San Diego, California

Darryl Pamplin's Photos

E3 2015: A New Chapter

So to start, I had a blast with E3. I got to make some new friends, see some old, and just experience something far different than my usual event. While this wasn't my first time at an industry event, it was my first time at one directly dealing with video games. So what all did it entail? What did I get to witness? Who are some of these people I met? Well let's get to that after I go about some basic details.

First and foremost, I do have to iterate how this is an industry event. Companies like Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and various others spend massive amounts to showcase their new products. It is a big event that brings in game devlopers, media outlets, and those trying to see what innovations and IPs are being brought to the industry, some for the first time in the open while others are still shown behind closed doors. This is not like Comic Con where it is for the fans since foremost it's a tradeshow where the majority of people are only getting in because of credentials. To further discourage the layman, it is around $1000 to get in without working in some conjunction with the industry. Even the way most of the booths are done is to have a large platform with multiple large screens to draw in people so they can get the ball running. The overall marketing budgets lead to massive statues and some handouts, but it's more in a way to get buzz for new products going and for various media outlets to get a baseline of information for their coverage. While I know of many cosplayers and normal convention goers wanting to go because they think it will be this massive experience with fun and a chance to get noticed, it is not designed for that. Even in the case of some booths being done up like set pieces from your favourite games, it's just another marketing tool to get people in for presentations that will allow for the maximum viewing exposure by capturing attention such as Konami having recreated a section of Mother Base and having a full blown pub showcasing Pro Evolution Soccer 2016. So with that out of the way, I'll go into my own personal experience overall.

Everything you can want to find relating to gaming can be found. Peripherals, animatronic displays, and just the showcase of footage as narrated by developers and other company representatives. Bethesda as shown above had the Mister Handy Codsworth on display with a replica vault door, Vault Boy, and even a photobooth for Fallout. They also had the display for the new Pip-Boy and art and props for Dishonored 2. On top of being able to hear from the people behind the games every so often, it was pretty impressive to be able to see all the other bits of work that go in showcasing properties. The only playable demo they had was Battlecry which has a pretty cool art style, but it wasn't much my cup of tea. Nearby though there were plenty of booths showcasing the next in line for headsets and the like. So what am I getting at here? That literally within a few hundred feet you can catch short sessions on design philosophy and outlooks to being able to check out and test new equipment. For some this is a big thing, others not so much.

You wander around and see a lot more, other booths that tower and offer gameplay, performances, and just overall demonstrations such as with Ubisoft. They brought people on stage to try out the new Just Dance, showed some of the trailers they had at their conference and also gave a show of some of the new features with Assassin's Creed Syndicate and such. Want more hands on? They had plenty of stations(but a long wait) to play it! As well as the Division which I wanted to try, but had more to take in. 2K also had a rather large booth and I did get to sit down for two separate sessions of their newest COOP production with Gearbox, by name of Battleborn. A few of the photos above are of others playing it. I did have fun with it as I got to play with some friends and only had a few issues myself with it, mainly being a timer on melee attacks after using your primary and there not being a persistent on screen health bar for teammates when you're playing support/healer. Outside of that, if you enjoy MOBA's and Borderlands, you'll probably love the game and find yourself right at home after a few rounds when it releases later this year. They also had a massive statue showcasing some of the characters they had in the playthrough's lineup as well as two costumed models. Also my friend Mike had recently made a mask of one of the characters, Marquis, that you can see in the photos above. Maybe you're into smaller companies though? Atlus had a booth promoting the newest in the Persona series, that being 5 and Dancing All Night which led to me and many others dancing to get shirts. The Indiecade booth had plenty of games, both electronic and meat space alike! Followed by a short walk away to an entire old school museum area filled with Atari patches and other memorabilia of old combined with a mini arcade with loads of classics I'm sure a good many of you will appreciate. Nintendo also had a massive amount of games to play, such as showcasing the new Starfox wherein if you sat in the pod they had set up you would also get a badge. Did I mention for all the games they had out you could get a badge for playing? Again, another marketing ploy, but one that worked out well since a cool set of collectibles were gained for doing something you would otherwise do.

