Many developers have been going darker with the tones of stories lately. It's time we stop asking definitively if this is a good or bad thing and consider the artistic value at hand.
ID@Xbox and the 25 Upcoming Indie Titles For the Xbox One
One of Microsoft’s ambitious goals with the Xbox One was to become one of the leading supporters of the independent gaming industry with the implementation of the ID@Xbox program. The developers who are able to have this tool have full access to the Xbox One’s features and hardware like Xbox Live, Achievements, SmartGlass, etc. which will give the third party developers everything they need to bring an exciting, fresh game into the market. Microsoft recently announced 25 brand new indie games at GDC in San Francisco that will be available sometime in the future. 250 developers have received development kits for the Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program and more are expected to be shipped as well.
“Our goal has always been to make Xbox One the best place to play games, and that means having a diverse portfolio for gamers to chose from,” said Microsoft Studio’s Phil Spencer in a recent interview with Gamespot. “We’ve worked closely with independent developers to bring their own brand of creativity and innovation to the platform and today is just the beginning”.
Included in the 25 games are everything from racing, puzzle, and adventure games, to FPS, strategy, and fighting games. To keep it short, there seems to be a game for everyone among the upcoming titles. Listed below is the press release from Microsoft detailing each of the games and a brief explanation as to what you can expect from them.
- “1001 Spikes” by Nicalis – This hardcore side-scroller features precise controls and a degree of difficulty that means starting with 1001 lives is not at all a guarantee you can make it through the game! Every level is custom designed to be beaten… barely. The game also includes co-op and cut-throat multiplayer modes.
- “Calibre 10 Racing Series” by Bongfish GmbH – “Calibre 10 Racing Series” is a spiritual successor to “Harms Way”. The game is entirely multiplayer in a new experience that combines action-packed racing with fast-paced first-person shooting.
- “CastleStorm” by Zen Studios – It’s Knights vs. Vikings in “CastleStorm”, a super genre mash-up of 2D physics destruction mashed with tower defense brawler! “CastleStorm” features a story-driven solo campaign, a custom castle editor, online multiplayer, co-op modes, and more.
- “Chariot” by Frima – A humourous physics-based couch co-op platformer in which a brave princess and her suitor carry a funeral wagon through ancient mines, fending-off swarms of looters while amassing riches, to bury the King’s remains in a worthy gold-filled tomb.
- “Chuck’s Challenge 3D” by Niffler – From the design veteran behind the classic game “Chip’s Challenge” comes “Chuck’s Challenge 3D”, a fiendishly-addictive puzzler, packed with features that will tease the brain and challenge the fingers.
- “Contrast” by Compulsion Games – “Contrast” is a 2D/3D adventure game, set in a surreal, 1920s, film noir dreamscape. You must help Didi explore the mysteries surrounding her family, by using your ability to shift between the 3D world and your 2D shadow.
- “Divekick Addition Edition +” by Iron Galaxy Studios – “Divekick” is the world’s first-ever two-button fighting game. Now anyone can experience the thrill of fighting games without memorising complex combos and finger-contorting button presses.
- “Forced” by BetaDwarf ApS – A one-to four-player co-op arcade adventure with puzzles and tactical elements. You are cast as slaves in the toughest fantasy gladiator school of them all, condemned to fight as a gladiator and eventually win your freedom.
- “FRU” by Through Games – “FRU” is a Kinect-based puzzle platformer in which the player uses both a joystick and their body to control the game. In fact, in “FRU”, the player’s silhouette is used to reveal what lies beneath the world at first glance. “FRU’s” gameplay changes according to the player’s shape, pose and movement.
- “Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition” by DrinkBox Studios – An action-packed, 2D brawler/platformer that alternates between the worlds of the living and the dead.
- “Gunscape” by Blowfish Studios – At its heart, “Gunscape” is an FPS construction kit: a game with solid action gameplay, a welcoming approach to map building and a huge toolbox of iconic weapons, monsters and level elements that can be extensively combined to create new and exciting gameplay experiences.
