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Earthrise dev blog shows off the beauty and horror of the Cascade Mountains

James Egan

The first MMO we're going to see from independent game developer Masthead Studios is Earthrise, a post-apocalyptic title that's bringing some new things to the table in the sci-fi/post-apocalyptic genre. If you've played games like Fallout 3, the setting of Earthrise will be quite different from what you might be expecting. The game will take place on a sprawling island called Enterra, with regions and environments ranging from lush jungles to futuristic urban centers. Of course Earthrise will have the requisite shattered city environments we'd expect of a post-apocalyptic backdrop, as well.

Masthead Studios recently explained how terrain will impact gameplay, having written about some of the game's man-made environments like the Industrial Area. Now they're ready to discuss more about Enterra's natural environment with the Cascade Mountains, the focus of the latest Masthead Studios dev blog they've written for

The dev blog explains how the game's Cascade Mountains environment ties in with Earthrise's lore, through a terraforming initiative interrupted by civil war between the Noir and Continoma factions. While Continoma, the game's technocratic elite, live in a thriving metropolis, the Noir resistance inhabits a lush, terraformed jungle setting designed by the faction's bio-engineers.

The man-made constructions players will encounter in Noir territory are, as Masthead Studios describes, compact structures that suit their guerrilla warfare tactics: "Noir teams are always ready to launch an intercepting teleport strike against enemy trespassers. Thus the trained rebel forces could easily defend the rugged plateaus, overgrown ridges and the narrow bridges that connect them against any enemy attack, while exploiting defensive advantage of the mountainous terrain."

On that topic of defense, the devs explain that Noir scientists have ways of controlling mutant populations in the region, using them as an outer perimeter of sorts to prevent incursions by their enemies. They've collected a bestiary in the dev blog, explaining and showing Stranglers (camouflaged jungle stalkers), Boghorrors (reptilian hunters), and probably the worst of all, Dreadmoths.

These genefreaks defy any clear species classification, but Dreadmoths have traits in common with wasps and spiders. Also, they need *you* to reproduce. They stun their prey with a sonic attack that targets the victim's nervous system, leaving them helpless against what's to come. A stinger injection of paralyzing venom later, and the Dreadmoth dies attached to the host, as its body fuses with the victim. Dreadmoth larvae will eat through its mother's body and bore into the host, literally eating their way out. That is not the way you want to leave this world, but we're seriously hoping they can actually kill you like this through gameplay.

The latest dev blog from the Earthrise team also includes some rather gorgeous images from the game, both of the jungle environments and the things within that will stalk you. If you're interested in seeing more of what Earthrise can offer, the latest Masthead Studios dev blog on is a must-read.

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