Edge February 2021

The authority on videogame art, design and play, Edge is the must-have companion for game industry professionals, aspiring game-makers and super-committed hobbyists. Its mission is to celebrate the best in interactive entertainment today and identify the most important developments of tomorrow, providing the most trusted, in-depth editorial in the business via unparalleled access to the developers and technologies that make videogames the world’s most dynamic form of entertainment.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
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13 Edities

in deze editie

8 min
impossible year

Hard to believe, but there was much to be optimistic about when 2020 began. Journey To The Savage Planet – yes, that really was this year – kicked January off in colourfully amusing fashion, while Kentucky Route Zero finally reached the end of the line, a mere seven years after the first of its five Acts was released. A little way over the horizon was the first Edge 10 in 18 months, as Media Molecule’s dazzling Dreams emerged from beta as both a co-operative creative tool par excellence, and a platform for artists to share their work with the world. And the much-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 was just a few short months away. News was emerging of an outbreak of a novel coronavirus strain in Wuhan, but it was generally assumed…

1 min
small is better

With a few notable exceptions, it hasn’t been a strong year for blockbuster games – although Covid played a part in that. Unlike triple-A developers, which faced logistical challenges in arranging remote working for hundreds of staff, indie studios (many already accustomed to working without offices, or working with outside contractors) were able to adapt quickly, and saw little disruption to their routines. There were still holdups for non-blockbusters (Annapurna Interactive’s late-year triumvirate of The Artful Escape, Last Stop and 12 Minutes slipped into 2021, for example) but 2020 was a year in which the independent scene continued to thrive, as reflected in our year-end awards. With the likes of our cover game, Playdate’s launch and – with a fair wind – new games from Simogo, Fullbright and Heart Machine…

1 min
give ‘em enough rope

Thanks largely to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Switch sales in the UK were the best for any single format in a decade, while Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity became the biggest-selling Warriors game ever within four days of launch. Yet Nintendo would surely have been hoping for a stronger Christmas slate to compete with Sony and Microsoft’s headline-grabbers – though it’s clear Covid-19 has had a particularly severe impact on the company’s way of working. Still, a small team managed to put together a delightful little freebie while working from home: fingers crossed we see more small experiments like Jump Rope Challenge from Nintendo in 2021.…

4 min
gated community

Locksport is the art, science and YouTube phenomenon of unlocking security devices that were meant only to be opened by keys. It’s a transgressive and geeky hobby, and so perhaps it’s no surprise that videogames have attempted to represent it for decades. Since August, Dim Bulb Games’ Johnnemann Nordhagen has been updating a playable museum of lockpicking, which you can visit for a price of your choosing on dimbulbgames.itch.io. What was the impetus for the project? Natalie Clayton, one of the writers for Rock Paper Shotgun, just tweeted ‘a museum of virtual fishing mechanics’, or something like that. And I said, this should absolutely exist. It would be wonderful if there was one for conversation mechanics, and lockpicking, and hacking – that would be so useful for developers. I chose lockpicking because…

1 min
that’s bait

By releasing the project, Nordhagen hopes to inspire others to build their own niche museums of individual videogame mechanics. As for himself, the developer harbours ambitions to establish both hacking and fishing minigame collections at some point. “Fishing is the most requested one by far, but that’s a lot to bite off,” he says, his face betraying no hint that the snappy pun is intentional. “There are a lot of different fishing games, they have very different interfaces and stuff, and a lot of them are 3D. So there’s a lot more time, effort and potentially money that would go into a museum like that than lockpicking.”…

1 min
homesick blues

Aurora follows a daughter’s search for her lost mother in a decaying world. Developers Juan Abad and Mikel Ojea noted very few exploration games without violence, electing to “add that limitation to the list” and eschew aggressive mechanics. Instead, the game’s feline protagonist, Shell, will modify the map by drilling in careful paths to unravel the mystery. Inspired by nostalgia for old consoles, the game’s narrow aspect ratio and reduced colour palette was implemented to evoke “a dangerous and threatening fantasy world,” taking cues from the films of Studio Ghibli and Castlevania II. A dithering shader creates mesh-like fog zones that react to Shell’s position, obscuring hidden rooms and secret treasures. “We wanted each action to have a visual effect as a response, and shaders are a very powerful tool to…