Let’s forget for a moment the fact that they have recently returned to everyone’s lips because of the stratospheric success of the “catastic” Stray (which still represents a valuable product), why talk about Annapurna focusing solely on the sales of the title they have most recently released is nothing short of an understatement. This independent publisher is among the most creative and artistically refined on the market since its inception, and has some of the most unique and inspired works on the scene among the games supported in the past.
Such a pedigree is clearly tangible proof of the artistic sensitivity of the team when it comes to making selection: this publisher does not choose software houses only by virtue of their technical skills, but clearly gives extreme value to the imagination of the developers and the originality of the their ideas. It is therefore impossible not to keep a close eye on theShowcase of Annapurna of this year, given that in the catalog of the next releases there was a high possibility of seeing some new indie gem appear.
We fear, however, that we have seen a transitory year for the home, as the showcase has been interesting, but has mostly focused on products still in full development and on the teams that are creating them. Yet, there is no shortage of games full of potential and it doesn’t matter if they go much further.
One thing must certainly be said: the production values of the Annapurna showcase have increased and we found the presentation very well structured, complete with a global map to indicate the position of the publisher-affiliated teams before each video. The game with which it was decided to start, however, is one of the most curious in the catalog: let’s talk about thirsty suitorsvery special RPG focused on the interpersonal relationships of a girl named Jala. We will not go into too much detail (because we want to dedicate another preview to it in the future), also because the work of Outerloop Games is such a crazy mix of elements that it does not require additional presentations. In fact, not only does it contain turn-based battles with one’s exes – with not too veiled inspiration from Scott Pilgrim – but also culinary trials and skateboarding challenges. For heaven’s sake, such a soup of elements can be problematic, however in this specific case it seems to be implemented with discrete cunning, and the general humor has what it takes to act as a glue to the various systems. To try, and a demo on Steam is also confirmed at the end of the presentation, so …
The second game shown is Hindsightby Prune creator Joel McDonald. It is an atmospheric adventure that traces the life of a woman named Mary step by step from her childhood. The extremely liminal art direction of the game and the possibility of changing the perspective of the lived scenes clearly suggests a hidden complexity far superior to that of classic narrative games; whatever the truth is, anyway, we’ll find out shortly as the title comes out on August 4th.
The main gem came soon after, though. In fact, a new video game from Cardboard Computerthe creators of Kentucky Route Zero. The video focused on the developers – it is incredible to think that there are only three and they have still completed a title like Kentucky – but Annapurna has nevertheless revealed some important info on the new title, complete with very short gameplay and pre-production scenes. It seems to be, for example, a much more advanced work from a technical point of view, with a greater focus on performance and animations (we saw a carefully animated talking dog during the video). Apparently it will also be a markedly more humorous and “faster” title than Kentucky Route Zero, which is considered “a tragedy” by the developers when it comes to fiction. We don’t know anything else; the partnership is undoubtedly important news, but we fear it will take a long time to see this game reappear, despite the experience gained by the team. I’m still only three people.
A few seconds and here’s another reveal with Bounty stara little basic game from a technical point of view, yet undoubtedly tantalizing due to its characteristics. It is in fact a third-person action with mechs that can be piloted in the role of a bounty hunter named Clementine; In addition to eliminating dangerous criminals, however, you’ll also need to upgrade your garage facilities, engage in some healthy cultivation, and upgrade your mechanical exoskeleton with increasingly powerful weapons. The mix of customization of the mech and its base could be a decent bomb if combined with respectable management elements and level gameplay. So who knows if this is not a surprise in the group of Annapurna exits. It will arrive in 2023, however.
Then it was the partnership with Yarn owlanother tiny developer team (there are only two of them) currently building a Zelda-inspired title in Austin, Texas. The two developers met online through streaming and decided to throw themselves into this ambitious project together. Obviously it is not an easy plan to carry out, however there already seem to be playable bases, and being supported by Annapurna shows that there is certainly talent at the base to be kept under observation.
Then came some minor announcements, but still worthy of being communicated. The developers of Wild Outlands for example, they confirmed that the Nintendo Switch version of the game is in good health (new information will arrive as soon as possible) and revealed that the free upgrade of the game to the Xbox Series X and PS5 versions will arrive on September 15.
In winter we will see the Xbox and Switch version of The pathless and you Template (the latter will be on Game Pass). The very good Solar ash will arrive in turn on Game Pass in winter and on Switch on December 6, and finally two are confirmed drop of shadowwith the native PS5 and Series X version of What remains of Edith Finchand the Steam version of the colorful Hokum.
An open closure
The showcase did not stop there: the “closed” has counted four more announcements, although none of these pairs are in the pipeline. German team Third Shift, for example, is creating an atmospheric exploration-focused narrative title called Forever does. As an elderly gentleman named Fabien, pushed north by an unspecified tragic event, you will explore beautiful places on foot and aboard your camper. Clearly not a game for action lovers, but an almost meditative experience that seems to focus on settings and calm observation. Indeed, everything seems to be already quite advanced in development, but little is known about it yet. We will keep you informed.
The more “colorful” announcements appeared soon after, as a peculiar name game was confirmed Flockand a new work by that genius madman of Keita Takahashi. Flock appears to be a Flower-like experience, but markedly more interactive, with the ability to group wacky flying animals and use their wool to make clothes. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to predict the work of Takahashi, whose new work is called Uvula and it seems to focus on … well, on a uvula. Anything can happen with good Keita in the way.
At the opposite extremes the last two announcements. The first, in fact, still focused on an indie software house, showed the development process of Dream feelinggroup of Irish artists struggling with a mainly narrative game with an unknown title. They are the creators of If Found …, a game much appreciated by critics and audiences on Steam, so there is undoubtedly some potential in their next project. The latest reveal was instead of a survival with dinosaurs called The lost savagewhere the goal is to stay alive in a mysterious world populated by the cute giant reptiles that everyone loves. Although the premise is a bit banal, the particular aspects are not lacking even in this title, since the dinosaurs behave like animals and not monsters, that the crafting seems to be focused on offering additional options for survival, that the weapons will be non-lethal and designed more to distract the dinosaurs than to kill them, and that the map contains mysterious research centers that could contain pleasant narrative elements. Overall, it seems to be the most technically advanced and mainstream game in the mix, but it is still published by Annapurna, so who knows that it does not reserve some unexpected twist.
The ads stop there. There are many projects at stake, and also many partnerships, but outside of a handful of already known titles it will take a while to see all the news concretely. The expectations from this publisher, however, always remain very high.