PAX East 2018 – Saving the World in Earthnight!

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Earthnight, by Cleaversoft, is a procedurally generated infinite runner hand painted in an anime style set during a dragon apocalypse. coming to PS4, PSVita. and PC/Mac later this year. That sure is a lot to unpack, but it my demo was so good when I played it at PAX East that its worth digging in to every detail we can about it. The game has been in development for several years at this point. So long, in fact, that it started when infinite runners were just starting to pick up steam on mobile devices. The team  at Cleaversoft wanted to make a game together and decided on a project that improved on the genre by adding more depth. They wanted to take Infinite runners to new heights so they decided to go into space… with dragons.

 

The most striking thing about Earthnight is the art style. Every frame of animation is hand drawn by a brilliant artist in an anime style. The two main characters, a 14 year old girl name Sydney and a freelance photographer named Stanley, are beautifully animated. Their detailed running and jumping animations each help to give them as much personality as a few dozen pages of dialogue and backstory. Even the character selection screen serves to illustrate their character.

The level design is important, too. The team created something they like to call “hand-designed procedural generation.” They divide each dragon into three different core components: a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each of those components has at least five different hand-designed variations that spawn based on a set of rules. This means that players will be able to master the different segments as they play the game, but their time with the game will never be the same.

The action is also very fast. The characters run on their own so the only way that players can control them is through timing their jumps. Stanley, the photographer, is the easier of the two characters to control. He doesn’t have as many options for movement so it will be easy for even novice characters to pick him up and do well. Sydney, on the other hand, is incredibly difficult to control. I played a few rounds as Stanley and got cocky so I tried to take a turn with her. I paid for it at first because she controls very differently. The biggest difference between the two of them is that she can dash forward after jumping. This might not seem like a big deal, but the added choice mixes things up a bit. That dash can help you get onto far away ledges, but it can also land you in big trouble.

We will, hopefully, be getting our hands on Earthnight later this year. I asked the developers about other consoles and they didn’t have anything to announce at the time. I am hoping that this one finds it sway to as many platforms as possible. It is too pretty not too.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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