Today we're letting you know what all three of us thought of EGX (Eurogamer Expo) 2015. Starting with...
I was at EGX this year for the full 4 days it was running. During this time I had the pleasure to show off Steam’s upcoming VR headset – the HTC Vive, to hundreds of extremely excited people.
We had game developers, universities, representatives from Twitch, YouTube and EGX themselves all buzzing to try out the latest and what is commonly starting to become known as ‘The best’ VR experience currently around!
It’s difficult to explain the immersion you get with Vive until you’ve tried it yourself. No amount of reviews or video clips or technical details will ever do it justice – it will always seem a bit of a gimmick or passing fad (similar to 3D TV), until you try it. Only then will you realise just how wrong you were.
The most common quotes from industry insiders and the public alike after using Vive:
“This is a game changer”
“I lost all sense of where I was in the real world”
“Genuinely exciting and terrifying”
“I got total immersion”
It was a long and tiring 4 days showing Vive to as many people as possible, however seeing the reaction of everyone in the virtual world, the smiles on their faces and the laughs they couldn’t hold in, made it all worthwhile.
I’m extremely privileged to be part of the Vive team and look forward to attending more shows in the future!
You can read my full article on HTC Vive here.
I went to EGX on the Sunday and upon arrival, I was met with the familiar sight of literally hundreds, if not thousands, of fellow gamers waiting to be let in whilst playing on a variety of portable gaming consoles. Just from a quick browse over the horde of people behind me, I noticed several individuals in cosplay, including a Starship Trooper standing right next to me. Although most of them looked amazing and clearly spent a ton of time on their costumes, I certainly did not envy them. The hall was so hot that I, even in just a t-shirt, was sweating pretty hard. After around a half an hour wait, a short video clip was played about what we was to expect at EGX this year and then the flood gates were opened.
There was some serious masterpieces this year at EGX including Halo 5, Just Cause 3 and Star Wars Battlefront. Sadly, due to the increasing popularity of EGX, all of these games had around 3 hours waiting times and therefore if we waited in line for just these 3 games, our time would be up. We decided in the end to not try any of these games as it would simply waste far too much of our little and precious time. A game we did make sure to at least watch though was Just Cause 3, which looked fantastic. Everything within its huge open world was seemingly destructible and testing this was easy and enjoyable with your multiple grappling hooks and new winged flying suit. In my opinion, it was one of the most promising looking games at EGX 2015.
A lot of our time was spent around the indie game section as usual, going around trying out all the newest indie games being developed. At one point I even found myself playing a basic spaceship game, using bananas as controllers. Yes, you heard me, actual fruit. As a fellow Opium Pulses Founder (Warren) turned to me and stated “I am beating you by the way” I had to quickly and defensively confirm “you know I am using bananas as a controller right?”. As he turned to look, the look on his face was priceless.
Eventually the time had come that we had been looking forward to the most this year, playing Valve's HTC Vive. I had played the Oculus Rift VR during EGX 2014 and therefore had a general expectation of what the experience would be like. The wait for our slot was intense but eventually, we was guided in. Warren was first, the headset and headphones was strapped to his head and he was ready for the experience. As I watched him flailing the controllers around and crawling around the room all whilst either giggling to himself or screaming in fright, I couldn’t help but think that he must be exaggerating. Surely the experience couldn’t be this real?
I was up next. After taking the piss out of Warren for a few seconds, I stood in the middle of the room in preparation. As I pushed the headset onto my face, I was immediately in another world. Once the headphones were put over my ears, I had no connection to the outside world and by this point, reality. I was able to control the world around me with little difficulty and I was soon into the first of the several virtual worlds I was to experience. Each world was totally different, some interactive and some just a beautifully artistic representation with the sole purpose being exploration. Eventually, I am certain that I was the one flailing the controllers around, crawling on my knees whilst either giggling or screaming. Let me tell you though, none of it was an exaggeration of the experience, I simply didn’t care what I looked like in reality as this virtual reality was my new world, and I wanted to explore it! Eventually, my time in VR was over. I removed the Vive headset and sighed in disappointment as I enter the familiar and boring non-virtual reality.
I attended EGX 2015 with OP co-founder Lewis(Lol) as I have done since our first visit in 2012. Except this time, it was held at the Birmingham NEC as opposed to the usual Earls Court in London. The queue felt smaller and shorter this time, but then maybe that's cause they left us watching a video of the 11 must-see games at EGX which included the truly stunning Just Cause 3.
We walked in and were instantly greeted with free 500ml cans of Tornado energy drinks, 3 new flavours that for once, tasted not half bad (much more welcomed than the shitty shots of Mountain Dew they gave us the year prior). So we cracked open our cans and had a slow-mo look around as we sipped on our tornado juice. Yeah, this shit is awesome.
I think the first game we played (out of the not so many this year) was Total War: Warhammer, being not much of a fan of the TW games, I was pleasantly surprised. Everything looks authentic and.. well... Warhammer like! They set us up in instant battles and coming from more of a C&C / Warcraft era, I oddly felt at home. That was until I got attacked from all angles all at once...
Most of our time between playing the few games we did, was taken up by taking pictures of all the awesome things around us, of which you can find in our photos section of the media page. So we spent the next hour or so walking around snapping all the oddities around us.
A lot of our time was spent in the indie section after this, since this is where we feel we fit in the most. Speaking to devs about games such as Abe's Odyssey, Mushroom 11 and a game I shamefully have completely forgotten the name of. However, I loved it so much.. I can explain it! It was what happens when you mix Asteroids, with Super Hexagon, with.... fruit. I played on the iPad, the basic concept being fly around as the map changes size and shape without warning as you try not to die.. Lewis on the other hand, controlled his ship via bananas, the moment that summed the experience up, was when the developer leant over and took a lone banana that sat beside Lewis and began to peel it, WTF was we doing?
Then came the big daddy, after booking ourselves a 30 minute slot each, we entered the area run by HTC staff (including our very own Chris from OP) to try Valve's HTC Vive virtual reality headset. Well, you might remember Lewis and I discussing our experience with Oculus at last year's EGX on Alien Isolation, while that was an experience I'll never forget, Vive was a LITERAL outer body adventure, of the 7 demos we played we were put in the world of Portal, Dota 2 and even asked by Google to draw a 100% 3D 360 painting.
Not being tied to movement via a controller meant your brain wasn't confused into thinking you were actually moving, something that resulted in motion sickness when playing on Oculus. With Vive, what you do, is presented beautifully and with incredibly precise accuracy, leaving nothing to traditional methods of control. Unlike Microsoft's Kinect, with Vive, your body really IS the controller. And unlike Kinect, it's pure never ending fun. It effectively made the show for Lewis and I this year and we thank HTC and Valve from bringing it to us.