Unto The End is out today, available with Xbox Game Pass for console and PCExperience full-blooded encounters, with a deep, one-of-a-kind combat systemAn absorbing adventure, designed as a pure gaming experience, and with an emphasis on player skill
After four years in the making, the debut game from 2 Ton Studios is ready – Unto The End has arrived on Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, and Xbox Game Pass. We can’t wait for players to take their first steps as Unto The End’s hero – a father and husband who is really just a regular, red-haired dude. He just happens to live in a world where basic sword competency is an essential part of life.
Finding himself in a dire situation, the father must get home to his family. But it’s no stroll in the park. Unto The End is a challenging experience that demands skill and focus.
So, before beginning your Unto The End adventure, here are 5 things you need to know…
Combat requires deliberate actions
The combat system has been meticulously designed from the ground-up, with special thought given to the advantages of fighting in a side-on 2D space. For example, the ability to see enemies behind you, and to accurately judge high and low attacks. It has also been designed for precise, deliberate actions. Playing contrary to this – i.e. button mashing – will ultimately result in failure.
The key is learning to read your opponent and react accordingly. And, above all else, staying calm and focused. There are no easy enemies, and every enemy is different. There is no ‘getting lazy’ – every combat encounter presents new challenges. Mercifully, there is a ‘Combat Assist’ option, which slows enemy attacks and gives players who – like me – aren’t graced with lightning-speed reactions, more of a fighting chance.
The only levelling-up comes from YOU the player
While it is possible to craft some rudimentary items of armour that can improve your chances of survival, there is no XP or levelling-up. You aren’t suddenly granted magical powers or given a 10ft, flame-covered sword. Player skill is at the heart of the experience, and Unto The End is all about the player learning and developing over the course of the adventure.
Mastery of combat is intrinsic to the sense of progression. Whenever you rest at a fire, you can enter a dream that transports you back to your homestead, sparring against your wife. Take the time here to hone your combat skills. Attack, block, counter, fake, barge, roll… every move is available from the outset. It’s up to you to learn and, ultimately, master what’s at your disposal.
There are alternatives to fighting
Perfecting combat is just one step towards mastery of the game. Situational awareness is equally as important – learn to understand the world, the creatures that share it with you, and the clues and items they can sometimes provide to reveal alternatives to fighting. The inhabitants may seem hostile, but each has its own place and purpose. They aren’t simply enemies waiting to fight you.
While there isn’t a completely peaceful route home – there are times when you will most definitely have to bloody your blade – there are opportunities to gain a temporary trust with potential foes by trading, offering, or showing items. Other creatures may just be protecting their territory and rapid passage away from them is enough to show you aren’t a threat.
There are slight variations to the ending based on how you choose to act, so it’s worth attempting a playthrough that avoids killing whenever possible.
Unto The End is a focused, uncluttered gaming experience
Screen display elements such as health and stamina bars were a feature of early Unto The End prototypes, but the finished game is completely HUD-less. This design choice is to ensure players can keep a fixed focus on the father, without distraction. Instead, the father’s ‘states’ are communicated through his appearance and posture. For example, his health can be interpreted by the amount of blood visible on him.
And there are other indicators. If the father is mortally wounded, he drops to a knee and the music builds in intensity, letting the player know they need to use a herb to slow the bleeding, drink a tonic or heal at a rest fire, or risk bleeding out.
Unto The End has faith in the player – that you will not only be able to overcome the challenges it throws at you without needing to be coddled, but that you will also take immense satisfaction from doing so.
Curiosity and creativity are rewarded
Because Unto The End provides minimal hand-holding, it pays to be inquisitive at all times, without waiting for prompting or obvious sign-posting (because it’s not going to come!). Rest fires or helpful items can be found in hidden areas away from the beaten path. And scavenging for crafting items is essential, but the materials are rarely conspicuous, so you really do have to search for them.
There are also plenty of incidental surprises to find. The father can kick snow. He can puke. Wave his torch. There’s a hidden dream. Hidden lore items. There’s even the ability to set the menu and in-game text to Scottish Gaelic (Goidelic), which is the father’s language. There are plenty of little surprises and unexpected moments tucked away. Explore. Experiment. Be curious.
We hope you enjoy the journey.
Unto The End
Unto The End is a challenging, handcrafted combat-adventure. Alone and outmatched, a humble father must endure a desperate journey to get back to his family. Armed with a sword, a dagger, and his wits, he must outfight and outsmart the creatures he encounters as he treks through unfamiliar lands, where every step brings him closer to home but is fraught with untold dangers.