Saturday, August 22, 2009

gamescom 2009 - a retrospective

Best gamescom day

Yesterday I came back from the GDC and gamescom in Cologne. Earlier than expected, because the waiting lines on the first public day had globe-spanning proportions. After waiting for hours in front of the Avatar game booth, just to be sent away in the end, I became painfully aware that I'm getting too old. No, not physically. At least not yet.

The problem is that wasting time waiting for hours on end just to get a short glimpse at future releases just doesn't fit my schedule anymore.
Gladly I was fortunate enough to have some time on Wednesday, where the gamescom areal was restricted to business visitors only. If you want to actually play games, better come during this first non-public day of the convention. Now if you like to watch the big gigs, there's plenty during the public opening days.

Business area

It's getting bigger as well. Sadly it looks more or less like an labyrinth of fortified walls these days. I remember when I was at the first gamesconvention in Leipzig. The business area was a lot smaller, but the booths were open and actually presented something. Now it's more or less an area for closed business meetings.

Gamescom impressions

You can't really check out everything. So it's a good idea to focus on a few things and plan ahead. Some friends and I signed in as VIP visitors a day before the presentations of Splashdamage's new first person multiplayer shooter BRINK. Thus a few lucky visitors had CEO and Game Director Paul Wedgwood play though a level of the game and explain the gameplay mechanisms. BRINK looks promising: The background story seems a bit bioshock-ish too me, but there's enough new material to set it apart from other shooters. Especially the art direction looks very nice with a combination of realistic environment and abstraction of body proportions for characters. It reminded me a lot of french comic styles. A big plus is the extensive character cusomization which makes BRINK at times appear more like an role playing game than first person shooter. Here's an interview with some visuals:

Command & Conquer 4 had a big show at the EA areal. Guess what, Kane was there! He's the bald mean guy numbero uno since the original release of C&C in 1995. Here's the C&C 4 trailer from youtube with plenty B-Movie goodness:

In the presentation that followed, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli revealed the Nanosuit 2 from the in-development game CRYSIS 2. See a video here:

More than just a pretty design the nanosuit 2 is said to have won the red dot award -- can anyone confirm that? By the way, remember SKYNET from the Terminator? Well, there's CRYNET now, the fictional developers of the technology inside the CRYSIS game universe. So better brace yourself for some heavy crying in the months to come.

There's a lot more to write about, but most of it has likely been posted on numerous news sites. So let's get straight to the GDC in my next post.

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