Most people tune in for E3 to get the latest news on AAA games — the Assassin’s Creeds, Call of Duties, massive Bethesda games of the world, etc. — but E3 is also a big stage for smaller studios that aren’t as well-known as name brands. Independent studios are often less risk averse, in hopes that the prospect of a unique experience garners eyeballs and piques interest. Here are the independent games of E3 2018 that we’re looking forward to the most.
Tunic offered a nice reprieve from the blood and gore of Microsoft’s press conference. The colorful top-down adventure game obviously takes cues from early The Legend of Zelda games, but it does so while retaining its own charming and decidedly modern aesthetic. You play as an adorable fox armed with a small sword who washes up on a gorgeous island. Most impressively, Tunic has a one-man development team, Andrew Shouldice, who has been working on the game for several years.
Tunic launches later this year on Xbox One and PC.
From Avalanche Studios, the Swedish developer behind the Just Cause franchise, Generation Zero, at first glance, shouldn’t be eligible for this list. It’s a large open-world game with flashy visuals and all the flair of a AAA game. However, Avalanche Studios is self-publishing Generation Zero, therefore it counts, and what we saw in our preview has us impressed. Set in the Swedish countryside, Generation Zero is focused on cooperative play as you take down giant robots and explore the beautiful post-apocalyptic landscape. It’s the last part of that description that has us the most intrigued. While the combat appears to be nothing out of the ordinary, Avalanche Studios seems to be emphasizing the relationships between characters, the story, and the setting, which is obviously close to the hearts of the Swedish studio.
Generation Zero arrives on Xbox One, PS4, and PC in 2019.
Although StudioMDHR merely teased Cuphead: The Delicious Last Courseas one of the best games of 2017, the upcoming DLC has to be mentioned on this list. The expansion will add a brand-new isle, new bosses and weapons, and even a new playable character — Ms. Chalice. We didn’t get to see any of the new content in action, but we’d be surprised if the DLC is anything less than stellar. We’ll be anxiously waiting for its 2019 launch on Xbox One and PC.
Ghost Team Games’ cooking simulation party game Overcooked was one of the best indie games of 2016 — and probably the best to play with friends. During Nintendo’s E3 Direct, Ghost Team dropped the reveal trailer for Overcooked 2. The sequel adds new kitchens, chefs, and most importantly, online multiplayer. The only real downside of the original was its local multiplayer limitation. Since Overcooked 2 fixes that, we couldn’t be more excited to hop online and create beautiful disasters in the kitchen with friends. You can also play the game solo, though it’s best to cook in the company of friends.
Overcooked 2 launches on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC on August 7.
Like us, you may have thought the skateboarding sim debuted on Microsoft’s stage was the mythical Skate 4, the next entry in EA’s dormant franchise that will probably never be a real thing. As it turned out, that game was Session, developed by independent studio Crea-ture after a modest 2017 KickStarter campaign. Session obviously looks to pick up where the Skate franchise left off, as it has dual analog stick controls and an emphasis on realism. There’s also a Filmer Mode, which lets you record and share your best tricks. The footage is meant to emulate VHS to add a neat layer of nostalgia for the heyday of the extreme sport.
Sessionollies into early access later this year on Xbox One and PC ahead of its expected 2019 launch.
Announced during the Nintendo Direct presentation, Killer Queen Black is an updated version of the 2013 multiplayer arcade game that has achieved a level of notoriety despite not being widely playable. Switch and PC versions should resolve that issue, though. Teams of four players square off in a fast and strategic race to nab three victories. Each team designates three speedy drones and one powerful queen. The cool — and chaotic — aspect of Killer Queen Black is that you can earn victories in multiple ways: Snail, economic, and military. Snail victories require players to move a snail to the other team’s side of the map. Economic victories involve collecting and holding onto 12 berries. And if you collect certain fruit, drones turn into strong fighters capable of taking down the other player’s queen. Eliminate the other team’s queen three times and you earn a Military victory.
We took Killer Queen Black for a spin on the E3 show floor and had a smashing good time. Slick controls, appealing retro-pixelated visuals, and an exciting loop make Killer Queen Black a multiplayer game to look out for when it launches in early 2019 on Switch and PC.