Monolith of Minds

Basecamp Under the Floating Ruins

Basecamp Under the Floating Ruins

War of the Five

As the black bear crushes the kangaroo’s head,
the manic kangaroo slays the lonely wolf,
as the wolf’s fangs rips through the dragon’s skin,
the majestic dragon burns the eagle’s feathers,
as the eagle’s claws blinds the bear forever.
And in the end they all are fed.

—Children’s verse

In the struggle for economic advantage and global dominance, all were pulled into the last great war of the 20th century.

The world’s nations gathered under the overwhelming continental federations of the American Twin, the Asian Alliance, Europe, Australia and the Russian Federation. As each country’s allegiance was tested to the breaking point, they ultimately collapsed under an emergent arms race of betrayal as presidents and parliaments moved to sell out their allies before being double-crossed themselves.

Spanning almost 45 years, the War of the Five brought destruction and misery to every corner of the earth with fire and iron, nuclear force, floods, mass migration, weather manipulation and of course that crucial device to fuel it all: Propaganda.

Damage to civilization and the Earth’s ecology was so severe that by 2080 the desperate survivors agreed to never allow such a tragedy happen to humanity ever again. A new world government was built to unite the people under the flag of the Infinite Empire — to protect and care for everything alive.

At the time, few suspected that this had been planned long before the war had even started.

Views from the Monolith 005

Basecamp Under the Floating Ruins

We went into our second Gathering knowing that we’d have a blast. Being the last of the core narrative, Arc III is an open, loud and upbeat area full of destruction, mayhem and gore.

“A sick corruption has taken over the Fallen City, driving the royal household from the Stadium. The hysteric servants tell us that the King went missing, and that his three generals disappeared into the Sea of Flesh in search of him.”

Building up such a scenario involves conversation, riddles and battle; all carefully balanced and distributed across the vast landscape of these ruined lands. We improved paths, created new characters and scattered plenty of objects and destructables.

In doing so we revisited some older enemies that lacked movement patterns or updated animations.

Certainly the most dramatic work of this Gathering has been done on the music. In general Resolutiion features a soundtrack that balances lush, ambient tracks with heavy industrial beats. For the combat-heavy Stadium, Gerrit brought out the Metal guitars and shredded to the unfolding devastation.

Looking Up

Without defining a clear release-date, we can still feel the inevitable creep closer: one day in 2019 the team will hit the “ship”-button, and the world can play — and judge — Resolutiion.

Besides the core game we will need plenty of media, marketing, quality assurance, testing, community support, and more. Being independent means, that most of those tasks can’t be outsourced due to money, time or complexity — we will have to do all of it on our own.

This insight is liberating and overwhelming at the same time, and we are not the first, nor the last to do so. Let’s give credit to some amazing people, who have managed to ship lesser-known indie games we enjoyed recently:

01 Super Rad Raygun is a great homage to classic Mega Man games, with Gameboy aesthetics and a cynical narrative about US imperialism.

02 With minor flaws all around, Shadow of Adam is still a very enjoyable RPG, with vibrant colors and plenty of classic Final Fantasy moments.

03 The Way has an insanely cool pixel look, and tons of well crafted puzzles. If you liked Another World or Flashback, but got frustrated with the fighting, this one’s for you.

04  After more than 40 hours in the handcrafted world of Hollow Knight it is easily the best Metroidvania since Axiom Verge. However, the story is a bit cryptic and hard to follow.