There’s no “E3” in Indie – but we still have to talk about it
Welcome back to another roundup of indie news, our weekly tidbit of all the latest movings and/or shakings of the indie sphere. And with E3 all wrapped up, we saw a ton of news come through, so you can imagine how the process of filtering out what we put in this week’s roundup went. That being said, we’ve somehow managed to pick a handful of stories that you should know about.
Micro Monopoly: Microsoft Buy Three Indie Studios
It’s fair to say that Microsoft came out swinging at E3. Whether it was a feral retaliation to the general acceptance that Sony had won whatever console war was being raged in this generation or whether Microsoft were simply biding their time like the irreverent possum; whichever is the answer, Microsoft went big.
And wrapped up in the chaos of reveals and service announcements, was the news that Microsoft had pretty much finalised deals to acquire five studios. The move, which saw Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice), Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Undead Labs (State of Decay series), and Playground Games – who because of their work on the Forza series – don’t really count as an indie studio.
The move was one that Microsoft said underlined their intent to make original new games and give new studio more space for growth. Now, it’s surely no coincidence that the studios Microsoft picked up have either a long-standing relationship with one another, but are also some of the standout names in the indie sphere.
Ninja Theory were quick off the mark to explain why they decided to join Microsoft, explaining that they want to create games that: “focused on experience, not around monetisation.” Whilst Compulsion said the new partnership would allow them to better “raise our game and build even better and more interesting worlds, and we couldn’t be more excited for the future of the studio.”
Only time will tell whether the move works for all parties involved, but with Ninja only just recently coming back from the edge of destruction, and both Compulsion and Undead relying on the success of a single franchise, there will surely be an extra amount of pressure on these studios to deliver the goods in the months ahead.
One to Watch: Tunic
Tunic has already gathered a fair amount of buzz even before being shown off at E3, offering up a stylised top-down perspective, the adventure game is already being compared to early Zelda games – in its design at least.
Having begun development back in 2015 under the name “The Secret Legend” Tunic puts you in the paws of a fox as you explore the crumbling world around you. Having been drawn to both Zelda in its open-adventure gameplay, and even Dark Souls, Tunic looks set to be the poster boy for the Xbox indie scene.
And Finally… Cthulhu Invites you into Madness with its latest trailer
Going insane is a bit of a chore, especially when you throw chaos-driven gods into the mix. So, having to deal with all that whilst you try to solve a mystery could be a tad overwhelming. But unfortunately for all of us, that’s exactly what we’ll have to do when Call of Cthulhu arrives later this year on PC and console.
Pitting you against all the horrors of the Lovecraft universe, you’ll play as private investigator Edward Pierce as he hunts for clues about what happened to the Hawkins family in a spooky mansion. And – as you might expect, this investigation becomes a little broader as Eddy boy realises that there’s some form of supernatural goings-on in the Old Hawkins place.
The latest trailer, which arrived this week, offers a snapshot of what the game has to offer, showing off some stunning environment that looks to create an unsettling contrast of Edward’s normal life and the nightmare world he’ll soon become accustomed to – plus you get to listen to the narrator take a sharp dive into insanity himself, hooray!
There’s still no specific release date for Call of Cthulhu, but it’s still slated for that 2018 release.
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