December 3, 2021
Games Lift 2021: Graduated!
For the people behind the project, Games Lift Graduation is a cause for celebration. After three intense months, they can pause for an evening and marvel at the accomplishments of the five incubator teams. For the actual team members, celebration comes only after the presentation. Find out all about our Games Lift Graduation event in this Games Lift Log.
The mood was relaxed when Head of Gamecity Dennis Schoubye joined host Nina Dreßler on stage. Dennis shared a few key facts: Our five teams had to make two successful pitches and take part in 13 workshops to be here today. After three months of work, they had to put their results in focus now.
Dennis has been with the Incubator from the start, which is why he could bring deep knowledge to his moderation duties. Presenting the teams and asking questions was a job for OddNina herself – that’s the moniker Nina Dreßler is known for on Twitch and elsewhere. Her disarmingly casual style made it easy for the teams to shine.
Invitation to a shootout
First up was Martin Kleingräber from trio tool1. He introduced "The Invitation", a "looter shooter with a sandbox system": in the future, people will be invited by aliens to join them in the stars and leave the blue planet behind. What’s being played here, though, is the life of those left behind. Humans fight with, for and against each other for survival on a wild planet; "The Invitation" is meant to live by the players’ interactions.
Martin didn't have to explain much, because he had brought something better: a trailer that was dramatic, funny and technologically impressive. Player-generated missions, cheerful drones and grunting monsters all fit into one video. Gasps were audible – and readable, in the accompanying live chat. As if nothing special had happened, Martin went on to explain design decisions and future plans for the game. People curious and willing to test should keep an eye on tool1’s Discord server.
Finding the right words
Anca Tutescu went to bat for Symmetry Break Games; three permanent team members and two contractors are working together on "PROSPECTOR". Up to this point, the game concept has turned heads for being innovative. It has also raised questions, though. Anca came with answers. She explained her "2D sci-fi narrative adventure game" about a city on the edge of a mysterious crater concisely, bringing up inspirations from "BladeRunner" to "Oxenfree".
Symmetry Break Games started into the incubator program with a concept. For the final presentation, they brought a live demo with them. It focused on the conversation between two characters, because that is a pillar of the game: What people can and cannot say to each other is determined by their openness towards each other. The demo example felt like a real human conversation – much more so, than the multiple-choice systems of classic point-&-click-adventures.
For the Q&A that followed, Team members Julian Heinken and Jan Barow joined Anca on stage. But instead of tough questions, they received rich praise from the chat.
Next up was the solo artist of this year’s Games Lift Incubator. Denise Koch started her presentation of the interactive VR rock musical "Monstersongs VR" with a short video to set the mood. That’s especially important for her project: the audience wanders through an abandoned theatre and experiences each song as an encounter with a monster.
Denise explained freely how her idea grew out of her experience in London’s theatre scene. And we learned how the modern Medusa from the intro video was brought to life: 3D character artist Terry Fischer developed the model, motion capture artist Leilani Franco breathed life into the character. Denise hopes to continue working with the newly-added artists on her project.
Enthusiastic praise for the project came from mentor Sasha Volkohon, Business Development Manager of remote control productions: „It will be amazing. I can feel it.“ As an aside, Sasha remarked that now was a perfect time for putting musicals in new places and contexts – pandemic or not.
Putting style on the map
Timo Schneider from consider it entered the stage with a request from OddNina – to explain to her how his game actually works. That's precisely what Timo did: "supernightshift" „supernightshift“ is a minimalist puzzle racer in which players haul strange goods over a map using different means of transport. The choice of means is free. But time and money are tight.
Again, it was the moving images that made everything clear. On a stylish city map, bikes and busses drew bright lights onto a dark grid. It looked so beautiful, people wanted to reach out and touch it; a good thing, since Timo and his colleague Kevin Westphal are developing a game for mobile phones.
After the short demo and a small discussion of possible sales partners and exploitation strategies, things got even more real. Timo and Kevin told us to expect a playable demo soon. It is a high priority for the devs because it can provide valuable feedback. But after this showing, it was a high priority for the audience, too.
When Gerrit and Patrick Henschel entered the stage, they wore their characters on their bodies. The duo behind "The Treepoids and the Island of Prof. Flora" are working on a hand-drawn adventure that lives by the charm of its characters. Friendly green aliens grinned from the brothers' longsleeves.
Gerrit explained his game in a few words: The insane Professor Flora wants to heal the world, unwittingly making everything worse. The Treepoids and a human girl join forces to stop him. Gerrit explained essential game elements, highlighting puzzles and brain battles. And he brought into focus who "The Treepoids" are for: Everyone who likes adventures with a bit of action, who is enthusiastic about nature and friendship.
Stephan Beier from Deep Silver FISHLABS couldn’t hold his excitement. He found the project "plantastic" and is now keeping his fingers crossed for a crowdfunding campaign. That is exactly what the brothers have planned in order to attract new fans and finances.
After about 90 minutes, Nina confessed to feeling a bit sad that the show was already over. But help is on the way. Anyone wanting to see more of Nina’s presentation style can find her on Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/oddnina, among other places. And people looking for fresh new game ideas should stay with Gamecity Hamburg. Applications for next year’s Incubator are starting in May 2022!