In our first round-up of this year's Develop Awards finalists, we look at the best new properties developers have created
BEYOND: TWO SOULS
Beyond: Two Souls, the latest game from David Cage’s Quantum Dream, continues the studio’s fine tradition of combining high-end visuals, market-leading motion capture and a rich and engaging narrative.
Building on the groundbreaking interactive storytelling of Omikron: The Nomad, Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls tells the story of Jodie Holmes, a girl with mysterious powers on the run from the law. Starring Academy Award nominees Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, Beyond set a new bar for A-list acting talent in games.
Well received by players following its launch in October 2013, Beyond: Two Souls sold one million copies before the end of the year, a great achievement for a truly unique PlayStation 3 exclusive. Quantum Dream’s ability to create distinctive, sophisticated, popular games is remarkable.
BROTHERS: A TALE OF TWO SONS
With Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Starbreeze moved away from the subject matter of its previous games to deliver a digital-only title that charmed, delighted and broke hearts in equal measure.
Following two siblings on an adventure to heal their sick father, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons married gameplay, storytelling and theme to brilliant effect, challenging players to control each brother with separate control sticks. It’s a game about co-dependence, perfectly expressed.
Critics thought so too, praising Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons while showering it with awards. Among these were a Best Xbox Game gong at the VGX Awards and an award for Game Innovation from BAFTA. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a triumph, ushering in a new chapter in Starbreeze’s history.
In 2013, NaturalMotion continued its track record of delivering accessible, high-end mobile titles to vast audiences with its latest free-to-play release, Clumsy Ninja.
At the heart of the game is the titular ungainly assassin, who must train in order to rescue his friend, Nira. Clumsy is bought to life by NaturalMotion’s proprietary Euphoria engine, which mirrors the muscular and nervous systems of the human body to give realistic movement and reactions. It’s what makes Clumsy clumsy.
Combining advanced technology with character and charm, Clumsy Ninja received 10 million downloads in its first week on sale alone, going on to receive a number of innovation awards. It’s yet another unqualified success for the Oxford-based NaturalMotion.
Created by a newly formed team within the London-based digital design studio ustwo, Monument Valley’s uncompromised quality inspired plaudits from critics and consumers alike when it launched on iOS earlier this year.
Influenced by minimalist 3D design, optical illusions and palaces and temples from around the globe, Monument Valley sees players manipulate impossible architecture to guide a silent princess through a stunningly beautiful world presented with exquisitely composed static screens.
Showcasing ustwo's belief that self-contained, finely crafted, yet brief experiences can challenge the perception of mobile games, Monument Valley is a thoroughly original new IP by an exciting new team. It’s further proof that free-to-play isn’t the only route to success on mobile.
Hailed by many as the best launch title for the next generation of consoles, Resogun came out of nowhere in 2013 to take the world by storm.
By combining a twist on classic shoot-’em-up gameplay with high-end voxel-based visuals that pushed the PlayStation 4 to its limits, Finnish studio Housemarque delivered a mixture of old and new that proved irresistible to millions of score-chasing gamers. Relatively accessible yet fiendishly difficult to master, Resogun’s layered gameplay rewards dedication.
The reception of the game has been unanimously positive, earning Housemarque several PS4 game of the year awards and numerous glowing reviews. The most downloaded game on PlayStation 4 and the console’s highest rated exclusive, Resogun is a resounding success.
A runaway success for Facepunch Studios, Rust arrived in late 2013 riding a wave of Steam Early Access enthusiasm.
Quickly evolving from its origins as a zombie-filled survival horror, Rust has added hunting, gathering and crafting to its feature set, allowing players to fight, create tools and structures, and form allegiances within its harsh apocalyptic world.
Rust’s this mix of Minecraft and DayZ has proved hugely popular with players. Eclipsing even the performance of Facepunch’s Gary’s Mod, Rust has generated over $30 million in revenue since it entered paid-alpha.
Rust continues to grow and evolve, both in terms of its features and its player-base. With console versions of the game currently in consideration, the continued success of Rust seems assured.
Space adventure sandbox game Starbound has been a huge hit for the London-based Chucklefish Games, consistently outstripping expectations since pre-orders went live in April, 2013.
In Starbound, players find themselves stranded on an alien planet with no fuel, a growing need for food and something decent to arm themselves with. After collecting the materials players need to survive and refuel their ship, they’re free to roam the randomly-generated universe.
It’s the game’s combination of exploration, combat and crafting that has struck a chord with the game’s audience, inspiring creativity and wonder in equal measure, while propelling Chucklefish Games into the limelight.
Still in development and available via Steam Early Access, Starbound has sold well in excess of 1 million copies since release.
Continuing MediaMolecule’s stellar track record of delivering bright, charming, characterful games with a strong emphasis on player expression and creativity, Tearaway hit PS Vita in 2013 to near universal acclaim.
At its heart Tearaway is an inventive adventure platformer with a distinct visual style that uses every one of the PS Vita’s unique features. But its triumphs run deeper than that. Following a plucky messenger on a journey through a vibrant, papery world, Tearaway plays with the boundaries between game and reality, and delivers strong message on the power of storytelling.
The winner of numerous awards, including three BAFTA Video Game Awards, Tearaway is widely regarded as the best game on PS Vita. It’s testament to MediaMolecule’s fearsome creative and technical talents.
About The Develop Awards
The 2014 Develop Awards will take place on Wednesday, July 9th at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Brighton, and recognises the best innovators and development talent in the UK and Europe.
If you want to attend, you can book single seats and standard or gold tables by contacting Kathryn.Humphrey@intentmedia.co.uk or calling 01992 535646.
There are multiple new awards this year, with a total of 24 prizes up for grabs, while PlayStation 4 lead architect Mark Cerny is 2014's Development Legend.
There is a host of big names backing this year's Develop Awards, including Crytek and Deep Silver as Platinum Partners, a slew of Gold Partners in UKIE, Amiqus, Keywords International, Codemasters, Perforce, Cubic Motion and Unity, Event Partners Wales Interactive, InnoGames and Tandem Events and Table Gift Partner OPM.
For more information on the sponsorship and partnership opportunities still available, contact Alex.Boucher@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535647.
You can find out more about the Develop Awards at the official Develop Awards website.