GAMEDEC Gameplay Impressions (video & Text) – Gamescom 2019

We managed to see Gamedec in action during our visit to Gamescom last week. Take a look at the Gamedec gameplay impressions video or read the transcript below. This cyberpunk themed game is shaping up to be a cool game for top-down isometric RPG fans.

Polish based developer Anshar Studios previously developed Detached and Telefrag which are both VR titles. They enter the fray with a new Cyberpunk-themed game titled Gamedec which is based on the Marcin Przybyłek novels. The game is in early development and plans to release in 2020. From our discussions with the developers at Gamescom this year we expect a later 2020 release rather than during the same window when that other Polish developed Cyberpunk game releases around April.

So what is GAMEDEC then and why should anyone be interested in it. Well, for starters it’s a completely different style of game if we’re going to draw any comparisons with CDPR’s first person action rpg offering. Set in Poland in the 22nd century, Gamedec offers an isometric top-down viewpoint and opts for an engaging role-playing experience based on table-top mechanics. The premise here is your character is free to do as he pleases as a detective-for-hire looking for cheats and anomalies in the neo-futuristic setting. The depth of your investigations depend on the how deep the player wishes to pursue the leads they uncover. As a Gamedec, your character enters virtual worlds of various themes and interacts with the inhabitants. Taking on the rules of any particular VR game world as well. Your motivation remains cloudy and the rewards for you actions based not only on financial gain. Something sinister lurks behind the scenes and what might be explained on the surface could turn out to be constructed from less overt elements.

Speaking to the developers at Gamescom and looking at the demo, the core structure is in place. The game concept is there, but a lot of features remain in the to-be-confirmed development stage. What we did see is a game that looks quite deep in terms of how the branches of your decisions or choices interact with each other. This lends itself to multiple plays and also highlights the fact the developers don’t want to punish players for their actions. So for example, during one scene on a field where gamers (in VR) farm resources, the Gamedec tackles the investigation in numerous ways including an option to steal items. Find information from those working the farm via conversation or speaking to the right person. Perhaps doing a favour here or there, even smooth-talking or bribery. One NPC took a nasty turn which offered choices in how to proceed, steal info from their body, save them, etcetera.

Interestingly, there isn’t a clear-cut light or dark, good or bad approach, rather a greyness dependent on the motives and morality of the person playing. However, your actions have consequences, that much is a given which means the easy or quickest path might come to bite you later-on considering all the branches are linked to form an overall larger picture. Anshar suggest you are the “sum of your choices” as a tagline for the game. That much was certainly evident here.

The Gamedec gains skills in several key personality traits. During conversations or actions, these come into play and change the course of the investigation if selected – although a roll-of-the-dice here will affect the outcome. This aspect reminds us the game is based around the Marcin Przybyłek Gamedec table-top mechanics.

We spent around 30 minutes looking at an early build which so far already looks pretty neat and captures the cyberpunk aesthetic very well. The opening moment of the demo has the player enter the bar as seen in the reveal trailer. A cool place to interact with several characters and a location to perhaps return to for more info as the game progresses. Anshar did suggest players could return to other visited VR areas for more information considering there are themes of child slavery and other unsavoury actions that might not reveal themselves on a first visit.

What we gathered from the demo is Anshar Studios are telling a story but not necessarily pushing any morality on the player which is a good thing. They are very passionate about their project and given their experiences of the VR platform, making a game about the effects of VR is very cool indeed. Perhaps they will inject some of their own views in the game in some ways though but that is to be seen when the game releases next year. In the meantime, we’re impressed and can’t wait to see more of the game when they reveal some gameplay to the masses.

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.