I don’t think you’d find many who’d argue with you if you posited that Valve is currently the darling of the games industry. As a developer, they’ve probably the most fanboys per capita of any studio in the world. It’s not hard to see why, either: they do good work. The quality of their games is top notch, their distribution platform is convenient and easy to use, and they’ve a plethora of good ideas related to improving gaming for both gamers and the artists who entertain them.
Steam Greenlight was one of those ideas.
Greenlight’s concept was brilliant: rather than having each and every game proposal go through the Valve offices, why not just let the users decide which games were worth making? Valve staff would be freed up to develop more titles, indie studios could establish an open discourse (and strong relationship) with their users, and gamers would be able to contribute to the development process in a very concrete way.
So far, I’d say Greenlight has worked swimmingly. Sure, there are a few bum titles – there are always going to be a couple hucksters who try to game the system – but all in all, we’ve seen some incredible, unique, and downright beautiful games hit the Steam store of late. Today, I’d like to take a look through Greenlight, and showcase a few games which I feel could end up being the next big thing.
Don’t be too offended if I miss a title you’re excited for. There’s a lot of stuff out there, and I’m bound to overlook something. After all, I’m only human.
I’m certain I’m not the only one who’s noticed that the Survival Horror genre has gotten a touch…bland of late. The Resident Evil series is the perfect example of that; Capcom’s practically turned one of the forefathers of the video game horror genre into an action game. Let’s be honest: jump scares are startling. They aren’t frightening, and they sure as hell aren’t unsettling. The less you see of something, the more terrifying it is (the imagination is a funny thing, y’see). Atmosphere and mind games are everything.
The developers of Huntsman: The Orphanage understand this. As a result, the title (which has been recently greenlit) promises to be a worthy entry into the genre: a survival horror game which is actually genuinely horrifying.
I’ve a confession to make: I’ve never actually played Myst and its ilk. I know, I know. I’m deprived, and crass, and uncultured. Notifying you fine folks of Dream is my way of asking for forgiveness. The concept we’ve been presented with thus far is certainly a promising one: players are put into the shoes of Howard Phillips, “a young graduate with no direction in life who develops an obsession with his dreams. Discover dreams and nightmares filled with puzzles and secrets to help Howard find the meaning to his life.”
This one’s all about the mind – about psychological and emotional exploration and introspection. With three different endings (depending on how deep Phillips’ introspection has gone) and a whole mindscape to explore, Dream looks like it might well fit the bill for all you Myst fanatics out there -and really, for anyone who’s ever been a fan of old-school adventure games.
Lately we’ve seen a rather overwhelming influx of survival games. Don’t Starve – a game I’ve talked about before – was among them. Live Hard looks to be another gem, designed in the same fashion as Don’t Starve (though with an admittedly less supernatural bent to it). The developers have made some pretty hefty promises – most notably, they’ve referred to their title as “the real hardcore survival.”
The narrative is simple(as is often the case with the genre). You’re stranded on a desert island. You need to use whatever means you’ve got at your disposal to keep yourself alive. Have fun!
Long story short…it’s looking like this’ll be a spiritual successor to Stranded II, and that’s bloody awesome. Go and give this one a thumbs up if you haven’t already.
The world has ended. Are you man enough to survive the chaotic aftermath? Admittedly, post-apocalyptic settings have been done to death (the end of all things seems to be a strange preoccupation of ours…). Still, Forsaken Fortress looks like it could take the setting in a relatively new direction (or at least manage to pull off a simulation of a world after humanity with much more believability than we’ve seen thus far). If the developers deliver everything they’ve promised. we’re going to get a full-featured title which includes resource and base management, squad-based combat, research, crafting, and customizable squadmates.
Not a bad package at all, eh?
Last – but certainly not least – we’ve got the curiously named #103. This one has me particularly interested: it’s like the developer has taken every single piece of fiction I’ve ever loved, and mashed them all together into one neat little package. You’ve got a very obvious steampunk aesthetic, elements of science fiction and gothic horror, and what’s shaping up to be a very deep plot which asks some very pressing questions about mortality and the afterlife.
The title refers to the name of the main character, a robotic grim reaper who decides one day (after being sent to reap the soul of a child) that he’s tired of obeying orders from the system. He rebels, and begins to forge his own path in a desperate effort to find meaning in life. What follows is what looks to be a fairly deep turn-based strategy spanning two separate worlds: the ‘real world,’ and “The Sanctuary” (basically, a dystopian wasteland which was created in the image of hell by whatever preceded the Reapers).
Sadly, the project’s Kickstarter failed to reach its goal. Keep an eye on this one, though – it’d be a damn shame if nothing ever came of it.
Which Greenlight titles are you particularly excited about? Drop me a line in the comments below and let me know!