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VGX 2013: No Man's Sky, Telltale's Game of Thrones steal the show

December 8, 2013 | By Alex Wawro

December 8, 2013 | By Alex Wawro
More: Console/PC, Indie, Design, Video

This weekend Spike TV tried something new with their annual video game awards show, abandoning the traditional pomp and circumstance that surrounds the Spike Video Game Awards live TV broadcast in favor of a live three-hour Internet stream from a small studio set.

Rechristened as the VGX, the show featured the usual array of game trailers and award segments, along with some brief interviews with developers and industry professionals conducted by co-hosts Geoff Keighley and Joel McHale. It was a long, sometimes tedious event, but there were a few noteworthy games announced that are worth paying attention to.

The biggest surprise of the show came when Hello Games -- the folks who make Joe Danger -- announced that the next-gen game they’ve been developing under the internal codename “Project Skyscraper” is actually a procedurally-generated sci-fi first-person shooter/spacer/explorer called No Man’s Sky.

“We didn’t want to be typecast,” said Hello Games’ Managing Director Sean Murray during an interview segment with Keighley and McHale. “We’re kind of an indie studio, so we want to do loads of different things.”

It’s hard to imagine something more different from the vibrant, cartoonish Joe Danger games than No Man’s Sky. The trailer showcases a player traversing a stark alien landscape in first person before climbing into a starfighter, flying into space and engaging in a bit of ship-to-ship combat. Murray claims that all players are exploring the same shared universe, and that everything a player sees -- viridian oceans, lunar mountains, or Frank Herbert-inspired deserts -- will be accessible.

“We wanted to make a game about exploration,” said Murray. “If you can see it, you can walk there.”

The four-man team at Hello Games aren’t the only indies planning to explore new ground next year -- Telltale Games also announced two new projects during the VGX that drew a fair bit of attention.

The rapidly-expanding studio confirmed rumors that they’re working on a Game of Thrones, err, game, that will be released as a series of episodes next year. The confirmation came via dramatic teaser trailer, which -- while chock-full of the sound and fury that characterizes the HBO series -- didn’t do much to elucidate whether or not George R. R. Martin is contributing, which (if any) actors from the HBO show will be involved, or whether or not the martial source material will cause the game to differ significantly from Telltale’s previous episodic adventure games.

Telltale Games also announced a partnership with Gearbox Software to develop Tales From the Borderlands, an episodic adventure game (surprise!) that plays out in the Borderlands universe. Players guide new characters through familiar locales, chatting up iconic franchise characters like Handsome Jack and Marcus Kinkaid. The game is being developed by Telltale with minimal oversight from Gearbox, and they expect to release the first episode in 2014.

“Last year at the VGAs we started talking about it,” said Telltale President Kevin Bruner during an interview with Keighley and McHale. “it just seemed like a great fit.”

No specifics where given about when or on what platforms you can expect to play these games, which is pretty much par for the course of a Spike TV awards show.

If you want to see highlights from the show, Spike TV is expected to broadcast a one-hour edited version as "VGX Replay" at midnight on December 9.

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