GSTAR 2012 Day 1 Recap w/ Cosplay!
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
One more thing… Jackie Chan is a huge celebrity in Busan!
GSTAR can only be described as overwhelming. Take PAX. Now put it in a venue 3x larger than the Seattle Convention Center. Now add in a miniature E3 in the right wing building and a small ESports convention in the left wing building. Sprinkle in oh around 300 cosplay girls and blow Korea writing all over every inch of wall space possible. Add in constant events and giveaways, loud localized music specific to each booth, and an unholy army of Korean press boxing in around each cosplayer on the showroom floor. This is GSTAR, the convention I’ve fought the last 3 years of my career to finally get to attend.
I went in on day 1 with only two goals. Get all the cosplay pics out of the way while scouting the floor, and get hands-on time with Neowiz’s upcoming MMO set to blaze their names into the minds of western gamers the world over, Bless. Everything about the show was incredible. Before I even entered the main building I was greeted by Wargaming’s world renowned tank + cosplayer combo which was smack in the middle of a swap meet of WeMade, Nexon, and other companies I had never seen before shouting at passing attendees trying to get them in to try upcoming titles. I resisted the temptation and rushed into the main building to be greeted at the entrance by an overly enthusiastic gerbil. At this point I realized Anime is an accurate portrayal of Asian culture.
Of course Wargaming had prime positioning both in and out of the hall as their booth towered to the sky and was carried one of the longest lines of entry of any booth at the show. I passed by gaping at the incredible machinery and the players enthralled in their matches as a beautiful shoutcaster called out the play by play events in typical frantic Korean shoutcasting style.
I made my way to the back and breathless as the a movie theatre sized screen played out a animated manga comic to the left of the Neowiz booth.
The Neowiz booth itself stood above all others as a two story tall mesa. On the lower levels girls ushered an endless line of players in to test out the various content and regions of the game. Up above in the control center VIP presentations were carried out on unbelievable 3 screenwide game stations each accompanied by 2 developers to guide press through the ins and outs of the game. Keep an eye out for an MMOHuts style First Look and OnRPG Early Access article in the near future as there’s just no way to describe everything about this game without dedicating an entire feature to it. But in the meantime drool at their latest combat trailer.
To the right of the Neowiz booth stood the equally impressive WeMade booth that stretched across the isle and took over an entire corner of the room. Those that remember our E3 coverage will be happy to hear that their 13 and growing iOS line-up of multiplayer online games are progressing smoothly and we should start to see many of them going live in 2013. In particular two of their titles really excited me. First was Touch Fighter, a Street Fighter-esque game that is controlled entirely with on-screen touch controls.
The second being Heroes League, Realm of the Gods, a MOBA that not only looks and plays great, but has the gusto to rip off elements of the names of 3 of the largest MOBAs on the market currently.
Though I didn’t get a very long look at it on day 1 due to how strapped for time I was, WeMade’s signature title that they are advertising all over the convention center is Icarus. The faces of the players engaging in this title were magical and I will be going out of my way to ensure I play this game during day 2!
Other notable titles from devs you may not recognize included Asta – The War of Tears and Wind, Dungeon Striker, A-team (think an FPS built around Zero-Suit Samus) and a particularly interesting game called KingZ Online that is attempting to merge classic MMORPG elements with the strategic basis for browser based empire games. Essentially players become pawns in the larger scheme of empire building with a deep and well refined economic system that makes crafting far more valuable than in your typical MMORPG. I’ll be sure to do a full write-up on KingZ soon!
After making me rounds on the right side of the convention hall I turned back and made my way to the Blizzard corner. While I would have liked to get some coverage of Starcraft Heart of the Swarm, the below shot is as close as I could get with 8x zoom on my camera. I kid you not there were fans sitting on the floor stretching back 80 feet from the monitor in all directions, creating the largest roadblock in the entire convention.
After kicking my way through the zerglings I took a gander at the left wall, not surprisingly entirely owned by Nexon. Titles on display this year include Warface…
Mabinogi II Arena
And Fifa Online 3 (be interesting if we ever see this one stateside)
With a few minutes left before the show closing I went into a mad sprint looking for the weird and bizarre. I close out my day 1 recap with just that…
3D glasses + mechanical rollercoaster + drunk Korean gamers = Epic Win
Tabletop Games are alive and well in Korea
The esports room was literally bustling with activity from open to close and they didn’t even have any major tournaments going on.
Rockem Sockem Robots in Asia taunt their opponents and dance when victorious. Why do we not have these in America damn it?!
A new dev company called Havok has an incredible looking tactical RPG that any JRPG fan would be thrilled to get their hands on.
Punch Hero looks to be the long awaited online answer to Nintendo’s ever popular Punch-Out Series.