Pioneering digital games festival returns to Steam on April 24-27 with more games added due to physical con cancellations
MELBOURNE, Australia – April 14, 2020: Indie games labelFellow Travellertoday announced the full lineup of over 40 exhibiting games for LudoNarraCon 2020, the global digital festival held on Steam celebrating narrative video games. LudoNarraCon 2020 will run from April 24-27 and is available for free to everyone via Steam. More than 850,000 people attended the 2019 event and the organizers are aiming to achieve more than double this number in 2020.
LudoNarraCon 2020 has been months in the making, and despite the current pandemic of COVID-19 sweeping the world, Fellow Traveller is proud to be able to offer this unique opportunity for indie developers to have their moment to shine. Following the cancellation of GDC and other gaming conventions, Fellow Traveller reopened applications for the event, doubling the size to over 40 exhibiting games. Along with the exhibitor lineup, the initial list of panels has been revealed, with more panels to be confirmed before the event begins.
“With a COVID-19 vaccine 12-18 months away, we need to accept as an industry that it will be a very long time before we get back to large physical conventions and it’s almost unimaginable that any will happen this year,” said Chris Wright, Managing Director at Fellow Traveller. “With LudoNarraCon we hope to bring a convention experience to your home, wherever you are and provide an opportunity for indie developers to shine. We’re also keen to help others create similar festivals in the coming months and happy to share what we’ve learned. ”
Organized by Fellow Traveller, an independent games label focused on innovative narrative games, the first LudoNarraCon debuted in 2019 as a pioneering event, replicating many of the aspects of conventions like PAX or Eurogamer Expo but through a digital format and hosted on the Steam platform.
- Developers exhibit by streaming behind the scenes content to their Steam store pages and many will provide a demo, downloadable only for the duration of the event.
- A series of panel discussions will be streamed on the central “theatre” stream.
- More than 50 narrative games will be on sale in a special LudoNarraCon sale
- Media are able to apply for a press pass, get early access to media-only demos, press assets and contacts for each participating exhibitor.
- The entire event is tied together on a special LudoNarraCon page on Steam and will also use Steam’s new events functionality.
- It’s free to attend and free to exhibit with Fellow Traveller picking up the costs of organizing the event.
We are proud to announce these additions to the LudoNarraCon 2020 exhibitor lineup:
- An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs – Strange Scaffold
- Backbone – Eggnut / Raw Fury
- Beholder 2 – Alawar
- Best Friend Forever – Starcolt
- Beyond the Veil – Sun’s Shadow Studios
- Coda – GoodbyeWorld Games
- Coffee Talk – Toge Productions
- Curious Expeditions 2 – Maschinen-Mensch
- Do Not Feed the Monkeys – Alawar
- Frog Detective 2 – Grace Bruxner, Thomas Bowker
- Garden Story – Picogram / Rose City Games
- Lost Words: Beyond the Page – Sketchbook Games
- N1RV Ann-A – Yrsbd / Sukeban Games
- Nowhere Prophet – Sharkbomb Studios / No More Robots
- Over the Alps – Stace Studios
- Ring of Fire – Far Few Giants
- Roki – Polygon Treehouse
- Still There – Iceberg Interactive
- Sunless Skies – Failbetter Games
- The Flower Collectors – Mipumi Games
- Wide Ocean Big Jacket – Turnfellow
These games will join the previously announced exhibiting games participating in this year’s event:
- Boyfriend Dungeon – Kitfox Games
- Chinatown Detective Agency – General Interactive Co.
- Eliza – Zachtronics
- Genesis Noir – Feral Cat Den / Fellow Traveller
- Heaven’s Vault – inkle
- Hypnospace Outlaw – Tendershoot / No More Robots
- In Other Waters – Jump Over The Age / Fellow Traveller
- Mutazione – Die Gute Fabrik / Akapura Games
- Neo Cab – Chance Agency / Fellow Traveller
- Not Tonight – Panic Barn / No More Robots
- Paradise Killer – Kaizen Game Works / Fellow Traveller
- She Dreams Elsewhere – Studio Zevere
- Solace State – Vivid Foundry
- Sometimes Always Monsters – Vagabond Dog / Devolver
- Suzerain – Torpor Games / Fellow Traveller
- Tangle Tower – SFB Games
- Telling Lies – Drowning a Mermaid Productions / Annapurna Interactive
- The Church in the Darkness – Paranoid Productions / Fellow Traveller
- Wayward Strand – Ghost Pattern
- Welcome to Elk – Triple Topping
- Yes, Your Grace – Brave At Night / No More Robots
Creating Emotional Touchstones in Emergent Narratives
Matthew Farber, Sande Chen, Kimberly Unger, Juliana Loh
- Games have a unique ability to establish empathy between a player and a world and characters, but game players don’t always follow the path the narrative lays out for them. This panel discusses how designers and storytellers can build in empathic elements that can be found and engaged with even when the larger narrative gets delivered out of order.
