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Unto the End is a stylish combat platformer that encourages you not to fight

Unto the End was announced in mid-2017 as a "2D cinematic combat-adventure" about a father in a Viking-inspired fantasy world who embarks upon a quest for revenge after his family is killed. "But that's just the setup," developer 2 Ton Studios said at the time. "What we really want to shine is the narrative that only the player's actions can craft."

Today the studio announced that Unto the End will launch on December 9, and revealed a new gameplay trailer showcasing the different ways players will be able to engage with that narrative. Fighting is obviously going to play a major role in the game, but other options will sometimes be available, and may have a big impact on your experience.

Instead of charging straight at every enemy you see, for instance, you can approach with your weapon sheathed to signal that you mean no harm. You can offer to trade with some creatures you meet, or you can just haul ass—some enemies don't really want to fight, they just want you to go away.

Key to all of this is figuring out what NPCs want, which is tricky because you're in a foreign land and don't speak the language: Get it wrong, and your friendly interaction might go south in a hurry. Fortunately for players who are more interested in the narrative experience than combat (that would be me), Unto the End will have a "combat assist" option that will provide more time to "read and react" to enemy actions, "while still offering a challenge."

There are strong stylistic similarities to Another World and that's good enough to draw me in, but separate from all that I really love the idea of a fighting game that doesn't force you to kill everything you see. That hearkens back to Another World too: It's not so fondly remembered because of its platforming and combat, which are unremarkable and often tedious, but for its brilliant graphics, audio, and cinematic storytelling. If Unto the End can bolster those elements with deeper gameplay, it could be pretty great.

Until the End will be available on Steam, GOG, and Stadia. Find out more at 2tonstudios.com.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.