GDC 2018: Game Developers Conference Highlights

GDC is an annual event celebrating the people behind the games we all play. People from all over the world gather together during this week to share business information, talk about the state of the industry, give each other tips about dev cycles and resources, and most importantly demo their games and software. This year, I grabbed a one-day pass to see all the things 2018 might have in store for us.

Areia: Areia is an atmospheric, colorful world made of only sand and water. Made by Brazillian studio Glip, this game draws heavily on Hinduism and Buddhism to create a very zen adventure puzzler. The character of this game navigates the world and solves puzzles by mixing the elements of sand and water together to make bridges between parts of the environment and reach new heights.

“It’s very meditative,” the developer said. “We want the player to feel calm and accomplished after playing and we want them to feel like they’re sort of more in touch with their spiritual self.” Watch you calendars in October, when this is set to release.

Yume Nikki: Dream Diary: Based on the Japanese indie cult horror game Yume Nikki, this 3D reimagining draws its inspiration from the same nightmares, monsters, and other shadow lurkers that the original game showed us. Equal parts confusing eerie walking simulator and nightmare puzzle game, you’ll be sure to remember this title for years to come. It is currently available on Steam.

Bot Party: Bot Party is a game about high fives and holding hands. Each player holds a small cube with conductive foil on it as the “controller” and each one lights up sporadically throughout the course of the game. In order to score a point, two players whose “bots” are lit up much physically touch to complete the circuit. In a convention where people were avoiding eye contact and apologizing when bumping into each other, this booth was a ray of sunshine where strangers were able to laugh and play together and most importantly, hold hands.

Harold Halibut: I’ve been following this game for some time, but I was shocked to see it pop up in the Day of the Devs area. This atmospheric underwater sci fi adventure follows the main character Harold as he uncovers secrets of the station during his janitorial bumblings. Fully animated in stop motion, this game is not only absolutely beautiful but also well-told in its story. There isn’t currently a release date planned, but it will eventually happen. Until then, I’m anxiously waiting.

Grave Call: Made by a group of seven British university students, Grave Call puts you in the uncomfortable spot of being buried alive. One player acts as an emergency dispatcher and figure out where the second person has been buried. The second player signs a release form and is then is escorted to a real life wooden coffin in which they are sealed until the first player figures out where they are. While in the coffin, different sound effects and hints are given to the buried player and they must communicate these to the dispatcher in order to be found. While this game probably won’t hit the shelves, it was an absolute blast to play.

A Way Out: Built by developer Hazelight Studios, A Way Out was designed to be played with a friend by your side. This cinematic adventure is made to foster communication as you play as a duo of escaped convicts trying to rediscover their life. If you wish The Last of Us was couch co-op, this is the game for you.

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