EGX Rezzed—the quirky little brother of the massive EGX (Eurogamer Expo)—takes place each year and is a huge celebration of all that is wonderful in independent games development. It also acts as a trade show for smaller developers to showcase their talents and their projects on a very popular national stage; you might see a couple of the blockbusters here, but indies are the real star of the show. The expo also offers lots of careers advice, talks and portfolio reviews for aspiring developers to get valuable insights into the industry.
With the Yorkshire Games Festival confirmed for its 4th installment next February, the festivals team went to London to explore indie gaming and games culture, meet promising developers, and see what amazing things we could bring to Yorkshire in 2020…
1. The Talks
Across the programme of events, EGX Rezzed has several different venues which accommodate all kinds of talks, developer interviews and more. I tried to create a really varied line up for myself—and I was not disappointed. I listened to talks about the psychology of game addiction; why boring corridors are the scourge of level design; and how to survive as a games artist. I came away wholeheartedly convinced that ‘indie’ is now dead (long live indie) because even big publishers can now be independent in a sense.
Aside from being talked at, EGX Rezzed offered live gameplay with well-known content creators from Eurogamer, Outside Xbox and RKG, plus live Dungeons & Dragons campaigns and podcast recordings—the latter of which I got happily involved in (listen to the EGX Games on Film podcast for my terrible Rocket League: The Movie pitch).
I think the highlight of the programme was a talk on videogame music which featured some excellent, award-winning composers behind games such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Mass Effect, Dead Space and Thomas Was Alone. Being a huge fan of soundtracks and really appreciative of the amazing work that composers do for videogames, this was a really interesting discussion—especially considering how game music is moving towards the mainstream and is even becoming popular on vinyl.
2. The Developers
Alongside of a lot of familiar faces previous Yorkshire Games Festival programmes, including our Northern Games Showcase, I got to meet loads of lovely developers from across the country. The Indie Room was one of the largest areas and boasted an impressive array of games, most of which I was delighted to have never heard of but will definitely be in my wishlist once they hit the shelves. Something really inspiring was how the teams involved with each game were so diverse and represented a massive intersection of the dev community—from fresh-faced students to one developer who had brought along his baby for the entirety of the show.
One of my highlights was Centrifuge Games, a small unit from Staffordshire whose Rogue Drones pokes fun at the ridiculousness of drones terrorising Heathrow last year. I also got to talk with Spillage Games, the developers of a brilliant VR experience where you could fly around as a dragon—I really appreciated that they didn’t film me flapping my beautiful wings and looking like a fool while doing it.
On the other side of ‘indie’ were the bigger publishers such as Devolver Digital, Double Fine and Chucklefish, who can still be considered indie publishers as they primarily distribute games from smaller studios. London-based Chucklefish manage to maintain a distinctive, gorgeous 2D style between the titles they publish and their own in house games, and I was really excited to chat with some of the team and get to play a few of their upcoming titles.
3. The Games
We’d be remiss to not talk a bit more about some of the incredible, innovative and charming games that we got to play over the weekend.
We’re a social bunch in the festivals team and we love a good party game, especially those you can play with friends or family—before it all descends into argument and mistrust, of course. Two great offerings were Disobedient Sheep from SicklyDove Games (where you can live out your most Yorkshire fantasy of herding sheep away from bouldery danger) and Cake Bash from High Tea Games (because there’s a lot to be said for playing as a doughnut beating up a cupcake).
What I enjoyed most about the games on show were how they seemed to reflect such a range of experiences and inspiration; there really was something for everyone to enjoy. All games were given a great amount of attention and it was made clear that these trade shows can be really influential for developers in finding publishers and making contact with other developers, as well as with their audience.
Also… a game where you play as a goose who steals people’s things. 10/10 game of the year.
Thanks for a great first Rezzed! I cannot wait until your big brother in the Autumn.