Today's showcase is the Tribeca Games Spotlight! In it, we got to see six titles from videos made by the developers to share their passion and dream for the individual games. This showcase is oozing with love and care, and we highly recommend checking out any of the videos that you are interested in!
A Highland Song
- Developer: inkle Ltd
- Publisher: inkle Ltd
- Genres: Rhythm, Story Rich
- Release Date: Coming soon
In A Highlight Song, you'll play as Moira as she sets off on an adventure through the Scottish Highlands to see the sea for the first time! However, the trip won't be as easy as one step, two steps, as she'll have to pass through all sorts of areas, endure different weather conditions, and even meet some friends along the way who will tell her all about their lives.
As you travel across the Scottish landscape, you'll be able to choose which ways Moira will go, but wherever the path takes you, you'll need to keep an eye on Moira and how she's doing, as the days will affect her through weather and exhaustion. Let her sleep, regain strength, and stay warm for the smoothest journey to the sea!
Goodbye Volcano High
- Developer: KO_OP
- Publisher: KO_OP
- Genres: Story Rich, Single-player
- Release Date: 23rd of August 2023
What would you do if you had one year left? Goodbye Volcano High by KO_OP asks this same question as you take control of a group of dinosaurs who are living their final year of life before the meteor hits. What was supposed to be a normal dating sim quickly became much more when the pitch looked at the idea from a new perspective: what if it was a dating sim about dinosaurs at the end of the world?
Tackling real-life problems of the realities we are facing, KO_OP knew to use dinosaurs as a metaphor that would instantly click for audiences. The team make decisions together — from how many days a week to work to the direction the game is taking — and they slowly pivoted from a dating-sim-focused title to an emotional tale of the end of the world.
The story slowly unravels into emotional storytelling about coping, and each of the characters handles their fate differently. From focusing on their life ambitions to slowing down and enjoying life, the down-to-Earth cast responds differently to facing doom.
Take control of Fang, a budding musician that was gearing up for fame, only to realise that, with this recent news, they may no longer have a future to look to. With music at its core, Goodbye Volcano High has various songs and performances to get through.
How will you live your last year of life?
Chants of Sennaar
- Developer: Rundisc
- Publisher: Focus Entertainment
- Genres: Adventure, Action-Adventure
- Release Date: 5th of September 2023
Developed by Rundisc and published by Focus Entertainment, Chants of Sennaar is a unique adventure based on the story of Babel. This video, led by the co-founders of Rundisc — Julian Moya and Thomas Panuel — shows off various elements of the upcoming title.
The first point of focus in this section is the five different cultures you will meet throughout your adventure, each of which has its own unique personality, story, and languages. The five groups have spent centuries being unable to interact with one another, so Chants of Sennaar focuses on what caused their division and trying to restore the harmony in the tower; this is what inspired the team to follow the story of Babel. For those who don't know, the story goes that after trying to reach the Heaven by building a large tower, God struck it down, scattering the humans across the world, after which they began speaking different languages.
Due to the inspiration, language is very intrinsic to the title. Deciphering them is part of the gameplay, as you will engage with puzzles to figure out their meanings and learn the language of the culture. That said, the co-founders make a point to mention that although the game has a lot of puzzles, it is an adventure title first and foremost — you will explore the environment, interact with characters, and partake in action and stealth sequences to keep the experience fresh.
Take control of a hero characterised not by their strength and resilience but by their good will and nature. Unite the people of Chants of Sennaar as a diplomat, a translator, and a scientist that doesn't — and won't — resort to violence to tell a story of tolerance and openness and to send a message that not everything has to be resolved by brutality.
- Developer: Mezan Studios
- Publisher: Mezan
- Genres: N/A
- Release Date: N/A
In Nightscape, players will explore a tale under the Arabian sky as an astronomer named Layla. In order to find her path back home, she wields a magical astrolabe that helps her restore stars to guide her.
In order to bring the constellations to life in more than just the skyline of the game, the developer team mentioned they did tons of research on the Arabian stars to bring the stories behind them into characters and gameplay elements.
