PAX East 2016: Day Three

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Dawn of the last day. I desperately wanted to try out some VR this weekend, but its a no-go as you basically need to sell your left nut to register for a spot. As such, I decide to at least see what AAA titles are on offer this year. Randall did a good job pointing out that most of the AAA titles this year are simply multiplayer betas that have already been available before. Some examples:

  • Gears of War 4: Multiplayer open beta available starting tomorrow.
  • Uncharted 4: Open beta was available back in March.
  • Battleborn: Open beta available on April 13.
  • Overwatch: Open beta on May 5. Closed beta began several months ago (and closes tomorrow).
  • Doom: Open beta was available from April 15-17.

Building playable demos that don’t crash at the convention sucks a lot of time out of development, so I get it. Plus, open betas mean millions of eyes looking out for bugs in your game. But no one likes to stand in line for two hours to play a freely available demo. I treat the AAA section as a spectator sport instead.

Total War: Warhammer (Andrew: “They could have called it Total Warhammer!”) did have a cool castle set-up for their demo. Walk past the Harmonix stage. Randall still feeling bitter about the botched Rock Band 4 launch. Four schmucks are on stage singing an uninspiring rendition of “Free Bird” (real fucking original, guys).

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Time for a little break. I spend some time at the Jackbox stage. Members of the audience can participate in the games, so I pull out my smart phone and join the fun. I stay for a few rounds but give up once I realize I’m a lot more clever than the people actually playing. Also, a cosplayer is absolutely killing it at “Gangnam Style” on the Dance Central stage. At least someone has talent around here.

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Met up with Matt and Cathy in tabletop for a bit. Perused the wares and got some new games to try out at home. Headed back onto the floor for one last look before things wrapped up at 6pm. Literally every dev tells me their game is set to release “this summer.”

A few more titles that managed to catch my eye:

Kona: Basically The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and/or Firewatch. You play an investigator in a northern Canadian village as its being ravaged by a blizzard. Would love to pick this up.

This Is The Police: Andrew actually got to play this, the lucky bastard. I only got to see a video of it but it still looks amazing.

Shadow Tactics: Almost an exact replica of Commandos but with ninjas. Graphics look great.

Sometimes Always Monsters: The sequel to – I kid you not – Always Sometimes Monsters. Their SEO must be wonderful.

Push Me Pull You: A somewhat grotesque party game where each player controls a human connected at the waist to another human (à la CatDog) and wrestles. Reminds me a lot of Mount Your Friends.

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I take note that there are way too many Rogue-likes these days, especially among indie developers. I also missed out on Let It Die, the next game from Suda 51, which the others seemed to like. In the final hour of the con, I meet up with the whole gang for one last stroll. Some people get some last minute gear. I take advantage of the shorter lines to get a few more demos in. Everyone shuffles out at 6pm.

Some takeaways this year:

  1. The con expanded a ton this year. Way, way more games to check out.
  2. All new games are either Rogue-likes, MOBAs, or walking simulators.
  3. You must sell your soul to try out VR.
  4. Multiplayer betas.
  5. All game are set to come out “this summer.”

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