PAX West 2018: E-Line Media

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

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E-Line Media is a developer whose goal is to create games that have an impact on society. Their first game was Never Alone, based on mythology of Alaskan Native American culture, and now they’re creating The Endless Mission and Beyond Blue, both of which I tried out at PAX West.

The Endless Mission | Cat and pixels

The first of the E-Line Media games I played was The Endless Mission, a creation sandbox game that allows players to combine and mod games of different genres to create something unique. It’s a simplified, more immersed kind of game development tool, where by playing the basic games of the various genres players will unlock its assets to use in their own creations. The demo had three genres to choose from – action-platformer, racing, and RTS – and the extent of the “modding” was randomly combining an environment, genre, and player character to generate a game. For example, by combining racing, a volcano level from the platformer, and the player-controlled army from the RTS, it created a sort of tower-defense game where I had to stop a car from the racing game before it got to the end of the stage, and destroyed all my buildings along the way. There were a few individual values for the elements within the game that I could tweak, but unfortunately nothing too major that significantly changed the game or made it really unique. I hope there’s more to customize in the final game; if nothing else, there should at least be more genres and assets to combine, but I hope there’s more ability to change elements such as physics or control.

Beyond Blue | Twilight Diving

Beyond Blue is an ocean exploration game that puts players in the South China Sea in the near future. E-Line partnered with BBC and their Blue Planet series in order to try and create a scientifically-accurate world, with sea life that actually inhabits the area for the player to find as they explore and progress through the story. While the primary goal of the game seems to be to allow players to explore this particular area of the ocean, there’s also some sort of story, but it’s hard to get a sense for what it’s like from the short demo I played. It seems like there’s not much else to it, at least not to what I played; presumably it would be appealing to people who have more interest in marine biology, but unfortunately that’s just not my personal area of interest. It controls well and the story could very well be interesting, but I don’t think it’s for me.

The Endless Mission | Golden pineapple

Both of the upcoming E-Line Media games show promise, but The Endless Mission‘s demo suffered from not having enough depth to its customization and Beyone Blue simply didn’t focus on a subject that I found particularly interesting. The Endless Mission could absolutely be improved by having more extensive options for its modding, and I hope the final version of the game does in addition to a greater number of assets and genres to choose from. As for Beyond Blue, even if I didn’t think it was particularly exciting I can see the appeal for those more interested in the ocean and marine life. Both games are set to launch on Steam, with The Endless Mission releasing later this year and Beyond Blue in early 2019.

About Chris Melchin

Chris is a computer science student who has been gaming ever since he knew what to do with a Super Nintendo controller. He's a fighting game player, with a focus on BlazBlue and Under Night In-Birth games. His favourite games include Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Persona 5, and Little Busters. He started watching anime in high school, and his favourite series is Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. He also writes Vocaloid music for his personal YouTube channel, and has a (slight) obsession with Megurine Luka.