5 local games to check out at GameStart 2016
Get ready for another weekend of gaming goodness.
GameStart Asia is back next week from Oct 7 to 9 at Suntec Convention Centre Halls 405 and 406.
Into its third year, the gaming convention has brought in new partners and exhibitors like Microsoft, who will be making their GameStart debut and showcasing upcoming blockbuster Gears of War 4 for the Xbox One and Windows 10.
eSports enthusiasts will also have plenty to cheer about with a total of 12 tournaments taking place this year - up from three from last year.
Apart from bringing new games, one of the causes that GameStart has championed is that of the local game development scene, which has been coming along by leaps and bounds.
Here are five local developers and their games that you should check out if you're heading to Suntec.
MASQUERADA: SONG AND SHADOWS (Witching Hour Studios, Booth B9)
It will be a momentous convention for the 14 staff members of Witching Hour Studios.
The GameStart veterans will be showcasing their wares a week after the big PC and Mac release of their labour of love, Masquerada: Song and Shadows.
The isometric RPG, which was launched on Friday (Sept 30) and features gorgeous graphics and artwork, should be no stranger to GameStart regulars as it has appeared in various forms in past conventions.
The game also contains the voice work of top video game voice actors like Jennifer Hale, Matthew Mercer and Felicia Day.
Local talent was also engaged in singer Inch Chua, who performs the game's vocal theme Broken Clay.
While the studio is anxious to find out how the game will perform, co-founder and creative director Ian Gregory Tan is extremely proud of his team's work after two years of long nights and, at times, botched food delivery orders.
He said: "They're gone above and beyond to create something really quite special. No matter how we do, that will never change."
Even though the team is still working on the game's console version, Witching Hour is already eyeing its next project - a game featuring "giant robots" as teased by Mr Tan.
The 31-year-old is hoping that Masquerada will show "that Singapore is capable of a world-class creative endeavour" and inspire his fellow Singaporeans to dream big.
"Masquerada is a Singaporean project through and through - from its inception to polish," said Mr Tan.
"I hope it spurs many more creative projects."
LUNAR ECLIPSE (Kaiju Den, Booths A3 and F2)
They're barely half a year old, but indie studio Kaiju Den is looking to live up to its name and make waves in the local gaming industry.
Founded by three friends who decided to strike it out on their own after an impromptu dinner at a kaiju-themed (kaiju translates to strange beast in Japanese and refers to giant monsters like Godzilla) yakitori restaurant, Kaiju specialises in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) games.
While VR and AR have been around for some time, the technology has only just started gaining traction in gaming circles - and Kaiju firmly believes that it is the future of gaming.
"When VR and AR first came out about 30 years ago, it was ahead of its time," said studio co-founder Willy Wong. "But with the improvement of computing, VR and AR have arrived. And for us, this is the future."
Kaiju, which is now a five-man team after hiring two interns, is looking to launch a Kickstart campaign for its first major project Lunar Eclipse - a prototype of which is available in the form of a playable teaser - on Oct 10.
The horror game, which taps on Chinese lore, promises to put players straight into scenes from an '80s Hong Kong movie and allow them to traverse the environment by walking in place.
"Gamers will be totally immersed in this fantasy horror world," said Mr Wong.
"They can expect not only to be transported into a virtual world but also move inside it as well."
SLASHY HERO (The Gentlebros, Booth A3)
Who would've known that a crowded MRT train could provide the inspiration for a video game?
That was certainly the case for Mr Desmond Wong, CEO of The Gentlebros, when it came to conceptualising the defining gameplay mechanic for mobile game Slashy Hero.
"The idea came because I was stuck in a crowded train and wished there was just some way for me to slash my way out of it," joked the 27-year-old.
Slashy Hero, which features a unique drawing mechanic to slash your way through hordes of foes to save Halloween, was first released on mobile last year after it caught the eye of US publisher Kongregate.
Mr Wong and two friends, who were then working for Koei Tecmo Singapore and had made the game in their free time, left the company to set up The Gentlebros and haven't looked back since.
The game has since been ported to PC and will be released via Steam later this month, with a version available to play at GameStart.
While The Gentlebros don't have plans to bring Slashy Hero to consoles yet, Mr Wong hasn't ruled the idea out.
He said: "It does look great on a TV and we would love to be able to put it on consoles."
VALIANT FORCE (XII Braves, Booths F13 and F14)
It might feature Japanese artwork and Japanese voice acting, but Valiant Force by XII Braves is a tactical RPG for mobile that's fully made in Singapore.
Founded in 2014 by two friends, Mr Chris Ng and Mr Jonathan Leong, after they had raised $1 million for the venture, XII Braves is a 25-strong operation working out of their office at Bryton House on Hoy Fatt Road.
With an initial launch expected in the coming weeks in Southeast Asia, Valiant Force features turn-based strategy combat, with several high-profile Japanese voice actors lending their talents to the production.
The game's slick visuals and gameplay have already prompted more than 50,000 gamers to pre-register.
"We have been focusing our energy and time to achieve the best visuals, music and sound effects, and also creating the most engaging gameplay possible for Valiant Force," said Mr Leong.
"We believe all these are necessary for Valiant Force to be competitive on a global scale.
"We are hoping for the gamers who try Valiant Force at GameStart to think to themselves: 'Wow, I can't believe this game is made in Singapore!'"
STIFLED (Gattai Games, Booth A3)
Rounding our selection of local games at GameStart is Stifled, which you can read more about here.
In the game, players must use sound input from a microphone to navigate the otherwise pitch-black environment while avoiding enemies that will home in your location based on the sounds you make.
While the game's makers Gattai Games are "looking forward to bringing it back (to GameStart) this year", it seems they might have a wicked little twist prepared for thrill seekers based on this Facebook post...
If you're planning on trying out Stifled, you might want to consider bringing a change of pants...