EGX Rezzed had always slipped my radar, having only ever heard of it in passing and, naively, assuming it was the younger, less important of the two EGX conventions held annually in the UK. Now, in the modern day of gaming that we find ourselves in, innovation is more commonly found coming from the up-and-coming, the younger development studios that need a unique selling point to stand away from the crowd. To generate a solitary news article, to spread the word, to garner interest and, more importantly, intrigue. Superhot, Minecraft, Rocket League… These are all games that come from (almost) nothing, and they dominate talks and the media, therefore resulting in the domination of both physical and digital retail stores, with most making their way into pop-culture. To ignore EGX Rezzed and to cast it aside is to ignore the Indie Devs that put everything on the line to make a name for themselves. Every hour of blood, sweat and tears is to better the industry, to put food on the table, and that realisation that everything relies on one break-out hit goes to show how much heart and soul is put in to their works of art, and the passion that was shown from development heads and community managers alike only goes to reflect this. Rezzed, in many ways, is even more important than it’s bigger, flashier brother, and below are two of my personal stand out examples found in this year’s stellar show.
As the Logic Artists website so clearly puts it, “Expeditions: Viking is the much awaited sequel to Logic Artists’ debut PC title Expeditions: Conquistador”. Having been immediately drawn to their larger-than-most booth by the beautiful mash-up of X-Com, Fire Emblem and Diablo III-eqsue graphics, I sat down and was immediately immersed. The simple and intuitive controls were a pleasant surprise, especially considering the complexity that turn-based strategy games normally introduce early on, and the branching story paths and multiple routes hooked me, giving me a sense of immediate satisfaction that games rarely give me nowadays.
I was lucky enough to be able to have a chat with Alex Mintsioulis, their PR and Marketing Manager, and it was immediately clear to see the level of passion and faith that the whole team have in the project, both in mannerisms and the way he simply talks about the passion project. Being a relatively small team of around 15 or so people, Vikings has been in development for roughly a year and half, which was surprising to hear considering the level of polish that had already been applied to this game when comparing to, say, the team of Carmegddon: Max Damage, a team of 40 that had been hard at work for four years. Mentioning the aforementioned apparent influences of X-Com, Fire Emblem and Diablo, Alex’s face lit up and expressed his gratitude that we were able to see that, as the team had drawn on those franchises to better the experience found in Conquistador. Boulder’s Gate was also mentioned as a very important influence, and it is clear to see why. Expeditions: Vikings looks comparable to most triple A games in terms of breadth of game play and graphics, and it due later this year.
I was one of the lucky bunch that secured a Day One pre-order on Amazon. You know, the lot that sold out within 10 minutes. Despite knowing that this was something that I not only wanted, but believed in and, dare I say it, needed, I had never actually had any experience of gaming within the scary realm of virtual reality, so securing my unit was a bit of a gamble. I walked away after 15 minutes of use, however, knowing that I had made the right decision, and also that VR is not just a gimmick, but a literal game changer.
Upon walking in to the designated PlayStation Vr area, I decided to walk around and get a feel of the games available for those that could secure a hands-on experience would have a chance to enjoy. Rez VR, The Getaway and, my personal favourite, Rigs were all out on the show floor, as well as many others, including Playstation VR Worlds, the Wii sports of the PlayStation VR peripheral that would not only show you how the headset could be used, but instead open it up so the seemingly solitary experience one could have by placing a massive headset on top of their head could be enjoyed by the whole family, or shown to non-believers just to make them aware that this is what gaming can look like. I was lucky enough to play the game I was most interested in, Rigs, and I was immediately immersed. The headset was comfortable, I didn’t experience any light leaking through the bottom of the headset, and as soon as the gameplay started I immediately forgot about the crowd of people watching me; I was controlling a mech suit, playing a combat sports game. There is no way to truly describe the VR experience as it will vary from person to person. I did not feel any discomfort, motion sickness or headaches, but I know that some people have, so my experience at Rezzed was solely to justify my preorder, and to make sure that it won’t be just another expensive gadget that collects dust. I want this, and October can’t come sooner.
Whilst EGX Rezzed is primarily focused on Indie developers, there were some Triple A games to be found on the show floor, including the likes of Dark Souls 3, which consistently had an impressively long line, Quantum Break, Microsoft’s latest blockbuster release, and Just Cause 3’s latest piece of dlc, Sky Fortress. The latter proved to be a great time sink as I found myself needing to sit down at the end of the day, and playing it on a high-end PC has only jarred my experience that I had of it on PS4; Full 1080p 60fps has spoilt me, and I’m sure playing as an Iron Man/Falcon cross-up hasn’t hurt either. I await the inevitable Summer Steam Sale…
UKIE and GameIndustry.biz had a large presence at this year’s event and, considering that Rezzed caters to the indie development industry larger than it’s bigger brother, their inclusion here made it all the more poignant. Featuring talks from developers and other members of the industry, anyone could sit in and listen in on the broad range of subjects that were covered. One I was lucky enough to sit down for was Alex Grahame of The Chinese Room in where she talked about her time at University, diversity within Video Games and how important it is, as well as revelling in the success of contributing to a title that had won multiple BAFTA’s the night before. Inspiring, strong and confident, Alex captivated the audience despite numerous technical issues, and competently answered a wide range of questions that were presented by the audience.
Ending my EGX Razzed experience was the Eurogamer Podcast, recorded live in front of a relatively small audience that resided in the same hall that had held the BAFTA’s less than 24 hours beforehand. Featuring bot personal from Eurogamer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the podcast was an enjoyable affair of likeable game enthusiasts, all of which were interesting and enjoyable to listen to in their own way. Listening to how they feel the industry is going and what their own highlights of the show were only go to prove how having a varied cast of personalities always makes for great discussions.
How did you find EGX Rezzed, and are you looking forward to September’s EGX event in Birmingham? Let us know below!