Here's everything we know about the new Minecraft game being developed in the North East
A brand new game in the Minecraft universe is on its way, and it's being developed by a studio based right here in the North East.
Middlesbrough's Double Eleven are hard at work on Minecraft Dungeons, a new game that takes the blocky formula of the original and presents it in a whole new light.
The studio are partnering with original Minecraft creators Mojang, to develop the console editions of the game and its online and multiplayer systems.
Here's everything we know about the new game:
What do you do in Minecraft Dungeons?
Minecraft Dungeons is a standalone game from the hugely successful Minecraft franchise.
But unlike the original game, Minecraft Dungeons has no crafting or building. You won't even have the ability to destroy blocks!
Instead, it focuses on being a dungeon crawler game; a game in which the heroes navigate a labyrinthine environment, battling monsters, avoiding traps, solving puzzles, and looting any treasure they may find.
In Minecraft Dungeons, these dungeons are randomly-generated and filled with randomly-generated monsters, so no two play sessions will be the same.
"Fight or flee through canyons, swamps and - of course - mines!" says the game's official synopsis,
And the reason you're fighting your way through these dungeons? You're on an epic quest to save the villagers and take down the evil "Arch-Illager".
Players will also have to contend with traps, puzzles, and finding treasure, and unlike more in-depth RPG style games, there is no class system.
Instead, players can use any weapon or armour they wish, to keep the game more accessible to Minecraft's younger fanbase.
"Discover a trove of powerful new weapons and items that will help you defeat ruthless swarms of new-and-nasty mobs.
"Any adventurer brave or foolish enough to explore this blocky and beautiful world will need to come prepared. So quickly, gear up!"
The game will also include up to four player co-operative multiplayer, so you'll be able to brave the dungeons alone, or team up with friends.
When can I play Minecraft Dungeons?
The exact release date of Minecraft Dungeons hasn't yet been confirmed, but the game is expected to be launched in April 2020.
It will be available to play on home computers (including Macs), as well as all of the major games consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The game will also be coming to Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft's virtual gaming subscription service - think Netflix for video games.
Users pay £7.99 a month and get access to a library of more than 100 titles to download and play on their console for as long as they are a subscriber.
Who are Double Eleven?
Double Eleven is a game development studio based in Middlesbrough formed in 2009 by former developers from Rockstar Games, the studio behind the hugely successful Grand Theft Auto series.
Originally contracted to work exclusively with Sony Computer Entertainment, the team worked on some big titles in the early 2010s, including the BAFTA-nominated LittleBigPlanet for the handheld PlayStation Vita console.
During this time working, Double Eleven opened an additional studio in Leeds, and also have an office in Birmingham. Since going independent, the studio has focused on bringing games to new platforms, like the award winning Goat Simulator.
“It’s a real honour to help with the creation of such an exciting, high-profile release as Minecraft Dungeons”, said Lee Hutchinson, founder and CEO of Double Eleven.
“This December  will mark Double Eleven’s 10th anniversary, and in that time we’ve developed a track record of technical expertise and creativity. This milestone highlights the next phase of the team’s expansion, and we’ve got more exciting announcements still to come this year."
Double Eleven were named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in the UK gaming industry in both 2018 and 2017.
Is the original Minecraft shutting down?
There were reports across the world that the end is nigh for Minecraft, but as it turns out, these stories originated with prank website Channel45News.
The tale then got picked up by a few legitimate news outlets who didn't realise it was bogus, instigating a brief panic across the Minecraft-verse.
However, Microsoft's community manager took to Twitter in early January to clear things up: "Hey folks, I can confirm that Minecraft servers are NOT shutting down in 2020. It’s just a stupid hoax. Feel free to pass this along."
Minecraft is far from death's door, and last May, the game celebrated its 10th birthday with Microsoft announcing it had sold 176 million copies to date.
That makes it one of the best-selling games of all time, beating out the last Grand Theft Auto by around 60 million copies.
At the same time, a new Minecraft game was also announced - a Pokemon Go-esque augmented reality version called Minecraft Earth which will see players working together to build things out in the real world.
Minecraft also remains the most popular game on YouTube, with Minecraft-related content responsible for around 100 billion views on the video platform.