Based in Edinburgh, Scotland
Dead End Job merges the frantic, addictive, highly replayable gameplay of a procedurally generated twin-stick shooter with the iconic look of a 90s cartoon.
You take on the role of Hector Plasm, a worker at Ghoul-B-Gone – the #1 experts in paranormal pest control. Blast ghosts and then suck them up using your trusty vacuum pack, as every ghost you catch, citizen rescued, and job completed is added to the client’s bill.
Literally haunted by your former partner-cum-mentor who didn’t come back from a job one night, they’re training you up to earn the hallowed status of “Employee of the Month” when they claim you’ll be ready to avenge their death by taking on the mythical ghoul that killed them.
Have you got what it takes to be the best at putting pests to rest?
Dead End Job began as the answer to a question: "What does a twin-stick shooter look like with no guns?". The initial idea of tidying messy hotel rooms with a vacuum cleaner was improved by adding ghosts (the team have since found that most things are improved by adding ghosts), and Dead End Job came to (un)life.
Approaching ghost hunting as if it were any other kind of pest control really appealed to Tony. Not making it gritty or realistic, but taking something fantastical and finding humour in the most mundane aspects, such as itemised client invoices that list every ghost caught, as well as how many biscuits were eaten. This led to the idea of being an employee - far from a hero ridding the city of spectres, just a regular Joe doing his unremarkable job - working day in day out charging clients and making money for "The Man".
Management offering (ultimately a bit meaningless) carrots such as gradually more overblown job titles and an "Employee of the Month" award all struck home and felt like great ways to ground the characters and make them relatable, as well as providing an easily understandable jumping off point for aspects such as leveling up and the meta-game.
The final element the team needed to nail was a visual style. They were keen to avoid pixel art, as so many action rogue-like shooters use this and it felt a little played out in the genre as a result. They wanted something bright, eye-catching and sharp, and inspirations from 90's cartoons were soon flowing thick & fast.
- Clean houses, offices and other buildings of ghosts using your trusty vacuum pack and a whole range of supernatural items.
- Drop in/drop out couch co-op, as your mentor appears to lend a hand!
- Failing a job isn't game-over! Compete with other employees to be crowned as "Employee of the Month".
- Stunning cartoon-quality high resolution artwork inspired by favourites like Ren & Stimpy.
- Featuring original music by the award-winning Will Morton (Grand Theft Auto series).
- Twitch integration allows viewers to help or hinder the streamer by choosing their powerups.
Announcement Trailer (March 2017) YouTube
Logo & Icon
Awards & Recognition
- "PocketGamer Big Indie Pitch Winner" November 2017
- "Develop Indie Showcase Official Selection" July 2017
Dead End Job coming to Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch announcement destructoid.com.
Dead End Job Looks Like a 2D Luigi's Mansion
Dead End Job reveal eurogamer.net.
About Ant Workshop
Ants - tiny, strong, focussed, good at working with others to achieve their goals and often with a nasty bite. Some of these characteristics (not so much the bitey ones) are also shared by Ant Workshop, a small independant game developer and game design consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
More information on Ant Workshop, our logo & relevant media are available here.
Dead End Job Credits
Design & Code, Ant Workshop
UI & Graphic Design, Freelancer
Xalavier Nelson Jr.
Additional Writing, Freelancer
PR & Marketing, Freelancer
Project Management, Freelancer