EGX 2017 ǀ Day Three

It’s the third day of EGX and the penultimate day of the show. Having already played most of the bigger titles on Thursday and Friday, I decided to avoid the busy weekend queues and head to the indie game section of the show: the Rezzed Zone.

After taking such a liking to the Lost Words game that I played yesterday, I arranged an interview slot with Mark Backler to further discuss his fantastic indie title. That interview will be at the end of today’s roundup.

Early on I noticed that the SEGA stand was surprisingly empty so I made my way over to the Sonic Forces demo. The game looks great! It shares the same clean-cut cartoon style that Super Mario Odyssey employs and feels comfortable to control on the PS4. It’s as crazy fast as you would expect from a Sonic game and the number of mini games to play within the demo showcased classic Sonic levels, an avatar level and even a tag team stage. I was lucky enough to play all of these chapters and, although I probably wouldn’t rush to buy a copy, I had a great time with the game.

Supermassive’s new PlayLink game Hidden Agenda has been in my sights since my arrival at the show on Thursday. After bumping into a few Twitter friends on the show floor, we all got into the queue to play this four-person, choice-based game. Hidden Agenda follows two police officers as they attempt to track down and arrest a famous serial killer. All four of us had to make a choice between different options, and the option which gets the majority vote is the choice the game goes with. Once in the interrogation room one of the four players is given a hidden agenda and told to sway the rest of the players to make a certain choice at the end of the demo. The change from co-operating with your friends to knowing that one of them has a different motive and no one can be trusted is a great aspect of the game. The constant switching of emotions from relaxed to agitated played very well and made me desperate to own this game come its 25th October release date.

Whilst we were waiting for Hidden Agenda we managed to watch some gameplay for Knowledge is Power, another game that utilises the PlayLink feature. Knowledge is Power is an in-depth quiz game where players answer questions on their phones via the PlayLink. The quiz questions cover many categories ranging from Game of Thrones to 18th century history – there’s something for everybody!

One of the crudest and most outlandish games at this year’s EGX is South Park: The Fractured but Whole. Essentially a point and click game with explicit content, this South Park title is actually very good. The Fractured but Whole demo is set in a late-night strip club and players braving the stand can expect to see nudity as well as the crass humour that the TV series is so famous for. The demo is delightfully insensitive and I was shocked at the fact I would have to give a lap dance as a young boy to an old drunk man! As well as showing off your exotic dance moves you’ll get to have a turn-based fight and craft a few disgusting items in order to progress. Controls are very easy and the game is fun to play! If I only remember one thing from this year’s show you can bet that it will be South Park: The Fractured but Whole, released on the 17th October 2017.

To close of Saturday’s show I wandered over to Overcooked. A charming game from the minds of Ghost Town Games in which a team of chefs rush around kitchens trying to get food out before the timer hits zero. The game looks lovely on the Switch and nice little touches such as the chefs swearing in cartoon speech bubbles when things burn means that Overcooked is both memorable and fun to play. People visiting the demo in the Rezzed stand can play Overcooked in teams of three in an attempt to beat the current high score and win a limited edition Overcooked T-shirt.

Mark Backler (Lost Words) Interview

RS: Your game is so original and unique; could you please outline the premise?

Mark: Lost Words is an atmospheric puzzle game that’s set within the pages of a diary, and it’s about a girl who’s an aspiring writer. Her gran is helping mentor her and when she’s going through difficulties in the real world she’s using the fantasy world that she’s writing about as a means to cope with what’s going on. The game is split into different chapters. Each chapter is half in the pages of a diary and half in the fantasy world of Estoria.

RS: Where did the inspiration for such an emotive storyline come from?

Mark: We wanted the game to be something that could help people with real world issues. When Rhianna Pratchett came on board as writer, we had a discussion about it and she thought that looking at loss was a really powerful topic and something that’s unfortunately universal. I’d got a rough outline for the story, that it was going to be about divorce which is such a common thing these days. When I was at school there was only one person in the class whose parents were getting divorced and now it’s the other way around.

RS: Why do you think indie games seem to demonstrate the most elegant and intricate storylines at the moment?

Mark:  I guess because when something is on a smaller scale it makes it easier to get that message into every aspect of it. The sound, the animation, communication – that’s not such a problem when you’re a small team. You can really just make the game the message, which you can totally do in AAA games, but it’s a lot harder when you have a team of a hundred and fifty or one thousand people.

RS: I noticed that in the demo there were multiple options to pick to advance, does Lost Words have different storylines depending on what the player picks?

Mark: Yeah. We’re experimenting with how we do choice at the moment but one that players seem to like is being able to drag different words into place which in turn have an impact on the story. But because we’re a small team we can’t do Mass Effect style story branching. However, we do want to put in some choices that effect how things play out in the fantasy world.

RS: How many people all together work on a title like this?

Mark: There are nine of us, but we’re looking to find some funding from a publisher at the minute and then we can get more people on full time.

RS: When can we expect this game to be out for release?

Mark: We’re going to be finishing development late next year, so we’ve still got a fair way to go.

RS: Which consoles will Lost Words be released on?

Mark: We want to release it on Xbox One and Steam and we’re looking at other consoles. We’d also want to do a mobile and tablet launch as well.

RS: Thank you very much for your time.

 

Overall, another great day with a lot’s of indie titles covered. For the last day at 2017’s EGX I hope to play Sea of Thieves, Lake Ridden and attend the Cosplay finale on the main stage. For everything EGX keep it at Square XO!

Day one EGX coverage: http://www.squarexo.co.uk/egx-2017-day-one/
Day two EGX coverage: http://www.squarexo.co.uk/egx-2017-day-two/
Day four EGX coverage: http://www.squarexo.co.uk/egx-2017-%C7%80-day-four/