'Falling Sky', a graduation game developed by NFTS Games Design & Development MA student, Jonathan Nielssen has been featured as one of The Guardian's 12 Favourite Games at EGX, the UK's biggest video games event. According to the article: "The projects brought to EGX by students at the National Film and Television School are always fascinating, but this year one stood out as particularly impressive".
Games Design & Development at the NFTS is a world-class MA for future games innovators and encourages students to challenge the meaning of games and interactive experiences. The courses’ diverse students are mentored by industry-experienced tutors and work with cutting-edge technology to develop their visions and ideas into a reality. By exploring the creative bridges between innovative-mechanics, emotional engagement and thoughtful storytelling, the NFTS brings together students from many departments, including screen-writing and cinematography, into a collaborative environment where they develop industry connections.
All eight games developed by the second year NFTS Games Design & Development MA students were on show in the Rezzed area of the event with varied themes, art and mechanics, from puzzle-games and side-scrollers to strategy games and story-driven experiences across desktop platforms and VR. Here’s a snapshot of what they're all about:
‘Falling Sky’ by Jonathan Nielssen is a cinematic narrative game set in a nondescript yet widely familiar American suburbia. The game follows young Daniel and his little brother Tommy in their quest to solve the mystery of their mother’s disappearance. Cryptic messages and bizarre encounters lead the oblivious brothers on a dangerous journey searching for the truth. Two industry veterans - Stephane Cornicard and Christy Meyer - feature in ‘Falling Sky’ as motion-capture actors. They have appeared in games such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, Dark Souls, and Dragon Age: Inquisition.
‘Fault-Line’ by Laurien Ash is a psychological puzzle game where spinning the slot reels spins the world. To win strike winning lines with objects and solve superstitious puzzles in the search to find a missing sister.
‘The Grand Mission’ by William Blake is 2D, top-down crew management spaceship strategy game. A single-player experience with a linear narrative set in a bizarre comedic universe, the story revolves around an aristocratic prig’s fight for his right to ‘partea’ and will be available on Windows PC. Albia, former centre of the Universe and epicentre of the now broken up Albian Grand Empire is in a dire situation. A very dire ‘sit-tea-ation’. One of its former colonies, a great provider of tea, has decided to close its trading routes, thus depriving the idle and not-so idle ruling classes of their favourite brew! It is thus up to our hero, Tobias Jamar-Thicklewit, the maligned illegitimate son of Albia’s great Chieftain, Augustus Thicklewhit, and third in line to become the next great leader of the planet to rectify this ‘Traves-tea’! Embarking on his space ship with his crew, his Grand Mission is to converse with the tea withholding, dirty rotten rebel peasant populations, disperse the animosity, get them to re-open the trading lanes and get back to Albia in time for, well, tea.
‘Sprinkle Palooza’ by Evy Benita is a cutesy 2.5D platformer being developed for Windows PC and console. The game is set in the back of a bakery come pet shop which specializes in mutant party pets, such as pet cakes. The boutique advertises their manufactured pets as the "perfect gift", enforcing an overwhelming focus on happiness to the point where it starts to feel artificial. Balloon pets are another shop speciality. You play as Zap the young balloon pup, who decides to sneak out of his display case and explore the shop at night. In the back of the shop, the sugarcoated truth begins to unveil itself. You come across a faulty pet cake that’s been returned, and scheduled to be exterminated. Your mission is to help it escape before the shop re-opens in the morning.
‘The House Mouse VR’ by Adam Comrie is a first person VR game in which you play a courageous mouse who must navigate the dangers of the human world in order to bring food back to his family aided only by his wits, his sense of smell, and a very unhelpful narrator. Above the floorboards in the dilapidated London flat a new family are moving in. And though the mess of unpacked boxes and clutter will provide you with the perfect cover to manoeuvre around unseen, they have also brought with them a whole mess of dangers, and perhaps worst of all they have a cat! Your mission is simple: you need to go and find food for your family. But will you be able to circumvent the network of crawlspaces beneath the floorboards and behind the walls? Will you be able to avoid a world full of perilous traps with danger at every turn?
‘May’ by Daniel Stankowski is the story of a mayfly’s first and last day on earth. After waiting two years to hatch, the average Mayfly has just a single day to be born, reproduce and die. After a whirlwind courtship a mayfly pairing is struck by tragedy as the female is crushed, rendering her wings useless. Unable to transport her eggs to spawn in the river the male chooses to carry her as the last traces of life ebb from their bodies. The player traverses the beautiful English countryside solving puzzles along the way. Each of these puzzles has multiple solutions which rely on the abilities that the mayfly is born with, but as the day progresses the abilities are stripped from him, one by one. As the character loses their abilities, the player must develop their skills to reach their goal.
‘My Last Son’ (PC) by Sam Rowett is a side-scrolling fantasy puzzle game inspired by traditional African art and mythology. When a young mother loses her last son, she embarks on a journey to lay his body to rest - but soon finds herself hounded by a monstrous wraith that grows stronger as her sadness overwhelms her. With levels based on the five stages of grief, each environment presents the player with new challenges on their pilgrimage to deliver the child to his final resting place and uncover the dark secret behind their terrifying pursuer.
‘Supremely Excellent Goblins’ by Gracie Drake is an action-adventure game inspired by classic Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles. It follows the story of Nemo, a young boy who has been seemingly abandoned by his family just as a mysterious disaster destroys everything he holds dear. Discovering a strange creature in the wreckage, Nemo ventures forth into the unknown to discover the cause of the disaster. Whether he'll survive what he discovers, however, is up to you.
Applications are open until October 16th for the two-year Games Design and Development MA and the course starts in January 2018 – for more information on the course and to arrange meetings at EGX, please contact email@example.com
Vicky Hewlett, Head of PR and Communications, NFTS: VHewlett@nfts.co.uk
For meetings at EGX, please email firstname.lastname@example.org