$952 raised out of $120,000

A cooperative third-person survival shooter with strategic defence, crafting elements and an adaptive AI that learns your weaknesses.


Set in the merciless blizzards of a far off planet, The Last Defender is a cooperative (up to 4 players) third-person survival shooter with strategic defence and crafting elements. Nurture your colonists, build your defences and prepare for an enemy that adapts and learns your weaknesses.

Introducing a mash-up of the Survival, Defence & Strategy genres (SDS as we call it) pitching you and/or friends against an enemy that combatively adapts to find weaknesses in your defences. Featuring an all new AI that takes wave-based defence to an unpredictable roguelike realm, layered with comic art storytelling, unique stylised models and textures with swarms of enemy designed to immerse you into a world where the fight to survive is not only with weapons.

After crash landing on a planet you are destined for,  protocol kicks in and you successfully establish a colony despite the ship’s wreckage. Humanity now has a new chance of survival. 

After a number of years of careful nurture, prosperity and harmony is found as your colonists grow up.

Until one night alien shrieks and screams cut through the air, a figure appears through the blizzard, bloody, staggering, hurt and afraid.  All peace is lost. 

Your colonists are in danger and you are their last chance of survival. You are the last defender.

Our story is told with animated comic art


The gameplay is best described as a Survival, Defence & Strategy mash-up, the elements of each of these genres is explained below.  The game mode we’ve been working on (there’s a sandbox mode in the stretch goals which would be a new type) consists of multiple gaming sessions in various zones as you progress towards the story crescendo. In each session, you must repair the core in order to get out of there and progress but you need to gather resources to do so. At the same time, you also need to use resources to build defences, weapons, turrets, traps and start research so pick your strategies carefully and work together as a team (or single player is fine!) to divide and conquer. If you lose a colonist, they are lost for the entire game, if you lose the core, it’s game over for everyone.


Endure a mercilessly hostile alien planet alone, or with up to 3 friends in online 4-player co-op as you venture into the chilling wilds to salvage what you can to secure your colonies defences.

The survival aspect of the game is attributed to the “out of wave” gameplay and also the general feel of the game from a camera, environment and crafting perspective. Surviving outside the base requires planning and inventory management much like a typical survival game.


  •  Resource Gathering  – The game world will feature a number of collectable resources which can be used in crafting, research or core repair. Enemies will also occasionally drop resources.
  •  Crafting – Items such as Weapons, Ammo, Consumables, Buildings, Turrets and Traps can be crafted by combining resources (or other items) together.
  •  Energy – The player requires energy which can be depleted at various rates depending on the distance from the core. Much like hunger in a typical survival game, energy is required to be topped up and sometimes provisioned when venturing further out.
  •  Exploration – Exploration is required to find resources and rare items in the game world. This is a critical part of being able to create the tools needed to adequately defend against the enemy.
  •  Progression – Between game sessions, a permanent progression exists where you can pick a number of traits upgrades & perks to better yourself for more difficult battles and wave encounters.
Gathering resources will be a large part of exploration and general survival


Ensure the continuation of mankind by commanding your colonists, crafting an array of weapons as well as fully customising your defensive setup by building walls, traps, turrets and more as you band together in your fight against an overwhelming enemy force. Fight hard, or risk losing your colonists to the frozen wastes forever.

An unknown roguelike enemy that adapts to the way you play to find your weaknesses. With an evolving intelligent swarm system, no game session is ever the same but the fear always will be.


