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GDC Play: Small Talented Studios Can Push Pixels

Radford C. Mar 6, 2012 0

GDC Play Hallway

It’s all about the indie developers – but don’t call them that. After experiencing GDC Play, my perspective of indie games have changed – but don’t call them indie games. It’s not that these developers don’t like to be called that, it’s just that after witnessing some of the work they’ve done outside of their normal day-to-day jobs, it’s obvious that what they build is definitely a labor of love and the production quality behind their titles (to which their game’s name may not win points with marketing teams) are definitely worth noting and, in some cases, rivaling the quality of larger studios.

Each of these developers have voiced how much they would like getting into the console arena (with the exception of Girl Fight since they’re already poised to release on the PS3) but for the most part, these devs have pushed into the PC front through independent friendly channels like Steam and OnLive but their biggest challenge (like most larger teams) is initial reception.

After going hands-on with these games, it does not seem like they will have anything to worry about. I carefully trudged through the booths of GDC Play to separate the real cream from the crap. If small teams can push Hawken, why not?

Based on my initial impressions, the following games have definitely gotten my attention:

  • Miner Wars – A Privateer-style game by Keen Software House where exploration, combat, diplomacy and ship loadouts are the key to victory.
  • Cognition – A point-and-click adventure game by Phoenix Online Studios using a comic book style narrative
  • Galaxy For Hire – Think Warcraft 3’s hero units combined with tower defense. Created by Trench Games.
  • Girl Fight – An interesting twist in the fighting genre starring an all-girl cast of selectable fighters.

While the following games still need further exploring to really get a feel for what the devs are after:

  • Contagion – A FPS game with a unique gameplay mechanic by Monochrome based on the source-engine
  • Militant – A side scrolling shooter similar to Metal Slug, Contra, etc. by Xibalba Studios.
  • Of Orcs And Men – The teaser left me wanting to know more. It seems to be a third person action adventure game centered around an Orc – developed by Cyanide Studios.

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