you need to make to stay alive in House of Ashes. With horrifying creatures seemingly lurking around every corner and two opposing sides stuck in the same hell, making the right choice in The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes can sometimes be difficult.

House of Ashes How to Keep Everyone Alive cover

The Dark Pictures Anthology series of horror games have players take control of five characters and try to keep them alive. This is done through decision-making and a lot of QTEs (Quick time events). In The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes, QTEs are particularly important to keeping people alive and often give a player an opportunity to make up for a poor decision made prior. While QTEs are important, this guide will not cover them. Unless stated, assume all QTEs need to be successfully completed to stay alive.

This guide will also not cover every decision in the game but instead focus on the specific choices that will keep characters alive. As such, not every Scene will be detailed below. While the game has many choices and some change certain situations or character relationships, many of them don’t have life-threatening consequences. Your reward for keeping all five characters alive in the finale is House of Ashes‘ gold trophy: “Golden Path”.

If you run into choices in the game that aren’t mentioned in this guide, assume they don’t have any significant impact. I tried going to the friendly route and also the antagonistic route and not much changed except for dialogue options. I’d still opt for the more friendly approach however, as it leads to the best conversations. 

Read Also: The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes Review: Journey Into The Abyss

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes - Launch Trailer | PS5, PS4


House of Ashes starts in Akkad, which serves as context for where our characters end up later in the game. You don’t have to worry about this segment of the game as there isn’t anything here you can do that will make an impact later. Either Balathu or Karum ends up dying no matter what. Whoever lives becomes infected, which you’ll encounter later on.

Scene 1: Don’t choose Helo Support

In the first scene, Eric will have to decide whether to bring in air support or take a stealthier approach on the mission. Originally I took the more stealthy approach. At the end of the game, I had a large climatic battle. Next playthrough, I decided to try taking air support this time, and again at the end of the game, I had a large battle. The dialogue at the end changed from “we’re coming in 5 hours” to “we’re coming in 5 minutes”. Basically, nothing changed, except for the ending. 

Be confident

Be confident

Choose not to bring in air support. By doing so, you get the better ending in my opinion, which lets Salim return home to his kid. You also get the “Into the Sunset” trophy if Salim returns home. If you take air support, Salim will be taken by the Americans and interrogated. You won’t get the trophy this way. Regardless of what you choose though, this won’t affect whether someone lives or dies. 

Scene 2: Don’t Kill the Shepherd

So this scene is a little odd. Jason will have the opportunity to kill a civilian that is running away towards the end of the scene. As he was a civilian, I naturally opted not to shoot him. I did shoot him in subsequent playthroughs and there were no consequences though. A few things can happen here:

  • Jason shoots the civilian – Salim shoots Jason as the ground crumbles (doesn’t kill him but it does injure him).
  • Jason shoots the civilian – Salim shoots Jason later down the road (in Scene 5 if he chooses not to hide after fighting alongside Nick).
  • Jason doesn’t shoot the civilian – Salim doesn’t shoot Jason during Scene 2 or Scene 5. 
Don't do it!

Don’t do it!

Essentially, it’s best not to shoot the civilian in case Salim does shoot Jason, but again, during scene 5, there is a way to avoid this. We’ll come back to this later down the line. 

Scene 3: Mervin

Jason and Nick will find an injured Mervin screaming. You can temporarily save him. Mervin will eventually die regardless of what you do. His purpose for staying alive is to fix the radio later down the line so the team can call for support. That being said, the only thing this really does is prevent Salim from going back to his family at the end of the story. You still have to play out the final battle.

Keeping Mervin alive will grant you House of Ashes“So You’re My Technician” trophy, but as he isn’t part of the main five, when he dies, there is no need to worry. If you’re interested in saving Mervin, you’ll need to stop pressing the prompt when Nick has his hand over Mervin’s mouth. Then, choose the safe route when running away, successfully complete the QTE, and when asked, don’t leave Mervin alone. 

Scene 4: Cut the Rope

This is a tricky one if you haven’t discovered the picture that foretells what will happen to Eric if he continues to hold on. Eric and Rachel will be running away from an Iraqi soldier and Rachel will eventually fall down a cliff. Eric is holding onto her with a rope but is doubting being able to save her. Regardless of what you do, Rachel will end up falling. Here, you should cut the rope.

It's okay. It's just a small drop

It’s okay. It’s just a small drop

I say should instead of need because there is a world in which Nick manages to get to Eric in time. If he does, he will help Eric but the rope will snap regardless. It’s best to just cut the rope and save time here. If Eric doesn’t and Nick is too far, Dar, the Iraqi soldier, will end up killing Eric. 

