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Interactive musical series ‘We are OFK’ hits PlayStation, Switch and PC on August 18th

Back at the 2020 edition of The Game Awards, we learned about We Are OFK, a new project from Hyper Light Drifter co-designer Teddy Dief and their collaborators at Team OFK. It was supposed to debut in spring 2021 but, as has been the way of things for the last few years, it was delayed. Now, We Are OFK finally has a release date. Or, more accurately, release dates, since it’s an episodic series. The first two episodes will hit Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store on August 18th. The remaining three episodes will arrive on a weekly basis.

We Are OFK follows a virtual four-piece indie band called, strangely enough, OFK. It’s billed as an interactive musical biopic that OFK is making about its own origins. As Dief wrote on the PlayStation Blog, “What would it look like to create virtual musicians who watch performances of [pop stars] on their laptops in bed, and know they’re probably never going to play a stadium concert? We wanted to tell that story — how hard it is to make music, to write even one song, to record another video to post online and hope someone leaves a nice comment.”

The game costs $20. Along with each episode, OFK and Sony Music Masterworks will release a new single. A vinyl package of the singles will be available from iam8bit for $32. A limited-edition physical version of We Are OFK is available to pre-order for PS5 and Switch too. You can also pre-save the group’s first EP.

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Epic Games buys Harmonix to create ‘musical journeys’ in ‘Fortnite’

Epic Games has , the studio behind titles like Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Central and more recently . Financial terms have not been disclosed. Epic’s vision for Harmonix involves the . In the immediate future, the two plan to create “musical journeys and gameplay for Fortnite.”

Viewed through that lens, Epic’s interest in the studio makes a lot of sense. Outside of frequent , Fortnite is at this point best known for its virtual concerts. In the last two years, a handful of major artists like and have drawn a lot of interest to the game. In the latter case, for example, more than .

In the meantime, Harmonix says it will continue to support its existing slate of games. That means Rock Band players can continue to look forward to new DLC and Fuser players can expect the studio to continue hosting events. Additionally, any game that’s currently available through Steam will continue to be sold through Valve’s storefront.

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Jason Schwartzman plays a floating brain in musical adventure ‘The Artful Escape’

The Artful Escape is an idealized vision of everything the music industry could be, straight out of the brain of Australian rockstar Johnny Galvatron. In five years of development (at least), The Artful Escape has transformed into a psychedelic adventure game with a living soundtrack of original folk and rock music, a cast of ridiculous characters, otherworldly environments, and a roster A-list voice actors, including Jason Schwartzman, Lena Headey, Michael Johnston, Carl Weathers and Mark Strong.

The Artful Escape is set to hit Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and PC on September 9th, priced at $20. It’ll hit Game Pass at the same time, and it’s being published by indie hit-maker Annapurna Interactive.

Galvatron is the frontman of The Galvatrons, a high-energy Australian rock group that toured the continent and opened for bands like Def Leppard and Cheap Trick in the late 2000s. However, for the past few years, Galvatron has been a game developer first and foremost. In the 2010s, he used YouTube videos to teach himself how to create a game in Unreal, building off the 3D animation and coding courses he took back in college, right before Warner Music signed him. He then founded a studio, rented some office space, secured a deal with Annapurna, and somewhere along the way, he ended up in a recording booth with Jason Schwartzman.

“We just hung out and spoke about David Bowie and Bob Dylan and video games and stuff,” Galvatron said. “And it was just like, it was a moment for me. He came into the studio and he had like a cape and he had a dressing gown and like an umbrella and a little tiny Korg synth. He brought all these things and he put them all around him and he would like, do the line with the cape and then he would throw the cape around another way, and then he would hold the umbrella and do the line. I was just on my feet the whole time.”

The Artful Escape

Annapurna Interactive

In The Artful Escape, the main character, Francis Vendetti, goes on a multidimensional journey to discover his true stage persona — which seems to be a David Bowie-esque shred machine — while at the same time reckoning with the legacy of his late uncle, a Bob Dylan-style folk icon. He travels through strange and trippy worlds, playing music and hunting for his true sound.

To give a sense of the game’s oddball vibe, Schwartzman plays a giant brain perched atop a pile of discarded fish parts.

“He’s a really funny comic support character,” Galvatron said. “Like a very lofty British alien, like a brain floating in an aquarium on a flotilla of goldfish fins. It’ll make sense when you see it.”

For Galvatron, The Artful Escape is exactly that — an escape. His career as a mainstream rockstar was ultimately unfulfilling, filled with red tape, stagnant bureaucracy and awkward interactions. In between shows, he often found himself curled up in the corner of the tour bus, reading Dune or writing his own novel, watching the continent fly by. 

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