There's been an amount made about the state of the event at this year's EGX- and while I'll be trying to focus on the games played, there are a few things that can't be avoided.
First, and the one which created the most noise was Sony's handling of Horizon: Zero Dawn
- only available to play in a closed-off area, the 30-minute demo meant that formal queuing was abandoned early on in favour of booking sessions, all of which were filled up by 11AM each day- completely shutting out anyone who didn't have an Early Access ticket to the event.
Sony are not the first people to underestimate the demand to see a title at such a show, but questions have to be asked as to why so few consoles were made available considering the length of the demo, more so when the games immediately next to it on Sony's booth were Overwatch
and Uncharted 4
- both well-marketed games that have been out for some time, the former of which had its own dedicated booth.
The other two platform holders were also conspicuous by their absences- Microsoft's presence being limited to showing Gears of War 4
in a corner of the 18+ area and Forza Horizon 3
making an appearance on the Twitch booth, and Nintendo not showing up at all.
Microsoft's decision not to showcase the XBox One S and let Sony hog the limelight with PS4 Pro seems like an own-goal, but at least one of their flagship series made an appearance, to an extent doing what Nintendo did at E3 with Breath Of The Wild
The next Zelda
game, like its developer, didn't make an appearance at EGX, beyond a glancing mention in the show magazine (this year just an advert for Amazon rather than telling you anything about the games being exhibited), not even in a closed-off Horizon
box or as a developer session.
Nintendo not being present is almost inexplicable, especially when you consider that in the much less-attended Hyper Japan earlier in the year, Nintendo had a not insignificant showing, including integrating BotW
's UK premiere into its stage show and creating a Pokémon
showcase, capitalising on the back of the then-new Pokémon Go
Despite what that event's name would suggest, Nintendo's showing there wasn't entirely niche titles with little appeal outside the otaku market, so it probably wouldn't have been too difficult to simply pick up that show and drop it into EGX, maybe adding a bit of Super Mario Run
if they really had to.
Mainly appealing to otakudom still probably wouldn't have hurt, if Square-Enix' booth was anything to go by, showcasing World Of Final Fantasy
- one of three FF
games exhibited (four if Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8
counts), a dungeon crawler whose gimmick seems to be that the characters can transform into cute chibis at will, a mechanic which seems to exist solely to sell Nendoroid figures.
More interesting was the adjacent Dragon Quest Builders
, the Minecraft
alike that Ben has already posted the trailer of
(And if you were waiting, this marks the first appearance of a game I actually played)
The notion of Minecraft
with story and objectives appears interesting, and advanced platformer-y tasks could be seen played on Sony's stage, although the playable demo didn't seem to last long enough to reach that point. The move to third-person, despite certain control changes to accommodate, makes placing blocks slightly harder than it could be, which is likely to cause frustration.
The rest of Squeenix' booth was made up of Rise Of The Tomb Raider
, promoting their PS4 re-release and latest episodes respectively.
Possibly as a factor of the absence of Microsoft and Nintendo, aside from the usual iterative titles (This year's CoD
, Pro Evo
) the only other meaningful showing- save for Sega settling nicely into its strategy niche, and Sniper Elite 4
helping Rebellion continue to punch above its weight- from a AAA developer was Bethesda, showcasing Dishonored 2
The level shown in the demo featured a mansion whose rooms could shift into different configurations at the pull of a lever- meaning in order to complete the level's two objectives (saving a colleague from the first game and taking down this game's antagonist) the player has to creep around the crawlspaces under the floors- a little like a Victoriana latter half of Portal
The enemies shown, rather than the humans which made up the previous game, were all robots, which added an extra element of strategy to combat. Decapitation causes them to attack anything
that makes a noise, meaning they can be used by the player to take down other enemies.
Sniper Elite 4
, incidentally, was pretty much Sniper Elite 3
, but bigger. Which is absolutely fine by me.
That feels like a nice cut-off point, tomorrow I'll recap the better indie and smaller games of the show.