Cultural Dissonance: Avoiding Bugs in Cultural Understanding
Mohammad Fahmi, Oli Clarke Smith, Fernando Damas
- Three developers from three different parts of the world discuss their experience and lesson in making a narrative heavy game set in The United States with a heavy influence from Japanese media.
Emergent Narrative VS Traditional Narrative
Panelists: Daniele Giardini, Glen Pawley, Pietro Polsinelli
- Daniele Giardini (aka Demigiant) is both a comic and game writer/artist—and a coder, game designer, UI/UX lover, tools developer: yes, sometimes he feels a little overwhelmed. He wrote Still There (for which he also developed the writing tools), drew Football Drama, made DOTween, Goscurry etc. He likes deranged perspectives, he doesn’t have a cat anymore.
- Glen Pawley is the developer of Star Dynasties, a sci-fi empire management strategy game with a procedurally generated narrative of human drama and feudal politics. Trained as a software engineer, he has a long history of building complex systems and is putting that to use in designing an emergent narrative engine of the life stories of the nobility in a decaying human civilization.
- Pietro Polsinelli is a game writer, designer and developer. Created Football Drama, now working on Roller Drama, both sports games blending narrative and management. He also works on applied games and is a researcher on “games for health” at Milan Bicocca University.
Evolution of Game Narrative
Panelists: Brenda Romero, Steve Meretzky, Brian Moriarty, Clara Fernandez-Vara, Richard Rouse III
- This panel brings together some well traveled game writers and narrative designers to talk about how game stories have changed over the years and how they’re likely to evolve in the future. With decades of experience from text adventures (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) to graphical adventures (Loom) to horror shooters (The Suffering) to strategy games (Jagged Alliance and the upcoming Empire of Sin) our lineup of panelists have worked in many different genres that embraced narrative in many unique ways. Join us for this panel and hear us explore where game narrative will go next!
Panelists: Alex Kanaris-Sotiriou, Thomas Jones
- The creators of upcoming indie game Röki (Polygon Treehouse) discuss their approach to interactive narrative, namely ‘holistic storytelling’. Video games are an interactive medium and a script is just one of the tools we have at our disposal to craft stories. Tom and Alex will step through:
- Gameplay mechanics/situation and as a narrative device
- Archaeological storytelling, “narrative soup”, and world-build via exploration
- The player as an active agent
- Story gaps and narrative “breathing space”
- Do not underestimate the power of audio
- Cinematography is not just for cutscenes
Let’s Do The Time Warp Again: How To Keep The Narrative Interesting In A Game Built On Repetition
Panelists: Nick Pearce, Luis Antonio, Katie Chironis
- Nick Pearce – Developer of The Forgotten City, a murder mystery investigation in an ancient Roman city caught in a time loop.
- Luis Antonio, Developer of Twelve Minutes, an interactive thriller about a man trapped in a time loop.
- Katie Chironis, Senior Game Designer at Riot and writer of Elsinore, a time-looping adventure game set in the world of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Localization and Writing: Evolving the Worlds
Panelists: Vladimir Konoplitsky, Natalia Nesterova, Anthony Jauneaud, Fabio “”Kenobit”” Bortolotti
- Game writers and localizers will tell dramatic stories how cultural and language specifics challenged their work. How game worlds are transformed on the way from original language to localization. We will see what translation and writing have in common, and how narrative games evolve real life cultures through localization.
Narrative Design: The Secret Sauce of Game Storytelling
Panelists: Jim Rossignol, Chella Ramanan, Tori Schafer, Sarah Longthorne, Antony de Fault
- Ever considered that writer and narrative designer are separate disciplines? What makes them unique? Join us in exploring this topic with the brains behind beloved videogame stories!
On Essay Games: The Diary, The Documentary, and The Satire
Panelists: David Cribb, Nathalie Lawhead, and Angela Washko. Moderated by Nicholas O’Brien.
As video games communities continue to mature and nurture pockets of avant-garde exploration, this panel investigates emergent practices of game development/design called “essay games.” Similar to the essay film and video genres of avant-garde cinema, essay games explore how the medium can tell critical, research-based narratives about political, cultural, or interpersonal themes. This discussion will outline three primary narrative design strategies that distinguish essay games from traditional independent games: the diary, the documentary, and the satire.
Personal Storytelling in Games
Panelists: Tanya Kan, Miriam Verburg, Gabby DaRienzo, Paloma Dawkins
- Indie games can have the flexibility and innovation to embed many personal tales from their lead creators. These game writers and creators discuss how their lived experiences lead them to write and direct games that are unflinchingly about their passions, perspectives, and questions in life. Join us on a panel discussion about how indie game creators have combined art, interaction, and storytelling to create resonant and unique journeys. From tales of belonging, to finding art in unusual places, these stories are sure to inspire.