Never Alone publisher E-Line Media announced today that it has a new project in the works called The Endless Mission, a narrative-focused "sandbox-style creation game" that sounds like it will be quite a departure from its predecessor. Players will embark on a journey through a world where they'll "craft games and experiences of their own in the Unity engine—all while challenging forces larger than themselves."
"The Endless Mission explores what it means to shape the technology in our lives versus being shaped by it. It launches players on a journey to a world where nothing is as it seems and the power to shape everything around them exists at the tips of their fingers," E-Line said.
"Those who embark upon The Endless Mission are invited to mashup, mix, and modify games across a wide variety of beloved genres, even manipulating the essence of the game down to the very code itself - creating new experiences and gameplay opportunities as they discover what is at stake for the world as we know it."
That might come across a little off-puttingly educational—like Minecraft, except you're going to learn something useful whether you like it or not—but it sounds like the team is serious about the commitment to telling a proper story, too. It's being written by Sleep Deprivation Lab, a behind-the-scenes production company and consulting firm whose credits include The Crew, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. In fact, this 2015 Business Insider interview calls Sleep Deprivation Lab "the top script doctors in the business," and credits it with creating Ratbag, the dimwitted flunkie who helps out Talion in the Middle-earth games.
The game editor can be seen in a couple of the screenshots below, but they don't say too much about how the game will play in a big-picture sense. Fortunately, James was able to lay eyes on it recently, so let's see what he has to say about it.
Think of The Endless Mission as the Unity engine's Garry's Mod, but with a focused intent on teaching the player every step of the modification process, from simple systemic building blocks based on popular game genres to straight up script editing. The early access release will feature three genres to start (more on the way)—RTS, 3D platformers, and a cart racer—from which you'll be able tweak or mix and match to build unique experiences. Here's a simple example: take the RTS template, reduce the player's control to a single unit, reduce their health, throw in some enemies from the 3D platformer, and task the player with moving from one side of the arena to the other. It's a stealth game now.
The campaign will lead players through these processes all within the 'world' of the story, which will hopefully make the learning process a bit more fun than textbooks can be. But with the ability to edit the script for any in-game element and bring in any Unity compatible assets, we're essentially in for a more featured, fool-friendly machinima studio. I'm curious to see if a community forms around The Endless Mission, or if its educational bend will alienate the internet's top meme makers, but either way it's looking to be an impressive, open toolbox for learning how games work. I wish I had something like this to tinker around in as a kid.
The Endless Mission is expected to be ready for release this summer.