Geneviève's Thoughts from E3

In this second part of our blog post about E3, Geneviève talks about the most interesting things she saw, and recaps the highlights from the show. Our first part of this included Rich's thoughts, which you can read about here.

Geneviève E3 Thoughts

PC Gaming Show

The indies really shone during the presentation by PC Gamer, which is always a hopeful thing to witness. Also, I couldn’t help but notice all of the Community Managers representing their game on stage. Maybe one day…

Here are thoughts on some of the games shown:

Satisfactory, which seems to play somewhat like No Man’s Factorio, wins the prize for best game name.

There seems to be a new genre in indies: taxi driver games. Between Neo Cab’s futuristic dystopian Uber vibes, and Night Call’s Noir fiction atmosphere, the future promises opportunities to nosily explore the lives of passengers while trying to solve a greater mystery. The idea of using fleeting social encounters to paint a bigger picture certainly sounds interesting.

Untitled Publisher appeared and introduced three eye-catching games. Bravery Network looks like a Cartoon Network fighter and… smoocher? Morning Star cleverly taps into everyone’s play-farming desires before lifting the curtain and offering something much, much bleaker. Finally, Overwhelm (which is out now!) looks like a stylish and juicy pixel art shooter metroidvania. That string of words is music to my ears.

The game I am by far the most excited for in the PC lineup is Sable, an absolutely breath-taking exploration game with an underused graphic novel art style. Just upload my soul straight into this game, please and thank you.

On the other hand, my favorite segment was when they showed Two Point Hospital. A completely bonkers game and some brilliantly handled technical difficulties came together to create an adorkable presentation. This is exactly why the PC Gaming Show is my favorite every year since its inception: the vibe is gleefully casual and wholesome, in no small part thanks to Sean “day[9]” Plott who is crazily charming as a presenter and totally an inspiration for me as a public figure in games.

Other highlights: Jurassic World Evolution’s trailer was narrated by Jeff Goldblum (yaass); Stormland looks gorgeous but is a VR game (boo); Klei is being delightful as ever with their upcoming expansion Don’t Starve: Hamlet; the ambitious Noita is a procedurally-generated rogue-like where each individual pixel responds to physical events (!); Ooblets looks ever so jolly but gameplay remains a mystery; and finally Maneater had the best trailer and I won’t say more because you should just watch it.

2018-06-21 Maneater.jpg

Others

EA simultaneously announced and released Unravel Two, a magical-looking co-op (or solo) sequel to the game that charmed us with its adorable yarn character on a mission. Their other game that caught my eye was Sea of Solitude, which seems both vibrant and gloomy and has got me under its spell.

Microsoft showed gameplay footage of Ori and the Will of the Wisps, which somehow looks even prettier and more endearing than the first game.

2018-06-21 Ori.jpg

Sony went all out with the queer in their trailer for The Last of Us Part II, and if you hadn’t heard this already, I’m not sure how you managed that. In any case, it was a beautiful trailer for sure, and the contrast between Ellie’s normal romantic teenage life moment and her fighting in a post-pandemic world was striking to say the least. I wonder how (or if) that will translate in the actual game.

Ubisoft’s trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2 was also cinematically pretty awesome, with an exciting reveal of Jade’s presence in the game, which fueled both my excitement at the promise of this prequel and my anticipation about whether it’ll feel anything like the original.

Of course we were also treated to more cinematic footage for Kojima’s unquestionably unique brain-child Death Stranding. It’s starting to make more sense, but also, kind of not? The very first shot of the trailer might encapsulate my feelings at this point most aptly. (Look it up, you won't be disappointed.)

One thing I did not see coming was Captain Spirit, a standalone game in the Life is Strange universe about an imaginative young boy, as well as my strong interest for it. I haven’t engaged with the LiS games at all, but there’s something about the magic of childhood imagination that looks so beautifully captured that I want to experience it.

In the midst of their totally unhinged “fake” conference, Devolver Digital announced My Friend Pedro, a tactical shooter platformer where you embody a character who is just as graceful as he is badass. Ballet, gunfights, and skateboards? I’m in.

Finally, Nintendo’s e-presentation showed the same kind of restraint we’ve come to expect from them in terms of announcements about their franchises. In short, the trailer for Mario Party showed some interesting use of the Switch’s touch screen, other party games like the indies Killer Queen Black and Overcooked 2 (which has online multiplayer!) are also coming to the console, and the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate announcement alone took up over 20 minutes of air time, which was interesting but a little weird.

--

That's all for our E3 talk, hope you enjoyed, and look forward to another blog post soon!

Rich's Thoughts from E3

Hi friends!

In case you aren’t in the video game world, or if you are in the gaming world but are living under a rock, E3 happened last week! This will be a two-part blog post: first, Rich will kick off with a few of his key highlights and some reflections about them; then Geneviève will give us a more in-depth recap of the most exciting things that she saw from the conference.