  •  Enemy Swarms  – Huge numbers of enemies will attack periodically. We’ve planned to develop a variety of enemy from slow and heavy-hitting, to fast and light-hitting both ranged and melee so the AI can choose who to field to be most effective against your defences.
  •  Enemy AI (Darwin) – Adaptive AI that learns from previous mistakes to figure out the best way to come at your defences and which enemy types to be more effective.
  •  Turrets  – Turrets will feature quite heavily in the game and be craft-able from Blueprints unlocked with Research. There will be a variety of turrets causing various damage types that are upgradeable through Research and Resource allocation
  •  Traps – Traps can hurt & slow the enemy and become a key asset in surviving the waves.  Like turrets, they are upgradable through Research and Resource allocation
  •  Structures – Multiple structures such as walls, ramparts, ramps, gates, roofs etc will be available to you to help you plan and execute your defences. Some structures, like walls, will be upgradeable based on Research 
  •  Weapons – An array of ranged, melee  and throwable weapons will be made available to both you and the colonists that cover a variety of damage types. We are favouring more upgrades and Mods over huge amount of weapons so there’s a deeper relationship with your outfitting and less risk of cognitive load from too big a choice. Weapons can be found in the world and/or crafted from Blueprints 
  •  Ammo – Special ammo types also add to the permutations of damage types and become a crucial part to combat in order to pick the right tool for the job.
  •  Armour – Very much the same for weapons, armour can be found in the world and/or crafted from Blueprints. Armour will also have mod slots much like weapons.
  •  Consumables – Short term buffs and one-use items will feature in the game and can be found in the game world, crafted and or dropped by enemies.
  •  Mods – A mod will improve the characteristics of either a weapon or a piece of armour. Some more rare mods will also provide a perk.

Here they come!


When you don’t know where the enemy will come from, how many or which ferocious abomination it is, it becomes a focus to find out! 

Your colonists are key to surviving the waves


  •  Colonist Command – Your colonists are in the fight with you so are available for commanding. As well as general positioning commands, they can also operate turrets and heavy weapons so using them becomes an important strategic play. They can also be equipped with weapons and armour you craft during the game.
  •  Intel – A unique part of our game is that you are not given all the information on when the wave will hit, the volume and mix of enemy types. It is up to you to research and craft items that can provide intel on incoming waves. The better the intel, the earlier you will be warned of approaching attacks. This is very much like scouting in RTS games and we’ve brought that element over to this game.
  •  Research – A research tree allows players to contribute resources to an item they’d like to research. Players can pool together and decide on a research focus. As soon as a research topic has enough resources contributed, it will begin. Research unlocks upgrades and blueprints across many areas of the game.
  •  Core – The main energy source of your base. It provides you with energy to be able to traverse and operate in the game world. The more powerful the core, the more powerful you are. It is the main objective of the game to upgrade the core and protect it at all costs. Once it’s lost, the game is over.
  •  Colonist Progression – Colonists will implicitly get better at doing things the more they do it. If a colonist uses a particularly type of weapon or turret, they become better at handling it and thus more effective. This will especially become important during later waves but the enemy also adapts so it’s also a good idea to progress your colonists in varying ways.

Here’s some video excerpts from our tech blogs covering the Darwin AI and Swarm technology. We recommend you read those for a deeper understanding on some of the extensive work we’ve done on these challenging yet crucial areas of development.

 For more information on Darwin AI, read this Tech Blog on how it was developed.

 For more information on Swarms and the technology used, read this Tech Blog.


We decided at the beginning of the project to focus on the most difficult aspects of development in order to prove out if we could achieve the game we wanted. These were enemy swarms and intelligent AI that adapts between waves which we are able to explain and demonstrate. We’ve effectively taken the biggest risks and tackled them upfront. 

Swarms of enemy pose a challenge to getting performance from having 100’s of units on screen at once.  This is important to us and feel it creates that immersive fun experience in a typical defence style game.

The AI (Darwin) means we can do away with set wave intervals and patterns. It takes the predictability out of it which can become boring once played through. By developing an AI like this, we are able to deliver roguelike gaming experiences that are different each time you play.

With this priority set, we pushed the less challenging developments to later on the roadmap. These include the actual items such as weapons, resource types, consumables, traps and turrets as well as the design work for the UX/UI and HUD. These are all set to come next in our milestone and gameplay footage and update blogs will be released to show the progress we’ve made here.

It’s more rare to see swarms of enemy and adaptive AI than an inventory menu or crafting options so our campaign has more focus on showing you these elements. For this reason we are not able to show you all the various mechanics for survival, crafting and building and turrets/traps at this moment but they will come very soon.

