IDL FEATURE – PAX Day One: Stickers and Lanyards, Cosplayers and Weddings

-I arrived into Seattle at around 11:30pm Thursday night in anticipation for the 4 days that will follow. The eve of PAX Prime 2015 is finally here, and I am excited as ever. This will be my 7th year in a row at PAX Prime, and the show gets better and better, although more spread out than ever.

-Not only does the 4 day convention take over all 6 floors of the Seattle Trade and Convention Centre, but also the adjacent Annex but the surrounding 4 hotels and two theatres. The weekend takes over the downtown district of Seattle every year.

Day 1 – PAX Prime 2015

-Day 1 started for me, around 12PM. Having the passes already, I didn’t need the lineups or waiting around. I can do PAX on my own time, thanks.

-Our first stop was to go straight to the 4th floor Exhibition hall and check out the new exhibits. First stop after the trip of 3 escalators, passing hundreds of other participants, is the Small Dev, Tech Land and Indie exhibit hall. Highlighted by the always popular Behemoth Booth

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-Every year I buy a Castle Crasher figurine and get it signed by the artist and developer, and this year they were handing out unique lanyard, and empty swag bags primed for filling.

IMG_4847-This exhibit hall is filled with many of the smaller devs, indie devs, larger tech companies advertising their wares, and geeky companies selling their gaming swag. As this is also one of the main entrance points, it is also populated by a lot of cosplayers.

-Cosplayers roam everywhere, and this year, unlike previous, patrons have been asked to refrain from taking photos inside the exhibit halls stopping the flow of traffic, and instead asked to do it outside the halls in the open areas.As there are SO MANY people roaming around, traffic flow is important, and prevents accident collisions.

-The indie hall is always a lot of fun to see the smaller up-and-comers on display, and team like Behemoth or Team Meat showing their new stuff. But as day one is primary just a quick tour to see whats available, we list our favourites and move on. We have 3 more days to actually spend quality time with our favs, but today is to take it all in.

-Center skybridge is available to more sales teams and alternative mediums,like comic books, furniture,tech equipment, and cards. Cards Against Humanity a popular feature, and MAGIC. Skybridge is a popular meeting area for groups, and cosplayers, thanks to the lighting.

-Into the main hall Battleborn is the highlighted entrance feature. 2K’s and Gearbox’s next big game. Play solo, or co-op or split screen, the game features first person shooter gameplay involving 5 heroes on the map against waves of enemies and other heroes in competitive. The game boasts 25 playable heroes at launch in February, 2016. Every hero is unique, with lots featuring melee or snipers.

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-Xbox have big booths dedicated to Rise of the Tomb Raider and Halo 5. Playstation has the Uncharted Collection featured, and Uncharted 2 playable. I briefly played the demo for Uncharted 2. I’d played this originally on the PS3, and it plays just as good now. It does feel a little more colourful, and plays a tiny bit more cartoony, more blood, more animated. Maybe I’m just remembering it wrong. It does play smooth though, and as fun as ever.

-Ubisoft has Rainbow Six Siege playable, which I’m stoked for, and Tom Clancy’s The Division as well.

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-Heavily featured is Deep Silvers Homefront: The Revolution. This for sure I will get my hands on as I loved the first, and I’m curious to try out the latest iteration, and new direction.

-Mad Max and Just Cause 3 have big dedicated areas this year and I’ll be hoping to try these out, Mad Max comes out next week so it would be nice to get some early impressions before it shows up at my door.

-Bethesda also has a large corner all to themselves, as they have Fallout 4 featured, and Dishonored 2. Talking and moving and everything.

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-Done with our first quick tour, we headed off towards Gameworks and had lunch. Gameworks is Seattle’s large arcade and restaurant. After lunch we went to the Westin Hotel for the PAX Swag Bag. On the streets we see Mad Max in full advertising mode, joining with Uber.

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-Swag bags this year have the staples: MAGIC card pack, and lots of adverts and giveaways. Included is also a beta code for Rainbow Six Siege.

-Heading back to the convention hall for a quick 2nd tour we spend a little more time in the first exhibit hall, saw the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate area, which I assume is a closed demo, and played some Street Fighter V for a few rounds.

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-The only panel we went to today was the Gearbox Software Showcase. Filled to capacity, the Main Theatre is the Benaroya Hall. Getting there takes a quick walk through some less-than-clean streets, but we find the line, and get inside.

-Gearbox had a lot to talk about today, primarily focusing on Borderlands, Tales From The Borderlands, and Battleborn.

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-Tales from the Borderlands takes the main focus as they show the trailer for the latest episode, discuss the bringing on of Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson as voices, and state that they’ve had a great experience working alongside another company to expand the Borderlands brand. They then announce that 2K and Gearbox have joined with Lionsgate as well as Ari and Avi Arad to release a Borderland movie! Huge news. And exciting.

-Battleborn is discussed at length, and they bring out the devs and artists to discuss some of the character designs, and they go through the Helix for a few, highlighting some of the special abilities. Thousands of different characters combinations, coupled with 5 members to a team, equaling millions of team combinations.

-Next up was the cosplay showcase during the panel, and a couple got married in front of the whole crowd.

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-Wrapping up the panel, Randy Pitchford did an amazing magic trick, and then discussed Homeworld, and the dev’s new game, Shipwreckers. Everyone in attendance was given a free copy of Homeworld Remastered, sending everyone home happy.

-On the way back we stopped in at the Convention Centre Annex and saw some of The Magic card tournament setup and free play, and checked out the Bring Your Own Computer floor and PC Freeplay floor. As the convention exhibition hall had closed, this area was quite busy with large lines, so we left, and said good-bye to day one.

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Back tomorrow, with Day 2, and more dedicated impressions of games I played.

-iRogan

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