The Games program features world premieres of The Expanse: A Telltale Series, a prequel to the popular TV series that puts players in the role of Camina Drummer, played by actress Cara Gee, who portrays the fan-favorite character in the TV series; Stray Gods, a role playing musical that tells a story of hope, self-discovery, and forging one’s path; and Nightscape, an atmospheric adventure game inspired by ancient Arabian astronomy.
Plus: World premiere of “Hideo Kojima: Connecting Worlds” Documentary and Live Q&A with the Legendary Video Game DesignerTelltale Games Panel “Exploring Deep Space: How Telltale and Deck Nine Created Expanse Stories in an Interactive Medium.” Single Tickets and Passes Available at Tribecafilm.com
This year’s lineup features seven selections that demonstrate potential in phenomenal storytelling and innovation through interactive experiences. Each selection is eligible for the Tribeca Games Award, which honors an unreleased game for excellence in artistic storytelling.
The program features world premieres of The Expanse: A Telltale Series, a prequel to the popular TV series that puts players in the role of Camina Drummer, played by actress Cara Gee, who portrays the fan-favorite character in the TV series; Stray Gods, a roleplaying musical that tells a story of hope, self-discovery, and forging one’s path; and Nightscape, an atmospheric adventure game inspired by ancient Arabian astronomy.
“This year, Tribeca’s games selections showcase creators who explore identity, emotion, and a sense of place through their games,” said Tribeca Vice President of Games & Immersive Casey Baltes. “We are proud to highlight a range of cultural perspectives with exceptional artistry and storytelling from voices all around the world that will captivate audiences and stay with them long after the experience is over.
Festival attendees can also look forward to special games events and talks, including a special screening of Hideo Kojima: Connecting Worlds directed by Glen Milner and produced by Ben Hilton, which takes viewers on a journey into the creative mind of Hideo Kojima, one of the most iconic video game designers in the world.
The screening is followed by an extended Q&A with Kojima. Telltale Games is also hosting a panel, “Exploring Deep Space: How Telltale and Deck Nine created Expanse Stories in an Interactive Medium” for an in-depth discussion of the key factors in capturing the right feel and tone for The Expanse: A Telltale Series, the highly anticipated prequel to the popular TV series.
Tribeca’s Games & Immersive Experience, which is held exclusively in-person at the Festival’s hub, Spring Studios (50 Varick Street), features playable demos for this year’s games selections. The Games & Immersive Experience is a showcase celebrating the emergence of new forms of entertainment: games that can be played at home, on the street, or in modern-day galleries, alongside the latest 3D works from world-renowned XR artists who demonstrate how immersive tech can leverage thought-provoking social statements.
The Tribeca Games Spotlight, an online showcase of this year’s official selections, features never-before-seen footage and interviews from the creators of the official sections as part of the Summer Game Fest — a free, all-digital global celebration of video games streaming online. Games fans across the globe can tune in on Friday, June 9 at 3pm EDT via Tribeca’s YouTube channel.
Tribeca’s games lineup is detailed below. For the latest updates on programming follow @Tribeca and #Tribeca2023 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and to purchase passes and ticket packages for the 2023 Tribeca Games & Immersive Experience, go to tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets.
2023 Tribeca Festival Games Selection
A Highland Song, (United Kingdom) – World Premiere. Moira McKinnon has never seen the sea. Living with her mum in a small house in the Scottish Highlands, she receives a letter from her Uncle Hamish urging her to come to the coast. And so Moira runs away. Control Moira as she scrambles across the mountains, and through valleys filled with echoes, stories, ghosts and songs. Find maps that unlock hidden paths while collecting the stories of the hills… and of Moira’s past.
Developer: inkle Studios
Chants of Sennaar, (France) – World Premiere. The Peoples of the Tower no longer speak to each other. But it is said that one day, a Traveler will find the wisdom to break down the walls and restore the Balance. Explore an enthralling world in a colorful, poetic setting inspired by the myth of Babel. Travel the endless steps of a prodigious labyrinth and unveil the mysteries of this fascinating universe where ancient languages are both the lock and the key.
Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Despelote, (New York, Ecuador) – World Premiere. Run, pass, and dribble as eight year old Julián in this slice of life game all about football. Explore the streets and parks of Quito, set against the backdrop of Ecuador’s first qualifying run for the World Cup in 2001 and meet its community through funny emergent interactions.
Developers: Julián Cordero, Sebastián Valbuena, Gabe Cuzzillo, Ian Berman, Niall Tessier-Lavign
Goodbye Volcano High, (Canada, United States) – World Premiere. Just Fang’s luck: they finally figure out what they want out of life, and now the world’s about to explode. In this story-driven, choice-based cinematic adventure game about personal growth, acceptance, and the power of community, what will you do at the end of an era? Goodbye Volcano High is a cinematic adventure game, a coming-of-age rhythm game, a hand-animated interactive cartoon, and a choice-based, narrative-driven, interactive movie experience.
Developer & Publisher: KO_OP
Nightscape, (Qatar) – World Premiere. When the sun mysteriously causes the stars to fall to earth rendering the sky completely dark, the world is thrown into chaos in this 2.5D atmospheric adventure game rooted in ancient Arabian stories. Layla, a lost stargazer, reluctantly embarks on a quest to restore the stars to their rightful place. Using her father’s magical astrolabe, she awakens the power of the stars as she explores the mysteries of both earth and sky.
Developer: Mezan Studios
Stray Gods, (Australia) – World Premiere. In a modern fantasy world, college dropout Grace is granted the power of a Muse – power she’ll need to find out the truth behind her predecessor’s death before time runs out. You’ll decide who Grace allies with, who she can trust, and who may betray her through original, fully interactive musical numbers & choice-based gameplay. Fully orchestrated and performed by an all-star cast, you’ll feel as though you’re right there on the stage.
Developer: Summerfall Studios
Publisher: Humble Games
The Expanse: A Telltale Series, (United States) – World Premiere. The Expanse: A Telltale Series serves as a prequel to the popular Amazon TV series and much of the book series. In The Expanse: The Telltale Series players take on the role of Camina Drummer (played by Cara Gee, the actress who portrays this fan-favorite character in the TV series), the leader of a ragtag scavenging crew on the hunt for a mysterious treasure on the edges of The Belt. Drummer will square off against mutinous crew members and a savage pirate captain, Toussaint, who forces Drummer to grapple with her own violent past. Ultimately, Drummer must sacrifice her personal ambitions and rediscover the larger purpose that she is fighting for.
Developer: Deck Nine
Publisher: Telltale Games
2023 Tribeca Festival Games Special Events
Hideo Kojima: Connecting Worlds (United Kingdom) – World Premiere. A journey into the creative mind of the most iconic video game designer in the world. Featuring appearances from visionary artists Guillermo del Toro, Nicholas Winding Refn, Grimes, George Miller, Norman Reedus, Woodkid, Chvrches, this visually captivating documentary gives a rare insight into Hideo Kojima’s creative process as he launches his own independent studio. Directed by Glen Milner. Produced by Ben Hilton.
A Tribeca Games special screening including an extended Q&A with Hideo Kojima.
Location: Spring Studios
Date/Time: Saturday, June 17 at 5:00pm
Exploring Deep Space: How Telltale and Deck Nine created Expanse Stories in an Interactive Medium
The dangers of space, complex characters, narrative design that crackles with tension, player agency, tough choices with life or death consequences, zero-G, and Cara Gee. These are just some of the elements that play a crucial role in bringing deep space scavenging to life in The Expanse: A Telltale Series. Stephan Frost, game director at Deck Nine Games will be joined by Jonathan Zimmerman, narrative director, and lead designer Christopher Sica for an in-depth discussion of the key factors in capturing the right feel and tone for their highly anticipated prequel to the popular TV series. They’ll reveal the biggest challenges and advantages of crafting fresh experiences in a well-established universe using an interactive medium. And they’ll talk about how two powerhouse names in narrative games partnered to evolve the genre and tell an exceptional story.
Location: AT&T Untold Stories Lounge
Date/Time: Saturday, June 10 at 4:30pm
Tribeca Festival Reveals 2023 Immersive Lineup
Highly-curated Program of 13 author-driven extended reality experiences, including “The Fury” by Iranian Artist Shirin Neshat; “Colored” from Tania De Montaigne and Centre Pompidou; “Pixel Ripped 1978” Arvore and Atrari;
Single Tickets and Passes Available at Tribecafilm.com
“The range of immersive experiences is a much broader landscape than when we started 11 years ago,” said Tribeca Vice President of Games & Immersive Casey Baltes. “Tribeca Festival’s immersive program reflects the widest range of methods — from AI, AR, MR, and VR to live performance — we have ever showcased. All of the experiences bring to life stories that will resonate deeply with audiences in unexpected ways.”
“This year’s selection focuses on two key areas: the coalescence of XR and games, and the rise of a new genre of immersive games that users can play on their phones or through next-gen mixed reality devices,” said Tribeca Immersive Curator Ana Brzezińska. “Secondly, we celebrate artists and activists who choose AI and immersive technology to convey important social messages or introduce unexpected new qualities to fine arts, theater, and film. I’m also proud to share that most of our selections are written, directed, or produced by women, which shows that female leadership in immersive is becoming a reality.”
Tribeca’s full Immersive lineup is detailed below. For the latest updates on programming follow @Tribeca and #Tribeca2023 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and to purchase passes and ticket packages for the 2023 Tribeca Games & Immersive Experience, go to tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets.
2023 Tribeca Festival Immersive Selection
Main Competition: These experiences include best-in-class World and International premieres from leading XR creators and studios, visual and
Emojiii, (Netherlands) – World Premiere. EMOJIII is a crazy 20-minute interactive group experience designed to test your emoji utilization skills and create unexpected connections, making it the perfect icebreaker activity!
The Smartphone Orchestra offers a unique way for people to connect and share experiences like never before. Picture dazzling sound fields at the park on summer nights, the synchronized movements of mass choreography at festivals, the unparalleled engagement of audiences in theater shows, and the impromptu smart mobs at parties. With the Smartphone Orchestra, we unlock new possibilities for telling stories and creating unforgettable, large-scale experiences.
Director: Steye Hallema
Producer: The Smartphone Orchestra
In Search of Time, (France, United States) – World Premiere. “The connected circles of our memory are like the rings of a tree stump. An intricate and delicate record of time…” Utilizing AI and traditional film techniques, IN SEARCH OF TIME follows the journey of Father and Son. Along the way, we navigate Memory’s intricate labyrinth, and explore its relationship to identity and time. We invite audiences to reflect upon the power of experience and confront the elusive nature of memory itself.
Directors: Pierre Zandrowicz, Matthew Tiernay
Producers: Atlas V, Pressman Film
Kinfolk: Black Lands, (United States) – World Premiere. The past, present, and future of the Black communities that built New York City are monumentalized in KINFOLK: BLACK LANDS. BLACK LANDS explores the histories of Land of the Blacks, Flatbush Ancestral Burial Grounds, and the Pinkster Festival by highlighting the lived histories of individuals within those communities, creating a safe digital space to connect with our ancestors. This experience is a precursor to the launch of the location-based version of Kinfolk in New York City.
Director: Idris Brewster
Monstrorama, (France) – World Premiere. Welcome to MONSTRORAMA, a hidden museum housing the largest collection of monsters in all human history. Using the latest Mixed Reality features, MONSTRORAMA allows audiences to be immersed in the experience in their own, real-life environment. Your room transforms into a giant elevator that takes you thousands of miles underground, where the monsters lie, from the Kraken to the vampire, each one more terrifying than the next. Today, your visit starts with the Werewolf…
Director: Clément Deneux
Producers: Atlas V
Pixel Ripped 1978, (Brazil) – World Premiere. PIXEL RIPPED 1978 is the newest game in the Pixel Ripped series. Our hero, Dot, has to once again fight against the evil Cyblin Lord, who has a nefarious plan to hack into the game creator’s past and to make himself the protagonist! Dot isn’t alone in this crazy endeavor through time – she has the help of Bug, Pixel Ripped creator herself, as they join forces to dispel the Cyblin Lord and launch the game.
Director: Ana Ribeiro
Producers: Arvore, Atari
The Pirate Queen: A Forgotten Legend, (United Kingdom) – World Premiere. THE PIRATE QUEEN is the forgotten story of Cheng Shih – a woman in 19th-century China who became one of the most powerful pirates in history. When the leader of the fleet dies suddenly, a widowed Cheng Shih faces the possibility of losing her status, security, and even her life. Players take on the identity of Cheng Shih to complete a series of puzzle-based tasks, outsmart enemies and become the Pirate Queen.
Director: Eloise Singer
Producers: Singer Studios
New Voices Competition
These experiences feature 2022/2023 premieres from first- and second-time extended reality (XR) directors in competition.
Colored, (France, Taiwan, Republic of China) – International Premiere. COLORED is an immersive mixed-reality installation adapted from a biographical essay written by Tania de Montaigne. It’s the story of Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old black girl who, in Alabama in the 1950s, refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white woman. A Rosa Parks ante litteram whose revolutionary gesture did not receive the same public recognition as that of her elder a few months later, condemning her to oblivion. At 83 years old, Claudette still lives in New York. Published sixty years after the fact, this biography, winner of the 2015 Simone Veil Prize, plunges us into a moment in American civil rights history that keeps resurfacing in our time. The feeling that to be Black is to be an inferior race, especially for a woman.
Directors: Pierre-Alain Giraud, Stéphane Foenkinos, Tania de Montaigne
Producers: Novaya, Centre Pompidou
Fortune, (France) – World Premiere. It’s all about money! FORTUNE is a series of true stories in augmented reality for Instagram & Snapchat. 7 people tell how money dictates their lives, how they have to rely on it to survive, or how they think it will bring them happiness or freedom. From counterfeiting to dumpster diving, from selling everything for bitcoin to retiring at age 30, what are we willing to do and give to earn a little more money?
Directors: Claire Meinhard, Nicolas Bourniquel
Producers: Atlas V, ARTE France
Maya: The Birth (Chapter 1), (United Kingdom, France, United States, India) – World Premiere. An immersive story following Maya, an ordinary 21st Century girl, as she transforms into a uniquely female superhero whose powers derive from the process of menstruation. With the arrival of her first period, Maya’s world is turned upside down as she is confronted by the restrictive traditions of her conservative family, and a world of hidden shame, stigma and taboo to be found in contemporary London. Her name, Maya, means magic and illusion in Sanskrit. From a multi-awarded studio Floréal (Goliath: Playing With Reality, The Hangman at Home) directed by a renowned photographer and women rights activist, Poulomi Basu.
Directors: Poulomi Basu, CJ Clarke
Producers: Floréal, JAPC, Meta, France Télévisions
Meneath: The Mirrors of Ethics, (Canada) – World Premiere. MENEATH: THE MIRRORS OF ETHICS charts the challenging journey of a precocious Métis Baby Girl. Using interfering screens in an object reminiscent of a puppet theater, this stop-motion installation unearths hidden Indigenous values while illuminating the bias of our colonial systems. Created by Terril Calder, one of the foremost Métis media artists practicing in Canada today.
Director: Terril Calder
Producer: National Film Board of Canada
Over The Rainbow, (Taiwan, Republic of China) – World Premiere. It is human nature to long for something different, something that lies “somewhere over the rainbow.” At times, this aspirational dreaming leads to improvements, but more often than not, this attitude leads to a sense of discontent with our own lot, an unquenchable thirst for what is just beyond our reach. OVER THE RAINBOW explores this precarious balance between desire and happiness, fantasy and the familiar.
Director: Craig Quintero
Producer: Riverbed Theatre Company
REIMAGINED VOL II: MAHAL, (United States) – World Premiere. Inspired by Philippine mythology, the story focuses on Apolaki, Mayari, Tala, and Hanan, the four immortal children of the recently passed creator god, Bathala. As each of these deities wrestle with the grief of losing Bathala, their all-powerful actions create ripples throughout the universe. Can the siblings come together to defeat their own pain and learn how to accept the devastating loss before the world their father entrusted to them suffers from a celestial catastrophe? VOL II: MAHAL from the Reimagined Series is a poignant tale about the price of love, and a touching tribute to the director’s late father.
Director: Michaela Ternasky-Holland
Producers: Very Cavaliere, Meta
The Fury, (Denmark, United States) – World Premiere. In a highly fictionalized and stylized approach, THE FURY explores sexual exploitation of female political prisoners, referencing the Islamic Republic of Iran’s brutal treatment of political prisoners. We follow the psychological and emotional state of a woman who remains haunted by memories of sexual assault, torture and rape in prison. Throughout the entrancing and loosely tied narrative, Neshat poignantly addresses the issue of the female body as both an object of desire and violence. THE FURY is an exhibition by acclaimed Iranian artist Shirin Neshat that consists of a two-channel video installation and a never before seen 360 video.
Director: Shirin Neshat
Producers: Khora Contemporary, Shoja Azari