December 11, 2023
Games Lift: We’ll keep in touch
Is the Games Lift Incubator 2023 already over? Not exactly. But the first phase is, and on the occasion all teams presented their projects and progress: It’s the graduation pitch on December 5 at Design Zentrum Hamburg!
The Design Zentrum in Hamburg-HafenCity was packed, the technology worked flawlessly, the sound was punchy. Every year, at the end of the Games Lift Incubator’s workshop phase, Gamecity holds a graduation event. Here, all teams show what they’ve got after going through the pressure cooker of simultaneous workshops and project work.
The workshops put an emphasis the question of how to effectively explain a project, what is at its core, what makes it. And the approach is working – all five teams impressed the audience with a clear vision and visible progress.
Whales in the air, ships at sea
Markus Albert from Bagpack Games had a concise explanation for “We the Valarii”. His team is developing a cooperative action-adventure with unusual but intuitive spin controls. In the new trailer, plant-like “sprouts” fling themselves down a hill, hurrying to meet a threat. Supporting them is a sublime soundscape; and if they veer off-track, friendly flying whales carry them back. Like all of Games Lift’s projects, the game is still in its early stages. If you want to join Bagpack Games on their journey, check out the Linktree.
Marcus Koepke had a rapid weather change in tow. His game “Journey Beyond the Edge of the World” takes us back to 1953 on an old trawler that is drifting around in the North Sea after an accident. The progress is stunning: Since the last showing, Koepke has completely redesigned the ship his game is set on. And he was able to explain the interaction between gameplay and story more clearly than ever. The combination of a retro-modern visual style and droning electronic music create a dense and captivating atmosphere. Koepke knows where he wants to go. If you want to know, too, you should follow his project on Steam.
Pipapo Games’ project title speaks for itself. But “Map Map – A Game about Maps” shows more clearly than ever what players can look forward to. Clara Müller and Lukas Hort brought extensive video material to the stage. Their stylish new player character takes the center stage. With the help of an evolved look and new interface elements, the two team members showed how the main gameplay mechanic of exploring and mapping islands is going to work. The new look of “Map Map” is easy to read, cheerful and cozy. And now, everyone can check it out; the Steam page is ready.
Nenad Slavujevic’s project has been called “a bit crazy” before. He agrees: With “Chaos Royale”, he is developing a mobile game mostly by himself. As an experienced professional, he is taking the inherent risk into account. In his presentation, he laid out a solid plan for what will happen if mobile publishers won’t shower him with money. And for the first time, his brilliant game idea was visible on screen as a fully animated video: In this bullet heaven game, power fantasy meets multiplayer – think “Vampire Survivors” meets “Fall Guys”.
The journey we’re on
It may be hard to stand out after four strong pitches, but Niklas Loose was up to the challenge. He expertly set the mood for “Dottobeau” by playing live on a kalimba.But the music wasn’t merely a gimmick – it is a central part of the game he and his team members are developing together. The adventure revolves around two friends on the cusp of big life changes. Dotto knows exactly what she wants, her friend Beau doesn't. He is a musician and finds inspiration for new songs throughout the game. Music and empathy play a major role in the adventure. If you want to join them on their journey, keep an eye on their Instagram and Tiktok channels.
And that marked the successful end of this year’s graduation pitch. Now, it was time to celebrate. The joy was shared with the many alumni attending. By now, there is a real network of Games Lift graduates that cheer each other on, give each other tips and have something to tell. People stayed in the Design Center for hours, drinking and chatting. Among them were Symmetry Break Studio, a graduate team who have just been nominated for a German Developer Award with their project “Misgiven”. It’s evident: The Plans are working.