In order to bring the most authentic story possible, the team behind Nighrscape comes from the Middle East, and a lot of effort is seen to honour the culture. One of the ways is through the soundtrack, which is a combination of Western influences with Middle Eastern melodies. This is all in an effort to bring more attention and understanding to the cultures that haven't had as much of a voice.
Stray Gods: The Role-Playing Musical
- Developer: Summerfall Studios
- Publisher: Humble Games
- Genres: RPG, Story Rich
- Release Date: 3rd of August 2023
Stray Gods: The Role-Playing Musical made an appearance in the Tribeca Games Showcase! This inventive title has you taking control of Grace, a college dropout that doesn't know how what to do with her life. After Calliope — one of the final Greek muses — appears on her doorstep and dies, passing her powers to our protagonist. This is how she learns about the Greek gods.
As the developers like to call it, Stray Gods is a roleplaying musical — a brand-new genre that Summerfall Studios is experimenting with — in which you will make story-focused decisions during musical pieces. The team talks about the complexities of creating a changing narrative mid-song.
Stray Gods' all-star cast isn't ignored in the showcase section, either. With incredibly talented voice actors and Broadway performers acting the voices of the various characters — from Greek gods to modern mortals — the sound quality and design are top-notch. From Austin Wintory to Troy Baker, the team is ecstatic to have been able to work with such a skilled group of individuals.
The passion that the developers have for the title is palpable in the way they talk about it. From choosing their favourite characters to the sheer confidence in their voices and words, the video proves their pride in the title they have built. Even from the way they built their team, you can tell a diverse cast and a great work environment were one of their primary focuses.
Take control of Grace and sing with the gods of Greece when Stray Gods: The Role-Playing Musical releases on the 3rd of August!
The Expanse: A Telltale Series
- Developer: Deck Nine
- Publisher: Telltale Games
- Genres: Adventure
- Release Date: 27th of July 2023
The Expanse Telltale Series is an upcoming title based on the sci-fi series by James S.A. Corey, where humanity has colonised most of the Solar System. The game was made with the show and its fans in mind, so it takes place years before the TV series' first season, and it's told from Kamina Drummer's point of view.
The team explains how their choice to start a year prior to the show's beginning is to show what situations have shaped her into the person she becomes, especially because The Expanse offers such a fantastic medium for difficult situations.
Additionally, we get to see a bit of how the motion capture is implemented and how the actress who plays Kamina Drummer in the TV show — Cara Gee — has felt during the making of The Expanse Telltale Series... spoiler alert: she's loved it!
- Developer: Julián Cordero, Sebastian Valbuena
- Publisher: Panic
- Genres: Adventure, Football (Soccer)
- Release Date: To be announced
Built by a two-man development team, despelote is a unique look at sports from the perspective of a country that's struggling economically and from the eyes of a young child.
Developed by Julián Cordero and Sebastián Valbuena, this new title takes place in Quito, Ecuador, in the year 2001. In this time period, Ecuador was struggling economically but was also on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time; inspired by his childhood, Julián decided to design a game based on this period.
After having moved out of his hometown and disconnecting from football — an integral thing for Ecuadorians — the developer decided to revisit his youth by developing a title centred around the sport that defined most of his childhood; as put in his words, it was the way he connected with his friends and a central part to any childhood. Early on in development, he met Sebastián Valbuena, the second developer who joined in and started working on the game's graphics and sound design. This is his first-ever videogame project.
The graphics are built around 2D drawings in a 3D environment to represent and portray emotions easier, and the grainy look adds a noise that the developers explain as a homage to memories. When choosing a setting, it was a no-brainer for both developers to base it on Quito, Ecuador. Now, Sebastián Valbuena uses real-life photographs and buildings to better connect the players to the real-life environment.
Sebastián is also in charge of handling audio design. To imitate the chatter of people, all dialogue in the game is done by friends of the developers and built around improvisation.
Experience Quito, Ecuador, and form a close bond as a child with a ball with despelote! Release date is to be announced.
That's all we got to see! A lot of dev insights, as we've seen over Tribeca, and a great way to get to see the passion and love that the teams have for their games! We can't wait to learn more about all of these and get an opportunity to try them out in the future!