Zone of the Enders
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|Zone of the Enders|
Zone of the Enders logo
|Platform||PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Game Boy Advance, Xbox 360|
Zone of the Enders (ゾーン オブ エンダーズ Zōn obu Endāzu?), commonly referred to by the acronym Z.O.E., is a video game franchise created by Hideo Kojima and the video game publisher Konami, and expanded on by the animation studio Sunrise. The original Zone of the Enders was developed for the launch of the PlayStation 2, which has so far spawned a sequel, a Game Boy Advance side-story, an original video animation, and a twenty-six episode anime television series.
The Zone of the Enders series is set in the late 22nd century. Mankind has colonized Mars, and space colonies are also set up in orbit around Jupiter. Fueling this expansion are two scientific advances: the development of the Laborious Extra-Orbital Vehicle, or LEV, a mecha used for labor and military use, and the discovery of Metatron, a high-energy ore found on Callisto.
However, those in power on Earth begin to take a dim view of the colonists of Mars and Jupiter, calling them "Enders", and imposing harsh and exploitive laws and taxes against them. Eventually, different groups on Mars begin to rise up in opposition to Earth, the most well known of these called BAHRAM. A new weapon given to these rebels is the Orbital Frame, essentially a Super Robot which makes extensive use of Metatron-based technology. These Orbital Frames come to shape the destiny of Earth and its colonies, for both good and evil.
Throughout the Zone of the Enders series, a number of themes and dramatic devices show up prominently. The story usually revolves around two specific Orbital Frames: Jehuty and Anubis, created as the two "keys" of a superweapon called Aumaan. In the first game, BAHRAM forces attack Jupiter's colony Antilia to secure the two Frames, killing several civilians in the process. One of the few survivors, Leo Stenbuck, finds Jehuty and uses it to stop the BAHRAM soldiers. Leo is then hired by the Space Force to deliver Jehuty back to their ship. On his way to the Space Force, Leo rescues several civilians; and often talks with Jehuty's artificial intelligence, A.D.A., regarding the value of life. When succeeding, Leo is once again requested to work for the Space Force to protect the colony from another terrorist attack. Although Leo succeeds in saving the colony, he is saddened by the revelation that A.D.A. is programmed to self-destruct Jehuty in BAHRAM's fortress Aumann. Shortly before the release of the sequel, Konami released a sidestory that explores Leo training in the Space Force and hiding Jehuty.
The sequel, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, is set two years after the first game. The story introduces the player to an ex-BAHRAM operative named Dingo Egret, who stumbles upon the hidden Jehuty. BAHRAM soon finds Dingo; Nohman, the leader of BAHRAM, wishes to have Dingo back on his side. Dingo's reclutance to go back to BAHRAM results in Nohman shooting him. However, Nohman's underling, Ken Marinaris, saves Dingo's life by connecting his body to Jehuty and requests his help to defeat him. Dingo agrees to defeat Nohman after learning from Leo that Jehuty will self-destruct in Aumann. Dingo joins with Leo and the Space Force to defeat the BAHRAM forces. In Aumann, Dingo defeats Nohman and Anubis and then uses the remains of the two Frames to stop Aumann.
Zone of the Enders, the first game in the series, details the story of a boy named Leo Stenbuck, a colonist from Jupiter who accidentally finds himself piloting the Orbital Frame Jehuty.
In Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (known as Anubis: Zone of the Enders in Japan), a new pilot, Dingo Egret, finds Jehuty on the Moon of Callisto two years after the events of the first game and travels to the superweapon Aumaan in order to defeat Colonel Nohman of the BAHRAM army, who pilots Jehuty's sister craft, Anubis.
Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars (known as Zone of the Enders: 2173 Testament in Japan) is a side-story released for the Game Boy Advance, about a conspiracy involving the construction of Orbital Frames for Earth. The protagonist, a young man named Cage Midwell, finds himself getting involved with a resistance organization known as BIS.