2018-06-21 E3.jpg

Rich's E3 Thoughts

The first piece of news that stood out to me about E3 this year was Microsoft buying Compulsion Games along with three other studios, and opening a studio of their own called The Initiative. The reason that stands out is because we’re close friends with the folks over at Compulsion, and they helped us get off the ground as a studio and figure out how to exist in the games world from the very start. We’re super happy for them, and super proud of the Montreal community that helped spawn them (or that they helped spawn, really). Beyond our happiness for Compulsion, I think this marks a pretty big shift in focus for Microsoft. The days of larger companies (Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft) buying small studios was rumored to be over, and I think this proves otherwise. To me, this is just another step Microsoft is taking to show its dedication to the indie or mid-level (some would call it AA or iii games) studios. Either way, check out Compulsion's new trailer for We Happy Few:

Nintendo showed some amazing stuff in their E3 video, as usual. Most notably among them was a long segment about the new new Super Smash Bros game, which includes all characters that have ever been in any Smash game! You can tell by the amount of time and focus they spent on it that they aim for this game to be the next Smash Bros Melee, and aren’t going to be discounting it for future competitive tournament play. They also showed a new Mario Party game, and announced a million things that will be coming to Switch, including Fortnite. I think the inclusion of Fortnite along with these other games will be huge for the continued success of the Switch.

2018-06-21 Smash Bros.jpg

Also, Overcooked 2 was announced with online multiplayer! If you liked the first one, this one is similar but has more features such as throwing food items, more dynamic levels, and of course online play. This is an interesting move for a couple of reasons; first, the choice to make a sequel instead of provide free updates to the existing game is one that many indie studios are not making. The aversion to sequels has been described by some people in the industry as being very silly, seeing as sequels almost always sell better than their original counterparts if the first game was a success. Why we tend to avoid sequels is a huge question that could probably justify a whole other article, but we’ll leave it at that for now. Second, the addition of online multiplayer to a game that performed well despite having only local play is an important one that emphasizes the idea that a local multiplayer game simply doesn’t have the potential to do well in the current game landscape. Additionally, it might show that it was easier for them to rewrite significant portions of the game and make a new second game rather than make adjustments to their current one, a strategy that many indie studios have avoided (much to the chagrin of some busy programmers).

Apart from those things that were most important to me in terms of announcements, I was excited to see a Cuphead DLC which I will surely buy, and I might be interested in getting back into the Tomb Raider series if I can get over the fact that the games tend to be more like movies than games, and just enjoy the ride.

There were some other huge announcements which I didn't talk too much about because they simply involve games that I can't see myself playing, but in Geneviève's article she'll discuss a lot more of a variety of things. Check back soon for her post!

Lots o love,
Rich from Clever Endeavour Games :)

Thoughts from PAX 2018

A few weekends ago, Rich went to PAX, the massive gaming expo that happens in Boston every spring. There, he played a bunch of cool games. A large bunch of cool games. In fact, by his account, he saw and played around 40 games, and took notes on each and every one. He tells his story below:

The reason I went to PAX was to see what the current market is like, meet other developers, have some meetings, and try to get some inspiration for whatever it is we're doing next. Below are my three favourite games, but it should be noted that I didn't spend much time looking at games from Montreal teams because I already know them, so those will be omitted from the list. Sorry Montreal friends!

2018-04-10 Lonely Mountain.jpg

Lonely Mountains: Downhill by Megagon Industries was probably my favourite game I played at PAX. The game is a downhill biking game with a beautiful low poly art style, where your goal is to make it to the bottom of the mountain. The coolest thing I found about this game was that you can play in two ways: you can either try to get the fastest time, find the best shortcuts, and race down while making precise turns, or you can take your time and explore the scenery and enjoy the ride. I'm the kind of person that would explore and see if I could find all the secrets, and maybe come back for more competitive play as well. Really excited for this game!

The next favourite game, which I've seen before but just had to mention because it's outstanding, was The Messenger, by Sabotage Studio. It looks like a classic NES platformer executed absolutely perfectly.

2018-04-10 Messenger.jpg

With echoes of Ninja Gaiden, this game does a great job of giving that retro, nostalgic feel while keeping some of the elements of new games that we know and love, that the NES simply didn't have the capacity to do. I see this game a bit like Shovel Knight, in the sense that it stands out from the indie retro platformer crowd by very clearly showing that it's a professional throwback executed with great care.

Last but not least, was a game called Synthrally by Roseball Games. The below gif is a bit confusing, so I'll explain.

You play as a red or blue shape / character, and a disc is passed back and forth. Your goal, depending on the game mode, can be to not get hit by the disc, to knock the disc into another players target, etc. When it comes close to you, you can press a button to hit it back, shoot it with an arrow, or use other abilities to move the disc. There was actually a lot of depth to the game, and when playing as teams of two there was even more depth; players had to choose their class and abilities and try to compliment each others' play style. While I think the game is really great, I wonder if its minimal art style won't hurt it down the line, similar to how Videoball was a fantastic game but might not have had enough flair to attract the average gamer. Time will tell, but I hope it does well.

All in all, the PAX trip was really great. I learned a lot, practiced my analysis of design, talked to some cool devs, and got a good snapshot of what's happening in the indie scene. I'll admit I didn't see much of the AAA world, but I did see another billion class-based shooters and battle royale games. 

See you next time!