Die by the Sword is a computer swordfighting game developed by Treyarch, and published by Tantrum Entertainment (a sub-brand of Interplay Productions) on February 28, 1998. The title's main selling point was the introduction of the VSIM control system, which allowed players to independently command the movement and swordfighting of their ingame avatars; running, jumping, and turning with one hand, while simultaneously slashing, stabbing, and parrying with the other. While many games of this type allow for a similar dualism, Die by the Sword remains to this day unique in its treatment of physically correct and force based melee combat, as described below.
While the game was well received by critics, the PC releases of Eidos's popular—but only superficially similar—Tomb Raider franchise overshadowed and crippled Treyarch's sales figures. In large part this was due to what are widely viewed as very difficult controls, challenging gameplay, and a steep learning curve for novice players.
Die by the Sword also offered deathmatch and cooperative multiplayer play in its arena mode, where players could stage fights with up to three other players. The lack of a match-making service precludes any significant online community, which when combined with a poor online interface relegates the title to local games only.
The official expansion pack Limb from Limb, released December 31, 1998, added another main quest for single player enthusiasts, enhanced multiplayer through a selection of significantly more creative arenas, and introduced new playable characters such as the Minotaur.