At E3 2011, Konami announced the Zone of the Enders HD Collection, a re-release of the two main Zone of the Enders games on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It includes updated interfaces for the HD resolutions, redrawn art, Trophy/Achievement support, improved audio and rumble support. It includes a demo for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, mirroring the first game's inclusion of the Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty demo. A PlayStation Vita version was announced but has not been released.
At an event in May 2012, the HD Collection was given a release date in Japan for October 25. At the same event, Kojima confirmed that work on the next installment in the Zone of the Enders series had begun, and is in the early prototyping phase. The game is to be developed using Kojima Productions' new Fox Engine. However, in May 2013, Kojima said that the team making the game had been disbanded and the project was on hold for the time being.
Zone of the Enders: 2167 IDOLO (released 21 February 2001) is a prequel for the entire series, telling the story of Radium Lavans, the pilot of the first Orbital Frame.
Zone of the Enders: Dolores,i (released April to September 2001) is a followup to IDOLO, following the exploits of James Links, an alcoholic trucker, who, while trying to reunite with his estranged family, discovers an Orbital Frame hidden in one of his shipping containers. The frame, calling itself Dolores, seems to consider James her prince.
Zone of the Enders received moderate success. While the first game obtained good sales in North America as a result of including the demo for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, received mediocre sales. Hideo Kojima cites "errors in setting the release time frame" and being overshadowed by other major titles as the reason it did not achieve high sales.
Critical reception to the two PlayStation 2 titles has been positive. The action elements and graphics generated good response. The sequel was found to have improved several elements from the first game to the point GameSpot called it "what the original Zone of the Enders should have been." Both games have also been criticized to their story modes' short length and mixed views were offered regarding their replay value. The voice acting and script translation has been panned by most writers as it made the character be unappealing and the dialogue repetitive, respectively.
The HD Collection ported by High Voltage Software received mixed reviews, citing that the games' graphics have been improved but suffering from an inconsistent framerate not seen in the PS2 titles as well as suffering from technical issues and lack of special content for all console versions. A patch was worked on by HexaDrive and released which improved textures, anti-aliasing, and framerate, as well as restored other visual effects, but only for the PS3 version and only affected The 2nd Runner HD Edition.
- "Metal Gear and Zone of the Enders HD Collection". IGN. 2011-06-02.
- "Kojima Productions Begins Zone of the Enders Sequel Project". Andriasang. 2012-05-25. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- Sal Romano (May 3, 2013). "Enders Project stopped, team disbanded". Gematsu. Retrieved 2013-05-05.
- Pavlacka, Adam (November 25, 2001). "Video Games - 'Metal Gear Solid 2' is a must-have". Courier News (Sun-Times Media Group): D3.
- Welsh, Oil (October 20, 2009). "Kojima promises Zone of the Enders 3". Eurogamer. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
- Smith, David (March 26, 2001). "Zone of the Enders". IGN. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Sanders, Shawn (March 1, 2003). "Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner review". GameRevolution. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- Varanini, Giancarlo. "Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner review". GameSpot. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- Dunham, Jeremy (March 10, 2003). "Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner review". IGN. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- Satterfield, Shane (March 28, 2001). "Zone of the Enders". GameSpot. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Fahey, Rob (October 13, 2003). "Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
- "Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner". Electronic Gaming Monthly. May 1 – September 2, 2003. Archived from the original on March 11, 2004. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
- Zone of the Enders - Konami Official Site, contains concise background information of the first title.
- Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - Konami Official Site, contains concise background information of the sequel.
- Zone of the Enders HD Edition - Konami Official Site for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 HD ZOE remastered versions.
- Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars - Konami Official Site, contains concise background information of the Game Boy Advance handheld ZOE title.
- Zone of the Enders: 2167 Idolo - Official site for the ZOE Idolo OVA.
- Zone of the Enders: Dolores,i - Official site for the ZOE Dolores,i TV series.