PAX Prime 2014 On The Go!
PAXPrime 2014 is off and running!
From my own multiplayer adventures on Pandora, I knew my own Peter-Parker type "nxnwinaad" is just as good with a Hyperion Conference Call as she is with a camera. She attended the Inside Gearbox panel at 10:30am Sunday. The proceedings were all available on Twitch, but she got right down in the 2nd row and got to try out the demo. She came back with this to say:
So... You want to hear a story, eh? One about treasure hunters? Haha, have I got a story for you!
As the story of the other properties is framed as Marcus telling a child a story, Borderlands: The PreSequel is told in series of flashbacks by Athena, post-Borderlands 2. Along with the main story it provides a glimpse of what the characters from Borderlands are up to.
The storytelling device also gives us a frame for the later playthoughs in True Vault Hunter Mode. Essentially, when Athena is done telling the story, Tiny Tina shows up and is bummed she missed the whole thing. She demands Athena tell it again, but make it sound more difficult. You are then treated to Tiny Tina's color commentary throughout your second playthrough.
I got to try the demo on the expo floor on Friday. The main action of the game takes place on Pandora's moon, Elpis. This isn't just a pretty place.
No atmosphere means you have to continuously gather oxygen, which is a mechanic that didn't irk too badly at the time but might become more annoying when playing for longer.The demo has had a hideous line all weekend, but it's very worth it (depending on your priorities) and you get a kickass shirt at the end. It was on a console, though, which was difficult to master as I've only ever played on PC.
I played as Nisha, the Lawbringer at a high level (41). The panelists said that, while Handsome Jack starts out trying to do good and is corrupted as the game goes on, Nisha was apparently born with horns and it was only downhill from there. Her action skill is essentially aimbot-ing for a limited amount of time, which was great because I seriously could not reliably use the controller to point where I wanted. It's an acquired skill, presumably.
The four classes the game will ship with are Athena (the Gladiator), Wilhelm (the Enforcer), Nisha (the Lawbringer), and Claptrap (the Fragtrap). In the panel, they talked about Claptrap's action skill, which they came up with by thinking about buggy software uploaded to hardware that really can't support it. When his action skill is activated, he analyzes the sitaution and deploys whatever his software decides is appropriate. This can have...intersting results. For example, one of the possibilities is a mini-bot that runs around launching missiles. However, another possibility is a rubber ducky floatie, a la anklebiters in the swimming pool. This makes him excessively bouncy. Even better, his action skills usually affect the entire team in multiplayer, so extreme bounciness for everybody! I mean, did you expect strighforward helpfulness from Claptrap, of all people? In low gravity, this can actually be quite helpful (we are assured.)
It also seems that Handsome Jack will be available as DLC character later. However, you do missions with Handsome Jack in the main story, and he's one of the main NPC protagonists! So, that answer to them really wanting Handsome Jack as a playable character is to have you actually play as his bodyguard, who is functionally indistinguishable in every way. He looks the same, has the same voice, the same abilities, everything. No mention of who the sixth DLC character might be, though they did talk about eventually having six total playable characters. (Someone in the audience shouted "Butt Stallion!" I don't think the panelists heard, though.)
More fun on the way
Tales from the Borderlands (coming out this fall, by Telltale Games) was developed at the same time as the Pre-Sequel and there was a great deal of collaboration while the two games were in development. You will be able to unlock content in the Pre-Sequel by playing through Tales from the Borderlands, and there mutually referential plot hooks scattered throughout. Tales from the Borderlands takes place after Borderlands 2, and follows two entirely new characters. There is about thirty minutes of playable game in their booth on the Expo Floor, but I haven't been able to make it down there yet.
Gearbox also talked about their remastering of Homefront, and waxed somewhat philosophic about the importance of the game to the gaming industry. Originally they planned only on porting the game to digital platforms, but then: yak shaving. They updated the textures and environments, remastered the sound, and got all the original voice actors back together to rerecord the audio. At this point, they have replaced the entire renderer. (They got a little carried away.) The "before" and "after" clips looked fantastic. No solid release date for that was mentioned.
Later, they spoke about Battleborne and played the trailer. The trailer looked quite impressive, but I'm not totally sold on it. It will be a first-person shooter with the leveling RPG elements seen in the Borderlands series. There will be a wide array of characters available to choose from (nine were shown, out of at least 36) with different specialties and abilities. The concept of the game is that in the distant future, all of the stars but one have gone out. All of the spacefaring races have fled their home systems to cluster around this star, and there are factions who have different opinions about how to handle the potential end of the universe. The Battleborne are the ones who fight it out between the factions. The characters can be leveled up to their most powerful form in about half an hour, and it is unclear what happens after that. The aesthetic looks somewhat like League of Legends.
Randy did the ice bucket challenge onstage, and they announced a drawing for people who provide proof of donation to ALS research to the Gearbox crew. The prize is a thousand-dollar Nvidia graphics card. Follow the Gearbox Twitter for details!
