Wishlist wonders: games I’m looking forward to

How has 2019 been for you so far in terms of video games? I know there are many gamers who won’t agree but for me it’s been quite disappointing. Last year I wrote about the industry trend of producing sequels, remakes, spin-offs and ports – and it seems as though nothing much has changed over the past nine months.

It’s not all doom and gloom though because I’ve played some great games in that time, even managing to find a new favourite in Eastshade. There are also 27 upcoming titles waiting for their releases on my Steam wishlist right now, along with several Kickstarter projects. Rob from Bandicoot Warrior recently asked his Real Neat Blogger nominees to name a game that could be released within the next two years that gets them excited; so to thank him and show him just how some he is, I bring you not just one but eight.

Disclaimer: this post was drafted towards the end of September, before I’d heard that some of the following games were going to be released this month!

12 Minutes

I wasn’t particularly impressed by Microsoft’s E3 presentation in June and the only title that stood out for me was 12 Minutes by Luis Antonio. Players take on the role of a husband who’s due to spend a romantic evening with his wife but things take a turn for the worse when a detective breaks into your home and you find yourself caught in a time-loop. Use the knowledge gained from repeating events to change the outcome – or relive the same terror over and over again. I wasn’t particularly impressed by Microsoft’s E3 presentation

Backbone

I backed last year’s Kickstarter campaign for Backbone for three main reasons. First, everyone knows how much I love a point-and-click game; second, I’m partial to a good bit of pixel-art too; and third, you play as a detective raccoon. I had the chance to check out the prologue a few months ago and if the full release is of the same quality then we’re in for a treat. I highly recommend giving it a try yourself but be prepared for some pretty dark subject matter: take a look at Luke’s preview on Hundstrasse for details. More please, Eggnut!

Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium was my favourite game at last year’s Rezzed event. It’s an interesting mix of detective-show and isometric RPG where you can choose the type of cop you want to be, through an original skill system which takes feelings, doubts and memories into account. Kick in doors, interrogate suspects or simply get lost in the city of Revachol as you unravel its mysteries. I’m not the only one looking forward to ZA/UM’s project; the lads from Geek Sleep Rinse Repeat are excited about it too so keep an eye out for their review.

Fable IV

The only reason I tuned into Microsoft’s E3 presentation this year was because of the rumour there may be news about Fable IV, so I was sorely disappointed. Maybe the news of a series resurrection was a little premature; or perhaps there were so many other games to unveil that Microsoft decided to hold onto the next Fable instalment until there’s more progress to show off. I’m guessing that we’re going to have to wait until next year for any real information, when the company might reveal it as a Project Scarlett launch title at the next expo.

Firmament

It’s no surprise I showed my support for Firmament on Kickstarter after backing Cyan’s previous campaigns for Obduction and Myst 25th Anniversary Collection. The story begins when you wake up in a glacial cavern, crowded with metal pipes and clockwork gears. Massive doors open to a chamber containing an ancient table holding a tea cup on one end and a frozen body slumped over the other, the corpse’s hand clutching a strange device. Expect a title full of atmosphere and mystery just like the Myst series.

In Other Waters

I added several games to my wishlist after the LudoNarraCon digital expo in May, including In Other Waters by Jump Over the Age. There are plenty of titles featuring artificial intelligence but not so many where you play as the AI itself. When a routine exoplanet study goes wrong and her partner disappears into an alien ocean, a Xenobiologist is left with little more than an antiquated diving suit. What she finds is a sea of extraterrestrial life; and it’s up to you to help her trace her companion and dredge up secrets that were meant to be lost forever.

Nanotale – Typing Chronicles

After having enjoyed Epistory – Typing Chronicles a few years ago, I was looking forward to seeing Fishing Cactus’ follow-up title at Rezzed in April. It’s an adventure game with a twist: everything from movement to menus to action is controlled through the keyboard, and combat is completed by typing in words. Nanotale felt familiar but it’s clear the developer has put a lot of thought into how to evolve the mechanics since their previous title, and the experience feels fuller thanks to the inclusion of some new RPG elements.

