We’re covering everything shown off at the annual Summer Games Fest, which is more or less the new E3 in terms of what it means for gamers. In this article we’re covering everything shown off at the Tribeca Game Showcase during day 2 of the event. If you missed coverage of day 1, you can find our coverage of the main show here and the indies show here.
The Tribeca showcase, in its second year running, is a cute insight into some more artsy titles that want to give you a look at the faces behind the games that are being developed. Tribeca Festival (formerly the Tribeca Film Festival) has a good twenty year history, and it’s really cool to see them continuing to embrace media outside of film for its presentations.
A Highland Song
Starting off strong, A Highland song is a story about a young lass named Moira McKinnon exploring the beauty of the Scottish Highlands, traversing mountainous terrain and treacherous weather in her simple quest to experience something I took for granted growing up on the coast: to witness the sea.
It’s a charming experience from the art alone, painterly in its presentation, backed up by its laid-back approach to the gameplay. It’s a platforming game, but Moira is just a person– she isn’t a particularly great climber, and she’ll get tired quick! It’s a survival game – it rains, she gets wet, and she gets even more tired, so you find places to take some shelter and have a kip. It’s a rhythm game… I’m not sure about that one, but the music was lovely, and the sections of running to the beat looked really fun.
Very eager to try this one out. I’ve never had the pleasure of going to Scotland (which is pretty shameful for living so close to it) but I’ve always wanted to trek the Highlands.
Released Date: TBA
Platforms: Windows, Switch
Goodbye Volcano High
GBVH is a game about anthropomorphic dinosaurs graduating their last year of high school… while a meteor hurtles towards the planet to end all life as they know it.
If that isn’t a hook, what is?
This is a game that’s been in the pipeline for a while now. From what they’ve shown off, it’s a choice-based visual novel with some varying gameplay sections throughout tied to the main character, Fang, and their music.
GBVH wears its premise openly – what would you do with your last year on Earth? Do you still try to achieve something? Do you give up on that and simply try to live your best moments? What about everyone else around you? It’s a brutal concept, and I’m eager to see how it delivers.
Release Date: August 29th
Platforms: PS5, PS4, Windows, Mac.
Chants of Sennaar
Release Date: September 5th
Platforms: Switch, Xbox One, PS4, Windows
No offence to the other games that were revealed here, but Chants of Sennaar got me really excited. As someone who’s really coming to grips with the complexity of language and understanding, living abroad as I am now, a game based on that fine art of nuance and comprehension is really just what I want right now.
Wrap that up in a crisp, retro-euro artstyle, with a focus on architecture and culture, and layered with inspiration from the Tower of Babel and you got a game I’m gonna’ be talking about day one.
I’m in love with idea of this game and the gameplay they showed – a lone diplomat uniting the peoples who have been split apart by their inability to understand one another, utilising context and clues to decipher words and meanings that you jot down through trial and error, mixed in with some tense stealth. Perfect.
Another charming platformer, in which you play as Layla, an astronomer trying to restore the fallen stars to their constellations and find her path home. It’s positively delightful, with some gorgeous character art (which felt very Disney inspired from the concept art they showed off) and a cool focus on a part of the world that doesn’t get much love in terms of video game representation.
The game is entirely focused on ancient Arabian star-mythology, and recreating the area with love and wonder. As I’ll countlessly say with countless more indie games, it’s cool to see someone trying to capture a different feeling and vibe we’re used to.
Release Date: TBA
Platforms: No idea. I couldn’t find a mention of it everywhere.
Stray Gods: The Role-Playing Musical
Release Date: August 3rd, 2023
Speaking of a vibe we’re not entirely used to in video games. Musicals. Stray Gods is as it says on the tin: a roleplaying musical.
Growing up indoctrinated by my brother’s love for classic musicals (and one time star in an-all child’s production of Les Miserables) I’ve got a fondness for them. Stray Gods is based around a drop-out, go-nowhere girl who’s just not sure where she’s going in life getting thrust into a world of ancient Greek Gods hiding in plain sight when someone she cares for arrives and dies in her arms.
It’s a fun premise – old Gods walking amongst us, with very mortal mysteries to solve. From what the developers have stated, dialogue takes place as a musical segment, in which the player has control to change up the song to urge the narrative in the way they want like any other RPG. Very neat.
The Expanse: A Telltale Series
Telltale Games, Deck Nine
Release Date: 2023
Platforms: PS5, PS4, Xbox 1, Xbox X & S, Windows.
Telltale’s return was a shock to many (definitely myself) and one of their first announcements was for a game based around Drummer, from The Expanse. This isn’t the initial reveal, and they don’t show much of anything new, but it’s so fun to see Cara Gee talk about her role and reprising Drummer.
If you haven’t seen it, the Expanse was probably one of the best underdogs in recent TV history, with a humble beginnings on the SyFy channel with some relatively obscure actors and actresses that evolved to becoming a massively funded Amazon project. It’s a fantastic show, and you should watch it, and if you’ve already watched it, go watch it again.
Drummer is one of my favourite characters, and the accents of the belters are awesome. I can’t talk much about the game – if you’ve played a Telltale game, you know. It’s a narrative story game, and it looks like there’s a few more gameplay elements sprinkled in this time around, though Telltale games were never really about that. The quality o writing was always it’s strongpoint, and if you were looking to try something, the first season of The Walking Dead is probably the best showcase.
Julián Cordero, Sebastian Valbuena
Release Date: TBA
Despelote is a personal game about a very specific time in world history. I’m not much of a football person, but I know the thrill of getting wrapped up around the World Cup when England is definitely, one-hundred percent, going to bring it home this time.
Despelote is a game set in Quito, Ecuador, during the World Cup of 2001. Ecuador are close to qualifying, and Football Fever has infected the entire population. You play as a boy around that period, playing with your pals, seeing your neighbours and parents caught in the fever, and feeling that electricity of feeling like you’re all about to win.
What draws me immediately is the art style – Quito is lovingly recreated and put through this hazy, aged dotted-pen style that’s contrasted by the boldly, yet simplistically, caricatures of people. It puts you in the mindset of a memory – you remember the specifics. The football you kicked around. The friends you played with. The people you knew. They stand out because they remain strong in your mind, while where you were fades with time. Where not as important as the who, when it comes to those childhood memories most the time.
Tomorrow: More Coverage
And that’s it! If you have the time, and if you’re interested in any of the titles, it’s worth checking out the showcase on YouTube when you can to hear the developers go further in depth about the games. Otherwise, there are a whopping three shows today – an Indie games presentation at noon EDT, and another each at 1pm and 2pm.
Have any questions or feedback? Want to tell us what games you’re excited about? Feel like we undersold something? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.