The GDWC Is In Full Swing; Here Are Some of Our Picks

I would not blame you for being unfamiliar with The Game Development World Championship (GDWC). In a world full of E3s, GDCs, PAXs, and a hundred other expos, it’s hard to keep track. I hope to get you familiar with the GDWC, because they’re doing some really great things for the indie community. It all began where a lot of cool things happen: Finland. In 2012, the GDWC was not a big event. Nothing is ever huge during its first year in existence. It was a student-focused competition looking at, well, student creations. In 2016, building off of it’s previous four years of success, the GDWC went global. Nowadays best student game is a category, not the entire competition.

This almost unprecedented growth has allowed the GDWC to bring in developers from all over the world. Highlighting triple A, indie, and student projects. Entrants don’t have to travel to participate, and unlike some showcases and competitions, it is completely free to enter the GDWC. This lack of a barrier to entry allows anyone, anywhere to participate in a large global contest. It’s all done online, so if you have a game you want the world to see, you might want to enter the GDWC. Oh no, that rhymed. Completely not on purpose. Wild. So this year, DreadXP was asked to take a look at the entries, play them, and talk about them. As we know from E3, LudoNarracon, and the Haunted PS1 demo disc, I love looking at large collections of games.

The entries to the GDWC are expansive though, so this time, I’ve brought backup. I sat down with the rest of the staff at DreadXP, and we talked games. Now I’m going to show you what we came up with. If you don’t want to read about what we liked, you can always check out the excellent video Scruncho made over on our Youtube channel.

Entity Researchers – Jans Holstrom, Social Media Manager

Entity Researchers is a wild isometric RPG featuring a load of strange visuals and in-depth combat options. You are an entity Researcher, and you’ll be piloting a futuristic mech, robot, thing to investigate infestations of strange entities. You’ll have to scan them to find their weaknesses, and take them out with ruthless efficiency. There is so much going on with this game that it could feel a bit overwhelming, but it does a great job of easing you into its unusual world.

Chased by Darkness – Scruncho, Assistant Producer

A multiplayer co-op game that is pretty meaty. With your choice of a prison and newly added motel update, shoot a variety of monsters, collect required items to banish supernatural entities, save your friends, and even have some challenging fun with a boss battle. While you can play this game now for a whopping 5 bucks, you can expect more updates in the future that will be added for free. And hey, if you don’t have two to four friends, there are public games you can join if they’re running.

Starless – Sam G, Managing Editor

In space, no one can hear you scream. Except for the aliens that tear you apart. You’ll play as a colonist awakened from a deep sleep after their vessel was stopped and boarded by alien lifeforms. You need to figure out what’s going on while trying to avoid a bloody death. At least if you die a new person can be woken up and pick up where you left off. Assuming you don’t kill all 1500 passengers.

Starless plays out like a fast-paced stealth game. You’ll have to use various tools and move slowly to avoid being spotted by aliens, interacting with panels that open up doors and teleporters so you can explore the ship further. It all comes together to a pretty rad whole, reminding me of stealth greats like Mark of the Ninja but with more of a horror twist. The game is set to release sometime this year, but there’s a free demo on Steam if you want to try it now.

Also, don’t go into the restricted section. The AI will gun you down.

Ravenous Devils – Cleveland Mosher, Staff Artist/QA Lead

This title is classified as a ‘horror cooking simulator’ where you as the player run a tailor shop that is low key a corpse-cooking business in a crime-filled city. Get your clients looking dapper and kill them when they least expect it. Regardless, this is a clothes fitting service that is like no other.

Considering this is coming from our studio artist, the attention to detail in the visuals is top-notch quality, as he got quite a kick from the illustrations and the animations are on point! He also never got tired of the brutality with the murders and enjoyed watching sequences through even when he had other objectives to complete. In the demo, there are some small translation issues and the VO is a bit rough around the edges, but these are minor things. The demo is short, but much like a human meat pie it was delicious and left him craving for more.

