Sometimes in life, you have chance meetings that broaden your perspective and open your mind to new possibilities and ideas previously unimaginable. While at IndieCade 2018, I was able to have many of these encounters, however one impacted me above all others. This was the opportunity to sit down and talk with staff members from INCA Games and learn about what they are doing, as well as about the growing games industry in South America.
Through our conversation and a chance to playtest some of their upcoming projects, I realized that the focus of the gaming industry is often on the same few places, publishers, and developers. Sure, the “giants of the industry” tend to be in North America, Japan, and Europe. However, creativity and a love for gaming can be found all over the world, and in this case in particular, South America.
INCA Games, a name easily representative of South America, is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They produce and publish games with a team of veterans from the games industry and have projects that cover a host of platforms and genres. The Latin American games market is the second-fastest growing sector in the world, with Argentina alone being the third-largest games market in Latin America. INCA Games is an emerging leader in this area, and its work is making it possible to highlight games coming out of Spanish-speaking Latin America, allowing new creators to extend their reach to countries around the world.
Every project and team is a bit different, with some being self-taught and others having degrees in fields outside of gaming. However, the common threads in these projects is originality, quality, and passion. Every team they have has been able to craft beautiful narratives and create fantastic animation and art in their games. It was incredibly exciting to see the different games they were promoting at IndieCade. By looking at each of these games they are currently incubating, you can see that great things are coming out of INCA Games and Latin America.
Element Space is a turn-based tactical RPG set in a sprawling sci-fi universe from Sixth Vowel S.A. Many have described the game as the lovechild of Mass Effect and XCOM. It was internally developed and is also the flagship title of the company. The game itself has been in development for approximately two years with a team of about 50 people and a budget of about $1.8 million. That makes it one of the biggest titles to be fully conceived and developed in Spanish-speaking Latin America. If that wasn’t already impressive enough, the game includes eight different recruitable companions, seven unique factions, and an expansive narrative to be released in three parts.
The gameplay is free-form turn-based combat, and the skills and tactics of the companions you choose amplify each other, making every playthrough unique. The interface is somewhat simple with intuitive controls which are easy to pick up. However, the game has incredible depth, as each decision you make has lasting implications on both the overall flow of the game and how the story is revealed. It was critical to the team that there’s a sense of pressure in your choices and real consequences to them. All the missions are handcrafted, so in order to see the whole story, you have to play the game multiple times.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, you can pre-order the game now, as well as add it to your wishlist on Steam. This game will be available Q1 2019.
Tango: The Adventure Game
Tango: The Adventure Game is a 2D point-and-click adventure based on the life of Argentinian Carlos Gardel, whom music lovers may already know as the greatest Tango singer to live. This title from Gualicho Games truly represents both Latin America and INCA Games and takes place during early-20th-century Buenos Aires. It may cater to a different crowd than Element Space, yet it boasts a rich narrative and passionate development team nonetheless.
This game takes a lot of reasoning and puzzle-based intuition to play, and the various chapter names and dialogue of the characters are references to famous Tango songs. The art style is unique, and the music and atmosphere evoke your emotions and draw you inside the story.
Just by playing Tango: The Adventure Game, you can tell it was made by a team that enjoyed the process and the story they were creating, from the sense of humor in the conversation to the unique art in every scene. You have a chance to learn about an influential music figure (with some creative liberties taken, of course) and get a feel for a colorful period of Argentina’s history.
Tango: The Adventure Game is currently available for pre-order, and you may also add this game to your wishlist on Steam.
The third game that INCA is currently nurturing is Shadow Brawlers from Team Guazu. This local party game based around stealth was incredibly popular on the IndieCade floor. It was awarded Best Game of the Show by the jury at EVA 2017 and was also a finalist for the Indie Prize at Casual Connect USA.
Shadow Brawlers is different from the two previously mentioned games, as it focuses on local multiplayer instead of single-player gameplay (although there will be a single-player mode available). The team behind the game is made up of several animators, which explains the fluid movements and exceptional use of color. Each character has a unique silhouette and design that stands out from the others, and they are constantly adding more characters and ideas to expand the game before its release.
Although the graphics are quite simple, black and white with bursts of color, they are elegant and clean. The simplicity of the graphics and controls also lends to the addictive quality the game has. Players can go through several rounds without noticing how long they’ve been playing, yet are still able to talk and interact without each other during it. It’s a fantastic party game that anyone can pick up and join in on, and truly captures the spirit of local multiplayer.
You can add Shadow Brawlers to your wishlist on Steam now, and the game will be released soon.
Expand Your Origins
All of these games have that special something, which is what INCA looks for when choosing new projects to support. The teams behind each game are passionate and creative. They don’t only publish certain types of games or choose developers with the most experience or degrees, but rather those that stand out. They focus on the experience the game gives and the effort that the teams put into them. Because of this shifted focus, the games they produce are high quality, and each one is worth playing.
Even when facing challenges such as finding solutions for those without credit cards to be able to purchase digital games, or allowing new regions to have better access to the Nintendo Switch, INCA Games is pushing forward and helping the Latin American game community fully emerge. They are not just launching games from Latin America, but games of the future, games that contain rich stories, unique art styles, and passionate teams of creators behind each of them. Having the chance to talk with their staff members and experience these games opened my eyes to a new area of gaming to explore.
There are so many game developers and companies all over the world, but North America, Europe, and Japan tend to have the spotlight. It is so important as an individual to expand your origins. It’s also important as a community to see what else is out there and not continually focus on the same publishers and developers each quarter. As the opportunity comes for other countries to be in the spotlight, it’s important to support them and look beyond your own country for quality game experiences.
The games industry is something that makes the world feel smaller because we see there are people who love the same things and who are working hard to produce great content everywhere. Hopefully, we won’t have to look hard to find games from around the globe one day, because gaming will have become more interconnected. Supporting localization and removing regional blocks on games and consoles, buying games published outside your own country, and exploring indie titles are all ways that we can expand our community and move the gaming world forward.
You can follow INCA games online via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date with their latest projects, as well as follow the games mentioned above so you can see these wonderful projects once they are published.