Scene 5: Take the Medkit, Take the Slow Approach, Team up with Salim

Although not absolutely required, there is a medkit that is present during this scene. When Nick and Jason believe they heard Joey (who is long dead), they’ll go and search for him. On the way, there will be a small branching path to the left as shown in the image below:

The path less traveled

The path less traveled

If they take the left path, they can find Joey’s medkit on the ground. You can use this medkit to patch up a character after they suffer an injury. Suffering an injury in a later scene is practically unavoidable so you should definitely take the medkit. After taking the medkit and continuing down the right path, Nick and Jason will arrive at an open area. You can either go aggressive or go slow. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which choice you take, but taking the slow route will result in two fewer QTEs that you need to worry about. Failing these can injure Nick. 

After Nick is separated from the group, he will meet up with Salim. This part is full of QTEs that you need to successfully accomplish. Opt to support Salim, and complete the QTEs. Afterward, you will have to decide whether to tell Salim to hide or stay with the group. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter unless Jason shot the shepherds in Scene 2. If he did, tell Salim to hide. Otherwise, Salim will wound Jason.

Scene 6: Remember Wire Placement, Abandon Clarice

During the start of Scene 6, Nick and Jason will fortify the area by placing explosives. Jason will then decide to place the explosives on the side or down the middle. It doesn’t really matter what you end up choosing but depending on your choices, later in the game, you might be asked to remember where you placed the explosives. Choosing wrong will result in characters dying.

Watch your step

Watch your step

We then return to Rachel in this scene who will eventually run into Clarice. She is alive, but there is a problem. She has a virus that will turn her into a monster. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to save Clarice so the best option here would be to abandon her. If you take Clarice with you, she will eventually kill Eric if not abandoned or killed prior to Scene 7. If abandoned, Clarice will come back later in the game, where you’ll have to complete some QTEs to stay alive. 

Scene 8: Stay Alive

When it comes to stress factor, scene 8 is certainly a contender alongside the final Scene. Although this scene has a lot of QTEs, there are also a lot of choices you can make that will impact later portions of the game. Not everything listed below will result in character deaths, but succeeding during the big fight will make the rest of the game easier:

  • First off, when it comes to Nick, no matter what option he chooses against Balathu, Balathu injures him. 
  • When Rachel is pinned, have Salim shoot the monster on top of her. The monster will then injure Salim. Alternatively, you can choose to shoot the monster that will attack you, but that will result in Rachel becoming infected. There is a solution for Rachel’s infection later on.
  • Don’t try to save Eric. Assuming you saved Rachel from the monster, she will remain unaffected. You’ll then have an option to save Eric, but this will result in Rachel once again being infected. If you choose not to save Eric, he will have to perform some extra QTEs but he will live. 
  • Remember, make sure Clarice is not alive at this point in House of Ashes or she will kill Eric. 

After that stressful segment, the group will continue to run with Jason providing cover fire. Rachel can opt to use the machine gun to help Jason but regardless of what you choose, Jason will be just fine. That being said, if you choose to use the machine gun, you won’t have to remember the decision made in scene 6 in regards to the location of the explosives. Jason will automatically call it out when he leaves with Rachel. You’ll also acquire the achievement “Chekhov’s Gun”. If you decide to not use the machine gun, you will have to remember the location of the explosives. 

Thank god it still works

Thank god it still works

Scene 10: Save Nick

There isn’t anything really major here but there is a chance that Balathu will run after Nick, Eric, and Rachel after the big battle. If that happens he will pin Nick down. As Eric, choose the option to save Nick. If you choose not to help him, Nick will receive another wound that could potentially cause issues later down the line.

Scene 11: Cure Rachel

If Rachel isn’t infected, you can ignore this next section. If she is, you’re going to have to fight to keep her alive. At first, Rachel will attempt to kill herself by using white phosphorus on herself. When the prompt comes up, ignore it. Then, Rachel will have to essentially beg for her life. You will get two button prompts. During both prompts, it’s imperative that you beg twice. If you beg just once, Jason will kill Rachel. Begging twice will save Rachel’s life and Eric will then use the UV light on Rachel. This will cause the infection to leave Rachel’s body.

Scene 12: Return for Salim

Towards the finale, when the group is running away from the monsters and the explosions, Salim will be separated from the group. While the rest of the crew wants to leave Salim behind, Jason has the option to save him. Choose the forceful option and go back to keep Salim alive. Just be careful as this will result in some QTEs. 

No man left behind

No man left behind

And that’s pretty much it! You will run into many other decisions, but nothing that should kill your character. For example, choosing to continue further into the monster’s den as Nick with explosives will only result in more QTEs. If you can successfully complete the QTEs, you will be fine. Not every QTE needs to be successful in general, but it’s best to accomplish as many of them as possible to avoid injuries or worse, death. House of Ashes has improved on choices from previous games. Let’s hope the next installment is even better.

How did it go? Did you manage to keep everyone in House of Ashes alive? Is there anything in particular that you’ve come across that isn’t mentioned here? Let me know!

The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

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