GDC 2017 Games Worth Getting to Know
GDC 2017 is officially wrapped and as our first time, this year did not disappoint. If you haven’t been, the Game Developers Conference is one of the largest annual gatherings focused on games, development, and the game devs who make all the magic happen. Not only do the biggest software, hardware and AAA companies vie for attention; Indie developers also have a huge seat at the GDC table, especially on the Experimental Gameplay Workshop stage. As a result, the conference is a wonderful mixture of games you recognize AND games you discover.
Here are a few of our favourite games from GDC 2017:
“In a time where new gadgets are invented every day this is our final tribute to the keyboard before it becomes extinct.” We saw this game at both the Indie Megabooth and the Experimental Gameplay Workshop (EGW) and it is completely charming. Not only does it reward those of us forced to learn rigorous keyboarding skills in our youth, but it has fantastic music and a clever pun-driven way of communicating the task at hand. There’s a good amount of variety in the mini-games set out on each level, and the animation is incredibly addictive. Developed by Copenhagen-based Triband, you can get more info on the game’s full release planned with Humble here. “Play it today while you still have a keyboard.”
One of the interesting physics-based games we saw all over GDC was Snake Pass. This ‘action puzzle game’ lets you play as an incredibly agile snake, slithering and curling around complex environmental obstacles to reach your goal. The graphics are highly recognizable and approachable, while the actual ‘feel’ of the controls is both a challenge and a lot of fun. Soon to be available on Steam, XBox, Ps4 and Nintendo Switch, we’re looking forward to this latest title from Sumo Digital.
We’ve written about Quench before when we interviewed Tabby Rose, half of the Axon Interactive behind the game. But at this year’s GDC, we finally got to see the gameplay in action and wow… it is gorgeous. Quench is a story-driven game about elemental influence, using elegant low poly triangle art to depict animals and their environment. With the Steam Greenlight, we’re looking forward to spending some more time with this title on release.
Panoptic (mixed VR)
One of our favourite games (and game demos) from GDC 2017 came in the form of an ‘asymmetrical VR game’ called Panoptic that looks incredibly fun. The premise is simple: using PC controls, one player is a tiny being who tries to evade a larger player, a massive panoptic machine, who plays using VR. The magic here is that the PC and VR inputs are each uniquely suited to the player’s goals and movements, something that hasn’t been widely explored in games. It’s clear a lot of iteration has gone into this project, and the Belgian Team Panoptes did a fabulous job of demoing their process at EGW – so much so that they made the development process look almost as fun as playing the game. We’ll be on the lookout for an opportunity to demo Panoptic ourselves.
Sometimes a complex game concept feels so good, you want to learn and master all the tricky little rules no matter what it takes. If you enjoy this kind of challenge, say in programming, Recursed is probably for you. Self-described as ‘a puzzle game where the rooms are items and items are rooms,” it’s a weirdly logical workout for the mind. We also loved the way it was presented at EGW, where the dev walked through a seemingly well-oiled tutorial that got straight to the point of gameplay. If you’re interested, Recursed is available now.
If you attended the Experimental Games Workshop this year, you likely shared a touching moment with the crowd as we remembered Roger Hanna Morash. Roger was one of the developers behind the incredibly unique indie game, Shard but very sadly passed away. His co-developers bravely brought Shard to this year’s EGW and it looks stunning. This ‘fractured cooperative platformer’ plays with repeated shard shapes and emotive colours in a beautiful adventure story for two. We’ll be eagerly watching for more updates.
A Fold Apart
In case you didn’t know, GameDevCafe.com is the “sister site” of Lightning Rod Games, a studio dedicated to creating family-friendly entertainment that touches the hearts and minds of players of all ages. Co-founders Mark and Steven brought their upcoming puzzle platformer, A Fold Apart to this year’s EGW stage at GDC. The game explores long distance relationships and a custom built ‘folding’ mechanic, and thought still in early development it’s gotten a great response so far, including an award for ‘Most Original & Innovative” at the Ubisoft Indie Series. We’ll be featuring some of the team behind this game in the future.
Did we miss something AMAZING at GDC 2017? Probably! There was a LOT to see; but let us know if there is a video game, game dev, or interesting studio team that we should be checking out for a feature. We love to hear your recommendations!
- On March 13, 2017