I had prepared for my first trip to PAX the way I must prepare for everything else: through rigorous research, planning, and incessant pestering of my friends. What kind of water bottle should I bring? Collapsible. Pain killers? More than one kind, just in case someone you’re with is allergic to one. Hand sanitizer? Apply liberally to everything. Even that child? Especially that child. Sneakers? Don’t forget the gel insoles. Zinc and vitamin C? Begin a rigorous course three weeks prior and bring some with you just in case.
The morning before the official start of PAX, I flew out the hostel door with camera gear and Tomodachi Life in tow. My first stop was Volunteer Park, a small park set back behind the carefully manicured homes of Capitol Hill. I wandered the brief paths for a couple hours, occasionally passed by runners (none of them Chris Evans, unfortunately) and cheerful pit bulls.
Full disclosure, when I first booked my appointment to check out Motiga’s Gigantic most of the folks I talked to wondered why I wanted to check out “yet another” MOBA title. Due to the insane success of free to play MOBA titles such as League of Legends and Dawn of the Ancients 2, designing the next great MOBA has become a quest of sorts for developers everywhere, and for good reason, success means a whole lot of cash and quite a bit of glory. After about five minutes with Gigantic I was blown away with how unique a specimen it really was and may have actually had more Team Fortress in its DNA than League of Legends. Gigantic is a tactical class based action game at its core, and it turns out its core is made of gold.
For those still unaware of Darkest Dungeon, Red Hook Studios is in the process of creating an incredibly slick turn-based strategy game with some play mechanics you probably haven’t seen before. On the surface, Darkest Dungeon may seem familiar with four characters delving deeper and deeper into perilous dungeons in search of plunder and glory, however this is where the similarities to every other dungeon crawler stop.
I was a colossal fan of Mass Effect 3: Multiplayer and really felt like the folks at BioWare created a truly memorable cooperative experience with almost endless replayability. When I got wind that Dragon Age: Inquisiton would have cooperative multiplayer I was instantly excited and intrigued. Scott and I made our way down to the Microsoft booth during media hour (just a few moments ago) to give Dragon Age: Inquisition Multiplayer a shot. The four player cooperative experience was just announced a few days ago and the idea of running around Thedas with friends causing trouble sounded appealing to say the least.
I was lucky enough to talk to the cast and creators of Monlith’s upcoming action adventure RPG Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego. Myself and other members of media peppered Michael de Plater (Director of Design), Christian Cantamessa (Lead Writer), and Troy Baker (voice of Talion), with questions about the upcoming title which is set to launch on September 28th. Baker, who gamers might recognize from starring roles in The Last of Us and Bioshock: Infinite, had some interesting things to say about the voicing the game’s protagonist Talion and just how important Tolkien’s work is to nerds everywhere.
Ahh Mass Effect, how I love your sweet biotic embrace. I had a feeling the Mass Effect fans would swarm the Charting a Course: Developing the Next Mass Effect panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International so I hobbled down to room 25 ABC about three hours before the panel began just to make sure I got my curious butt in the door, and it’s a good thing I did.
While not nearly as massive as PAX in terms of its video game related programming, Comic-Con has been steadily adding more video game related content year after year. This year Comic-Con has dozens of panels to satisfy your video game hunger. Sadly, indie games haven’t really made their way to Comic-Con as of yet, but it’s only a matter of time before indie games crash the party.
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