The Dragon Apocalypse is Coming: An Update on EarthNight

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The Dragon Apocalypse is Coming: An Update on EarthNight

Last year, we announced that EarthNight would be coming to PS4 and PS Vita. Today, I’m excited to share an update on what’s going on with the game and debut a new gameplay trailer. For the uninitiated, EarthNight is a hand-painted runner made to elevate the endless runner genre with console-quality depth and design. The unbelievably talented artist Mattahan paints every frame of every character, and every element of the game.

Each run begins in space. The player must traverse eight beautifully painted layers of the atmosphere, alternating between skydiving and running on the backs of dragons on the perilous journey down to Earth. Unlike other runner games, there is an end — the planet’s surface is the final world: EarthNight. You can learn the basic mechanics in a few minutes, but the game is hard to master. It takes time and dedication to develop the skills to reach EarthNight.

We are creating a game in which each run is unique but feels meticulously hand-designed, where the player always experiences something different while still recognizing patterns. To achieve this we’re using what we call “hand-designed procedural generation.” We’ve broken down each dragon (level) into three chunks: a beginning, middle and end. Each of these chunks has at least five hand-designed variations that spawn procedurally according to a set of rules. This means the most basic dragons have 125 different potential layout variations. The first world contains four different dragons and therefore offers 244 million potential seeds. By World 2, there are over 59 quadrillion seeds and the finished game will have about 6.93 x 10^39 possible seeds. Basically, no matter how many runs you take, your path to EarthNight will always be different.



Even though there are endless seeds, over time hand-designed pieces will become familiar. Recognizing patterns with so many seeds may sound impossible, but keep in mind that the first world only draws from 60 unique possible chunks (15 chunks for each of the 4 dragons.) The player will become acquainted with the first dragon pretty quickly since they begin with it every time. Additionally, each dragon’s chunks fit into a theme — for example, the blue dragon in the first world is pretty easy and a good opportunity to regain health, while the black dragon is absolutely brutal — so despite the layouts being random, your dragon selection has consequences.

We are honored that Doug Holder, who previously worked on Uncharted 3 and The Last of Us, has officially become the eighth member of the EarthNight team. We’d been looking for a special effects artist who could mesh well with Mattahan’s art style for a long time, and we really lucked out. Using shaders and particles, Doug is adding a whole new visual layer to the game. You can see his contributions on the crystal light energy dragon, the flames on Sydney’s dragon spirit, and all new trails on both characters. We look forward to more awesome visual effects from Doug.



I also want to give an update on the game’s music. Our composer, Chipocrite, recently released his latest album, Wordplay, with songs featuring Game Boy, guitar, drums and bass. (If you played EarthNight at E3 last year, you might recognize the track “Little Computer People” from World 1.) He is now fully focused on finishing our soundtrack, and so far it sounds amazing. The game will have chiptune-only versions of songs as well as full-band versions.

The other good news is we’ve finished transitioning to Unity 5. EarthNight is running at 60fps in 1080p on PS4, and it looks beautiful. The bad news is we’re pushing back the release date until late 2016. Rest assured, we are working as hard as we can to finish, but we all feel in our hearts that we have something special here and we need to finish what we started the right way. We are getting there, and I promise we will ship this game as soon as it’s ready.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments — I’d be happy to answer them. Thanks for checking out EarthNight!

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5 Author Replies

  • FrankDaPronStar

    All hail the mighty Vita! Looks like you’re making excellent progress. I’ll keep a tab on this during E3.

  • Looks great guys. Pretty cool news about a former Naughty Dog developer joining the team too!

  • This game is beautiful, and very unique-looking! Glad to see another intriguing title coming to Vita :-D

    Also, I find it amusing that when I see a sentence start with “For the uninitiated…” I expect there to be a “Kinda Funny” in there somewhere ;-)

  • madmanwithabox12

    I hate how Sony is trying to position it more as a PS4 game when the comments on both the EU and NA blogs both show the interest is more in the Vita. If you’re wondering what I mean, check the EU blog where it’s only described as a PS4 title.

  • madmanwithabox12

    They’ve edited it now. Only after people pointed it out though.

  • This game looks so beautiful! Are there going to be any Cross* options? Cross-buy, Cross-play, or Cross-save? I’d love to be able to play something like this on my PS4 so I can enjoy the graphics on a large screen and then still be able to pick it up and play the same save on my Vita. Will there be leaderboards so you can compare scores with your friends? Will the soundtrack be available to purchase anywhere, like Bandcamp?

    • Glad you like it! All the things. We’re supporting Cross buy play and save. There will be leaderboards for a variety of things, Total Water, Dragon Kills, Time. The soundtrack will be available on Bandcamp and on Vinyl… You can check out Chipocrite’s latest album which has some songs from the game here:

  • I spy some new content!

  • I got the chance to play Earthnight back in January at MAGFest. If one thing is for sure, it’s looking to be worth the wait until late 2016. :) Good luck on the game, guys!

  • So this game is comming to Ps Vita or is just Another Ps4 Exclusive!?
    Why the info Show “For Ps4” ….. And Vita??
    Sony realy Don’t about Ps Vita Owners…
    But i’m still believe Sony one day realised that PS VITA IS A PLAYSTATION CONSOLE

  • Will there be a physical retail and more than 2 characters?

    • Don’t think so on the physical release. We are launching with Stanley & Sydney only but I think our first free DLC will be a 3rd playable character. Still two button controls but unique mechanics.

  • I hope that there will not be more “bad news” to come in the future whereby an announcement comes out to say that the game will not come to the Vita after all. Call me cynical, but I’ve learned to expect disappointment when it comes to anything Vita related. I hope these guys prove me wrong as this game looks good and would be very much a welcome addition to our favorite handheld.

  • Surprised that vita version isn’t cancelled.

  • Defintately Feeling Old School NES vibes.

    Not realy into the “runner” genre, with Olli being about as close as I get.

    Would love to see a 2D platformer like that though.

  • You guys should consider a special retail release for this game on both platforms. Kinda like what Retro City Rampage did, you can charge a little bit extra and you can get the game to reach a broader audience. Also, it would be great for collectors.

    • We’ll be releasing a special edition of the game as a vinyl of the soundtrack which will come with DRM free versions of the game on Mac & PC. And maybe PS4 version as well with a download code. And of course a beautifuly designed jacket painted by Mattahan.

  • Game looks great!

  • A. I’m having flashbacks to Odin’s Sphere watching that video.
    B. This looks like one of those games that, after many hours of practice and lots of trial and error, will look awesome when you pull it off perfectly, but will probably be a nightmare of retries until then.
    C. Definitely looks good though.

  • I am making a good salary from home 1500-3000/ Dollers week , which is amazing, under a year ago I was jobless in a horrible economy. I thank God every day I was blessed with these instructions and now it’s my duty to pay it forward and share it with Everyone, Here is I started,,,,,,
    ➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨ WWW.­E­X­T­R­A-S­A­L­A­R­Y­2­4­.­­C­O­M

  • I like the desing, look and flow, but alas the character design seems like a concession to Sarkeesian so it’s not for me.

  • Any chance we’ll be getting a way to turn off the UI? This game is looking great for some beautiful share functionality!

  • Why are so many indie developers coming out with games on just the PS4 and Vita but not including the PS3? I realize that this is to try to sell more PS4 systems but this would appear to potentially cut drastically into sales for PS3 owners such as myself who have not felt the need to jump to the PS3 yet.

  • @20: Because the cell processor is hard to develop for. Vita and PS4 are not.

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