I got the chance to meet up with Gregor Ebert from Headup Games, a small and independent game publisher and developer from Germany at PAX East. What’s cool is how they are working with exceptionally small teams, sometimes even just one person, to get their games out on new platforms and to new people, especially on Switch.
While I didn’t have a lot of time, the one game I did get to sit down and play with Gregor was an independent game called Windscape. It’s a first person game that is self-described as a Zelda-like, and I got to play it on Switch, while it is coming the PC. It was entirely developed by one person, Dennis White. It’s actually available in early access on Steam right now for $16.99 but I got to see the Switch version which is supposed to launch with the full version of the game later down in quarter two of 2018.
What I’d compare the game to, after playing it for about thirty or so minutes, is a very much Zelda-fied Skyrim or Elder Scrolls game. It’s first person, and you control a young lady who is off from her parents’ farm to go on her own adventure. The game circulates around a first person combat that harkens to those classic first person western RPGs of yore, but it has a very cell-shaded and cartoony artstyle that I think draws and demands the Zelda comparisons. But exploring the world, entering caves, and especially combat gave me Oblivion vibes a ton.
I got to explore around, run a few errands for villagers, and pass some city checkpoints that were first blockaded to me. It definitely feels stiff and rough in ways that are a bit disheartening, but the charm there is undeniable. It was also quick and easy to wrap my head around the mechanics. There was simple crafting that made making weapons super essential, and while I played most of my demo with a club, I was able to mine some copper in a questline that took me through a monster-infested mine shaft, and make my own copper sword. I also made some soups that helped me survive long enough to beat the boss.
I think there is a lot to enjoy about Windscape, even if it feels a little rough around the edges. The perspective of one person developing it helps that, and it’s certainly got charm to spare in its witty writing and colorful view. Most of all I was excited about Headup reaching out and getting these games published on new platforms like Switch. Look for Windscape later this season on Switch and PC, and more from Headup Games in the near future.