Indie games are evolving, with many of the ones currently available having already shaped the gaming industry in more ways than we often appreciate. But with E3 on the horizon and more and more developers stepping into the indie market, the time has come to shed some light on the next indie titles preparing to make their mark on the gaming world! Which are the smaller games we want to hear about at E3 2016? This lot are amongst the must-haves.
(5) Cities: Skylines
Besides E3, Gamescom is the only other time of the year that anyone gets a real insight into what new games and content will be available to choose from on our devices.
This was the time Microsoft chose to announce that one of the indie markets biggest successes would be arriving on Xbox One in 2016. Cities: Skylines is that title. Developed by Colossal Order and published by Paradox Interactive, Cities: Skylines is a city building simulator in which players are tasked with building and managing the day to day running of an entire city. Sounds easy right? Wrong! Not only will managing the cities’ construction be something to worry about, the citizens of your city also require great care and attention, and without the right planning and consideration you could well find your city running into chaos! From planning and construction to public transportation, waste removal and everything in-between, Cities: Skylines has it all.
With a 2016 release date and nothing announced since Gamescom, it seems inevitable we will be seeing more from the latest city builder in the coming days.
Last year, Rockfish Games announced the first title in their move from the mobile market to console market. That game was the beautiful and stylish rogue-like space shooter, Everspace.
With space simulators readily available on both console and PC, simply replicating one of these was not the intention of Rockfish Games and with the trailer shown last year they have seemingly taken the highly unexplored (pun intended) next step in their ambitious space title. Everspace is said to combine easy to pick up controls with triple-A quality graphics as well as a non-linear campaign and vast exploration with heavy rogue-like elements throughout.
Elite Dangerous is already proving a big hit on Xbox One and so it seems Rockfish Games have picked the right time to venture into the space category. Without the boundaries of complete realism holding them down, this could well be a title talked about for years to come. We may have nothing but a trailer to go on since last year but I’d bet my bottom dollar on the [email protected] program making an appearance with this set as one of the main headlines.
Open-world platforming is a genre that sparked some of the greatest videogames of all time with none other than Xbox’s own Banjo-Kazooie titles amongst the many gaming icons.
Developed by Playtonic Games, and published by indie friendly Team 17, Yooka-Laylee is the game aiming to jumpstart a great return to a long lost genre that many people, including myself, have grown up enjoying. Headed by former Rare employees, Playtonic have promised vast open-world areas with plenty of collectibles and mind bending puzzles as well as lovable characters and frantic gameplay, complimented with the intended option of co-op multiplayer; both in local and online forms.
Players will take control of Yooka, a “sensible” male chameleon and Laylee a female bat who is “a little bit crazy”. The game is intended as a spiritual successor to the previously mentioned and beloved Banjo-Kazooie games, and that came to the fore with it smashing Kickstarter’s race to reach $1 million record. It seems that there are plenty of devoted platformers and gamers alike who are more than just a little excited by the prospect of another great platforming adventure.
With a team compiled of some of gaming’s most experienced and talented developers, Yooka-Laylee looks certain to be a big hit when released later this year and is most certainly something to keep an eye out for at E3.
(2) Outlast 2
Outlast is a game known famously around the world for its impact on horror gaming, as well as being the game to propel many famous online gamers to a near celebrity status with the many jump scares and hair raising encounters found throughout. So when Red Barrels Games announced the highly expected sequel late last year the internet went crazy, and rightfully so as the first Outlast game provided gaming’s horror genre with something that had been missing for several years, a genuine scare factor!
So with Outlast 2 announced for release later this year as an indirect sequel to Outlast, many will be intrigued to see what Red Barrels can bring to the table this time round. With the game promising to build on the success of the first with new features, new freakish characters and a creepy new setting all set to be part of the return to gaming’s most feared universe, it all sounds rather good.
A few months ago we saw a short gameplay demo of the fear that Red Barrels hope to instill in us with the demo providing a creepy chase through a haunting cornfield with multiple enemies giving chase, mutilated bodies scattered everywhere and once again the threat that nowhere is safe. With the developers going quiet for a few months, now is the perfect opportunity to release further details of one of the best new franchises in recent history.
Arguably one of the more popular titles we’ve seen in the past year coming through the [email protected] program but not because of budgets or advertising; instead the hype simply due to the massive impact Cuphead had on its audience when announced back at E3 2014…something which has become even more apparent when witnessing the queues for it at recent game shows.
Cuphead is a run and gun platforming adventure designed with heavy inspiration from 1930’s cartoons. The first game developed by studio MDHR, it follows the story of Cuphead and Mugman as they attempt to repay a debt to the devil caused by a lost bet. Things play out with the guys fighting their way through a series of extremely challenging levels and boss fights, all with that delightful 30’s style. The gameplay shown so far has given an insight into the incredible title MDHR are making, and with hard-core platforming at the heart of its design, Cuphead plays very much like titles such as Super Mario Bros. with players traversing an RPG style hand drawn map before choosing a level to jump into and commence in battle.
There is also a shop in which players can stop by to collect various helpful items to give aid to the torrid journey but nothing is as pleasing as the promise of the co-op multiplayer available with a friend able to take control of Cuphead’s valued ally Mugman with drop-in drop-out gameplay – when those challenging boss fights come knocking you won’t have to face the pressure of dying over and over again alone.
With its release due some time in 2016 and Cuphead being one of the most anticipated games of the year, it seems Microsoft will be more than happy to parade their next top quality indie title for the world to see at E3.
Honourable Mention – We Happy Few
We Happy Few is an upcoming first-person survival horror videogame developed by Compulsion Games. The game is set in the retro-futuristic fictional town of Wellington Wells and tasks the player with one simple goal… that of escape.
Finding a way out however isn’t as easy as one might think with the local townsfolk all drugged up with the drug, Joy! Joy is a magical substance that ensures anyone taking it sees the world as a happy place, with anyone not taking it considered a downer and therefore hunted by the locals for being such. As a resident of Wellington Wells choosing not to take Joy, players are considered one of these and need to find a way out of the town with the exit said to be randomly generated for each playthrough. With no two playthroughs ever being the same and with players not guaranteed to find the exit so quickly, drastic measures may need to be taken to avoid capture.
This can be done in any number of ways, whether it be choosing to rethink and actually take Joy until its effect has worn off to keep the locals at bay or maybe simply running around attacking as many people as possible whilst embarking on a mad search for the exit. The player will be given the freedom to play as they wish but be warned whilst the Joy’s of the world may seem like the best place to be, the real truth behind the overbearing townsfolk may be hidden within. We Happy Few is due for release on the Xbox Preview Program sometime this month before its initial release later this year – what better place to throw it up than at E3 2016!
What do you want to hear more about at E3 2016? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget we’ve also covered the AAA titles we wish to see as well.