There’s no denying that the focus at this year’s Eurogamer Expo was the impending clash of the titans between Microsoft and Sony as, for the first time, they released a console in the same financial year. Given all the noise surrounding the Xbox One, PS4 and the 2014 instalments of popular franchises like Call of Duty and Assassins Creed you’d be forgiven for being unable to see the wood for the trees in the games industry at the moment.
No doubt it’s going to be an exciting few months, but a war isn’t comprised of a single battle and there’s plenty happening on the outskirts that’s worthy of your attention. In light of this, I spent some time at Eurogamer delving under the hood to see what’s happening on the indie scene.
A game that really stood out to me was Voice of the Silent Land by student developer Xander MacLeod. Pitched as a cross between Shadow of the Colossus and Infinity Blade, this tablet-based adventure follows the story of a woman’s battle with cancer, leaving her stuck in a coma.
Across the course of the game, Mary must try to recover her health and consciousness by battling with gigantic creatures that are grotesque representatives of her ailment and the organs that they are affecting.
On the show floor I got to spend some time with the game and was pitched against one of the aforementioned creatures. As it is in the early stages of alpha, there wasn’t a lot to get my teeth sunk into beyond getting to grips with the gesture controls to move around the environment and fire projectiles at the enemy.
Though just a stark representation of what the game promises to become, you can see the potential of the title. Even this early on, the towering creatures had serious presence on the screen.
Beyond the environmental and puzzle based combat, Xander spoke about his desire to have the game speak to players about the power of positive thinking and dealing with situations like the lead character.
In 2012 Jane McGonigal gave a TED Talk on games helping with depression and extending our lifespan. While this interaction between developers and gamers isn’t new in the industry, it is sorely underused and it’s what made Xander’s work stand out to me.
Voice of the Silent Land is set for a 2015 release and I’m looking forward to seeing how the game develops in the coming months. To find out more about Xander’s project and view some of the gorgeous concept art, head over to the game’s Facebook or Twitter feeds.