Neo Cab

Neo Cab’s setting is somewhat unsettling, because the dystopian city in Change Agency’s title is so much like modern life. Citizens make use of wearable technology which monitors their emotional state as well as records what’s happening around them. Workers are worried about being pushed out of their jobs by robots and automation, concerned about how they’re going to make a living. And huge corporations are focused on profit at the expense of their employees and society in general. It’s all a bit close and it certainly makes you think.



So how has 2019 been for you so far? And what games are you looking forward to being released in the next year or so? Thank you once again to Rob for the Real Neat Blogger nomination – I’m sure he’s excited about the next Fallout title already!

Rezzed 2018: playing detective

While at the Rezzed expo recently, my other-half pointed out how many more narrative games were on offer than in previous years. It’s one of the highlights I mentioned on in my round-up post published this week: I came away from the Tobacco Dock adding more upcoming projects to my wishlist than I’d done during any other time at the event.

A few examples: handmade adventure Harold Halibut by Slow Bros. is one I backed on Kickstarter and looks impressive hands-on. Midnight Hub’s atmospheric Lake Ridden caught my eye at EGX last September and the new section of the demo was great. Futuristic thriller State of Mind by Daedalic Entertainment seems like something I’ll be able to get my teeth into; and my stepson was pretty taken with Backwoods Entertainment’s hand-painted Unforeseen Incidents.

After having some time to reflect since Rezzed, something else struck me. So many of these narrative games cast the player in the role of a male detective trying to solve some mysterious or vaguely-supernatural case, usually related to missing people or murders. What is this new obsession we have with investigating the unknown, upholding the law and bringing wrongdoers to justice?

Not that I’m complaining at all. The following titles look like they’re going to be excellent.

The Sinking City

First up is a game by Frogwares, developer of the Sherlock Holmes series, which is set in an open-world inspired by the works of Lovecraft. Players find themselves in a city dominated by a supernatural force and suffering from floods, and it’s up to them to find out what has taken control of the minds of its inhabitants before they succumb to madness themselves. There’s no release date as yet but this is definitely one to watch out for.

Du Lac & Fey: Dance of Death

As the Ripper stalks London’s streets, players join Arthurian immortals Sit Lancelot Du Lac and Morgana Le Fey on a quest to stop history’s most infamous murderer and save the city. I was able to switch between both characters (the latter portrayed as a dog) in Salix Games’ demo in order to question people and solve puzzles. It’s hinted that Fey isn’t actually a canine, so that could add an interesting element to the project.

The Peterson Case

Described to me as a cross between The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Outlast, Quarter Circle Games’ project looks amazing; I had to stop partway through the demo because I didn’t want to spoil it for myself! Set in a location near the Roswell UFO incident, Detective Reinhardt must explore a deserted house to find out what happened to its missing residents. He soon discovers an unearthly presence within, which is hot on his trail…

Lamplight City

This turned out to be one of my favourites at Rezzed which is no surprise: it’s being made by Grundislav Games, the creator of Shardlight, and has a very ‘Wadjet Eye’ feel about it. Set in an alternate steampunk-ish Victorian past, Miles Fordham must solve five cases each with multiple suspects, false leads and different outcomes. I like the fact that you can move on if a case seems unsolvable, with the story adapting to your choices.

Disco Elysium

I didn’t get to play Disco Elysium by ZA/UM until the final day of the expo as the stand was constantly busy, but it was worth the wait. It’s an interesting mix of detective-show and isometric RPG where players can choose the type of cop they want to be through an original skill system which takes feelings, doubts and memories into account. Kick in doors, interrogate suspects, or simply get lost in the city of Revachol as you unravel its mysteries. This one was my game of the show.

The fact that more narrative games were on offer at Rezzed this year was one of its highlights for me; and I love a good detective story so I’m really looking forward to playing those above. That being said however, it can be challenging to give such titles the attention they deserve at expos and this is something I’ll be delving more into later this week.

If you got a chance to play the games above at Rezzed, what did you think? Were there any other titles which caught your attention out on the show floor? Let us know in the comments below.