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Horizon Conference 2013 Recap

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No one died.

That was my thoughts in regards to the Horizon Conference today in LA.  A conference created by Brandon Boyer and Cory Schmitz as an alternative to E3, which is for the most part about the big games coming in the fall and  future. This year is no different with new consoles launching in the fall.  The conferences this year were pretty amazing with surprises at both but something was missing for me personally.

I didn’t know what it was until I woke up early to watch Horizon.

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The conferences started with the first look at Double fine’s Broken Age. The game looks beautiful and the trailer showed a bunch of backers, all 90,000 of them.  Yeah about that many people backed that game. The gameplay and art style actually made me interested in playing it when it comes out. Developer and Indie Fund partner Kellee Santiago took the stage to announce an agreement to finance two unannounced original games from Tim Schafer’s Double Fine.

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Next Capy Games took the stage to discuss more on Below which was announced earlier this week at the Microsoft conference. While we only got a snippet at the conference, at Horizon we received a bit more details on the mechanics of the game including no text, no dialog and no hand holding.  All of the progress of the game is dependent on you, which is an interesting departure from some of their previous such as Sword and Sworcery and Critter Crunch.  I still haven’t played Super Time Force but this seems like a great move for Capy.

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Media Molecule took the stage next to bring a more detailed on Tearwaway. It looks really cute. Seriously I had an audible awww while I was watching it. It looks super interactive and continues my streak to actually getting a Vita.

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Oddly enough a game I backed on Kickstarter, Sportfriends, was at Horizon. They showed off a brand new trailer as well a demo of one of the games included in the pack, Super Pole Riders. A physics based game about scoring a goal.The core of Sportsfriends is local multiplayer, Remember when you played games in the same room together.  Die Gute Fabrik also announces Mutazione, An adventure game with a girl who has a motorcycle accident and discovers a village of creatures. The developer incites games such as Majora’s mask, with its daily going owns in clock town.  It looks interesting but still seems a bit ealy to see.

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Next developers Richard Hogg and Ricky Haggett discussed the music in their game Hohokum. The game looks to be a weird combination of Electroplankton and snake. Yes snake the game you used to play on your blue nokia phone.  The former level creator of The Unfinished Swan Ben Esposito showed his new game Kachina. The game is by definition weird. You control a hole that consumes objects and glows larger. This along with a story about displaced Native americans in the United States. The best part about this is that it started off as a tweet from the fake Peter Molyneux account.

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Towards the end of the conference we learned about Funomena, the studio founded by former thatgamecompany developer Robin Hunicke and Martin Middleton. They described their relationship with Keita Takahashi, the creator of Katamari Damacy and how they’re developing a game with him.

Lastly we got the reveal of possibly one of the biggest surprises of E3

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The thing I was missing was this weird sense of new that you gets with independent game studios. All the games they showed all seemed so different from one another. Each one having this feeling of emotion that wasn’t in the big conferences during E3, I was excited for this more than anything this week.

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Josh Rios

A man who can’t watch HGTV due to the fact that they can’t white balance anything. Josh creates and edits videos for the site while trying to write scripts for various other projects. When he’s not working on the site you can find him reading comics or attempting to find a new board game to learn.

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