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The Can’t Miss Games of GDC 2024

Featuring riveting sessions by industry legends, well-deserved Independent Games Festival (IGF) winners, and an Expo floor filled with international talent (and waffle makers), last week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco was a showcase – and love letter – to the industry. With enough new titles to last for decades, what releases should players look forward to most?

Our time with the following Game Developer Conference 2024 titles made us realize why we fell in love with video games. See what’s to come – and how players can get involved with the greater community – with our can’t miss games of GDC 2024.

Demonschool


Combining stylish elements that pull from such inspirations as Italian horror and Shin Megami Tensei, Necrosoft Games and Ysbyrd Games’ Demonschool has grand plans to throw players into a human and demon world where motion equals action.

What does this mean? Demonschool is unique in that planning comes into play every step of the way. Players will line players up for the proper buffs and debuffs each turn, then let players watch the chaos unfold. During our time with the demo, a tentacled creature threw out area of effect attacks that required careful planning.

Outside of battle, players can experience a light horror narrative, build out one’s base, and nurture friendships with 15 different characters.

To truly immerse players in its world, Kurt Feldman of Ice Choir (be sure to check out their Bandcamp!) returned from his work on Hyper Gunsport to work on Demonschool. For this release, the team wanted him to capture a 70s synth sound for Demonschool, not unlike Italian cinema movies like Zombi 2 from the time. While different from the music from Hyper Gunsport, the end result we heard from our time with Demonschool was truly incredible, something we can’t wait to try with a nice pair of headphones.

Set to release in Q2 2024, all those interested in Demonschool can wishlist the game on its Steam page and can chat all things Necrosoft with the official Discord channel for the studio.

System Shock


After making waves on the PC, Nightdive Studios is bringing their first-person fight to the death System Shock to consoles on May 21. Note that in addition to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S versions, the team also set out to create PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of System Shock as well.

Battling through the depths of space, this title will have players shooting, brawling, and crawling through Citadel Station as they contend with the psychotic AI SHODAN.

Speaking with the team, they stated that they wanted to truly respect players when it came to its design, which players finding themselves truly immersed in this non-linear title with little handholding. 

As a result, this title is setting out to be a truly atmospheric adventure that is designed to reach parity with the PC version. The team at Nightdive Studios is small but mighty, greatly respecting its source material while still adding a high level of polish to make something truly special.

For those that’d like to join the conversation, be sure to check out the official Nightdive Studios Discord channel and follow @NightdiveStudios on Twitter/X for updates.

Cataclismo


A mix of real-time strategy and tower defense, Digital Sun Games’ Cataclismo has an interesting hook: its building system.

The waves of Horrors are no match for players’ with a system that channels the sheer crafting addiction that comes from a building system that channels the best parts of LEGO. A realistic physics system also comes into play when building one’s Citadel, helping one reach new Prosperity levels.

The community leading up to its release, along with their previous experience working on the excellent Moonlighter, has helped them fine-tune the experience and appeal to those from multiple skill levels. 

While I am admittedly not the best RTS player around, Cataclismo has been designed to ease players into its mechanics and build some truly incredible things. Conversely, those looking for a challenge will most certainly find it.

Set to release July 16, players can download a demo of Cataclismo on the official Steam page for the game. Digital Sun Games also has an active Discord channel for the community to share feedback and creations – they’re all ears!

Lunar Lander Beyond


Dreams Uncorporated, together with Atari, is setting out to do incredible things with the Lunar Lander classic with the release of Lunar Lander Beyond next month.

Its unique, hand-drawn style is just the start – the team put a lot of work into respecting its source material while still remaining cutting edge and stylish in the process. Jumping in, I shared with the development team that I am not the most hardcore of gamers; my parents never trusted me with too many quarters back in the arcade days.

However, the team was all too happy to walk me through its controls. Navigating tight passageways, performing quick stops, and making the perfect landing with a special ship was as smooth as silk, channeling a flow that came as second nature before too long. 

That’s not to say this is a walk in the park; literal pink elephants caused a bit of stress that required deft traversal and a sharp mind! For those looking for a challenge, there’s also harder difficulty settings with permadeath. From what we saw, this title appeals to a number of different players, from those possessing an old-school cool to those looking to test their might.

Want to try out Lunar Lander Beyond and its pink elephants for yourself? Be sure to check out the Steam Next Fest demo for the game. Fans can also join the conversation through the official Discord channel for Atari.

Go-Go Town!


Not just for HGTV anymore, players will be able to live out their design dreams with the release of Prideful Sloth and CULT Games’ Go-Go Town!

Watching this co-op gameplay unfold at the GDC2024 ID@Xbox event was an absolute treat, channeling the same frenzied – and fun! – vibes of party staples like Overcooked! 2 and Moving Out 2. Building, decorating, and collaborating are all in the cards as the mayor of Go-Go Town; how players hold the mantle is up to them.

The title features up to four-player split-screen co-op, vehicles like a quad bike that can be used to travel its world (perfect for getting in trouble with), and even the ability to terraform its world. The team has been working on this title for the last two years, with multiple playtests and feedback from players integrated into its polish.

Set to release in 2024, players can download a co-op demo of Go-Go Town on Steam. The title can also join the Go-Go Town! Discord community to chat all things about the title. There’s also the chance to sign up for a couch co-op Go-Go Town! playtest through the end of March.

Casey Scheld

Casey Scheld has more than 15 years of experience in the gaming industry as a community manager, social media director, event specialist, and (of course) gaming editor. He has previously worked with gaming start-ups like Raptr, publishers like Konami, and roller derby girls at PAX West (check out Jam City Rollergirls)! Gamers Heroes is a passion project for him, giving him a chance to tap into the underground side of gaming. He is all too eager to give these lesser-known heroes of the indie space the attention they so rightly deserve, seeking out the next gem and sharing it with the world. Previously making appearances at events like CES, GDC, and (the late) E3, he is all too happy to seek out the next big thing. For those that want to talk shop, send over a tip, or get an easy win in a fighting game of their choosing, be sure to check out his social media channels below.

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