By Michael Sagoe (Mikedot) and Isaac Sagoe (Afromania)
The greatest four days of the year have finally arrived! Me and my brother have returned to the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City for NYCC 2013 and this year, things are starting off even smoother than ever. It was a cloudy New York day as we first arrived at the Javits Center and the place was looking even larger than I remembered it from last year.
The first day was primarily focused to press & exhibitors only, with public openings starting at 4PM EST, so there wasn’t much action going on. However, our first venture into NYCC 2013 would actually behind in a place AWAY from the convention center.
After a quick browse throughout some of the un-opened exhibits, we went down to a small place called SHOP STUDIOS, where Square-Enix was hosting a small press suite, showcasing several upcoming and previously released titles including Thief (2014), Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix and Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut. There was even a playable demo for the upcoming LIGHTING RETURNS: Final Fantasy XII.
One game from the press suite that caught my attention was definitely Thief 2014, a first-person stealth action title based off the series originally created by Looking Glass Studios. A demonstrator was present to give press members a quick look at the game, and he mentioned that the game was not a sequel, nor was it a prequel, and he wouldn’t have gone as far as to say that it was a reboot of the series, either. Rather, the demonstrator says that Thief 2014 is more of a “re-imagining” of the Thief universe. Sort of like an alternative dimension, if you will (Sounds like a reboot of the series to me.) Some characters from previous Thief titles will also make their way into the “not-reboot” of the game, including the main protag: Garrett.
After the small demonstration, I gave the game a try, and instantly got a good feel for the gameplay, since I used to play the original Thief games a lot… (Or rather, I re-played the Thief 1 DEMO a whole lot.) Either way, the main gameplay mechanics of sneaking around in the shadows, stealing goodies and making your way through the dark streets while leaving no trails for enemies to detect you is still present.
The new swerve ability also allows Garrett to dash from spot to spot, which comes in handy for those moments when moving around in the light is unavoidable, but it’s tied to a stamina meter, so players will have to use it sparingly. With the option to use crossbows with many different arrow sets, including blunt arrows to activate switches from a distance and water arrows to douse lit torches, Thief 2014 seems to present a lot of features that stays true to the roots of the series.
There was very little time left on my schedule for me to try out the other games, so I didn’t get a chance to take an early look at LIGHTING RETURNS, but hey, it was under an embargo anyway, so I would have been able to talk about play experience for that title until months later, anyway.
After the Square-Enix press suite and a quick pitstop at my arranged hotel, we arrived back at the Javits Center to witness very little chaos as the NYCC had officially been opened to the public by 4 PM, and braving the crowds were a lot easier than last year.
The first thing we got to check out on the show floor was a playable demo of Dungeon Defenders II. Many people were eager to give this game a try, as it was the first ever public preview for the game. While I wasn’t too familiar with the original Dungeon Defenders, Dungeon Defenders II features bright and colorful visuals while fusing a mix between Third-Person hack ‘n slash action and tower defense. With the original Dungeon Defenders being a MOBA-style game, the Trendy Entertainment team is taking the series in a bold new direction.
I and my brother tried the game out for ourselves during a 15-minute session with the developers, who walked us through a co-op mission with four of the available classes and their abilities. Soon we’ll be showcasing a full run through of the game to give you guys an even closer look at the game!
Next up, Intel maintained their presence from last year to host their yearly Intel Masters competition, this year featuring Starcraft II, as well as showcasing their latest Intel tech, including new tablets and prebuilt PCs using the latest i7 Core CPUs.
Ever played Portal 1 or 2 without a controller or keyboard? We did at this year’s Intel booth, as they were showcasing a brand new motion-based camera. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it allows players to grab and move companion cubes on screen by using simple gestures. Too bad that the Portal demo was very short and didn’t allow for any exploration or deep puzzles.
The last stop of the day was set in another place outside of the Javits center: A place called Hudson Terrace Salon. We got invited to attend a party for an upcoming mobile MORPG title called “Hello Hero”, and when they said they were hosting a party, I was just expecting a simple get-together with the developers so they could demonstrate and promote their game, plus maybe a few snacks here and there…
…but boy, me and my brother were in for a treat.
The Hello Hero party was crazy! There was live DJ music, cute dancers with hula-hoops, guys dressed up in a silly cactus costume and even free beer! And all this for a freaking MOBILE game?!
Exhibitors, PR guys and advertisers should take notes. THIS is how you do a product promotion!
We even got a chance to talk with Sean Lee, the head of Business Development for Fincon, and the details we learned about the humble beginnings for Hello Hero, as well as the development team behind it, were quite surprising.
Keep your eye out for Afromania’s interview with Sean Lee as we gain some insight on this new mobile title.
Overall, this was quite easily the sanest first day of Comic-Con that me and my brother has ever experienced, but of course, it is only the first day made for press & exhibitors. Friday is when the NYCC will TRULY begin…