There is a slow but steady shift in direction in the MMO industry from being dominated by fantasy titles to one where gamers have other options, namely in terms of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic games. The smaller game studios producing these titles have some big challenges ahead of them, not the least of which is whether or not MMO gamers will embrace settings and gameplay elements that depart from the fantasy MMO paradigm. One of those newcomers to the MMO scene is Masthead Studios who are developing the post-apocalyptic Earthrise.
This first title from Masthead Studios will present gamers with a futuristic, dystopian setting where two major factions struggle for control over the island of Enterra, the last refuge of humanity after the burn. Continoma are the technocratic elite; they hold the keys to genetic immortality and enforce their ordered societal views on the population they've resurrected. The game's other major faction, Noir, is a shadow government -- the resistance. Earthrise's setting and factional struggles aren't limited to simple right-and-wrong scenarios, though, and this carries over to the gameplay. Players or guilds may align with one faction or another for their own benefit, but the game's numerous sub-factions provide other options for allegiances, or even the possibility of shifting those allegiances.
We had the opportunity to see Earthrise firsthand at GDC 2009 but we've always got more questions. Fortunately, Masthead Studios was willing to oblige. We've had another chance to speak with Masthead Studios CEO Atanas Atanasov about some of the core concepts and lore behind Earthrise, and how their approach to the game and the genre should allow a great deal of freedom for players.