As news about terrible wildfires sadly pile up around the world every summer, Endling: Extinction is Forever comes to deliver both an emotional story and an important eco-conscious message. We played its demo as part of the ID@Xbox Summer Game Fest Demo Event, but now the full game is releasing on PC, Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation on July 19, and we caught up with Herobeat Studios' Javier Ramello to learn much more about the game's premise.
"One of the pillars of the game was to make the cubs emotional so that you could create a bond with them and feel like they're a part of you", the CEO says in the video interview below about the accompanying characters, which literally are a part of you as they show in the womb of the player-controlled mother fox on the game's welcome screen. "But at the same time we didn't want them to be something frustrating that you have to carry with you".
"So, what we did was to create kind of a metroidvania gameplay where your cubs start learning skills as you progress in the game", Ramello continues, "so you can revisit places you have been before, but now you are with your cubs, and they are bigger and stronger than and they have more skills so they can help you to get food in places where you couldn't do it by yourself before".
This being the case, the loss goes beyond the emotional layer: "If one of the cubs dies, because it's something that can happen in this game, you will lose the skills they've learnt, so it's very important for players to try to keep them safe, not only because you feel attached to them, and because you love them, but also because they are very important for your progression, and they will make things easier for you".
There's permadeath for the cubs if you keep on playing after losing one, but "you can always try and reset the day" if you want to see the better ending to Endling.
"There are many things that are dynamic depending on the number of cubs that you have", Herobeat's head stresses. "For instance, the song design of the game has been prepared so it changes depending on the number of cubs, because each one of the cubs is represented by one musical instrument. So, if one of the cubs dies, the song changes and you can feel the sadness in the soundtrack because you are missing one of the instruments". With this, the idea is to "let players experience how we have destroyed the world and how harsh it is for innocent animals, and everything from the perspective of one of those animals".
In Endling, Manel Gil-Inglada's original soundtrack will be played by Tina Guo and Rusanda Panfili. In the full interview we talk about taking paths into the background, or about the eco-friendly packaging for the PC's physical edition.