Hey, y’all! It’s been a while, and E3 is finally coming to a close. Well not E3, per se, but the Summer of Games! It’s been an exciting ride, but for me and Allan, I know we’ve been waiting for this final showcase, as it’s really the most exciting of them all. Annapurna Interactive has delivered some of the most fantastic indie games of recent years. I personally feel they have the best track record, producing banger after banger, with games like What Remains of Edith Finch, Sayonara Wild Hearts, and I Am Dead. Not to mention all the cool games they’ve got on the horizon like Solar Ash, 12 Minutes, and Open Roads. This is Annapurna’s first-ever digital showcase, and I cannot wait to jump in. Beginning with a montage of their greatest hits and a promise of showing off new game updates and partnerships, this sounds like it’ll be a blast! Let’s begin!
The first game on the docket is The Artful Escape. I was actually reminded of this game recently, as someone in a YouTube comment asked where it was. We really haven’t heard much from this developer in a while, but today we’ve gotten even more than we could’ve imagined. This vibrant, seizure-inducing trailer not only shows off the game’s story and gameplay, but it came with a cast announcement – including Game of Thrones’s Lena Headey and the iconic Carl Weathers – as well as a release date of September 9! If you like music and side-scrolling adventure games, this seems like one for your radar. It’s coming to Steam and Xbox via Game Pass, so it’s definitely one I’ll be looking out for.
Ben Esposito is the creator of Donut County, one of the most talked-about mobile games of recent years. It may come as a shock that I haven’t ever played it, but seeing as I own it, I really have no excuse. While that game is more family-friendly and kind of a puzzle adventure, his new game – Neon White – is a complete 180. Neon White is a “single-player speed-running FPS” in which you play as a demon named White. You are tasked with completing rather short levels in a race against the clock, utilizing cards with unique abilities to traverse the environment. Each card offers both an attack and a parkour ability, which you must choose between on the fly in order to seamlessly improve your run time. The game looks like a hardcore test for speed-running completionists and trying for faster times unlocks secrets like collectibles and new dialogue options. The story itself plays out similarly to a dating sim, and however the player does in each level correlates with the relationships White makes with NPC’s. The action is fast-paced and visually striking, and the game itself is yet another extremely unique concept from Annapurna. Neon White is coming to Nintendo Switch and PC this winter, but I can’t imagine playing something so frantic on a Switch. The controls for that device are so clunky I could never.
Now for something I am super excited for Annapurna and Outer Loop are teaming up to make a new game. If you’ve ever played a virtual reality system, chances are you’ve seen Falcon Age. It’s a beautiful sci-fi puzzle game about a falconer and their friendly bird companion. Falcon Age is absolutely gorgeous, and the studio behind it – Outer Loop – seems like one of the most passionate teams I’ve ever seen. Honestly, as I watched this behind-the-scenes video I just wanted to be a part of their family. Everyone seems so excited to work on this upcoming game, and full of ideas to make it something special. Outer Loop will without a doubt find a great home with Annapurna, and I can’t wait to play their upcoming skating game – inspired by the Tony Hawk titles of old – in the near future.
A Memoir Blue bills itself as “a journey into the depths of memory.” Judging strictly by the trailer, the game seems like a narrative adventure in which a 3D-animated woman traces the steps of her past, which is portrayed by 2D animation. She seems to be of Asian descent, and her past seems to rely heavily on emotional moments with her mother. It could be interesting, but not a lot is told by this trailer alone. The music is pretty, though! A Memoir Blue is coming eventually to all consoles, as well as the App Store. Furthermore, as the video panned out, Annapurna cited the studio in Taichung City, which is in Taiwan. So that is pretty rad. I love seeing independent developers from all over the globe getting a taste of the spotlight!
Starting off this next behind-the-scenes video, I didn’t think much of it. Annapurna is teaming up with a Canadian developer named Jessica Mak to make a new rhythm game. But then it hit me… Jessica Mak made Sound Shapes. If you haven’t played Sound Shapes, then you are missing out on one of the most original rhythm games of our time. Truly, I consider it to be one of the must-plays of modern gaming. I was just blown away by Sound Shapes, and I will get excited about anything this dev has to offer. Sadly, we weren’t told much in this video, except that Mak is making a new action-adventure game with original music and rhythm-based elements. She wants to make “an engaging experience, but not an addictive experience.” I can’t wait for whatever comes out of it.
Storyteller is a puzzle game at its core. This reminds me of one of those mobile games where the first few levels seem easy and you think you’ve got it, but then it starts getting so complex you rage quit. You know… one of those. In Storyteller, you are given a series of comic panels, a title, some settings, and some characters. You must then take the characters and the settings (concepts like love, death, or sickness) to tell a story amongst the panels… but the story must fulfill the title. It’s hard to explain without seeing it yourself, so the trailer is below, and a demo is up on Steam currently. The game is yet another extremely unique concept, and it comes from a developer in Buenos Aires! Storyteller will release later this year on Switch and PC, and while I can see this one being playable on Switch, it just upsets me that Switch gets a lot of Annapurna console exclusives. It must be really easy to make a game for the Switch, or something. I don’t get it. But hey, it didn’t stop me from playing I Am Dead on it.
