The past week has been insanely busy for the gaming industry.
In lieu of June’s historically annual E3 came ‘Summer Game Fest,’ the live video game event organized by the creator of The Game Awards, Markham, Ontario’s Geoff Keighley. That had its own dedicated keynote and associated media and influencer preview days, on top of adjacent events from the likes of Xbox, Ubisoft and more.
And what’s particularly notable is that among all of these games, quite a few were Canadian, which is what we wanted to celebrate here. Of course, with so many events happening both big and small, this isn’t meant to include every single title, but rather, be a well-rounded list that features noteworthy titles from throughout the week.
So, let’s get to it, eh?
Dead by Daylight — Nicolas Cage update
Platforms: PlayStation 4/5, Xbox consoles, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release date: July 25th, 2023
From Resident Evil and Silent Hill to Scream and Halloween, Montreal-based Behaviour Interactive’s Dead by Daylight is no stranger to massive multimedia crossovers. But the online survival horror game’s latest guest Survivor character, Nicolas Cage, is perhaps the wildest of them. At Summer Game Fest, the Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent star made a surprise appearance on stage to discuss his role in Dead by Daylight. Amusingly, he talked about how he’s playing a “heightened, exaggerated version” of himself and joined DbD due to its fun horror crossovers and a family member who’s a fan of the game.
Release date: Early 2024
The first game from Montreal-based indie developer Impossible follows an up-and-coming painter as he travels to Montreal and aims to unite the art community. This journey is conveyed through a simple-yet-evocative core mechanic in which the player paints over a blank world to restore colour to it. For creative director Lazlo Bonin, Été serves as a love letter to Montreal as a whole, and to add to the authenticity, he’s even committed to Quebec French audio with English subtitles.
Read our full preview on Été here.
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC
Release date: September 8th, 2023
While e‘s core gameplay loop of managing your farm might seem similar to games like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, Vancouver-based Phoenix Labs has shaken things up in several key ways. For one, Fae Farm is all about magic. This means the setting is whimsical, your character can use spells to hasten regular sim busy work (like gathering crops en masse) and exploration and combat opens up through new magical abilities. The game also has a commendable approach to inclusivity, letting you personalize your journey through race, gender (including a non-binary option) and same-sex relationships. This could could be your next favourite social sim obsession.
Islands of Insight
Release date: TBA
During the PC Gaming Show, Behaviour Interactive re-revealed Project S under a new name, Islands of Insight. Developed alongside Lunarch Studios, Islands of Insight is a shared-world puzzle game set in a fantasy realm. The world can be explored on foot or by gliding, and you’ll be able to play alone or with other people. On top of that, each island of the game is inspired by history, like ancient Egypt and rural Japan.
King Arthur: Legends Rise
Platform: iOS, Android, PC
Release date: TBA
Vancouver-based Kabam (Disney Mirrorverse) has moved away from licensed properties to create an action-RPG based on the mythology of King Arthur. In Legends Rise, players assume the role of a young King Arthur and must recruit allies to embark on a dangerous quest. Through this, you’ll assemble a party of knights, mages, rogues and more, which can then be used in turn-based combat. A new trailer for the game was shown during Summer Game Fest alongside confirmation that pre-registration has opened across iOS and Android.
South of Midnight
Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, PC (plus Game Pass)
Release date: TBA
It’s been five years since Montreal-based We Happy Few, one of Xbox’s three Canadian studios, released its last game, We Happy Few. At the Xbox Games Showcase, we finally learned about the team’s next project, South of Midnight, an action-adventure game set in a magical version of Southern America featuring a Black woman as the lead. Details are scarce, but in an Xbox Wire interview, creative director David Sears teased that the game will feature creatures inspired by Gothic Southern folklore, a coming-of-age story and Coraline-esque art style.
Star Wars Outlaws
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Release date: TBA
After a cinematic reveal during the Xbox Games Showcase, Ubisoft’s Forward event the following day offered a sizeable gameplay demo from its big Star Wars game, Star Wars Outlaws. It tells the story of scoundrel Kay Vess fighting to survive in the seedy underbelly of the Empire in the first-ever true open-world Star Wars game. And while the lead developer of the game is Sweden’s Ubisoft Massive (The Division), we’re giving the game a mention here because a) Kay is portrayed by Canadian actor Humberly González (Ginny & Georgia) and b) narrative director Navid Khavari and lead writer Nikki Foy both hail from Ubisoft’s Toronto studio (Far Cry 6).
For more on Star Wars Outlaws, check out our preview.
Platforms: Xbox Series X/S (plus Game Pass), PC
Release date: TBA 2024 (early access)
Hot off the beloved narrative adventure game Spiritfarer, Montreal-based Thunder Lotus revealed its next game, 33 Immortals, during the Xbox Games Showcase. Drawing from Dante’s poems, the action roguelike has you fighting to survive Hell in 33-player co-op. During the post-show ‘Extended Showcase,’ Xbox chief Phil Spencer played the game with Thunder Lotus developers and even said 33 Immortals was his standout game from this year’s big Xbox conference.
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox consoles (plus Game Pass), Nintendo Switch, PC
Release date: July 31st, 2023
With Venba, Toronto-based Visai Games wants to use cooking to tell the quintessential immigrant story. Inspired by lead designer Abhi’s life, the game follows an Indian mother who adjusts to life in Canada with her husband and son. By making authentic Indian dishes, she’ll grow closer to her family while reconnecting with her heritage. At the same time, Visai says it’s carefully designed the cooking minigames to be approachable to those outside of the South Asian community. The July 31st release date was confirmed during the latest Wholesome Direct, so get your taste buds ready for some delicious food.
For more on Venba, check out our full interview with Abhi.
Header image credit: Xbox, Thunder Lotus