As I write, EGX, the UK's current largest game show, is in full swing. It's an exciting affair where the biggest publishers demo their upcoming titles and Cosplay and Twitch legends wander the halls looking for photo ops with adoring fans.
Jon and myself headed along yesterday to enjoy the spectacle and talk to devs and industry bods about the stuff we all love. Some clever marketing gimp realised long ago that giving away giant cans of energy/caffeine drinks at these shows would be the equivalent of getting an under-age audience to act like they were drunk the whole time. It's ace. On your behalf we interviewed a bunch of the key people in the industry and asked them all about what their games needed in terms of PC hardware. Oh and I took one for the team by playing a first build of Total War: Warhammer. You’re welcome.
So the playable line-up at EGX included the following cool titles that are looming on our gaming horizon. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Just Cause 3, Hitman, Star Wars Battlefront, Need For Speed, The Division, AC: Syndicate, Total War Warhammer, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Rainbow Six: Siege, Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide, Homefront: The Revolution, COD: Black Ops 3. Then there is the whole indie scene that gets its own significant section of the massive warehouse at the NEC in Birmingham, where the EGX show moved to this year.
EGX runs from Thursday 24th until Sunday 27th Sept. The show was buzzing, even on the first day, with thousands of gamers queueing to play all the games they are looking forward to owning over the next few months. The queues were a little daunting to be honest. As we could only afford to be at the conference for the one day it was hard to get to cover most of the titles for you, but we certainly had a go. Queues regularly took 2 hours for a person to play a big release.
With our day time constraint Jon and I looked over the large arena and saw that Ubisoft were demoing AC Syndicate, The Division and Rainbow Six Siege.
So I popped over to a Ubi rep and requested that we might be able to talk to a representative about their games and maybe have a play on one. Thinking to myself, Ubi need a lot of good press at the moment in the PC market following their massive PC mess with the poorly received Assassin's Creed Unity last year. With their annual AC release, Syndicate, turning up in a few weeks, the pressure surely must be on to get everyone having a good taste in their mouth regarding Ubi's consideration of their PC gamer audience.
I would just quickly like to say, as a lot of you guys will know, I am proud to say that GD is one of the largest PC gaming sites in the world now. With tonnes of you hardcore gamers visiting regularly to talk about all interests around PC gaming. Over the next few sentences you will see why I mention this.
Right, back to it. The guy from Ubisoft asks, "who are you?"
I tell them that we are press from Game-Debate. He looks at me blankly, possibly thinking there might be more to come. Perhaps he was expecting me to continue with something like, "you know, an extension of IGN” or some magical words that open up the elite doors of journalism. He mulls over how to deal with this information and then asks us to hold on. He heads off and returns a few minutes later and says, "sorry, you have to queue like everyone else."
Looking at the three game queues, each 2 hours long, we figured Ubisoft didn't really care about our PC audience, so we wouldn't bother spending the whole of our day queuing for their three games.
What we can say is, we took a moment to watch some AC Syndicate gameplay over the shoulders of people that did think they should queue for 2 hours to play a game that is out in a few weeks. And AC Syndicate looked very similar to AC Unity in terms of performance and visuals. It was running off the same engine as AC Unity but Jon felt that due to it being set in gloomy Victorian London, rather than beautiful sunny Paris, it looked less appealing. Jon went on to say that they should probably have done the whole game set at night, to add some unique stylised angle to the next AC game world. Gloomy, misty, nocturnal London would definitely give it something extra.
So consider whether you can run AC Unity first and foremost and then think about a slightly gloomier version of Unity, with grappling hooks, before automatically grabbing your annual Assassin's Creed fix.
Surprisingly contrary to this experience, would you believe that EA welcomed Game-Debate with open arms and we got to sample their first public build of Mirror's Edge Catalyst. Showing us that PC gamers are certainly on their minds with their next big budget releases. Catalyst runs on their FrostBite 3 Engine and looks stunning in its white, black and red city landscape. Great fun, and we talked to an EA rep about some expected requirements for it. We will provide a full article on that soon.
Then we met up with Koch Media, who turned up with their sequel to 2011’s Homefront. Built on the latest CRYENGINE, it will say it looks good. We had a chat with Koch Media’s product Marketing Manager to get some insight into Homefront: The Revolution’s hardware needs and gameplay features. I will put an article together on that shortly.
Before the doors opened to anyone else, Avalanche, the people behind Just Cause 3, who recently released Mad Max, invited Game-Debate in for a sneaky early game play of their latest Just Cause 3 open world mayhem inducer. Basically they wanted us to be their test subjects on what people would or would not understand about their hands on demo.
Wing suits were a little tricky to master, as was the multi grappling hook tethering feature, but on the whole JC3 has a lot to offer when it comes out later this year. I will put an article together on this carnage maker as I noticed a few things about the game and its hardware needs while playing it. We also had a chat with a key Square Enix person on the subject. Square Enix being Just Cause 3’s publisher.
Another really interesting experience was heading over to Nvidia's booth, where they invited us in to try out the VR HTC Vive which we've already unboxed. Not sure why they were demoing that, apart from it's really cool fun. So I suppose that sort of marketing spectacle is what you are after at a show like that. So I suppose it does make sense. The VR headset by HTC let's players physically walk around a virtual space. I came face to face with a full-sized whale underwater and drew my first completely 3-dimensional art piece that I could walk through.
As you already guessed, one of my highlights of the show was getting to interview a senior developer on Total War Warhammer and also playing an underground battle between Dwarves and Greenskins. Over this coming week I will write that up as well. There are some juicy hardware findings in that interview, and I noticed a few new features in the Total War Warhammer mass battle user interface.
We will also have a couple Creative Assembly game giveaways for you in that Total War Warhammer (please let me just refer to it as Total Warhammer) article. So tonnes of game writing and hardware exclusives to come to Game-Debate’s MASSIVE PC gaming community. Except about Ubisoft, cus they wouldn't talk to us.
Have a great weekend all.