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E3 2017: The Hyper Light-like Griftlands is my game of the show

by: Randy -
More On: Hyper Light Drifter E3 2017 Griftlands

What's easily my game of the show at E3 2017 this year is Griftlands. Well, it's at least my trailer of the show, since it doesn't exist in any playable form yet. Made by the Don't Starve and Invisible, Inc. folks at Klei, Griftlands appears to be a couple things: 1) A visual and atmospheric homage to Hyper Light Drifter, absolutely one of my favorite games of the last 12 months, and 2) a westernized JRPG.

First off, if you put pictures of Hyper Light Drifter's, uh, Drifter next to pictures of Griftlands, uh, Grifter, then you'll see that the color pallet and clothing choices aren't too far off from one another. There's the red cape and the gray undertones in both, the headwear resembling a knight's face shield (even if it's more of a headwrap on the Grifter). Also, just the whole post-electronic fallen-world vibe ties the two together, not to mention the blue accents in the Grifter's blade looks like it runs off the Drifter's same technology-is-magic blue blade.

Secondly, addressing the westernized JRPG bit, Griftlands behaves a whole lot like a traditional Japanese role-playing game. You've got your line-up-on-the-left and line-up-on-the-right turn-based combat. You've got your dialogue scenes with the speaking characters emoting in the forefront with a 2D backdrop. And you've got a bird's eye view of the overworld map, with you running across it, all tiny like, from marker to marker. Also (and this is a personal problem, I know), one of the first things to make me turn of an actual JRPG's game trailer is the always-overwhelming presence of J-rock guitar solos and hyperactive melodies. Neither of those are present in Griftlands. Of course, I can imagine a Japanese audience listening to this trailer and wondering why western RPGs always have to be scored with such sullen, serious soundtracks. But anyway.

I'm excited for this one.

According to the write up: In Griftlands, everything is negotiable: money, loyalty—even morality. Choose your character and make your fortune. 

Griftlands is coming out late 2017 or early 2018, at least on PC if nothing else.