Often times our creations are either based around a great story of which we then try to fit game mechanics to or an opportunity spotted during countless gaming sessions where you can ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’ and develop upon good existing ideas and experiences.

The latter is how our game was formed – essentially the design process starts with a ‘problem statement’, that is, something could be improved based on an existing design ‘issue’. Now it’s harsh to say there’s any major issues with great successful games but it’s fair to say that you can identify improvements and therefore opportunities that would also resonate with gamers.

For us, the game design for The Last Defender was biased to the games we enjoy and it was only when we put pen to paper,  the opportunity to design a genre mash up of Survival, Defence & Strategy became apparent.

Playing Valheim and The Forest, it got us thinking about what if we took the survival ‘feel’, that roaming around, sometimes tranquil, sometimes in dire straights with the single player and co-op multiplayer fun in construction – and give it a tower defence like objective. Now, playing They Are Billions/World War Z etc gave us the perfect blueprint for an adversary and that is swarms of enemy that are both terrifying and fun in equal measure.

Early mood-boarding and game design

With that said, we’re a small studio and game longevity is an issue unless you can spend the time to create a long story or get clever with roguelike features. This became an intense focus, how do you remove the predictability of waves and have different gaming sessions each time that are fun and disarm some player pattern recognition. Yeah you could be ‘random’ but that’s not fun or progressive.

The answer was found in some work previously done on genetic algorithms.  Let’s have an enemy ‘learn’ after each attack and start to discover where it had some success in previous attacks,  essentially always adapting to find the cracks in your defence. The proof of concept worked (see Development section below) and we are also able to use this as a basis for difficulty without doing it the lazy way (e.g. harder difficulty = bullet sponges).

Continuing on this roguelike strand and looking at the strengths of some strategic games, we started forming a story where other colonists under your control made a lot of sense (and actually a key part to the narrative). We introduced perma-death to these colonists (much like XCOM) because it means you care about the people under your command and adds more variability in a gaming session.

So this is how The Last Defender and Basement Games studio were born. 

The art style is the final thing to mention here. We loved the styles of The Journey and Among Trees, so a lot of art direction has been inspired by these games. Essentially take a flowing stylised type of look and add some grit and fear to it. With over 10 years experience in the comic book industry, we carried over a lot of that style to create a compelling visual.

The “Swarmer” unit concept art, terrifying and in great numbers!
Brute concept art
Various enemy concept art
Mech unit painted concepts
Environment mood paintings
Settlement concept art
Protagonist multiplayer concept art

When we set about to design and build The Last Defender, we challenged ourselves to find the best balance of the genre mash-ups of Survival, Defence & Strategy (SDS). Not only do we see this as being an exciting mash-up but also one that can be explored over time as a mission of our studio, always searching for that magic formula of world immersion, survival, togetherness, against the odds, construction and combat.

The soundtrack for The Last Defender is a story of ‘against the odds’, ‘striving in the face of the impossible’ and ‘balancing despair with a glimmer of hope’. These were some of the phrases we used when discussing and designing the music style for the game. There’s inspiration from movie soundtracks with use of strings, horns and choir to really deepen the immersion into the theme of game we’re creating. The orchestral sound palette offers a timeless feel that mirrors the displaced perspective of our characters.

The full soundtrack will feature all the music used throughout the game, recorded at very high quality.

The game will be launched on Steam Early Access for PC.  The minimum requirements will be released once we’re able to establish a number of tests across multiple setups with much of the final gameplay in place. We’ve put performance at the heart of development to promote swarms of enemy on screen at once and will set the minimum where we feel the game experience is met and can still run smoothly.  Our target is accessibility for most common PC setups.

Depending on the success of the PC version, other platforms will be assessed for performance with a view to porting the game. We’ll also be assessing the Steam Deck with a view to being an optimal experience for the device.

All Kickstarter proceeds go towards staff costs. We currently have the team with the skillsets required for the development of the game so the funds will be used to support additional months of development to help hit our quality goals for a Steam Early Access release.