EB Games Expo 2013 was certainly a thing that happened. If you don’t know, EB Expo is perhaps the largest congregation of top of the line impending video games in Australia. Housed in Sydney from October 4th to 6th, OnlySP’s southern hemisphere correspondents Damien and I were lucky enough to turn up and soak in the atmosphere, and the inevitable morass that 38,000 people results in, all Saturday. Aside from the crowds, costumes, neighbouring One Direction concert, and innumerable lost children, there were, of course, games. And games are our business.
All games mentioned in bold will get a write up in the coming days, plus more.
Booths definitely splashed out this year. Sony had a second (rather rickety) story, where the PlayStation 4s were housed, quite literally, above all the old tech. On the precarious perch were games such as Knack and Killzone Shadowfall. Microsoft likewise had two stories, although their bottom floor had Xbox Ones and their top floor had Titanfall playable.
While we’re doing tit-for-tat, Sony had a branded racing car and a handful of racing cockpit setups to test out Gran Turismo 6. Microsoft, meanwhile, also had a branded racing car, but, instead of racing booths, they had a Titanfall titan. Because Titanfall.
The Warner Bros. booth went with a DC vibe, with a life size statue of Batman, and the new Superman costume. WB were plugging the upcoming Arkham Origins hardest of all, with a hefty showing for Dying Light backing up Bats.
EA had a number of games, most of which were outsourced to other booths. Most notable was Titanfall, but they also had FIFA and Need for Speed: Rivals smattered around the showroom floor. EA’s main base of operations was located at the tank. Yes, the tank. Seems like everybody at game conventions has to have a tank these days. Around said tank was the Battlefield 4 booth, clad all in black.
The final big black-boothed shooter was, of course, Call of Duty Ghosts. Needless to say, it was pretty much the most trafficked booth of all. Minimal show, minimal bluster, all business, Ghosts sat along the very back wall of the expo, like the handsome brooding guy at the night club, attracting all the damn attention away from the immature little kiddies on the dance floor.
Ubisoft actually had a dance floor, with actual dancers, as is the norm for their Just Dance booth. Professional dancers mixed it with the great unwashed, taking a handful of eager volunteers on to the dance floor to shake their proverbial groove thangs. Also at the Ubi booth was Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, with a rather giant picture of Kenway in full regalia being painted live throughout the day. It looked pretty damn boss by about 5pm.
Nintendo had a relatively small showing this year, with a number of Wii U and 3DS games available to pick up and play. The main attraction was the small tourney stage Ninty had at its disposal, with Nintendo representatives MCing Pokemon battles, Mario Kart 9 races, and new Mario 3DS speed runs. One thing Nintendo knows how to do is create a family friendly community spirit, and it did that with aplomb.
Being EB Expo, a huge space was reserved for the titular store. Servicing the multitude of interested purchasers, the store took orders and preorders and sold merch and games. Unsurprisingly.
An area that saw a dramatic expansion this year was the community hub. Spread across a number of stages, the hub focused on community panels, discussions, and Q&A sessions. There was always something interesting going on and, while we didn’t really attend any sessions (well, Damien caught the InFamous Second Son dev Q&A), the crowds seemed completely engrossed.
Perhaps the cutest addition to this year’s Expo were the adorable balloon statues. Surrounding the kids’ activity area were some amazing game-related balloon sculptures. Made up of dozens and dozens of balloons twisted together, the statues were the coolest balloon animals I’ve ever seen. My favourite was the beautifully detailed Spyro, but the Sackboy was a close second.
I am, no doubt, leaving many things out, such as the indie dev stalls, the League of Legends championships, various hardware company booths, and the fireworks display, but there was so much there and so little time and so many games to play. Over the next few days, Damien and I will be posting our impressions of those games we played and saw, and bring you the heads up for all the hottest (and not so hot) titles to keep an eye on, as well as our hands-on opinions of the PS4 and Xbox One.