But if anything, I do want to talk a bit about probably my favorite booth at E3 of which I mentioned a bit of already. Konami sort of did it for me with the fact they recreated a small portion of Mother Base. Posters were everywhere, a fultoned goat sitting above the highest point, and the demonstration being played and proctored from a little tower in the center. I took my place on the small helideck they had and waited for the demo to start. I was only expecting it to be some cinematic trailers, but it launched into a full gameplay showing. First with some of the new features such as missions starting from a command center environment in a helicopter, customization options for weapons, and the new buddy system. While the actual footage is up on youtube, it was quite the experience being on a model deck and watching it at the first showing. The gameplay basically being what it was in Ground Zeroes, but now expanded to an open world map was probably my highlight of the show floor. Let alone as I'll talk about in a moment, the really cool models they had for the booth. But this again shows what I sort of mean when this is an industry event. A lot of the games you might want to play are being demoed by those who work for the companies to show the best light of what they are promoting. And the overall set up and how it is done is to get people in, and usually that's after you find out that you might have to come back later to catch the actual showing itself. Smaller indie titles are far easier to manage, such as my getting to play Cuphead with Youtuber Harshly Critical, which in it's own right was probably the most fun I've had with a game in a while. Seriously, you should check it out if you get the chance since I don't believe I can do it justice with how it looks and plays. But again, it's a smaller title from an independent developer. Unlike Sony and the other companies who rolled out models and mascots for the event, or Konami with their Mother Base recreation and a pub. But enough on that and onto what was probably my favourite portion of E3.

So as with any event that involves industry, or really just people in general, I love meeting people. Old friends, people you look up to, and meeting a whole new set of people. I got to sit and talk about games with Harshly Critical who does a lot of Let's Plays for horror games and even play a round of Battleborn and Cuphead(on which Strike Works also got in a round with us) after he told me so much about it. Someone who I never thought I would meet, and I ended up tweeting him and just talking about the things we were excited for and already glimpsed. Frankie Big BossMark Wesker Evil Cosplay, and Luke Cosplays who are the Big Boss, Skull Face, and Kazuhira Miller from Metal Gear Solid V: The phantom Pain respectively in the photos above were granted passes from Konami. These three really cool guys flew all the way out from Italy to be able to achieve a dream to go to E3, and  were also amazing enough to give me some time to do photos. So as much of a new thing all of this was for me, I can be sure it was the same for them. It was also cool to be able to get them to meet my friends Strike Works and Dominique de Leon Cosplay(The Reyna from Battleborn pictured above) so they could all talk about costuming and just overall what they make, how, and just what their plans are for later on. Of which it was cool to see Domonique since we live about 5+ hours away. I got her to meet some other people who I hope she can get advice from as she needs it, but again was made easy since so many who do all sorts of things sort of end up at events like this for both business and entertainment reasons. Also similar to how I met the Italian trio, I sort of ran into RBF-Productions-NL while I was wandering around the Konami booth and was also able to get a few photos of his Jacob Frye from Assassin's Creed Syndicate, and again it was due to Ubisoft having approached him to come to the show. I also got to talk to people from various companies, other prop makers , costumers, and those related to it all(Crystal GrazianoKommissar PropsVolpin PropsOwlDepot and Cosplay In America for example). As with so many events I go to, it's really nice to be able to see my friends who work in and around the gaming industry either by hobby or for portions of their day to day jobs. And really that is half the reason industry events like this take place, so you can both broaden and meet up with old contacts you've made. Maybe you will be like me and they won't have to do anything with why you're really there and you can just catch up and have them meet other like minded sorts. If you're not like me, you might end up here promoting a new product and trying to get traction. If anything, I find it a refreshing change from my usual and being able to finally hit up an event that's not really aimed purely at fans was really cool. But like I said before, this isn't really the event to go to cosplay at, but they do have it their. And from those I got to meet there through it, I wouldn't change a thing.

I also thank 2K games for having made this possible for me through their Prosumer program they ran. I would not have been able to make it and meet so many cool people otherwise! Until next time though.