Continuing our round-up of this year's shortlist, we look at the core games category

Game Connection Awards 2015 finalists: Best Console & PC Hardcore

While the wider games markets is dominated by casual and social mobile titles, there is still a highly lucrative audience for hardcore titles. This year’s Game Connection Awards will once again honour the best studios attempting to break into this market. 

Popular business and networking event Game Connection America will once again run alongside GDC in San Francisco next week, and will be highlighting some of the most promising upcoming titles with its own awards ceremony.

Previously known as Selected Projects, the Game Connection Development Awards are designed to reward some of the most innovative titles from studios big and small, across various platforms and in various states of development.

All this week, Develop will be rounding up the finalists in all ten categories. You can find out more about the awards at

The finalists for Best Console & PC Hardcore project are:

Hand of Fate

Studio: Defiant Development

Country: Australia

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Stage: Release Candidate

Combining multiple genres, Defiant’s Hand of Fate is a different take on the fantasy trading card games that are currently so popular. Players collect cards and build them into a deck, which then is used to lay out dungeon floors and populate it with monsters. They must then fight their way through in an action RPG that is designed to satisfy fans of the devilishly hard rogue-like genre.


Studio: Brainseed Factory

Country: Germany

Platforms: PC, Wii U and PS4

Stage: Playable Demo

Brainseed’s dark puzzle platformer is set in a world where words and letters control the environment around players. By combining letters or breaking words apart, gamers can manipulate the environment, solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. For example, dragging an O next to an N forms ON, activating nearby machinery.


Studio: Mudvark

Country: United Kingdom

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Stage: Playable Demo

This colourful platforming and puzzle-solving game takes players with guiding a silhouetted hero through a series of complicated environments. Shifting the background colour of the levels can reveal objects of different hues that will help them reach new areas, while shifting to the same colours as an obstacle enables them to pass straight through it.

Shadow Puppeteer

Studio: Sarepta Studio

Country: Norway

Platforms: PC and Wii U

Stage: Release Candidate

Sarepta’s upcoming titles is a co-op puzzle game that pits one player as a young boy and the other as his recently separated shadow. Each has their own abilities, and only by learning how to manipulate light and darkness will gamers be able to progress. The game follows in the footsteps of well-received co-op puzzle games such as Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.


Studio: Active Gaming Media

Country: Japan

Platforms: PC and PSN

Stage: Released

Retro 2D shooters have made a comeback over the past few years thanks to download games, which means there’s a niche but passionate audience waiting for titles such as Active Gaming Media’s latest project. Astebreed’s frantic fast pace and challenging battles with waves of enemies should satisfy fans of the genre.

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