2013 Year in Review

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2013 has been an unprecedented year for the Swedish Games industry commercially and critically. It would be so easy to draw up a list of the studios, games and people to make an indelible imprint on a landmark year, but I would rather this be an acknowledgement and celebration of all things Swedish.

Mojang, DICE and King will rightfully be the headline grabbers for a variety of reasons, but it’s safe to say the country is finally making good on its long standing promise of being a hotbed of well crafted, innovative, universally lauded pieces of interactive intellectual property.

For the first time since my move to my now adopted country, picking a game of the year title isn’t mutually exclusive to the digits on a single hand.

Year Walk

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Two person studio, Simogo continue to go from strength to strength with the year seeing the duo churn out not one, but two critically and by all accounts commercially well received titles. Year Walk and Device 6. Their ability to weave an immersive story merged with genre defining game play has made them a darling of games journalists the world and a team I view pound for pound as one of the best developers in the world today.

Interstellar strategy title Rymdkapsel developed by Martin Jonasson (aka Grapefrukt) launched to little fanfare, but ended up featuring highly on a vast number of end of year lists. It takes the best elements of resource management and condensed it into an easily digestible format that had me hooked for hours.

Might and Delight are a close knit team with a unique team dynamic. One I was lucky to experience first-hand over the course of their second game – the exquisitely whimsical and heart wrenching Shelter. Following the stunted performance of Pid in 2012, the studio needed a show piece title to highlight their creative talents and I believe they achieved that with Shelter.

Brothers: A tale of two brothers had the ethereal beauty of an Aesop fable combined with a heartfelt story and vision of a strong creative lead. Josef Fares’ first major foray into games development was highly anticipated, but I doubt even he foresaw the emotional impact his game would have on the sometimes battle worn hearts of us gamers the world over. It’s an absolute dream and I can’t wait for his and Starbreeze’s next title.

Other titles and developers to doff our collective hearts to include; The Drowning from Scattered Entertainment, Europa Universalis 4 from Paradox Interactive. SNOW from Poppermost Productions, Zoink’s hilarious Stick it to the Man, Steamworld Dig from Image & Form and Sanctum 2 from Coffee Stain studios.

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The year ahead
A new console generation and the continued evolution of the indie scene should impact the industry positively. With the Steambox set to enter the fray 2014 is shaping up to be another eventful one for the country and region as a whole.
With exciting releases on the horizon from the likes of VisionTrick, Paradox Interactive, Corncrow Games, Machine Games, Might and Delight, Visual Dreams, Hourences, EQidz, Simogo, GreyLight, Night Node, Forgotten Key and many many more. It’s never been a better time to be part of the game development scene in Sweden and the Nordic region and I can’t wait to experience and cover it all.

Here is to a pulsating 2014!

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