Creepy Tale 2 – Jans Holstrom, Social Media Manager

This second and final pick from Jans stands out for its inventive, storybook visuals, and its deep and rich sound design. You play as a small boy whose sister is taken by a malevolent demon, hellbent on collecting an army of stolen children. Played through a point and click interface, you’ll be taking the fight to this reclusive demon, enlisting the help of trolls, shoemakers, and even the king of the land. It’s a dark twist on a fairytale world and an excellent old-school adventure.

Janitor Bleeds – Lazarus Tegra, Community Manager

JANITOR BLEEDS is an upcoming horror title being developed by Korpus. While conventional at surface level, it takes a welcome deviation with its choice of locale, being set in a secluded, long-abandoned arcade complex. Between the once buzzing cabinets, you’ll be scrounging for coins, keys, and clues to learn more about the mysteriously enthralling JANITOR BLEEDS arcade game. 

Shot in the Dark – Cleveland Mosher, Staff Artist/QA Lead

Playing as a solo bandit, you begin your adventure for vengeance where you’ll have to go up against cultists, demons, undead gunners, and a variety of other villains.  

Clean efficient style. In a world where it feels like every idea has been thought of in 8-16 bit sidescrollers, the simple use of contrast as a mechanic reminds you that there will always be innovative games in this genre. The light and shadow design is both fun mechanically and stunning stylistically.

Conscript – Lazarus Tegra, Community Manager

Set in the claustrophobic trenches of World War 1, you’ll be brushing up shoulders with comrades against an encroaching, seemingly insurmountable threat. It takes a solid traditional approach to the genre, with exploration and item conservation being paramount to your survival. Another thing worth noting is CONSCRIPT’s great approach to player accessibility, whether visual or mechanical.”

If On a Winter’s Night, Four Travelers – Ted Hentschke, Producer

When it comes to free games, you typically have to grade them on a different scale. If on A Winter’s Night, Four Travelers is one of those rare games that breaks this mold. Featuring heart-wrenching tales of loss, the surrealist lens through which the game presents the world captures the character’s emotions better than 100 monologues. Taking place in the 1920s, this point-and-click adventure takes you through four stories aboard a train that is hosting a masked ball.”

The puzzles are sparse yet challenging, providing just enough challenge to engage your brain without devolving into moon logic. You rarely find games with this level of cohesive design from the soundtrack and graphics to the way the objectives guide the player. With the ludicrous price tag of 0 dollars, this is one you should definitely check out.

Mundaun – Sam G, Managing Editor

Mundaun, a first-person exploration horror game by developers Hidden Fields. Set on the Swiss alps, Mundaun has you play as Curdin, investigating his grandfather’s death. It isn’t long before he realizes something twisted appears to have happened. You’ll be wandering the mountains, dealing with strange and unnerving supernatural threats, and getting to soak in an absolutely lovely aesthetic with hand-drawn textures. 

Best of all is just running around and exploring the world. You can find weird shrines, make coffee, discover the secrets of the beekeepers, learn how to shoot a rifle, shoot a monster, regret shooting the monster with your rifle, assemble a toy train set, go spelunking, go sledding, discover an old wartime memorial, and more. The amount of weird and wild things just waiting in the world to be found is amazing, and it’s well worth taking a trip to Switzerland in Mundaun, which is currently available on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Also, you can pet the goats.

Now, of course, those aren’t the only games we played or the only games we enjoyed. They are just a selection of good things to play. GDWC isn’t just for horror games, but as a horror publisher and website, we are, of course, going to focus on horror. I encourage you to pop over to the GDWC website and check out the list of entrants, the list of past winners, and just get lost in the absolutely giant selection of games for you to check out. GDWC will be having its awards ceremony from March 15th through the 17th. It is an online event with a live show on the last day. This year, there will be awards in:

ProPc Game of the Year

Pro Console Game of the year

Hobby Game of the Year

Best VR Game

Best VR Prototype

Student Game Award

Best Game Jam Game

Fan Favorite

If you’d like to sign up for the online event, head HERE.