Goodbye Volcano High Montreal video game

Goodbye Volcano High

Montreal video game studios kick into high gear this spring

The Ubisoft Indie Series, Indie Asylum’s game preview event, Double Stallion’s anniversary and more.

Springtime generally kicks off a round of hard games-release announcements and launches. From GDC in March to MEGAMIGS in October, all of the games biz is in high gear, with developers watching to see what’s on the horizon while scoping out the competition. This includes lots of activity from video game studios here in Montreal. This month’s column explores some of the very cool stuff happening in our own city.

Ubisoft Indie Series

A big event that kicks off the year is the Ubisoft Indie Series, presented by National Bank. Running since 2017, this regional competition offers cash prizes, mentorship, creative and financial tools to help Quebec-based independent development studios and their games reach new heights. 

This year’s $50K grand prize went to Astrolabe Interactive, a Montreal studio whose latest title, Aloft, is an “atmospheric soft survival” game that has you floating in the clouds. The second place prize of $25K went to Montreal’s Lucid Dreams Studio, who are making Biomorph, a soulslike metroidvania game.

Goodbye Volcano High

The highly anticipated title from the artist-owned cooperative KO_OP Studio, Goodbye Volcano High, finally gets a launch date (June 15, 2023) and new release trailer, announced as part of Sony’s State of Play event in February. Goodbye Volcano High is an emo, story-driven, choice-based cinematic adventure game chock-full of teen angst, garage bands, yearbook committees and heart-wrenching drama. Also, you are a highly stylish indie sleaze-inspired mythical beast. The game will be ported to Steam, PS4 and PS5 on launch. 

The Asylum Direct

A different type of non-traditional co-op, Indie Asylum, held its own annual announcement event this year as a semi-ironic nod to annual events held by giant studios. The Asylum Direct livestream highlighted the games coming this year, including standouts This Bed We Made (a noir-inspired mystery adventure that gives serious Hotel Dusk vibes) from Lowbirth Games, and Broken Edge (a VR multiplayer fantasy historical duelling game with a hand drawn, Moebius aesthetic) from Trebuchet. Located in Mile Ex, Indie Asylum houses nine indie dev studios and service providers under one roof, sharing office facilities and other resources.

Double Stallion Celebrates 10 Years

Major kudos to Double Stallion for celebrating its 10th year in 2023. This Saint Henri-based studio is notorious for its button-mashing crossover titles plus self-published Speed Brawl (Sonic the Hedgehog meets Streets of Rage in a dystopian Victorian England). Right now they are developing CONV/RGENCE: A League of Legends Story, published by Riot Forge. CONV/RGENCE is a 2D action platformer that explores the LoL character Ekko. The title offers dynamic combat combined with unique exploration opportunities that allow the player to bend space and time.

Journey to the Savage Planet gets new and improved! 

Plateau-based studio Raccoon Logic has released a major update on its flagship title Journey to the Savage Planet. Published by 505 Games, this title is a tongue-in-cheek take on the open-world survival crafting genre. It’s meant to be at once ridiculous, silly, gross and deadly. 

Journey to the Savage Planet

The Employee of the Month Edition was launched to Playstation and Xbox, and includes the original game and Hot Garbage DLC with optimized 4K Graphics for high-end consoles, a new batch of the game’s signature in-game ads and new Martin Tweed videos, among other things. If you haven’t tried this game, here’s an excellent chance to give it a go. ■

Game Jam is a monthly column about the video game community in Montreal. Are you a Montreal studio releasing a game soon? Please contact me here.

This article was originally published in the March 2023 issue of Cult MTL.

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