Annapurna Interactive -- A Small Glimpse at Their Upcoming Titles in 2020
Known for their obscure and artistic titles, Annapurna Interactive incoming lineup of games are the most diverse they have ever been.
With the hot successes of Sayonara Wild Hearts, Outer Wilds, Florence, and What Remains of Edith Finch, Annapurna Interactive has become one of the most attractive game publishers this generation. Similarly to Devolver Digital, Annapurna has a diverse lineup of games that will more or less have something of interest to most gamers.
After being on such a hot streak, I got to try out their suite of upcoming titles at PAX 2020 that I’m sure fans are looking forward to. But walking away, I had more than mixed feelings about the publisher’s imminent future, with a few titles that I enjoyed among others that I’m unsure of.
If Found is a lovely, quaint storytelling experience revolving around a young woman astronaut named Kasio who is heading towards a black hole reminiscing about her late upbringing before her expected demise. It is a compelling coming-of-age story where you learn more about her through reading a diary discussing her thoughts about her friends and future. The art style is beautifully crafted and the story is told by erasing your screen, taking you to the next scene. If Found was definitely the most interesting title that I got out of Annapurna’s lineup and I’m looking forward to playing the game once it releases.
If Found will release on May 19 for PC and iOS.
The Pathless is the next project from studio Giant Squid known for their debut title Abzu. Originally announced at The Game Awards 2019, The Pathless is an exploration game with a beautiful art style. With your trusty bow and eagle companion, you set out to explore this gloomy yet lively world. The movement is smooth like butter and being able to glide around the map by holding onto your feathered friend is fun, but I couldn’t find what my objective was supposed to be.
There were towers to climb, but when I got to the top I couldn’t find anything to trigger after that. The game made me feel like scaling the tower was something I was supposed to do. Maybe it was because it was just a demo build, and I hope that is the case. I loved going around the map to see what I could find, but I couldn’t figure out the purpose of it all. It very well could be a game where you’re just dropped into this world and go from there. It is called The Pathless anyway, but I just hope that once it comes out, it is clearer on what direction it is trying to go down.
The Pathless is set to release in 2020 on PS4, Apple Arcade, and PC exclusively on the Epic Games Store.
The Artful Escape
What makes The Artful Escape shine brightly is its simplicity in what it is trying to achieve in the medium of video games all while making it fun. The Artful Escape is a side-scrolling adventure where you’re just jamming out on a guitar creating music. I didn’t find much presence of a story at the time, so I couldn’t tell you what to expect there. I would say more about my time with it but that’s all the game is, which is in no way a bad thing.
When I think about its title, The Artful Escape might be a little on the nose, but I think the meaning behind it is that the game is an artistic experience in a medium that we use to escape the real world. Now more than ever, games are more than just saving the day, but still letting us have an enjoyable, memorable experience.
The Artful Escape releases later this year on Xbox One, iOS, and PC.
I don’t have a wide experience of first-person puzzle games outside of the popular Portal franchise, and walking away from Maquette put a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not sure if it was due to how the demo was built or if the game is still early in development, but I was dropped in a level with no idea as to what the mechanics were. The puzzles took me an absurd amount of time to complete. I ended up becoming frustrated and the story began to lose my attention because of this.
The primary puzzle that drove my head in included an area that involved a smaller model of the environment I was in. If I were to drop something small into the model, it would appear bigger. Throughout my time dealing with the puzzle, I attempted to see if the opposite would happen by dropping something big to receive something small. Originally, I found no luck in the attempt and unable to find these items in their smaller form. So it wasn’t until spending more time than I’d care to admit where I attempted this again and found success, making me even more upset with the whole experience.
I hope my assumptions are true and that Maquette is still a major work in progress. The art style is gorgeous and I love the way it is trying to tell its narrative in between puzzles, but the gameplay just took me out of it. I get that puzzle games should be challenging, but to me, if the player is getting a headache trying to figure out a solution, that isn’t a good design.
Maquette currently has no release window but will release on PC.