Now in its 19th year, the Game Developers Conference (GDC) continually brings together the most influential, creative and gifted crop of developers, designers, creators, writers and editors in the video game world. It’s all about the games and the ways to better experience them. This year brought a new way to play games thanks to Google. It was a bit of a shakeup.
Stadia, Google’s “groundbreaking” cloud gaming platform was unveiled. There had been anticipation that we would see Google enter the video game market, and while we haven’t physically tested things out, Stadia offers a different way to integrate new and existing players into the video game ecosystem. The 10AM unveil of Stadia came with a pretty impressive promo video, it showed a lot of really happy people playing video games. People of all sorts. It was inviting.
The controllers are said to easily connect to Wi-Fi, have extremely low latency with gameplay and, naturally, have easy access to Google Assistant for all those pressing needs. It also comes with a ‘capture and share’ button to send to YouTube (read this) because sharing is caring.
Stadia may change the game in a platform sense: now people everywhere with an internet connection can connect and play pretty seamlessly, so we’re told. There’s also a trusty backup known as Google cloud that keeps things a little less messy. Games can be played via smartphone, tablet, web browser or Chormecast—no console required. The new platform will not only change the way games are played, but also how they are sold. And maybe even how they are created. Stadia may try to follow the likes of Average Joe (more commonly known as Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his HitRecord.org platform, who knows.
Following the announcement of Google’s Stadia, both Sony and Nintendo’s shares dropped (3.38 percent, 3.21 percent, respectively).
We don’t know if it will be subscription-based or not, or any strategy, really, except that Google somehow integrates into every part of our lives. We also don’t know how it will handle abuse in its forums. Things could get ugly and potentially dangerous, real quick. Nonetheless, Stadia won’t be available until later this year.
Epic Games announced a slew of entries exclusive to its 2019 Store. Detroit: Become Human (which had been a PS4-exclusive but will be available to play on PC soon) and a new game from Assassin’s Creed‘s Patrice Désilets called Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, were among the crop announced. None of the games will be on Steam for at least a year; some will be available for Xbox One and PS4 and other PC stores. Getting a game into Epic’s store is said to be profitable for the developers—apparently 88 per cent revenue is taken back by the developer. Epic Games keeps 12 per cent. If you’re a developer that wants to cash in, going with the folks that helped distribute Fortnite is not a bad bet.
But it wasn’t all about big titled names. During the Game Developers Choice Awards, Justin Ma, co-founder of Subset Games, was one that took home top honours—Into the Breach won the Best Design Award. He even made a comment about it on stage (“Anyone else notice the near indie sweep going on?”) which was met with a lot of support. It can be a sweet victory when indie beats out the money makers.
Lucas Pope’s Return of the Obra Dinn, Beat Games’ Beat Saber, and Mountains’ Florence all picked up multiple awards.
Pope also received the coveted Seumas McNally Grand Prize for his work on Return of the Obra Dinn. He won the award in 2013 for Papers, Please.
The night also gave out two prestigious awards: the Pioneer Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rieko Kodama, a name that has been known for over forty years, received the Pioneer Award for her work. The video game artist, director, and producer is part of the brilliance behind early and seminal games like Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast and the Phantasy Star series.
Amy Hennig received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Hennig is known for her artistic animation, storytelling and game design. Strong narratives and characters you care about is what you get in her games. The mega-successful Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver? She was writer and director. The cherished Uncharted game series? She served as creative director and writer.
Game of the Year – God of War
Best Debut Game – Florence
Best Mobile Game – Florence
Best Narrative – Return of the Obra Dinn
Best VR/AR Game – Beat Saber (a.k.a. a highly addictive and fun game)
Audience Award – Beat Saber
Innovation Award – LABO (Nintendo)
Best Game Audio – Celeste
Best Visual Art – GRIS
Best Technology – Red Dead Redemption 2
Best Design – Into the Breach
The Oculus Rift S was revealed. See what you think for yourself below.
Spike Chunsoft dropped a GDC trailer for their latest wonder, AI: The Somnium, expected out July 25. It’s available for PS4, Switch and Steam (PC).
Nintendo announced Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer feat. The Legend of Zelda. It’s a mashup, and looks fun.
The lovable Cuphead game will now be available on Nintendo Switch. Xbox Live Support is coming. The game was previously only playable on Xbox One and PC, and you can play it on Nintendo Switch come April 18.
Last but not least, the Stranger Things 3 game trailer made its debut.
Featured photo: Beat Saber