The Endless Mission
Games that give players creation tools can breed all sorts of creativity. We've seen this in Garry's Mod, Minecraft, and more. Even PlayStation has shown interest by publishing Media Molecule's Dreams, a sandbox game all about creating your own worlds.
E-Line Media, the developer behind 2014 platformer Never Alone, noticed the trend and has announced its own iteration. Named The Endless Mission, this creation-centric sandbox game gives you all the development tools you need to create a game from the ground up. You don't have to worry about coding, unless you want to. E-Line Media teamed up with Endless Interactive's Matt Dalio, who builds software for developers. E-Line Media and Endless then created a stripped-down toolset that's accessible to anyone, even for those who have never developed a game before.
The Endless Mission aims to be a community-driven game where you can share and explore worlds created by others too. All of these worlds can be found in the main hub area called The Terminal, which takes the form of a crisp, futuristic station with hallways leading to different experiences.
"Right from the beginning, we're setting up this austere space that's really representative of the raw code potential upon which you're going to build your game creations," says creative director Brenden Sewell. "Like an airport terminal has gates that take you to different destinations, this terminal will be filled with game worlds that both we've created as well as for celebrating the entities our community will create."
The team plans for The Endless Mission to have a narrative focus as well, which helps it stand out from other sandbox games. The story mode is being written by Sleep Deprivation Lab, a production company that has writers who have worked on Red Dead Redemption and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.
When it launches in early access on Steam, The Endless Mission will have three playable worlds that take the form of different genres. These templates include a Banjo Kazooie-like 3D platformer, a kart racer, and a real-time strategy game. These three worlds will each have unique content. For example, the 3D platformer will be packed with quests, activities, and boss fights. The worlds can then be shaped by the player with modding tools. You can mix-and-match different assets and environments from these genres to build your own unique experience, or you can start completely from scratch and import your own art and assets from external programs.
"We intentionally chose these three genres to be as distinct as possible from one another, both in terms of mechanics and visuals," Sewell says. "It's important because having a further distance between the visuals and the mechanics of these games really is filling out the palette that players can have access to when they're constructing their own variances."
When adjusting and modding these worlds, you have access to surface-level tools such as sliders. For example, if you wanted to give your avatar or character the ability to jump higher, all you have to do is interact with the slider. E-Line Media wants to give players the ability to build on these worlds in unique ways by experimenting. For example, you can grab the minimap from the RTS game and instead bring it over to a platfomer you're creating. Similar to the concept of Rocket League, which mashes up car combat with soccer, E-Line Media hopes players will build creative mash-ups.
However, Sewell believes that The Endless Mission isn't just for creating games – it's a creation tool that can be used for many different reasons. "It's not just about creating games. You can create machinima, individual assets, and mix-and-match the assets we provide," Sewell says.
The Endless Mission's official release is TBA, but it launches on Steam Early Access in August.