Before our focus ultimately turns to a promising new year, let’s look back at the final months of 2017 one last time. The tail end of last year was filled to the brim with greatness from our Belgian studios, but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: indie game collective The House of Indie has gone on an indefinite hiatus. Main casualty of this decision is the Screenshake festival, which won’t take place this year. Meanwhile, the Indie Game Salon meet-ups will be continued by Pepijn Willekens (who’s also hosting Global Game Jam Antwerp) and Thomas Meynen. Thanks to everyone involved with The House of Indie over the years.
Luckily, there was also A TON of positive stuff happening to outbalance this sudden loss. Hang on to your helmets, because here we go!
- There was no escaping the praise for Divinity: Original Sin 2 by our founding fathers Larian Studios. This didn’t come as a surprise, seeing how well the game reviewed, but the list of feats remains impressive. Not only was Larian named one of the People of the Year 2017 by industry website gamesindustry.biz and won game of the year at PC Gamer, Rock, Paper, Shotgun also listed Original Sin 2 as one of the best pc games of all time. And because you can’t survive on critical acclaim, it’s nice to know that the game had already shifted one million copies before becoming one of the top grossing titles of the most recent Steam sale.
- Cybernetic Walrus signed with publisher Iceberg Interactive for their debut title Antigraviator. Fans of WipeOut and F-Zero can look forward to a release in the first half of 2018.
- No release date yet for The Almost Gone by Happy Volcano, but that doesn’t stop the studio from piling up the award nominations. Aside from being named one of the start-ups to watch in 2018 by Leuven Mindgate, they’re also up for the Innovation in Game awards at the Ludicious festival in Zürich.
- Both Ava & Trix by Curious Cats and Play it Safe by Greygin got covered in national newspaper De Standaard (links in Dutch)
- CBS brought the VR experience of the Death Note Netflix movie to life with the help of Granite SDK by Graphine.
- Talking about VR: Panoptic won best XR game at the Playcrafting 17BitAwards in New York. On top of that, Pauline Marlière of Team Panoptes is the first Belgian developer to become an ambassador for WomenInGames.
- They’re not the only Belgian game studios scoring in Trump country: PreviewLabs is working with Yale University, while Liftoff by LuGus Studios even showed up on national daytime television.
- Back in our own backyard, Yves Grolet and the reassembled Appeal launched Outcast: Second Contact, inviting in some pretty good reviews.
- For the second consecutive year, Space Pirate Trainer by I-Illusions just missed out on an IGF award nomination for Excellence in Design, ending up as an honourable mention once again. Too bad, but the team can console itself with the thought their game is still one of the best selling VR titles on Steam.
- Last but not least: Crazy Monkey Studios unleashed their hit game Guns, Gore & Cannoli on Nintendo Switch. Going by their comments on social media, we won’t have to wait long for the release of the sequel either.
Congratulations to everyone for their outstanding efforts in making the Belgian games industry a force to be reckoned with. Let’s make this another year to never forget!