Zone of the Enders
|Zone of the Enders|
Zone of the Enders logo
|Platform||PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, 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 OVA movie, and a twenty-six episode anime series.
Common themes 
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, a mecha making 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 part of the Aumaan project as two 'keys'. Each frame ends up on opposite sides of the conflict (one found by the unwitting protagonist, the other in the hands of BAHRAM), and the final confrontation is between the two and their pilots (or "frame-runners", as the pilots are called in-universe). The two main Orbital Frames in each series, such as Jehuty and Anubis, are named after Egyptian gods. Also, many of the bosses and enemies in the series (like the Mummyhead), are linked to ancient Egyptian culture and myth.
The main character of the story usually comes across the Orbital Frame by accident. The main character's Orbital Frame comes with an advanced, intelligent, female artificial intelligence, who becomes a major character in her own right. A subplot throughout the series is the growth and development of the A.I., as well as her attachment to her runner. However, IDOLO reverses this concept; the Metatron's "consciousness" takes over the mind of the Frame's pilot, driving him/her insane.
There is often a clear ethical distinction between protagonists and antagonists that is determined by their respect, or lack thereof, for human life. The heroes are typically the ones who attempt to save other people and spare lives when possible including the lives of their enemies, while the villains can be identified by a disregard for human life and a willingness to sacrifice innocent people to further their cause.
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. As of Q1 2013 the PlayStation Vita version has not been released and there is no official release date or word on whether it is still going to release from Konami.
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 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 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 critical success. While the second game in the series, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, was more "well-received by the press and users", 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.
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.
- "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 05-05-2013.
- 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.
- Zone of the Enders: The Unofficial Site - Unofficial Zone of the Enders site. Contains various information on Zone of the Enders media.