Horizon reveals new indie talent and a new role for Polytron

The indie alternative to E3 showcased a slew of known and new indie game projects, including the first game from David O'Reilly and a new partnership business from Fez developer Polytron.
The second annual Horizon showcase took place today at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, roughly a mile or so from the E3 show floor. Gamasutra attended the event, which was livestreamed from an auditorium in the bowels of the museum. You may remember event organizer Brandon Boyer starting Horizon last year as a modest showcase for interesting, beautiful games that could serve almost as a compliment to E3 proper. A smattering of interesting news came out of that inaugural event, including the announcement that Polytron was working on Fez II and the revelation that Robin Hunicke and Keita Takahashi were collaborating on a game together. This year the most remarkable bit was the revelation that Polytron is evolving into an engine for enabling game development, which came when Dyad composer David Kanaga took the stage to show off the latest build of Panoramical -- the interactive album that he’s been working on with Fernando Ramallo with backing from Indie Fund. Kanaga has been working on bringing the game to Steam after showing it off at a variety of events across the country, and during today’s event he announced that both Polytron and Finji Games are helping him produce and promote the game.
Of course, the lion’s share of today’s Horizon event was dominated by demonstrations of games that have been in development for some time. The variety of games on display was remarkable: at one point Infinite Fall’s Scott Benson and Alec Holowka shared their story of finding inspiration for Night In The Woods in the gentle decay of America’s mining towns while showing off the game’s new “Paws Mode.” Minutes later, Saleem Dabbous and Bronson Zgeb of Montreal-based developer collective Ko-Op Mode were on-stage talking about the design of their upcoming 3D puzzle game/toy Gnah! before Brendon Chung hopped up to walk the audience through a demo of Quadrilateral Cowboy. The event was also an opportunity for some developers to announce new projects. Artist and filmmaker David O’Reilly showed up at Horizon to give a tongue-in-cheek presentation of Mountain, his first attempt at making a video game. During his time on stage O’Reilly spoke frankly about the appeal of his game, which seems to revolve around watching time pass on a tiny digital mountain. “Mountain is a mountain simulator,” said O’Reilly. “You play as a mountain, and you get to do all the things a mountain does.” You can watch O'Reilly's offbeat demonstration for yourself, along with the rest of the presentations, when the full recording of the conference is posted later today on the Horizon website.

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