PS5 Exclusive: The PlayStation Talents program has helped accelerate the development of indie games. Here’s a few which could prove to be hidden gems.
Since 2015, the PlayStation Talents program has helped accelerate the development of indie video games. With Spanish talent network Lanzadara, PlayStation has turned concepts into exclusive titles.
Last year’s line-up of 11 games included the standout farming RPG Summer of Mara. This year, 9 indies are set to make their way to the PlayStation 5 through the initiative. And we have shortlisted a few which could prove to be hidden gems.
From 2D side-scrollers set a century ago to futuristic virtual-reality adventures. An exciting, mysterious local co-op party game to an old-school dungeon crawler. Here are the most promising PS5 exclusive indies from the PlayStation Talents program set to release in 2021.
Welcome to Empyreum
Welcome to Empyreum is a local cooperative party game for up to four. Think Overcooked, but in a hotel. The Empyreum is a luxurious hotel, but those who stay end up losing what they love the most. The goal thus is to make their way to the top of the mysterious hotel and take back what’s yours. To do so, players have to complete various tasks around the building.
Players have to clean and arrange the various floors. The tasks range from making the bed and using the vacuum to chasing away ghosts and changing diapers. You can also expect to be doing dishes, ironing clothes, scrubbing, and attending to guests. How well a team scores will depend on how well they perform together. The rooms will end up cleaner depending on the efficient coordination of the team with the happiness of the guests on the line.
Each time you complete a level — that is clean a floor — you will face off with a VIP Client. These interactions will play out as mini-boss battles, with the players scrambling to meet the VIP’s demands.
While there’s no release date just yet, Tapioca Games released a trailer in January showing off a spa level.
Aurora’s Journey and The Pitiful Lackey
This RPG side-scroller, with a mouthful of a name, comes from The Not So Great studio. Set in 1927, the game has you take control of the titular Aurora Aylesworth. She is a 19-year-old out to find her father who went missing. Evil robots called ‘The Brainless’ stand in Aurora’s way. Helping the young astronomer is her faithful lackey and scientist Rachmaninoff, who gives her a fancy revolver to help along her journey.
Side-scrolling action and platforming are the gameplay mechanics. Aurora, however, can speak with the characters she meets to flesh out the main story. You can upgrade Aurora’s equipment to unlock special attacks. Inventions are costly, and you’d have to take up different jobs. You can work as an astronomer, a story-writer, or even as a babysitter. You can also complete minigames to earn money.
According to the official website, the game is being developed with Unreal Engine 4 and could make its way to PC.
Cyberpunkmania doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon, and the latest splash in the neon-soaked genre will fittingly be made by Entalto Studios’ Neon HAT. This PlayStation VR title promises a brand-new 3D Manoeuvering System — a revolutionary flight system developed over three years.
“After three years developing a prototype that was able to make two players compete online using this flight system, Neon HAT took the best of both worlds by creating a whole arcade-based game that used everything we learned from our previous experiences,” the developers Entalto Studios mention on their official website.
The technology allows players to dodge and shoot while soaring at blinding speeds in the synth-wave skies. In short, players can move freely without VR-induced dizziness.
Neon HAT is an arcade title and you’ll be competing against other players in real-time to get on the global leaderboards. There are more than 20 vibrant levels and gigantic boss fights to test your skills. But the title’s calling card will be its flight system, which reportedly has been developed thanks to technical demos by thousands of people. Expect realistic flight and authentic sensations.
The PlayStation Talents program has seen VR titles before, like Intruders: Hide & Seek and Do Not Open. Neon HAT could prove to be the most innovative of them all. While the release date is yet to be confirmed, the tentative window is the second quarter of this year.
Rivalia: Dungeon Riders
This action RPG from Fsix Games combines a cute animated art style with solid single-player gameplay. Set in the fantasy world of Rivalia, Dungeon Riders lets you control four characters. The party will fight its way through real-time battles in the procedurally-generated dungeons.
Rivalia: Dungeon Riders’ combat system is ambitious and takes cues from hit titles. The developers aim to combine the real-time, four-character fighting from Final Fantasy XV and the role-based combat of Genshin Impact. The randomized dungeon design has been inspired by The Birth of Isaac.
Antro is a 2.5D post-apocalyptic, puzzle-platformer set in a world destroyed by pollution. You control a working-class teen who needs to deliver a package to his elder, upper-class sister. Only 0.01% of the world’s population was able to save themselves from the polluted world by burrowing underground and continuously fight every day for their survival.
The visuals of the game are tinged with darkness and contrasted with red to bring about the feeling of an apocalyptic world. The developers have described the game as a rhythmic video game where every action and element of the game syncs in well with the musical accompaniment.
System of Souls
System of Souls is an action-adventure game with puzzle elements. It is set in 2050 when climate change has disrupted Earth and humans can export their souls to robots. The main character L-064N wakes up in a lab with no memory. Players need to guide him to his memories and out of the facility.
He will be faced with physics-based environmental puzzles which require moving things around and pressing buttons or switches at the right time in order for him to pass. Basically, you’re a human in a robot body now, and you can do a lot of things that you normally can’t. An example would be swinging and reaching platforms that are normally out of reach as a human.
One Last Breath
Another 2.5D game with puzzle platforming mechanics where we take up the task of carrying out nature’s last will. Players will go on a journey to decide the fate of humankind and existence by using the last remains of life. Yes, all this sounds really dramatic, but we assure you that it is worth it.
As the last living being on the planet dubbed as ‘Mother Nature’, you have to confront the virus that mankind has accidentally created and use your powers to take away or create life in order for the world to regain its balance. The games’ visuals are reminiscent of games such as Inside and Deadlight – strong black and white contrast with a play on light.
A narrative adventure by Broken Bird Games with a focus on mental health, most prominently depression and anxiety. In this game, your mind is the prison that you are trapped in, and with the addition of mental illnesses, that prison can be hell. This is an FPS and you fill the shoes of a man imprisoned in his own home and stuck in his own head.
As you walk around the rooms of the house, you will be faced with memories and puzzles that you have to free yourself from in order to break free from the anxiety and depression that has a grip on your mind.
It’s safe to say that those with depression and anxiety should be aware of the triggers that this game might bring and play at their own risk.
Following the PlayStation Talents line-up is always fun. There’s the thrill of discovering indie video games before they blow up. You also get to see how innovative concepts from small teams evolve into full-fledged experiences.
Hopefully, our list has helped you identify a hidden gem that will become a PS5 exclusive soon! Do let us know which game you’re most excited about in the comments below.