E3 Show Daily
Games Class of 2016
Most colleges have school events, sports teams, fraternities, sororities, and various other clubs and organizations to keep their students busy. Cambridge Regional College in Cambridge, England has something different: its own video game company. As part of a two-year program (fully licensed and accredited by the UK’s Business and Technology Education Council), students learn every element of game creation, from conceptualization, to design, programming, marketing, and retail release. The release comes under the college’s own publishing label, Rizing Games.
One part of the program is learning how to market games, and E3 is a critical piece of the students’ strategy. For the third year, Rizing is showcasing new games at E3, and this year delivers its biggest slate of games yet. The publisher is showing off 14 products, many of them on the eve of their retail debuts.
The lineup is impressive—not only for the youth of its developers, but also for its diversity. Task Force 7 is a survival-focused shooter with a unique time-dilation mechanic. With the ability to dock for repairs on the fly, it brings to mind a sci-fi Spy Hunter. Also on display is Celestial Voyage, which puts players in the captain’s chair of the frigate-class Jackknife as the ship attempts to fight its way through endless waves of enemies.
The slate also features some platforming titles. Half-Hearted Lee is a puzzle-platformer whose hero has been literally split: Half of Lee has been sent to Heaven, the other half to Hell, and players must control both halves to unite him. Meanwhile, Qi is a more traditional skill-based platformer, starring an alien blob who must use her speed and skill to navigate through 36 treacherous levels.
Retro-influenced arcade-style games are also on the docket. Rocket Runner has players piloting a rocket through ever-more-complex mazes, using quick reflexes and some puzzle-solving to survive without crashing. And Coins is a collect-a-thon that tasks players with gathering up as many coins as possible in a limited time—a formula virtually guaranteed to incite fierce leaderboard battles.
Also on display is Flicky Brick, an endless climber featuring a spunky brick who has aspirations of flight. The player’s task is to guide Bricky’s balloons past as many obstacles as possible, to avoid popping them. The greater the height, the higher the score... and the greater the challenge.
As in previous years, all of the Rizing titles above are mobile-focused, with release planned on iOS and Android—and all are set to release in June.
In addition to this impressive mobile lineup, this year Rizing is bringing something new to E3: a “taster” of console products in development. In 2015, the publisher received a PlayStation Developer License, allowing students to build games for PlayStation platforms, and making Cambridge Regional the first college in the UK to be awarded such a license. In addition, the school has partnered with well-known processor and tech company ARM (also based in Cambridge) to provide its students with the latest Android tablets for purposes of development and testing. Both partnerships arose as a result of the team’s appearances at previous E3s, through the exposure and connections the students were able to forge for their top-quality games.