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EGX 2017: Our Favourite New Games for Awesome Audio!

Last week saw another record attendance at EGX, as close to 80,000 people piled through the halls of the NEC, Birmingham to play all the newest titles available! Alyx and Katie have been on hand at EGX 2017 to play all the games you might be curious about and find the best sounding titles! Here’s a rundown of some of the best games over the weekend to keep an ear out for in the future:

Alyx’s Top Pick – Detroit: Become Human

Quantic Dream‘s New IP Detroit: Become Human has been long awaited, since their original demo of Kara in 2012. 5 years later we joined thousands of people queueing excited to finally get their hands on some gameplay! After his work on previous title Beyond: Two Souls, Lorne Balfe has been back working with Quantic Dream, in this new sci-fi thriller, set in Detroit. Androids are part of daily life, but some “deviants” have gained sentience and in the demo we play as Connor (Bryan Dechart) as we track down an Android that has gone wrong.

This game sounds absolutely incredible. It starts with Connor tossing a coin rapidly between his hands and the sounds of this, then become the sound of the lift, then a phone call. Something between the blurring of audio sources and the McGurk effect has a really clever impact on our perception of the sound source and what is happening in the scene. Sometimes it becomes apparent that some of the crying/distressed voices are being repeated, but that’s the only real problem. Everything else in the demo sounds incredibly crisp and well mixed, it really feels as if we are an Android and can hear in “HD”. Absolutely cannot wait for this game, although release date is yet TBC, it’s likely to be sometime in 2018.

Katie’s Top Picks

I had the pleasure of trying out a vast array of games at EGX 2017, and I have to say I felt the content present this year was some of the strongest I have witnessed. We have many AAA goodies on the horizon, such as Middle Earth: Shadow of War, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Star Wars Battlefront II, Assassin’s Creed: Origins and many more. Alongside this, it’s been amazing to see the indie section going from strength to strength each year, and the pioneering work that so many individuals and small companies are bringing to our industry. Whilst I can’t comment on everything that I enjoyed at the show, here are some of my audio highlights!

Figment

One of my favourite plays from this year was from a company called Bedtime Games, based in Denmark. Their latest release, Figment, is a puzzle based adventure game that focuses on a character called Dusty, and his winged friend Piper, as they explore the cheeky but challenging realms of the mind. The unique art style of the game is what originally drew me over, and everything I experienced thereafter had me becoming more and more absorbed. The game makes fantastic use of music implementation, integrating the score in to its environments. With flowers or plants that look like trumpets or ukuleles, as you pass, their respective melody lines ooze in and out of the score. The entire soundtrack was a brilliantly interactive facet of the story and is a admirable example of how the score can be tied with the visuals in such an intimate fashion.

Cuphead

Cuphead is the much-anticipated release from StudioMDHR. Drawn in a 1930s cartoon style, Cuphead is undoubtedly one of the most unique and innovative games I have come across in a long time. A joyous run-and-gun that can be played alone or with local co-op, it’s already being commended for its challenging gameplay and stunning visuals. Cuphead also comes with an impressive 56-track soundtrack of pure big-band goodness. I found myself exploring areas and hovering on the map screen just to listen to some of the stunning music that has been created. The entirety of this game has absolutely nailed the 30s aesthetic and, with an imminent release this Friday (29th September), I cannot wait to explore the full product.

Inops

A quirky game that deserves credit for what it has achieved with a 3-man team at ZRZStudio. Inops is a 2D side-scrolling puzzle game in which the player controls a collection of small circular creatures (Inops) and can merge them in to one big Inop to solve the various puzzles they encounter. Inops can be gained and lost along the way, and the puzzles get progressively more dangerous as you make your journey. The three Inops developers also tackled the sound design and music, and it was incredibly fitting. The soundtrack was ambient and relaxed, yet wonderfully melodic at the same time and always fit the style of what was happening on screen. The sound design was also fairly subtle, but snuggled cosily in with the rest of the soundscape, and functioned brilliantly in notifying me of when to be cautious, and when it was safe to make a dash!

Lost Words

Created by Sketchbook Games, Lost Words is a quaint and delicate platformer set in the pages of a girl’s diary. As the story unfolds, you traverse the world of ‘Estoria’, you use the diary to help forge and solve your path. Lost Words was yet another example of a striking art style and the way the diary was implemented in to the puzzle solving mechanic led to a narrative style exclusive to anything I’ve yet witnessed. Surprisingly, I struggled to find the name of the voice actress who narrates your journey, but the rest of the game’s intricate soundscape consisted of sound design from Akash Thakkar and music from David Housden that trickled in to support your story without ever interfering with the narration. David’s music in particular was an absolute joy to hear and really helped to drive the story onward whilst capturing that drifting dream-like vibe.

Strange Brigade

Rebellion’s latest project in development is Strange Brigade; a 1930s inspired co-operative survival horror. The game plays in third person and features some interesting sound design snippets, with a lot of subtle nuances in the ambience and a nice aural feedback system in combat so you could aurally navigate the chaos around you. The narration was a personal favourite, with a brilliant 1930s flair to keep you well aware of the drama that was unfolding. With no release date yet confirmed, it will be interesting to see how this game grows, and I’m personally excited to experience the final product.

Falling Sky

Impressively developed by one person, Jonathan Nielssen, Falling Sky is an episodic story about two brothers who work together to solve the mystery of their mother’s disappearance. Currently in its infancy, the game has a short demo yet showed an incredible degree of promise. It features several industry veterans, including voice artists Stephane Cornicard and Christy Meyer. From the first encounter between the two brothers, I was hooked, and pleasantly guided by a soft but emotional theme composed by Seymour Milton. Falling Sky is a rapidly blossoming student project and aims to eventually branch across five episodes.

That’s a wrap for this year and we’ve had a wonderful but tiring time in Birmingham. EGX 2018 is already confirmed but if you can’t wait until then EGX Rezzed is all set for March next year. We hope you will enjoy some of the audio talent present at EGX, from AAAs to the indie section, and keep an eye out for all the imminent releases. We can’t wait for so many titles coming up over the next year!

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Alyx Jones
A Composer for Video Games and Head Writer for The Sound Architect, I particularly love indie games and the emotional experiences games can bring, that stay with you for a lifetime. For me the soundtrack is the biggest part of this, and that's why I do what I do!
http://www.alyxjones.co.uk

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