Wednesday Apr 07, 2010
Recently, we set out to Boston to visit a the Penny Arcade East convention and show off some of our titles and one of my favorite games, Alpha Protocol. It’s always a bit of a downer to be back in the office after a fun event, especially such an active event like PAX, but the added bonus is to post all the fun photos from the show for those that couldn’t attend. If you haven’t been to a Penny Arcade and you consider yourself a gamer, you have to come; it’s great. Penny Arcade is just fun and it’s filled with people that love games; from the costumes, to the attire, to the smiles and good-natured conversations. I’m a fan.
One of the joys of coming to an event like PAX is meeting die hard Sega fans and fans of our games. One of our favorite things is when we can walk over user feedback to our teams and relay conversations and opinions back to the Sega. Fans are passionate, we’re passionate; it works out great. So in walking the floor of PAX, I have two pictures of fans I met that make me smile and a brief description of each. The first is a shot of someone rocking our Bayonetta Penny Arcade T-shirt. I love the photo because you can tell how proud he is to have it and be at Penny Arcade. I was equally excited to see him with it on!
The second image is of a Sonic fan, Max, who I met at the booth. We talked about Sonic 4 and how it wasn’t on the show floor (boo) and general discussions on the Sonic series. We had a small number of shirts to pass out to mega fans, costumed fans, and general supporters and Max wanted one and I wanted to give him one. Before we could pass along a shirt, I asked him jokingly to prove how big a Sega fan he was and man, did he come through and reveal his Sonic pride. First a shirt, which was enough for me, but then a wallet, keychain and even pulled out a NeoGeo pocket to reveal a Sonic cartridge, nice. It was awesome and a shirt well earned.
Cosplay – Two Bayonettas
Alpha Protocol – Demo and Panel
So why did I travel all the way to Penny Arcade East to spend most of my time off the floor? We had a very special limited demo for some the gaming press to show off Alpha Protocol. The game, as you may or may not know, features a high degree of choice and reactivity, which we did our best to show off to the people in attendance. The real challenge in demoing is in the reactivity, rather than the choice elements. Choice is something people understand, while reactivity is subjective to what you, as the player, do throughout the game. Reactivity in Alpha Protocol is what makes a custom experience, what makes one scenerio play out differently than before, and ultimately shapes the choices you make (both obvious and subtle) in the long and short term of the game. The demo featured, in part, how one conversation in one small part of the world could play out, depending on how you treated a key character in the game up until that point. Unlike other games of the choice RPG genre, the two outcomes we offered are only two extremes outcomes of many – play the section of the game again and you could hit a completely different outcome, that’s just how Alpha Protocol works.
To help further illustrate the heavy emphasis on freedom of choice and overall game reactivity, Obsidian Entertainment was on hand for a Penny Arcade Panel, “But Thou Must”, which looked at the history of choice in games, a look at how Alpha Protocol will change choice and reactivity in games, and the importance of Apple Juice in the development community. On hand for the talk was Joseph Bulock [Cinematics Designer, Obsidian Entertainment], Shon Stewart [Lead Cinematics Animator, Obsidian Entertainment], Matt MacLean [Lead Systems Designer, Obsidian Entertainment], and Chris Avellone [Lead Designer, Obsidian Entertainment]. The panel was completely packed and for good reason, Obsidian Entertainment has made a name for themselves in creating excellent games with excellent choice mechanics. The panel went great, informative, and funny. The best part is we got the entire thing on tape and we’re working to get it out and uploaded for everyone to view. I won’t spoil any of it, except to say it was a great presentation and well worth the trip to Penny Arcade.
So there you have it! Be sure to check out our flickr page for a few more photos from the show floor and as always, leave us your comments!
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