- “Habitat” by 4gency – “Habitat” is a space-themed strategy game set in Earth’s orbit, where you lead a team of engineers to save humanity by building a space station out of an orbiting wasteland of space junk.
- “Hyper Light Drifter” by Heart Machine – “Hyper Light Drifter” is an action-adventure RPG in the vein of the best eight-bit and 16-bit classics, with modernised mechanics and designs on a much grander scale.
- “It Draws a Red Box” by Other Ocean – “It Draws a Red Box” is a chaotic eight-player jumping jetpack future arena ball game, inspired by “Bomberman”, “Smash Bros.”, cans of soda, paint-by-number books and driving five miles per hour faster than the speed limit.
- “Nutjitsu” by NinjaBee – A top-down, arcade-style game for Xbox One. Players take control of the ninja squirrel on his quest to reclaim his clan’s honour. Featuring two game modes, five power ups, 25 ranks, three distinct enemies and 15 levels, this HTML5 based title is coming to your dojo in early spring.
- “Pinball Arcade” by FarSight Studios – “Pinball Arcade” features exact recreations of the all-time greatest pinball tables from Williams, Bally, Stern Pinball and Gottlieb together in one game. Every flipper, bumper, sound effect and display pixel has been painstakingly emulated in astonishing detail.
- “Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut” by Toxic Games – A first-person game that faces the player with a series of brain-teasing puzzles. The player uses high tech gloves to manipulate different types of cube in the environment – unravelling conundrums ranging from physics-based challenges and 3D jigsaws, to platform-based trials.
- “Riptide GP2” by Vector Unit – Featuring dynamic racing on fully interactive water surfaces, “Riptide GP2” sets the standard in modern water racing games. Take control of rocket powered hydro jets to race through futuristic cityscapes, hurl yourself off sky-high jumps and bust out dozens of death defying stunts.
- “Roundabout” by No Goblin – An open world driving puzzle game where you control a constantly rotating limousine. Pick up passengers, find secret collectibles, take on dangerous missions, and fall in love while reliving the 1977 rise to fame story of Georgio Manos.
- “Sixty Second Shooter Prime” by Happion Laboratories – “Sixty Second Shooter Prime” is a twin-stick shooter with a sixty-second time limit. This new Prime version brings a graphics upgrade, a new soundtrack, infinity mode and social leaderboards.
- “Spectra: 8bit Racing” by Gateway Interactive – From new studio Gateway Interactive and Chipzel (the amazing chip-tune artist behind the “Super Hexagon” music) comes “Spectra” a fast-paced, retro-style racing game destined to get your heart pumping and test your skill like no other!
- “Strike Suit Zero” by Born Ready Games – A space combat game that throws players into huge, intense space battles where the fate of Earth rests in your hands.
- “Super Time Force” by Capybara – An action-packed platformer with a time-travelling twist. Take control of up to 16 unique characters, and battle across six different time periods, from the past to the far-away future.
- “The Last Tinker” by Mimimi Productions – In a world where creativity has given way to conflict, a street kid living in the slums of Colortown seeks to restore the spark of imagination to his hometown. A charming blend of modern platforming and multicolored style, “The Last Tinker” is a one-of-a-kind adventure.
- “Wulverblade” by Darkwind Media – A side-scrolling brawler created in the spirit of the arcade greats. It’s 120AD and the Roman army has seized control of Britannia. Their goal: march north and conquer the island with bloody efficiency. The 5,000-strong 9th Legion are preparing for war, but little do they know what lies in wait for them.
There’s quite a vast array of gaming quality amidst these various titles. The indie genre is a precious commodity that needs to be accounted for by the console market, and it’s fantastic that the Xbox One is allowing this. Now that these third-party developers are able to have access to everything that the Xbox One has to offer, the potential is limitless. Perhaps Microsoft’s mission with the ID@Xbox program is to create a platform that developers can use to get their games on the market and make a name for themselves. Keep an eye out for ID@Xbox games in the Xbox store in the upcoming weeks.