Unite is the yearly Unity super convention, giving Unity engine game developers the chance to mingle and network with fellow game devs, learn of the latest and upcoming technologies and even get certifications in Unity development.
But there is another thing happening at the yearly Unite, The Unity Awards, celebrating some of the year’s best releases using the engine, and this year, the talented students of the NFTS Games program received a nomination in the Best Student Project category.
During my EGX coverage, I mentioned some of the games in their lineup that made an impact on me, and it was Into the Black, the VR game taking place during the Yellowstone wildfires and which I found refreshing, that got the nomination.
Into the Black puts you in the fur of a mamma bear looking for her missing cubs as the fires spread around and poachers use the chaos to find one more prize for their trophy walls. It’s a 3rd person narrative adventure, with a very cool narrator and soundtrack that give the game a documentary vibe. The fact that you use the VR point of view as a camera for a normal 3rd person game is one of the things I found so refreshing, since the trend in VR is to make the games in the first person, so you embody the avatar. With Into the Black, I could take a look around and see more of Yellowstone while I moved the character with my controller just as if it were another adventure game. I really liked that.
Visually it is stunning, with a beautifully colourful cel-shaded style. This is even considering that for EGX, designer and developer Naomi Kotler had to scale down the tech because of the tight deadline, preventing her from showing the origami-like designs and visuals she envisioned for the game. Even so, they reminded me of Paper Mache craftworks.
Into the Black is the only UK-based game nominated for the Student Project category, and I really hope it wins. At the Unity Awards, there will be a panel of judges for all games and categories, but they’re not the only voice that matters as the public can go online to the Unity Awards page and vote for the games in every category.
Into the Black already has my vote, and I hope that my recommendation, the images you’re seeing in this article, the trailer and everything else you can see of the game in the Unity Awards page drives you to vote for them. It’s a prestigious award for new developers, particularly for students of the NFTS Games program and this is a game that I truly think deserves it.
And while you’re there, why not take the chance to vote for some other games in other categories. The Room 3, which I absolutely adored, has its own nomination in a different category and there are many more!