Microsoft is frequently criticized for somewhat lagging behind competitors, Valve, Sony and Nintendo when it comes to supporting the indie game industry. Fortunately, the company aims to turn that around, announcing several high-profile indie game projects that are not only coming to Xbox One, and in some cases Windows 10 PC’s, but also exclusively releasing for Microsoft’s platform, whether permanently, or on a timed basis.
The first of these games was Tacoma, the new cerebral adventure game from The Fullbright Company, the developers of PC indie hit, Gone Home. Tacoma unfolds in a similar fashion, being a first-person puzzle-adventure game that involves players piecing together the mystery of what went wrong on the space station, Tacoma. The game will launch in 2016, and will come to PC, Mac and Linux, also being a timed console exclusive on Xbox One. This is quite ironic, as Tacoma was first announced at last year’s PlayStation Experience expo, initially revealed for PlayStation 4.
From there, the developers of DayZ, Bohemia Interactive, unveiled Ion. This persistent massively-online space simulation has players exploring the unknown cosmos together. Details are unfortunately thin beyond that, though the game will feature persistent galactic interaction, including realistic dangers like pressurization, air supplies, and power grids. Ion will be among one of the first offerings on the all-new Xbox Game Preview program, which will allow Xbox One owners to test and give feedback on the game, ahead of its official release, essentially being the console equivalent of Steam’s controversial Early Access program in the PC space. Ion will come to both Windows 10 PC’s and Xbox One in 2016.
Next was an all-new game, with an ambitious art style inspired by 1930’s cartoons of all things! Cuphead, as it’s known, comes to us from developer, MDHR, and involves two old-timey-style cartoon characters making a deal with the devil, and getting screwed! The two have to do the bidding of the Prince of Darkness, if they want to get a shot at freedom. While aping the style of vintage cartoons by Disney and Warner Bros. from eighty years ago, the game aims to be a platform-action game, akin to what was frequently seen on the 16-bit Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo consoles. Cuphead comes to Steam in 2016, and will be a console exclusive on Xbox One.
Afterward, we got a look at Beyond Eyes, an adventure game from Tiger & Squid, where the protagonist is blind (boy, that’s been happening a lot in the indie game space lately!), though this time, it’s not in a horror setting. Instead, the game unfolds as an optimistic, hope-filled story, with players creating a radar sense to navigate, inspired by other senses like touch, smell and sound. Kind of like Daredevil, but sweeter, and presumably non-violent. Beyond Eyes releases this year, for PC, Mac and Linux, and once again, it will be console exclusive to Xbox One.
Finally, Microsoft showed off Ashen from Aurora44, a third-person action-RPG set in a desolate, post-apocalyptic world. The atmospheric game is all about choosing your allies carefully, since both the incompetent and untrustworthy could easily leave you doomed. Ashen comes to PC and Xbox One in 2016.
In one last bit of news, Microsoft confirmed that existing PC indie titles, The Long Dark, Elite: Dangerous, Shelter and DayZ are also coming soon to Xbox One. Not only that, but they will all be featured on the Xbox One’s brand new Game Preview program.
There’s other promising indie game projects in development for Xbox platforms, so keep returning to Eggplante for all news and updates on promising ID@Xbox offerings.