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Death's Door gameplay video showcases 'tight 2D pixel-art action'

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Announced by Devolver Digital in March, Death's Door (opens in new tab) is easily one of the most intriguing videogame concepts I've run into in a long time: It's about a crow with a sword who harvests the souls of the dead. It's actually a fairly dull, routine job most of the time, but every now and then someone swipes a soul, and that's when things get interesting.

We only got a brief glimpse of gameplay in that announcement trailer, but developer Acid Nerve went deeper into the action during today's Summer Game Fest Kickoff with a gameplay video showing off "intense, fast-paced brawls, where mistakes are punished and skill is rewarded."

"Our background is in tight, 2D pixel art action, and we've been careful to maintain the responsiveness of this," producer and designer David Fenn explained. "The world is fully explorable, and is entirely handcrafted. All of the characters and enemies you meet have memorable, twisted designs as well. Death's Door has plenty of high-octane action, but it's equally about discovering the secrets of its unique setting and unraveling this mysterious story."

While the underlying narrative is certainly unusual, the "structure and scope of the gameplay" most closely matches The Legend of Zelda, one of the developer's "oldest inspirations," Fenn said.

"You have a grim job to do, but you'll also bring hope to the weird and wonderful residents who are trying to make their way in this strange place. The setting and circumstances are bleak, but the moment to moment interactions have touches of humor and positivity."

Honestly, I'm torn: I'm terrible at this sort of high-speed combat (and, frankly, have little patience for it), but I love the way Death's Door looks and the promise of the setting and story. Hopefully it will have some kind of story mode, so I'll be able to enjoy the experience even if I'm not very good at it. (Because yes, I am definitely going to play it. How could I not?)

Death's Door is expected to be out this summer. Find out more at playdeathsdoor.com (opens in new tab).

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.