Salutations all! On this second day of my PAX South 2017 musings, I wanted to talk a bit about quite a few of the developers I didn’t have a chance to mention in my Volume One article. So, let’s dive right in.
One of my few regrets from PAX South 2017 was not being able to spend a lot of time with Larian Studios and actually zero time playing Divinity: Original Sin 2, one of my most anticipated games seeing a projected 2017 release (and already available in Early Access on Steam). The Divinity series is right up there in the annals of the true greats such as Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights in my humble opinion. I was however able to chat briefly with some of the fine folks there, and even that snippet of the experience I was hoping for was exciting for me. Despite minimal time spent there overall, Larian could be nothing other than exciting for me. Their demo also featured some of the longer lines during the event, which speaks to the love for the series and buzz surrounding the upcoming game. People’s bodies are ready for this one!
So, nestled across from Thunder Lotus where we had been demoing Sundered was a huge television with a ton of music and an ever large crowd, cheering, groaning, and so on. While Nick was finishing up his time with Sundered, Fame and I stood there watching this crowd, wondering what the hell was going on to create such a commotion. We could here Mortal Kombat’s theme playing and some heavy beats as well. That is when Fame and I ran into Etienne, who was looking for the person scheduled at that time to interview him. His interviewer never showed, so of course we leapt at the chance to chat him up and check out their game, called ‘Just Shapes & Beats’. We gathered Nick up and jumped into co-op along with Nick and Fame’s fellow Double XP podcaster, Mamasita.
What we found was one of the larger surprises of the convention: a simple looking game where you play as shapes (I was a triangle, for example) trying to survive a musical world filled with creatures and traps. It was very easy to die often as the tracks progressed, requiring your fellow players to touch you to revive you before you end up getting swallowed by the track as it continues forward. Your basic goal is to avoid anything pink or red, which sounds easy on paper, but in practice is a challenging and addictive experience, since the shapes that form to kill you are based on the intensity of the music playing.
This was a crazy fun game that I look forward to revisiting in the future, and Etienne was a cool and interesting host for the experience.
We had scheduled some time to chat with Rooster Teeth regarding an unannounced upcoming game being published by them. Before the interview, our team took some time to enjoy a bit of RWBY co-op action. This was a hella fun game. Initially, Fame and I played with a couple of random players and were wrecking things. People were dying around us, and in between reviving our teammates, we destroyed all enemies that dared stand in our way. Later, Nick, Mamasita, and Fame played another match with a random who filled in as the fourth on their team and likewise seemed to be having a blast.
I also witnessed our remaining team member, Ryan, also tearing stuff up afterwards. Despite the game having been out for a little while, none of us had a previous opportunity to play the game, and speaking only for myself, I found the game to be a ton of fun. I don’t think I would play it solo, but in co-op, it was one of the better experiences I had gaming at PAX South 2017.
Later on Saturday, it was time for our interview, which was hosted by Rooster Teeth, but featured a game by Invisible Collective called Battlesloths 2025: The Great Pizza Wars. This was a fast based, almost Hotline Miami-esque game, if HM was 4 player PvP where your goal was to acquire the most slices of pizza while slaying the other players in a variety of imaginative ways. Although sloths, you get to select a hat to make identifying yourself much easier. I chose a Cthulhu mask of course, lol. I would be a bit remiss if I didn’t mention that I won each match up until the last, which each one increasing in difficulty as it became obvious that we weren’t really new to the genre or at least had figured out the gameplay dynamic pretty quickly. I’m not trying to brag, but I was pretty good. 🙂
I’d like to thank both Rooster Teeth and Invisible Collective for taking the time to speak with us and allow us to both interview them and demo their game.
Well, what does one say about tinyBuild other than the obvious: they are fricking awesome! I’m very much a fan of both their in house developed games as well as the games they have chosen to publish for other developers. Most recently, I played through The Final Station, and Party Hard is a staple in my house. So, we were pretty excited to get an interview with Alex Nichiporchik, CEO of tinyBuild and demo a couple of their upcoming releases.
Before our interview however, Nick, Fame, and I sat down to play some PvP Speedrunners. I regret to inform everybody that I did not win any of our matches. Anyhow, after that, Nick and I sat down to interview Alex together while Nick got some hands on time with Mr Shifty, which was an awesome Hotline Miami meets X Men type of game that I will definitely be buying. Then I got some hands on time with Hello Neighbor, a stealth horror game which also looks fantastic.
This was a definite highlight during PAX South 2017 for me personally. Alex was an interesting and informative host who explained not only the dynamics of the games we demoed, but also how becoming a publisher has impacted their ability to be more selective and take more time with their own games development. I enjoyed the interview immensely.
Devolver wasn’t a publisher/developer we actually scheduled time with, but was definitely a destination I had earmarked during PAX South 2017 regardless. They had a super cool set up. On a big screen was featured co-op Enter the Gungeon play. You could just get in line and be able to play this in front of all who cared to watch. Those games were intense and awesome to watch.
Set up in individual computer kiosks were plenty of consoles and PC’s with Shadow Warrior 2 available to play. In addition to that, a few new games were being featured:
Minit, which was an original Zelda-esque game with a unique, one minute mechanic. After one minute, you die, so you must try to accomplish all you can and unlock stuff that carry over to your following playthroughs. I put a bit of time into this game and have definitely put it down on my list of day one purchases.
Ruiner, which seemed like a super fast paced twin stick cyber punk action game. I didn’t have a chance to demo this one, but it looked both awesome and intense.
Also being promoted was a game called Strafe, but I did not have an opportunity to check this game out at all, so no thoughts there.
I think this is a good stopping point for Volume Two of my PAX South 2017 Impressions. Volume Three will feature the remaining games I found notable, including a game made by students (Rooted Deep Within) and a super big space battle sim (Dreadnought). I will also talk about a couple developers who went out of their way to strike up interesting conversations that went beyond gaming into various topics from life in Canada to Star Wars. Finally, I will highlight a charity which uses video gaming as a medium to raise money to help with supply drops and such for our troops. I hope you will stay with me and check out the conclusion of my impressions series, to be wrapped up tomorrow. Cheers and enjoy this Day Two wrap up video!