Unto The End journeys to PS4 December 9

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Unto The End journeys to PS4 December 9

2 Ton Studios shares the real-life journeys that influences their upcoming combat adventure

Unto The End is a challenging combat adventure game, in the style of a cinematic platformer. Gameplay is about mastering our read-react combat system in intense sword fights, spotting opportunities to trade and use items, and ultimately experiencing an adventure that is told through your actions as you make your way back home to your family.

Unto The End journeys to PS4 December 9

An adventure

More than anything else we want Unto The End to feel like an adventure. We designed a lot of Unto while traveling through countries where we didn’t speak the language and didn’t know anyone else.

Taking in Iceland

We did a lot of exploring while on those travels, often getting off the beaten path and lost in nature. That feeling of being alone and unsure, making tough decisions, and overcoming challenges, is, to us, what adventure is all about. 

Side-on view

We love it when an experience makes the most of their presentation form or format. So despite hundreds (thousands!?) of side-on games, we felt there was still more to be done with it.

After lots of iteration, we honed in on three things we felt side-on does particularly well: (1) judging high vs low (2) assessing left-right distance (3) seeing behind you. Interestingly, these are also things that “over the shoulder” or “top-down” views don’t handle as well.

Early concept of training at home with your wife

We wrapped those three qualities into an overarching principle of reading and reacting and built everything around it. Every fight, puzzle, and environmental challenge tests the player based on that foundation. The idea is that every single aspect of gameplay is training you, not just the fights. We want you to end the game as a great fighter, feeling a sense of mastery and accomplishment earned entirely through your efforts.

Sword fighting

Our goal was to capture the feeling of melee combat without being a sword fighting simulator. The sweaty palms, “oh no!” moments, and the back and forth of a great fight, without elaborate combos or intricate inputs. You can drop your sword, bleed to death from your wounds, and win or lose every fight in two or three hits. Success is all about staying calm and making the most of your opportunities.

Father facing off against the mountain woad hunter

The father has a rich set of moves, but there’s nothing fancy or challenging about executing them. Each action maps to a button and we avoided overloading inputs. You press a button and a specific action happens.

Behind the scenes prototype of dagger, terrain and movement

It was super important that every creature you meet was as smart and capable as the player – there for a reason, never just some “evil enemy”. Every opponent you face is unique, each with their own fighting style – we don’t have simple enemies and then a boss.

An early concept of friendly fire and group combat

That means every fight is a challenge and all opponents follow the same rules as the player. High and low attacks, blocks, counters, riposte, fakes, and being knocked off balance applies to everyone. The same goes for the health and damage, navigation, and friendly fire. There are no massive health pools or super attacks, and enemies can chase you across diverse terrain if you run away, jumping chasms and climbing ledges. 

Challenging, not difficult

Gameplay is challenging and demanding but never difficult for difficulty’s sake. Three things were really important to us.

The father tracks the woad huntmaster

First, every single encounter should have multiple ways to overcome it and be very easy to overcome once you master it. 

Second, difficulty settings should be designed into the gameplay. Being observant and careful, exploring the nooks and crannies of the world, should give you more tools to work with, opening alternatives to fighting.

Third, the challenge of fighting should not be about reflexes, but rather skilfully reading and reacting to your opponents and the environment. We do have a ‘Combat Speed’ setting that allows players to slow down the action just during combat moments. It gives them more time to read and react while still offering a challenge.

Get back home

Unto The End has a simple story: get back home to your family. 

You’re a warrior that’s decent with a sword, not a trained knight or legendary hero. We wanted gameplay to be about the player, their observations and actions.

Father, mother, daughter

The world is foreign to the father, full of creatures he shares no language with, and history and events that are already in motion. As you make your way home you’ll come upon the aftermath of battles, fall into creature dens, or wander into the lair of an angry troll. We throw the player into these situations so they can experience the world first-hand and without warning. The goal was to create a world that is bigger than the father, one that feels alive, with creatures that have their own plans and aspirations — a world that the father just happens to be moving through.

