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The Beginning of the End

making games - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 10/2020 vom 05.08.2020


Making of Endzone - A World Apart

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“With over 100,000 units sold since its launch as Early Acces on Steam and GOG on April 2nd, Endzone - A World Apart can undoubtedly be called a hit game.”

Gentlymads first published title was In Between. The game took first place in the category “Best Young Talent Concept” at the German Games Awards 2016. In Between tells in a sensitive and touching way a story of saying goodbye to life, based on models of death research. The platform puzzler makes the inner conflicts of the dying main character accessible as playable puzzles and invites the viewer to reflect ...

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... on his own transience.

With over 100,000 units sold since its launch as Early Access on Steam and GOG on April 2, Endzone - A World Apart can undoubtedly be called a hit game. A great success for German publisher Assemble Entertainment and their in-house studio Gentlymad, based in Wiesbaden near Frankfurt. And an excellent reason for us to honour Endzone - A World Apart with the cover story of this Making Games issue.

But what kind of work is this surprise hit game? Well, Endzone – A World Apart is a post-apocalyptic survival city builder, where you start a new civilization with a group of people after a global nuclear disaster. The player has to build them a new home and ensure their survival in a shattered world, threatened by constant radiation, toxic rain, sandstorms and droughts.

Super Bad

Unfortunately, the scenario of the game sounds much more realistic than we would like. In 2021, a group of terrorists blew up nuclear power plants around the world and plunged the world into chaos. Only a few were able to escape into underground facilities called “Endzones”. One hundred fifty years later, mankind returns to the surface - under the players command. In an extremely hostile environment full of radioactivity, contaminated rain and extreme climate change, you’ll have to prove your worth as a leader.

In Endzone the invisible danger of radiation is still haunting the surface with contaminated rain. The player has to protect his people from radiation sickness with special gear. You can clean water with active coal filters, build roofs on your fields and dig up the ground as a last resort to remove radiation from your land.

In Endzone, you have to build a settlement on the hostile surface of the earth with over 30 different buildings and take care of your men, women and children. Your job is to gather and refine many different resources and manage your economy by building an efficient infrastructure with streets and depositories.

One of the qualities of Endzone is the dynamically simulated, believable environment. Every ground cell in the game has its humidity and radiation values. If you want to survive, you have to get along with constant threats including radioactively contaminated ground, droughts, toxic rain and sandstorms.

Hard-working Developers

Gentlymad promised the community to listen very carefully to their feedback and publish updates in high frequency. And they kept their word: Since the Early Access starts in April, Gentlymad has already released four updates. The first update (April 16) added expeditions to the game content. The player can now send expeditions to forgotten places and make meaningful decisions that change the fate of your people.

For the second update (May 7) Gentlymad added 17 new side-quests with various tasks and rewards which dynamically adapt to the game.

You can also contact Outlanders now. These are inhabitants of distant settlements and, under certain circumstances, they will move into your camp.

The world is in shambles but some of the manmade fragments still remain. Players can send expeditions to ruins and long forgotten places and make meaningful decisions that change the fate of the people.

Also, Gentlymad completely reworked the tutorial to make it easier for new players to get started by going into the game in more detail.

The next content update (May 28) was bringing the scenario game mode as an alternative to the endless survival mode. Currently, five scenarios with special conditions are available. In the scenario The Long Summer, for example, you have to cope with exceptionally extended periods of drought. The update also includes additional options for adjusting the level of difficulty and the game style, more extensive statistics, a tutorial with music and two new Outlander side missions.

On June 24 Gentlymad Studios released the fourth update. The Technology Update introduced a tech tree to the game, along with additional buildings and upgrades, more side-missions and scenarios.

The fifth update has also already been announced. In addition to further buildings and expansions, there will be a new save system. The influence of radiation on the game will also be adjusted within the framework of rebalancing based on feedback from the community.

There were 4 Students …

Gentlymad UG was founded in 2014 in Trier by the four university graduates Matthias Gundrum, Wolfgang Reichardt, Stephan Wirth and Daniel Denne. With their first work, the award-winning In Between, which deals with the issues of illness and death, Gentlymad 2015 attracted attention. In Between is an atmospheric platformer where you solve mind-bending puzzles by manipulating your surroundings and gravity itself. In Between was rated very positive on Steam and won, for example, the German Video Games Award 2015, the RedDot Award 2014 and was nominated for the German Design Award 2016.

In October 2017 Assemble founded the subsidiary Gentlymad Studios UG, based in Wiesbaden. The developers of Gentlymad UG were fully integrated into the new company. The first Gentlymad game for Assemble was the business simulation Pizza Connection 3, which was rated rather average.

Now it seems that Assemle hit the bull’s eye with Endzone - 100,000 sales after just a few months is not an everyday occurrence for a fairly young publisher like Assemble, even though they have already achieved a respectable success with Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry (2018).

We are happy that Assemble and Gentlymad, despite all the work since the early access start, took the time to let us take a look behind the scenes of the development. Enjoy four exciting articles Making of Endzone - A World Apart!

Assemble plants 33,000 trees

Since April 2, Endzone - A World Apart is available as an Early Access title on Steam and GOG. On July 8, Assemble Entertainment could proudly announce that Endzone has since sold over 100,000 copies worldwide. Of these 100,000 versions sold, the Save the World edition also accounts for over 22,000. For every Save the World edition sold, Assemble Entertainment, as an official partner, plants a tree together with the non-profit organization OneTreePlanted. This time Assemble Entertainment has decided to plant the trees in Brazil. Most recently, a total of 6,974 trees were planted for the early access release, based on the pre-orders of the Save the World-Edition as well as a successful Wishlist campaign, where over 125,000 Steam-Wishlist entries were collected until the early access start, and 4,000 trees were planted in return.