Things are going strong here for the last day of the con. There are two guys running around dressed as the PAXcops (a la AXECOP), giving out citations for heinous crimes like "wearing pants" and "unlawful consumption of dihydrogen monoxide". There are separate forms for attendees and Enforcers.
They asked me to tell Certis they're citing him in absentia for being "too Canadian". ;)
virtual256 came back from the Expo Hall to tell me all about Miegakure. I had heard of the game and was already interested. It has been described as a 4D puzzle-platformer, and touted as this generations indie Myst. According to Virt, it exceeded his expectations. He's blown away.
The basic concept is simple. You can swap one of the ordinal directions (X or Y) for time, a slice at a time. You will also gain the ability to move objects from time-slice to time-slice. You can start pushing a block in the "now" and push it into the future. Walls that were impenetrable in the past disappear when you move into the future. The mechanics are intriguing.
There is no announced ship or platform info. However, if you're here, there's a fully-playable demo down in the Indie Megabooth in space 786 if you'd like to go bend your own head. If not, head out to the miegakure.com site for a video description of the game (and an awesomely geeky XKCD comic).
We're having information overload here. That's okay - it's the best possible problem to have. Here's a few snippets.
- Our local chapter of CivAnon is here in force, so Fire getting into the Firaxis panel about Civilization: Beyond Earth and getting the scoop on the game was a moral imperative. He came back with 2 pages of notes, so I'll put that in the Catch-all thread and put a link here.
- It looks like the Witcher 3 is not onsite. Sorry, gang. Getting in the same zipcode of the Smash Bros. booth is also proving, uh.... interesting. We're still working on it, though.
- Gearbox is on the way - the intrepid nxnwinaad got into the panel. She got to sit right down front in the 2nd row and got us all the goods on Borderlands: the PreSequel. She's live-messaging to us. The last one read, "Claptrap's action skill (wtf)." This is going to be interesting. So massive details incoming! Just follow....the soothing sounds... of my voice...!
That life-sized animatronic Dalek we ran into last year is back and he's had some great upgrades. He's got sound! He was rolling around in front of the Annex singing "Let It Go" from Frozen last we saw him. We have pics coming soon so it will have, in fact, happened. ;)
Well, that laptop has had it's nose put in the corner to think about what it's done for the night. Bad laptop. Bad!
Silicon-based misbehavior aside, I've got lots of great content in store from my cub reporting staff for tomorrow. We've got some great cosplay (and general) photography, and hands-on coverage of all the games in the PAX 10 for a start.
We're on the case for the requests below, too. My intrepid Peter-Parker-type will be hitting Smash Bros, Fire has already informed me that he is going to magically disappear for the Beyond Earth presentation. We'll circle the wagons tomorrow about the rest. Keep 'em coming, and we'll do what we can.
Here are a few tidbits to keep you going until then.
- Think Geek is teaming up with our favorite calorie purveyor at PAX - the Cookie Brigade. If you make a Child's Play donation to a brigadier, you may also earn a raffle ticket and a chance to win one of three $100 ThinkGeek gift certificates! Just drop it off at the box at their booth on the SkyBridge to be eligible to win.
- There's a lot of standing in line at a PAX. You get this many people in one place rubbing elbows and flux capacitors and it just makes sense you're going to have to wait sometimes. We've got the Line Entertainment team helping to make things fun, but an invaluable tool for keeping those waits as short as possible is the PAX Lines Twitter. Follow it to get helpful info about what lines are long, which ones are short, which ones are full, and advice for when you should go get in your chosen one.
- The concert at Benaroya tonight is going strong, and my sources tell me Paul and Storm are burning up the stage (acoustically speaking). But you don't have to take my word for it. Check out the action at the Main and Hedgehog Theaters all through PAX at http://www.twitch.tv/pax.
- My support dog was graciously welcomed. PRD made her an "official" scarf to wear, and I have some terminally cute video of PRD putting the scarf on Cleo (and of her reaction to the whole notion).
I've never posted a video to YouTube before, so if I hosed it up I would appreciate any feedback/suggestions.
With that, I need to turn into a pumpkin so I can be bright-eyed for tomorrow's shenanigans. Have fun but be careful, and see you in the morning!
Friday, 11:45 am
Been having technical difficulties (this laptop is not obeying it's Lord and Master!), but stay tuned we'll be up and running here.
I'll just start with the fact that Defense Grid 2 is here, and it is playable in the Expo Hall. More science fiction tower defense with FPS elements for me, please.
If you hear of something you'd like our take on, let me know here in the Comments and I'll try to get one of my intrepid cub reporters out to see what they can see. Fire and Itsatrap are already plotting whatever mayhem it takes to get into the Civilization: Beyond Earth and Borderlands: The PreSequel panels. I'll keep you posted when they bring me all the details.