Legends of Aria (opens in new tab) developer Citadel Studios has taken the wraps off a new project called The End, a multiplayer survival game set in a "crumbling heaven" where players will do battle with action-RPG-style hack-and-slash combat and magic.
Players in The End will strike out on solo quests for magical relics that will grant them access to powerful equipment and spells. Combat will be action-oriented rather than stats-based, while magic is intended to feel more like a "frag shooter," with splash damage and effects taking priority over precise targeting.
"Many spells are thrown to a ground location versus being ‘sniped’ or launched as a projectile," the studio said. "This offers a very unique and tactile experience to casting and offers an element of first-person twitch, but with a skill curve that welcomes beginners and tests more advanced players."
Players with greater ambitions can team up in warbands of up to five and fight for control over the game's persistent, conquerable domains. Warbands must first summon a "Feud Stone," which will enable them to declare a feud with a defending warband, engage in a period of warfare, and ultimately join in a "Battle for the Hamlet," some of which will take place in the game's open world.
It sounds something like a scaled-down version of the realm-vs-realm warfare in MMOs like Warhammer Online (opens in new tab) or the still-in-development New World (opens in new tab), but Citadel said that keeping warbands relatively small in size is intended to help ensure that the action is fully accessible to players who can't, or don't want to, be part of a big outfit.
"Warbands form the backbone of The End and we aim to guarantee that smaller groups of friends or strangers can fully experience and engage in our gameplay," the studio explained.
That also feeds into Citadel's desire to "turn the concept of ‘end game’ in the survival genre on its head" in The End by prioritizing individual accomplishment over large, powerful clans—or, to look at it another way, by ensuring that nobody has the chance to get too friendly.
"We’re hugely inspired by the sagas and mythology of the Norse. Most interesting to us is the notion of record, the legacy by which a great warrior is held and judged," Citadel said. "In creating The End we made the notion of a warrior’s record central to our setting, to our theme and incorporated throughout our system and content design.
"The End will feature a Feat system, designed to track each player's record during their own eternal saga. From combat and territorial conflict, cleansing and summoning to slaying mythical creatures and ancient spirits in epic encounters—just as the saga celebrates victory and death, we too will follow your legacy."
The Feat system also provides the basis for The End's take on permadeath: Players will always come back, but legacies and feats, and the options they unlock, may not.
It's still very early in the process, but I like the underlying idea of a persistent survival sandbox with a more personal bent—a bit like a game of For Honor that never ends, maybe. (And also, everyone's a Viking.) A release target hasn't been set yet, but there's a website where you can follow along at theendsurvival.com (opens in new tab).