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Could Undertale actually be 2015's most violent game?

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PBS takes the choice-based indie to task

Undertale, Toby Fox's JRPG-style indie hit, is remarkable for many reasons, but that the player can elect to complete the game without ever attacking is one of its most interesting features. While the standard fight option is present, players can also talk to, hug, joke with or even ignore their opponents.

Committing acts of violence, then, is an active choice made by the Undertale player. Does that in turn make this game — which dramatically differs when played pacifistically — one of last year's most violent?

The PBS Ideas Channel asks this question in this week's episode of its game-centric show. In the video above, the philosophical implications of Undertale's narrative motivations for and against violence are explored. While there's no conclusion drawn, the link between narrative and structural violence is stressed — as is Undertale's unique gamification of it.

In layman's terms: Whether or not Undertale really classifies as 2015's most violent game (which, considering the ultra-violent Hatred also launched last year, is definitely arguable), players who do choose to play the game violently. Regardless of if they go with a full genocide run or just attack occasionally, they are making that choice for themselves.

Another superlative that Undertale may or may not have earned last year is a spot on Game of the Year lists. We named it one of our honorable mentions, but GameFAQs users went ahead and called it the Best Game Ever back in December.

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