Friday, June 13, 2014

E3 2014: Three Gems to Watch

Each year at E3 we get some trailers of new games, and for the last couple of years we've gotten some really good surprises.  Not all of them are indie, but I think it would be hard to deny they are indie influenced games.  Last year we got to see Transistor for the first time, and Child of Light.  This year has the next crop of games to watch and keep interest about.  These are not the blockbusters that get put on billboards and have a mountain dew sponsorship.  These are the little gems that sometimes get lost in the cracks.

Unlike images, I can not download and host youtube videos to ensure that they last a long time.  If you come and read this many years after I post it, you may not see a trailer or video present.  It existed at one time and I'm sure you can find the video on Youtube or whatever neural network our new robot overlords have created to pacify our synapses while they siphon our energy into their Malto-regeno-cores.

Valiant Hearts

Child of Light was an unexpected jewel from such a large studio as Ubisoft.  This year they surprise us again with a team that uses Child of Light's game engine to spin a tale about soldiers and civilians during The Great War, known in the US as World War 1.  They are writing a pretty large check for this one; not financially, but emotionally.  Let's hope it lives up to what it could be.  It will be released on many platforms.

Ori and the Blind Forest

The makers of Ori: The Blind Forest each site the 16-bit era as their favorite.  One of the biggest influences from that time is Super Metroid.  Lots of western indie devs look to Super Metroid for inspiration(in Japan the games are not nearly as well liked and that's why we get actual Metroids made by non-Nintendo people).  In Ori, the team wanted to make a Super Metroid that had more challenge.  The emphasis on exploration is there, but they wanted to ramp things up to "Super Meatboy" like levels of difficulty.  The game also looks beautiful.  I'm all for Metroid clones as I believe Castlevania did not hit its peak until it became "Metroidvania" as they call it.  It will be released on PC and Xbox.

Titan Souls

While Legend of Zelda did not start the "boss as a puzzle" craze, it was the introduction of that gameplay for a lot of us.  So what if you bring the concepts of Shadow of the Colossus back home to 2D, overhead, Zelda-esque gameplay?  You might get Titan Souls.  Every Titan can be killed with just 1 well placed arrow shot, but figuring out how to make the Titan expose this spot is the whole trick to it.  Each Titan is a different challenge with unique movement, unique attacks, and unique surroundings.  Right now you can pretty much say "Take Shadow of the Colossus and (insert genre here" and I'll be a sucker for it.  Titan Souls was originally a game created in 72 hours at Ludum Dare Game Jam, and they continued working on it to make a commercial release with much more content.  It is coming to PS4, Vita, and PC.

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