An announcement by the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), unveiling a list of 30 games it will co-fund in 2018, has revealed a host of new projects from high-profile indie studios, including the likes of Trine 4.
News that Trine developer Frozenbyte is set to return to its most famous series is unexpected - Trine 3 didn't go down especially well with fans - but also pretty heartening. As are hints at a number of previously unannounced titles from other teams.
Norwegian developer Snowcastle Games is seemingly working on a sequel to its gorgeous action-RPG Earthlock, for instance, while Tequila Works, which developed the sublime Rime and published The Sexy Brutale, has something called Lumberjack up its sleeve.
Humble Indie Bundle 16 has launched and it's a good one. Pay what you want to receive Retro City Rampage DX, Outlast, and Never Alone with its Foxtales DLC. You'll even receive an 80 per cent discount on Outlast's Whistleblower DLC in the Humble Store.
With Trine 3, developer Frozenbyte has delivered an impressive title filled with vivid, intricate environments and a variety of accomplished effects work and lighting. The combined use of depth of field, dynamic lighting, and volumetric effects add atmosphere to the game's varied locations, while the move to a true three-dimensional playfield feels like a natural progression to the puzzle-based gameplay seen in previous titles. The use of a full 3D space doesn't always work well, but from a visual perspective we're looking at a significant leap over Trine 2, despite the utilisation of the ageing DirectX 9 API. Of course Frozenbyte has made plenty of optimisations over previous Trine titles, and as a result we see Microsoft's ageing API still putting out a gorgeous release.
Trine 3 is finally available on PlayStation 4, and this version offers up native 1080p visuals along with a 60fps update. However, the game was originally conceived for the PC, and this is the version to beat. Running at 1080p to match the PS4 code, we were able to we maxed out all graphical settings, combining FXAA with 4x SSAA (supersampling) anti-aliasing using a GTX 980 Ti-based system. Our challenge for the PS4 game was pretty straightforward - to see just how close Frozenbyte could get to the title's showing on a top-end PC. Here, clean image quality is joined by lashings of detailed texture work, along with thick volumetric lighting, and extensive use of physics-based interactivity with the environment.
It's a visual treat, but what quickly becomes apparent is that the core experience offered by the PS4 version holds up well, with just a couple of caveats. Sony's console offers up native 1080p resolution, and the use of post-process anti-aliasing provides a clean presentation overall. There's some sub-pixel shimmer, but on the whole there's isn't a huge gulf in image quality between the PS4 and PC versions in this area. In fact, the use of 4x supersampling on PC is basically overkill for this game - the bottom line is that running at native resolution with FXAA alone offers up the vast bulk of the title's visual riches.
UPDATE 16/12/15 1.50pm: Surprise! Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power is available today on PlayStation 4 in Europe.
Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power has received a new content update adding an all new level and support for Linux and SteamOS.
The Trine games have always been closet 3D titles. They might restrict the player to two axes of movement, but their rich fairytale landscapes act as visual plunge pools, twinkling with brilliance and irresistible in their depth. They tempt the eye to look past that single, flat plane, tantalising with hints of a much larger world. What secrets lie beyond that sun-dappled pumpkin patch, that verdant forest foliage, that crystalline tropical ocean?
UPDATE 27/8/15 10.45am: Trine 3 developer Frozenbyte has released a video response to the game's negative feedback, in which the company's marketing manager Kai Tuovinen personally takes the blame for the fact that player expectations were not met.
Trine 3, the lovely-looking platformer from Frozenbyte, leaves Steam Early Access and launches proper on 20th August.
The Windows version will be available on Steam, GOG and Humble. Mac and Linux versions are in development and due out later this year, the Finnish studio said. Console versions are also in the works.
The Early Access price of £14.99 goes up to £15.99 upon launch, but the soundtrack by Ari Pulkkinen is included with the package.
It is tempting to argue that Early Access should only be for certain kinds of games - ambitious games, experimental games, games with a certain degree of the unknown to them. Setting aside the fact that developers can do whatever they want, this approach makes Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power seem like a weird fit. In my memory, this is a series built of wonderfully poised platform adventures, in which elegantly rendered Sleepy Hollow tree limbs curl around a range of ingenious physics puzzles. With its wizards and warriors and its pan-piped soundtrack, it's a bit like spending an evening in Peru's favourite Tolkien theme pub. It's a known quantity, and it has a certain polish.
Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power is coming to Steam Early Access on 21st April.
Frozenbyte has shown off nearly 10 minutes of gameplay from its lovely-looking Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power.
The puzzle-platforming threequel arrives on PC this year, with other platforms expected to follow.
Trine 3 takes the side-scrolling series into proper 3D territory for the first time, but retains the core gameplay elements that have fuelled the sale of more than 9m copies of Trine 1 and 2.
Frozenbyte has announced Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power, the next game in its 7m-selling puzzle platformer adventure series.
The announcement trailer, which shows off Trine 3's fancy visuals and co-op gameplay, is below.
Here's the official blurb: