North America’s No. 1 collegiate game design program USC Games announced their 7th annual USC Games Expo Day will return in-person on USC’s campus on May 10, 2023 at 5pm PT with a showcase of the best up-and-coming games, designers, and developers, from the USC Games program, with support from HoYoverse, the global interactive entertainment brand best known for developing the hit titles Genshin Impact, Honkai Impact 3rd and Tears of Themis.
“USC Games Expo Day is our flagship event to showcase the up-and-coming talent from our number one game design program,” said Danny Bilson, chair of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD), and director of USC Games. “We’re thrilled to have the event return to in-person this year with more live activities to look forward to than ever before and we invite USC alumni and members of the community to meet the students shaping the future of the games industry.”
“We are thrilled to see the renowned USC Games Expo returning to in-person format this year, bringing the vitality and creativity of promising designers and developers back on USC’s campus,” Said Jim Yang, president of HoYoverse. “As a committed supporter, HoYoverse is proud to partner with the prestigious USC Games Program this year and leverage this opportunity to nurture the growth of global gaming talent.”
This year’s Expo Day marks the return of the in-person event, taking place on USC’s campus on May 10, 2023 @ 5pm PT. Attendees will get to experience the future of the games industry firsthand with over 60 student-made games and have access to a USC hosted esports tournament, food catering, and a special mini golf course created by students from USC’s Themed Entertainment program, newly offered by the School of Cinematic Arts Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD).
The School’s new BFA and MFA programs in Themed Entertainment draw on a variety of disciplines to develop tools for creating immersive cinematic experiences at locations such as theme parks, zoos, retail, museums and restaurants. The new program is being led by Joe Garlington, former VP of Walt Disney Imagineering.
USC Games will feature the best games of the past year at the Expo on May 10 at 5pm PT, with a junior high and high school preview event taking place earlier that day. On Expo Day, 10 projects developed in USC Games’ capstone course, the Advanced Games Program (AGP), will be featured with their first hands-on showcase.
Those featured AGP titles include:
- Birds Aren’t Real (PC)
Birds Aren’t Real is an action-stealth game with a comic twist that’s based on a “real” conspiracy theory. As a government surveillance pigeon drone, you’ll engage in missions, sneak around the city, and use your creative thinking to manipulate the townsfolk and dispel their suspicions about your TOTALLY not-real Avian Task Force.
- Bloompunk (PC)
Bloompunk is a unique hybrid of first-person-shooter and roguelike game set in a lush world of living plants. Using steampunk technology, harness the power of the sun, grow your living arsenal of weapons and abilities, and fight back against an invasive ravenous force to reset the world’s natural balance. Enhance your body with deadly weaponry that’s a merge of plant and machine in this fast-paced, chaotic frenzy of bullets and thorns.
- Bomb Buddies (Mobile iOS/Android)
Get ready for an explosive adventure with Bomb Buddies, the thrilling augmented reality (AR), cooperative mobile puzzle game that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Solve puzzles, crack codes, and test your dexterity with a friend…but watch out! Everything is not as it seems when a nefarious hacker gets involved! When the stakes are high can your skills still hold up to the test?
- Eye 4 Eye (PC)
Eye 4 Eye is an enthralling and immersive detective puzzle adventure game. You are Detective Hazel, tasked with solving a case of the missing daughter of the wealthy, successful CEO of TempleTech. As you unveil the company’s dark schemes, experience the thrill of piecing together an intricate mystery in a futuristic world brought to life in a captivating 90s retro aesthetic. Employ your cutting-edge ocular artificial implant and use tools like search engines, history vision, and item examination to journey down your investigative path. Engage your inner sleuth and challenge yourself with thought-provoking puzzles and enigmatic mysteries as you work to uncover the truth behind the missing girl.
- Grandma Green (Mobile iOS/Android)
Grandma Green is a charming and cozy mobile virtual pet and gardening simulation game. You play as a lonely widow in a heartwarming journey as she sets out to grow the garden of her dreams – and ends up rediscovering a sense of purpose and joy in her golden years. With her magic green thumb, cultivate a diverse and vibrant garden, and care for a variety of sentient plant friends with their unique personalities in a story of growth and renewal.
- Blindsight: War of the Warden (PC)
Blindsight: War of the Wardens is an action-adventure game where you play as Iggy Yin, a martial arts master with echolocation abilities, as he retrieves a stolen family heirloom that may doom the universe and the ones he loves.
- Machine Heart (PC)
Machine Heart is a 2.5D puzzle adventure game where you’ll play as two characters in two different, but interconnected, timelines. Players will have the ability to trade clues back and forth between timelines and uncover a shocking secret behind the fate of humanity as well as all life on Earth.
- Manas (PC)
Manas is an action-adventure game set in medieval Central Asia that immerses you in a land of mountains, valleys, and nomadic culture. Inspired by the Kyrgyz epic of the legendary hero, Manas, you’ll defend your village against ruthless invaders with the aid of your faithful steed, Akkula. Through engaging visuals and innovative mounted combat, witness the beginning of Manas’ epic journey!
- Neon City (PC)
Welcome to Neon City, a virtual reality city-building game that combines the charm of block toys with cutting-edge hand-tracking technology. Create and explore your own digital city in 360 degrees with a unique retro-inspired art style, with the added bonus of experiencing your unique metropolis in 1:1 scale. Perfect for fans of city-building games and traditional toys alike, Neon City offers a one-of-a-kind experience that will inspire your creativity.
- Try Again (PC)
Try Again is a fast-paced, meta, 2.5d platformer about a video game test character named Benny. Benny wants to move onto the final build and become the main character. Benny has long been trapped in this unfinished game by The Designer, but the game is due tomorrow which means it is Benny’s last day. Get Benny out of grey-box facility once and for all.
About USC Games
USC Games is a flagship collaboration offered jointly by the School of Cinematic Arts Division of Interactive Media & Games and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Department of Computer Science. This unified brand allows press, industry, students and faculty to discuss the overall efforts at USC in games and simultaneously clarify the important distinctions between the offerings of the various programs. The program has been ranked No. 1 for twelve years, as evaluated by the Princeton Review.
The program at the School Cinematic Arts focuses on both the design and production of interactive media and games. Students emerge as creative media leaders, fluent in many forms of visual expression and storytelling, with a sophistication to design and develop innovative interactive experiences that expand the state of interactive art and play across domains, such as entertainment, education, health care and social action.
The Computer Science Games program at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering provides students with a grounding in the fundamentals of computer science and a cross-disciplinary background in game development. Students emerge with an engineering-oriented game-programming skillset, with an understanding of key technologies and the ability to lead complex technical teams in the development of games.
In addition to the advanced games class, USC Games offers the USC Games Expo and an annual industry event held at the Game Developers Conference. USC Games brings more shared courses under this umbrella, including those from other schools at USCgames@usc.edu.
At HoYoverse, we are committed to creating immersive virtual world experiences for players around the world. In addition to game products such as Genshin Impact, Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, Honkai: Star Rail, and Zenless Zone Zero, HoYoverse also launched the dynamic desktop software N0va Desktop, the community product HoYoLAB, and created a variety of products such as animations, comics, music, novels, and merchandise around our original creative concepts. Adhering to our mission of Tech Otakus Save the World, we have always been committed to research and development, exploring cutting-edge technologies and accumulating world-leading technical capabilities in cartoon rendering, artificial intelligence, cloud gaming technology, and other fields. HoYoverse is actively engaged in globalization, with offices in Singapore, Montreal, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Seoul, and other areas.
About the USC School of Cinematic Arts
The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts is one of the leading film schools in the world. Founded in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1929 over 90 years ago, the USC School of Cinematic Arts has fueled and mirrored the growth of entertainment as an industry and an art form. The School offers comprehensive programs in directing, producing, writing, critical studies, animation and digital arts, production, interactive media and games, all backed by a broad liberal arts education and taught by leading practitioners in each field. Its more than 13,000 alumni are among the world’s most distinguished animators, scholars, teachers, writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, sound experts and industry executives. Since 1973 not a year has passed without an alumnus or alumna being nominated for an Academy Award. https://cinema.usc.edu/.
About the USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Founded in 1905, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering was named in 2003 as the Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering, honoring USC alumnus Andrew Viterbi, who developed an algorithm to connect the world. Located in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology, business and innovation in the heart of the Pacific Rim, USC Viterbi draws undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world. With more than 10,000 students, 300 faculty across all ranks and appointment levels, and more than 30 in-residence or affiliated members of the National Academies, USC Viterbi is consistently ranked in the nation’s top programs. Under the leadership of Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, the school helps reimagine the 21st century engineer, by pioneering the Grand Challenge Scholars Program, leading national efforts in enhancing diversity, and changing the conversation about engineering. With its vision of engineering a better world for all humanity, USC Viterbi embodies the power of engineering (Engineering+) to advance discovery and solutions across all disciplines, to serve California, the nation and the world. https://viterbischool.usc.edu/.
Published on April 20th, 2023
Last updated on May 17th, 2023