Xbox One surprises GDC 2015 with new indie games

Not to be outdone by Nintendo's upcoming lineup of digital indie games, Microsoft has a bevy of new titles on their way to Xbox One via the ID@Xbox developer outreach program. Standouts include Shovel Knight, a retro platformer that was one of the absolute best games of 2014; The Flame in the Flood, a stylish survival game from BioShock's art director and other ex-AAA developers; and Wasteland 2, a successfully Kickstarted post-apocalyptic RPG. These are some of the surprise announcements Microsoft made this week, but there are plenty of other games on their way to Xbox One in the coming months.

​Shovel Knight holds a special place in our hearts: It's nostalgic without pandering; it's hilarious; and it comes from Yacht Club Games, a team of passionate and talented developers. Shovel Knight is due on Xbox One in April, and it's bringing some friends along for the ride: the Battletoads, characters from the classic NES series of the same name by Rare Ltd.

"It has been so much fun to bring the radical attitude and gameplay of the NES classic to the Shovel Knight world," Yacht Club writes. "If you have ever played Battletoads -- we're pretty sure their extreme adventures left an impression!"

The Flame in the Flood comes from a team of BioShock veterans with experience in a handful of other acclaimed AAA titles: Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero, BioShock Infinite, Halo 2, Halo 3, Homefront and Marvel Heroes. It's the story of a wandering girl and her dog as they navigate a treacherous river and attempt to reach its end, where legend says salvation lies. It's a roguelike, meaning survival is truly everything -- once you die, you start over. However, this is pitched as a roguelike-lite, meaning your dog returns to the head of the river with you, carrying whatever equipment he had when you perished. Small mercies.

Wasteland 2 raised nearly $3 million on Kickstarter in 2012, billed as the sequel to Wasteland, the popular 1988, post-apocalyptic RPG and predecessor to Fallout. Wasteland and Fallout executive producer Brian Fargo leads the charge on this one, with storyline by Fallout co-creator Jason Anderson. The game launched on Steam on September 18, and it's also coming to PlayStation 4 in Game of the Year Edition form.

Here's the full list of ID@Xbox games at GDC 2015:

  • Bedlam (RedBedlam)

  • Beyond Eyes (Team17)

  • ClusterPuck 99 (PHL Collective)

  • Cuphead (Studio MDHR)

  • Earthlock: Festival of Magic (Snowcastle Games)

  • The Flame in the Flood (The Molasses Flood)

  • Fortified (Clapfoot Games)

  • Game 4 (The Behemoth)

  • Goat Simulator (Double Eleven)

  • LA Cops (Team 17)

  • Magic Duels: Origins (Wizards of the Coast)

  • Mighty No. 9 (Comcept)

  • Pixel Galaxy (Serenity Forge)

  • R.B.I. Baseball 15 (

  • Rivals of Aether (Dan Fornace)

  • Shadow Blade: Reload (Dead Mage)

  • Shovel Knight (Yacht Club Games)

  • SMITE (Hi-Rez Studios)

  • Submerged (Uppercut Games)

  • Super Dungeon Bros (React! Games)

  • SWORDY (Frogshark)

  • The Sun and Moon (Digerati Distribution and Marketing)

  • ZHEROS (Rimlight Studios)

Other games heading to Xbox One, but not at GDC 2015:

  • Wasteland 2 (inXile Entertainment)

  • Blues And Bullets (A Crowd of Monsters)

  • Quest of Dungeons (David Jose Lourenco Amador)

  • Commander Cherry's Puzzled Journey (Grande Games)

  • Hyperdrive Massacre (34 Big Things)

  • Red Out (34 Big Things)

  • Starpoint Gemini 2 (Little Green Men)

  • The Little Acre (Pewter Game Studios)

  • Space Dust Racers (Space Dust Studios)

  • The Adventures of Pip (Tick Toc Games)

  • Paranautical Activity (Digerati Distribution)

  • Slain (Digerati Distribution)

  • Gear Gauntlet (Drop Dead Interactive)

  • Draw a Stickman: Epic (Hitcents)

  • Reagan Gorbachev (Team2Bit)

  • Twin Souls: The Path of Shadows (Lince Works)

  • Raging Justice (Makin Games)

  • Grabbles (Noble Whales)

  • Run (Torch Games)

  • World of Diving (Vertigo Games)

  • Luna's Tale: The Curse of the Forgotten Doll (Maestro Game Studio)

  • Standpoint (Unruly Attractions)