I’ll be honest, I skipped through the next trailer for fear of spoiling anything. Solar Ash has become one of my most anticipated games on the horizon, and I cannot wait to finally get my hands on it. It looks so absolutely gorgeous, and the mechanics look so addictive. I am blown away by the look of this game every time I lay eyes on it. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait much longer, as Solar Ash comes to PS4, PS5, and the Epic Games Store on October 26!
GUYS GUYS GUYS. So… Annapurna does this thing where they’ll continuously give the world treats and unexpected surprises that excite my entire being. Like… they are constantly doing this. Any time Annapurna is involved, I get elated. So not very surprisingly, they’ve done it again with this next announcement. Ivy Road is a new studio partnering with Annapurna, comprised of some brilliant people. The creator of The Stanley Parable, Davey Wreden; one of the co-creators of Gone Home and Tacoma (that’s Fullbright, guys, that’s like my favorite of all time), Karla Zimonja; and the composer of Minecraft, everyone’s favorite, CS18 – they’re all here! They are working on a game they cannot yet tell us about, and they are adorable together. Seriously, these guys are friendship goals and I love them and I want to protect them at all costs. I don’t even care that this video showed no game. This video gave me life and a renewed belief in wholesome society. Bring it on, Ivy Road!
I have no clue what Skin Deep is. By this, I mean I have never seen it before and I have no clue what the trailer is trying to tell me. I think it’s basically a sandbox type of game, where you must eliminate space pirates who have taken over your ship by any means necessary? There may be optional objectives along the way, as well as multiple ways to approach a scenario. Whatever it is, it looks damn fun, although the graphics leave a bit to be desired. Blendo Games has an odd one on their hands with Skin Deep. It’s coming soon to PC.
Next up, some platform updates!
The Pathless is coming to Steam on November 16. It is currently out on PlayStation platforms and Apple Arcade.
What Remains of Edith Finch is coming to the App Store on August 16th, and I know Allan and I cannot recommend this game enough. Actually, a lot of us at VGU have played this game and adore it. Truly one of the most emotionally gripping tales we’ve ever encountered in gaming.
I Am Dead is coming to PlayStation and Xbox consoles on August 9th and considering I’m playing it right now, I’ll give it a hearty recommendation! It’s a cute little artistic story of an island and the deceased inhabitants who keep it operating from beyond. If you’re into puzzle games with unique gameplay mechanics and heartwarming stories, you’ll enjoy this one.
Lastly, Telling Lies and Gorogoa are coming soon to Game Pass! The former comes from the makers of Her Story, and it’s been on my radar for quite some time so I’m super excited for this! Gorogoa, on the other hand, is one of the few Annapurna games I haven’t played, so I am really interested in finally giving it a shot.
I hadn’t forgotten about Stray. Ever since its announcement, I’ve been looking forward to this adventure game about a stray cat in the city. However, I did put my excitement on the backburner because it was a PS5 exclusive, and, well, ain’t nobody got time (or money) for that. But alas, here is an update on Stray, which I did forget was being made by Annapurna.
AnnaPURRna, more like. Haha.
Anyway, the game looks simply breathtaking, with next-gen lighting effects and textures that are truly some of the best I’ve ever seen. As a newfound cat lover myself, I’m really excited to step into the paws of a curious feline in a post-apocalyptic world, solving mysteries and encountering robot buddies. My favorite thing is that there are no unnecessary combat mechanics in Stray. Stealth and quick thinking will get you out of jams, but there is no cartoonish fighting going on here. This feels realistic and fun, and the best part? It’s coming to PC and PS4 as well! So yes, I will be eagerly awaiting Stray when it finally drops in 2022.
Stop. STOP! You are not telling me that Annapurna is teaming up with No Code, the Scottish devs behind Observation, one of my favorite games from Devolver! I like just played that game, too! It’s an incredible science fiction thriller in space and it’s absolutely mind-bending! What could they possibly be working on now? Well, it’s a horror game, and that’s pretty much all we know! I would normally be checked out when I hear “horror game,” but if it’s from Annapurna, I just feel like it’ll have an artistic feel that will draw me in no matter what. I can’t stay away.
I’m actually looking forward to a horror game. You heard it here first, folks!
I have yet to play Outer Wilds. I know, that’s a sin, you don’t have to tell me twice. Just give me a little time. Maybe I have something in the works? Anyway, Outer Wilds is getting a Switch release, hopefully by winter. There is also an expansion coming, which will “weave directly into the existing world and narrative.” They included a trailer, but I have no idea what’s going on. I think that’s kind of the point? All I know is this expansion has been hoped for by so many people, and I bet a lot of fans were screaming at the television today. Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye is coming September 28, and if you haven’t played the base game yet, well… stay tuned to VGU. No reason.
Well, that was the show! I would say I was pleasantly surprised, but that’s no surprise at all! If Annapurna Interactive is attached, I will always be excited and satisfied. There has never been a more passionate collective of indie developers, delivering consistent perfection to game consoles. Save for maybe Devolver Digital, but even they have had some misfires (not to mention their dreadful showcases). Annapurna was short, sweet, and scrumptious, and I cannot wait for the future of gaming, thanks to them.
Thanks for reading this, and thanks for reading all of our Summer of Games coverage! From the conference reactions to the podcasts to the news stories to the YouTube demos, we do it all for you and we’re super appreciative. Please stay tuned for some surprises we have in store within the next few weeks! See ya!