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The Never Alone publisher's next project focuses on game development rather than cultural education

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Introducing The Endless Mission

Back in late 2014, E-Line Media released Never Alone -- a gorgeous platformer with the ambitious goal of teaching players about an indigenous Alaskan people. It wasn't perfect, but it did what it hoped to. Never Alone used video games to educate us about a world culture that most people didn't know much about. It was fascinating to imagine a whole line of these games that raise cultural awareness.

For its follow-up project, E-Line Media isn't doing that. While E-Line still aims to educate, it's shifting the exact intent. Its next title is called The Endless Mission, and it tries to teach people how to make games through increasingly difficult means of creation -- from asset placement all the way down to writing code.

The Endless Mission is initially presented as a hub of sorts, a home base with branches to all kinds of different activities. Playing is just as much a part of this game as the development aspects. Developer Endless Interactive has made a number of smaller experiences that semi-tutorialize how different genres should look.

For instance, our GDC demo showed off an adventure platformer with a pirate cat mascot, a futuristic-seeming racer, and some sort of real-time strategy campaign. On their own, they appear to be decent enough little things that introduce people to the nuts and bolts of those particular types of games. However, by actually playing them, you'll unlock those assets for use in your own creations.

That's where The Endless Mission starts to show its potential. In our meeting, E-Line took that pirate cat and put it inside the racer. Cats aren't as fast as cars, so beating them to the finish line required platforming outside the racetrack to find shortcuts. That seems like the most rudimentary level of learning Endless Interactive has to offer.

From there, it gets more complicated in ways that were tough to show off in a 30-minute demo. E-Line assures us that The Endless Mission's, uhh, mission is to teach game development. It'll have tutorials for more advanced development tools but it's unclear how that'll work. The bit about players eventually learning how to code for themselves makes it seem as if The Endless Mission will go so far as to teach all the mechanics of developing a game. We'll see.

E-Line was adamant about The Endless Mission being positioned as a consumer/entertainment product rather than being licensed out to schools as an educational tool. Honestly, after this first look, it seems like a Roblox that doesn't have a decade's worth of experience and tens of millions of active users. The onus is on The Endless Mission to set itself apart. That begins this summer when it's planned to release on Steam Early Access.

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Brett Makedonski
Brett MakedonskiManaging Editor   gamer profile

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