Tribeca Games’ inaugural selection brings the festival into your home

By offering a bespoke, but innovative and alluring selection of game demos, Tribeca Games aims to entertain and surprise gamers rather than inundate them with industry news.

The future of festivals worldwide is unclear, and with so many different games and industry events and potential vortexes to go down this Summer, it’s hard to know exactly what to focus on and what to play. The inaugural Tribeca Games makes it easy. Tribeca has leaned heavily on the side of accessibility by offering a free selection of demos of a lean, but astoundingly good-looking, slate of narrative titles for anyone around the world to register for and enjoy. Instead of opting for an endless slew of previews, developer interviews, and lengthy explanations on ray tracing, they decided to give gamers what they want: playable games.

They list an eye-posting rogue’s gallery of names on their advisory board — including, but not limited to, directors Nia DaCosta and Jon Favreau, and legendary games auteurs Hideo Kojima and Sam Lake — that ostensibly helped steered their selection of narratively focused, visually dazzling titles. The festival kicked off earlier this week (June 9), and you can still check out the site to see if there are slots left for some of the timed demos — many of the more popular titles, such a Sable, have already sold out, so maybe bug a games journalist or industry insider on Twitter to see if they registered for extra slots, but there are still some slots left. Tribeca Games launches today at 9am, and is also being featured at Summer Game Fest. The last day to register is June 20th.

There will also be a livestream of a symphony of The Songs of Red Dead Redemption 2, played by in New York City. In the meantime, we spoke to Tribeca Games Vice President Casey Baltes about organizing the festival, picking the games, and who the festival is aimed at.

The games involved are below


  • NORCO, developed by Geography of Robots

  • Sable, developed by Shedworks

  • Signalis, developed by rose-engine

  • The Big Con, developed by Mighty Yell

  • Twelve Minutes, developed by Luis Antonio


NME spoke to Casey Baltes, VP of Tribeca Games, about what goes into choosing games for Tribeca.

What is the panel like for selecting these titles? Who is it comprised of? How many people are involved?
At the festival, all selections across the board are chosen by a group of programmers who spend months watching, listening, experiencing and playing all of the submissions for film, podcasts, immersive and games. We all have different specialties in these respective areas and often engage in collaborative discussions about what and how to present all of our selected projects at the festival.

What are you looking for in a title? I know in this particular selection there was talk about all of the games being influenced cinematically. Is that a big part of it?

The potential for excellence in storytelling and art is the lens for which we looked at selecting games, but we also approached the process in the broadest sense. The Official Selections were chosen to provide a range of types of story and gameplay as well as visual style. We fell in love with the characters or the worlds that each game presented to us.
Do developers/publishers submit titles or is it 100% curated? If it is entirely curated, can you talk about if there will be submissions in the future?

Submissions are open to anyone who met the eligibility requirements! In this first year of an open call, we also made sure to reach out to studios, publishers and creators to let them know they could submit their game for consideration because it’s new and we wanted to make sure as many people as possible got the call to action.

How do you see the festival evolving in the future? Do you want to keep it to a smaller selection of games or expand it?

I think I’d have to answer in the form of a question. How will games evolve in the future – both in form, where they are played and how they are played? This is where we will be because we always want to be in the moment and design our plans to meet the current momentum of how the medium is evolving.

Can you talk about working with the developers of these titles, how they approached the festival/demos?

The hands-on digital demo experience we’re offering this year is new and unique, and I think it’s a special treat for our audiences as these games have never been publicly played before. It has been a wonderful experience to work with the teams behind each Official Selection. The discussions mainly centered around how to do the form justice, how we push the conversation forward on games as an art form and how to do it respectfully to the creators and teams who have spent years creating their games to showcase their work in the best way possible.

Can you talk about the audience a bit? Is this intended for people in the industry, gamers, non-gamers, or all of the above?

We hope that we can bring game players exciting events that they can look forward to every year. But also our goal is to break down the barriers of entering into games so we aim to also craft our events to allow for a broader audience to appreciate the medium. Our live kickoff concert featuring “The Songs of Red Dead Redemption 2” is a good example of this. The music is so incredible that you can’t not appreciate it on its own whether you’ve played the game or not. So you’ll have an element of discovery for the audience who might discover a game through the music.



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