Saturday, October 24, 2015

To Be Announced...

...more commonly abbreviated as "TBA," is a rare thing when it comes to triple-AAA game development.  Generally, once a big budget game makes its debut a release date shows up at the end of the video (or bottom of the banner).  Sometimes it's an exact date, other times a vague window like "spring of 2016," "Q4," or at the very least "coming soon" (as is the case with Paradox's science fiction themed grand strategy game Stellaris.  However, when it comes to indie developers, these kinds of target dates sometimes don't apply.  Simply put, for some indie devs the game will come out when it's done.  So, what are a few noteworthy examples?  Well...I'm glad you (I...?) asked because there are five titles in particular that have been percolating at the back of my mind, even though I have no idea when I'll actually (if ever) get to play them.

I mentioned this one about a year ago on this very blog.  Quick recap; it's a retro-future sci-fi horror game set on the moon.  Gameplay features a lot of rogue-like elements including procedural generated zones and perma-death.  For a while it seemed like the game had become vaporware, but an interview with the head of the studio last summer revealed that the game was still under active development.  One wonders if the team played Alien: Isolation or, more recently Soma, and decided to rework some of their ideas in order to avoid making something that would feel like nothing more than a cheap knock-off.  Whatever the reason, I hope I can try this game out sooner rather than later.

Aside from having some really cool promo artwork for sale, this space combat flight-sim has been quietly in the works for quite long time.  Supposedly, it will support virtual reality headsets with an in-cockpit view.  In addition to dogfights, players will be able to take command of fleets by going to a slow-mo tactical view and issuing order to supporting strike craft and even capital ships.  The sound effects are really good, and the graphics have been steadily improving with each new set of screen shots released.  I really want to purchase a copy of this game and take it for a spin, but I'm not sure I'll buy a flight stick or one of those 3-D helmets though...

Similar to the previously mentioned title, this is also a space combat flight-sim.  What makes it unique though is the graphics style.  It borrows the old rotating bitmapped sprites used in games like Wing Commander I and II, as well as Privateer.  On the other hand capital ships are fully rendered using more modern polygonal models and textures, which is probably a good thing since that was one of the weak points of those classics.  Also, unlike any of the other titles mentioned here, Wings of Saint Nazaire has an alpha build that anyone can download from the official website for free.  Like a lot of unfinished games (such as Besieged and Kerbal Space Program) development has become somewhat bogged down in the conversion to Unity 5.0, but once that hurtle is cleared development should continue.

Originally I was going to talk about a title called Slain, but it seems that game has gotten a release date (according to the Steam page, "Prepare to be slain December 9th").  So, I'm going to talk about Death's Gambit instead.  The development team is basically pitching it as a side scrolling Dark Souls.  It's not the first game to try this.  The upcoming PSN exclusive Salt and Sanctuary is pretty much being billed as the same thing.  That said, watching gameplay footage of Death's Gambit (or Slain for that matter...) remands me more of Ghosts and Goblins, Ghouls and Ghosts and even old 16-bit and PSX era Castlevania titles.  Regardless, this game is (according to the official website) coming first and foremost to the PC.

I've thrown up some gifs for this little pixle-art gem on my reoccurring end-of-the-month video game gallery posts already, but since that particular blog entry lacked any kind of explanation, I though it would be wise to elaborate on it here.  Once again, this could be thought of as an isometric Dark Souls, but to call it such might be a great disservice.  Eitr (as the old Norse word implies) is dominated by a strong Scandinavian-themed setting, but don't expect to play as a horned helmet wearing viking.  Instead players are in control of a rather capable looking shield-maiden.  That, plus the perspective makes it feel a bit like the original Diablo or the backer alpha build of Hyper Light Drifter.  There's also another game much like this called Perish, but since not much information is available for that game yet I've decided not to give it a separate spot here.

There was one more high profile game that I was going to mention on this list, but I can't quite seem to recall what it was exactly.  Something about skies...Oh couldn't have been all that important or highly anticipated...

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