Early concept for Lost Temple

Taking a risk

We worked really hard to make something different. Unique combat, no HUD, sword fighting action with cinematic pacing, and a story told in a way that only games can. Every day for the last four years we worked to deliver an experience that plays unlike anything else and we really hope you enjoy Unto The End when it launches on December 9. 

If you have questions drop them below. We’ll do our best to answer them without spoiling anything. And if you haven’t already, give the trailer at the top of the page a look. Sara and I talk about our design thinking a bit more and show off a bunch of new gameplay.

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  • This looks fantastic, and I appreciate your commentary on the video. That alone sold me on this, but the game looks like it’ll be great fun, too!

    • Thanks! We had a great time putting all those bits into the game, and feel really lucky to be able to talk about them on the PS blog. Very cool of you to take the time to read/watch and then drop a comment!

  • Amazing. I love when the game changes according to our actions.
    I’ll definitely buy this. :-)

  • Looks fun! I’m in!

  • @ Playstation. Can we get a watchlist/wishlist add button on the games that you put in the blog. I don’t want to forget the good games you highlight in blogs. We need the button so I can keep money aside for the game & not spend it elsewhere. This a very good game. Get us a watchlist/wishlist button for the games in the blog. It’s free data analytics too.

    • Agree 100%, the game looks really good, but seems like Sony are missing a huge part of game exposure here, highlighting a game without links to wishlist or pre-order seems like physical store displaying items on floor that buyers cannot find in store and the store reps have no info on how and when potential customers can purchase the item. Simple links would have blown up the game I am sure, it looks that good!

      I have unto the end dec 9th written on the notepad pad and marked on the calendar app too.

    • I’ve subscribed to the PS Blog RSS feed, and I have different folders that I use to save articles for games that I will follow up on after release or have watched a review and think is worth purchasing. It’s not as convenient as what you suggest, but it works for me.

    • A second that! We need that wish-list or pre-order button here in the blog!

  • I’ve had this game on my watch list ever since it was revealed, and I’m loving what I saw from the new trailer. The wait seems to have been worth it! Sounds and looks so amazing.

  • Looks incredible. Combat really has remained stagnant for decades, it’s nice to see indies like Nidhogg, Driven Out, and this add strategic and innovative real time combat. Did u take inspiration from any particular game whether in combat or other?

    Also, I’d love to pre-order your game on PS4/5. Will that be possible? Will it play on PS5 and is there DualSense implementation? Is there a platinum? Price?

    Sorry for all the questions, I’m just enormously interested.

    • For sure, happy to answer as best I can. Thanks for asking :).

      The biggest inspiration came from old NES Punch-Out!! The read-react tension of fights, the player-skill focus, little Mac having all his moves from the start. Maybe it sounds really weird to take a 3D game as inspiration, but that really was the biggest one :).

      Not sure on pre-orders… I hope so :)… our publisher takes care of that. I’ll ask them about it.

      PS5/Platinum are also all questions for our publisher. I’ll ask them about it and reply back if I learn more.

      Hope that helps :).

  • Can this be played on the PS5?

  • Wow you guys did any amazing job! What will the price be?

  • Awesome, definitely picking it up

  • I have a graph paper-based game design doc in my archives from back in the late 1980s; I envisioned a game almost exactly like this that was based on the Atari ST classic ‘Death Sword’ (or ‘Barbarian’ as it was called in the UK and other regions). I just wanted Death Sword to be deeper, with more choice. I dreamed for years of a game like this! I’m grabbing Unto The End as soon as it’s available!

  • I am really looking forward to get this game day-one, but more importantly to play it day-one, my current backlog is shameful at best, as everyone’s else, but this game really picked my interest, that backlog can wait a little bit longer. Congratulations in advance for your launch out!

    • Thanks :) I can absolutely relate… when I’m making a game I have no time (perhaps it’s energy?) to play much of anything… so my wishlist and backlog just keeps growing and growing. Unto took around 4 years… so you can imagine I have a lot of catching up to do :).

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