Panic is an odd little company. It started out in the late 1990s as an app developer, and in 2016 it pivoted to video game publishing with Firewatch, followed by Untitled Goose Game in 2019. Both of these were breakout indie hits, resulting in significant success for the developers and Panic itself. And then, in 2022, Panic debuted the Playdate, a tiny yellow game console with a crank on the side and a monochromatic display. Playdate was a verified hit and its library is still being updated today.
Now it's mid-2023, and Panic just unveiled a fresh slate of projects it's publishing in its first-ever games showcase. Panic showed off five games and teased new titles from the makers of FAR: Changing Tides (Okomotive) and the team behind Untitled Goose Game (House House).
Nour: Play with your Food is what happens when high art meets a food fight, and honestly, it looks delicious. Nour lays out a bright and colorful landscape where players can mess around with bubbly, 3D versions of doughnuts, burgers, boba tea and other foodstuffs, creating strangely beautiful scenes or simply exploding noodles everywhere. It's all set to music and there are tiny challenges to complete, but Nour is mostly about making digital edible art. It all comes from Missouri studio Terrifying Jellyfish, helmed by designer and digital artist TJ Hughes. Nour is due to hit PC, PlayStation 4 and PS5 on September 12th, and it features DualSense-specific interactions — like slurping soup through the controller's microphone — on PS5.
Thank Goodness You're Here! got center-stage treatment during Gamescom's Opening Night Live showcase last week, and developers Will Todd and James Carbutt offered additional, sheep-laden context for the game during Panic's event today. Thank Goodness You're Here! is a slapstick platformer reminiscent of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, but in a hand-crafted Gumball or Adventure Time art style. It's a silly romp through a Northern English town, starring a traveling salesman who picks up odd jobs from the equally odd people of Barnsworth. Thank Goodness You're Here! comes from Yorkshire studio Coal Supper and it's set to come out in 2024 for PC, Switch and PS5.
Arco is a complex archery game masquerading as a pixelated, top-down adventure, and it comes complete with a rich original soundtrack. Arco is the product of an international team of developers: Polish pixel artist Franek Nowotniak, Australian game developer Max Cahill, Spanish composer and sound designer José Ramón "Bibiki" García, and Mexican industry veteran Antonio "Fayer" Uribe. Arco is a tactical turn-based RPG with a unique combat system that has players plan moves in real-time, dodging incoming shots and taking aim in the moments between seconds. It's heading to PC and consoles (no specifics yet) in 2024.
There were no specific updates for this next game, Despelote, but its segment was powerful regardless. Despelote comes from Ecuadorian developers Julián Cordero and Sebastián Valbuena, and they use childhood memories of playing football around the city of Quito to tell their country's story of economic ruin and resurgence in the early 2000s. Panic's showcase highlighted personal stories from Cordero and Valbuena, and dove into the making of the game: Its dialogue is based on recordings of conversations they've had with family members and friends who lived through Ecuador's economic downturn in the late 1990s, and those who witnessed the country unite ahead of the 2002 World Cup. The backgrounds of the game, covered in static and color, are photographs of real places around Quito, and interactable objects, like the soccer ball, are highlighted in black and white. Despelote is coming to PC, Xbox Series X/S and PS5 in 2024.
The final confirmed game in Panic's lineup is Time Flies. This one has been generating buzz for a while now, and we had a great time with the preview at Summer Game Fest in 2022, but the big news today is that Panic has signed on to publish it. Time Flies is a simplistic, black-and-white game about the short life of a fly — and, in effect, the person playing as the fly. With mere seconds to live, players get to choose how a lonely housefly will live out its existence, completing a series of small challenges or just buzzing around, enjoying the scenery. The game comes from Michael Frei and Raphaël Munoz, it's produced by Frei's studio Playables, and is now being published by Panic. Time Flies will land on PC, Switch and PlayStation 5 in 2024 (a delay from its initial 2023 window).
The final two projects in Panic's lineup are just teases, for now. The Swiss team behind FAR: Changing Tides and FAR: Lone Sails, Okomotive, is working on a new game that will be published by Panic. Additionally, the developers of Untitled Goose Game, House House, are building something new, and they're pitching it as a totally different experience than the honk-fest that put them on the map. Panic published Untitled Goose Game, and the studio is on board to handle whatever comes next from House House.