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Post PAX recap

I usually look forward to labor day weekend for whichever of the PAX / Dragon*con shows I get the chance to attend, and this year was no different with a trip to Seattle for the former.

These shows are always fun because, like Gamescom last month, they are public shows, and this time I actually speak the same language as the majority of the attendees! It was great to get to meet people, and the support for the studio and the games was timely and much appreciated. These shows are usually when the optimism and enthusiasm for what we do is recharged, which given the recent situation we have had to work through here at Funcom was all the more valuable.

The panel on Saturday, on the Future of Online Gaming, was a blast. Lots of smart folks there, both on the panel and in the audience. Getting to share a stage with Scott Hartsman, Max Schaefer, Matt Higby and Scott Youngblood was entertaining and made for some easy flowing MMO discussions. A huge thanks to the folks at MMORPG.com for putting on the panel, and being kind enough to have us along. There was a lively debate, some interesting subjects, and I think that the folks that game out for the panel had a good time. It sparked the usual slew of thoughts and ideas, which will undoubtedly spark a few blog posts here over the coming weeks.

I also good some time to play some of the games in attendance and my favorites haven't really changed from earlier in the convention season. Hawken is still amazing every time I get my hands on it, and I can't wait till they move forward and get closer to launch. I also had another nice session with Natural Selection II, which I still think has a lot of potential, and the small team working on it are clearly some of the most passionate dev teams around (you can pre-order the game now, which includes beta access if you fancy giving it a spin yourself!).

Getting to play an early developer prototype build of Bastion was also interesting. It is always revealing to see how other games come together from the genesis of an idea. Prototype versions always require a good dose of imagination to truly gauge the potential. It is a testament to the designers that they can see past the usual flaws of early versions and imagine what a game will be. That eye, and a little faith, is usually crucial for taking a game from that point to more polished versions. Games tend to come together visually towards the end of any given project, so you often have to judge what works and what doesn't from much 'rougher' versions. It's great to see where a game from ... that also wasn't the only element that I left impressed by, so more on Bastion in another post shortly ...

I picked up the commander pack for Firefall while it was on sale at the show, mainly because I am sucker for cool MMO style vehicles and I couldn't resist the offer of a new shiny sci-fi motorcycle. Of the bigger boys, The Last of Us looks intriguing, expensive and oddly fresh considering that it definitely feels as if it comes from the Uncharted lineage (although I may be suffering a little from over exposure to 'end of the world' / zombie scenarios).

I played through the X-Com demo again, which was the same as had been on show at Gamescom, just to assure myself that yes, they are doing it justice (at least from what was on show). The game truly feels like an X-Com game, and has been suitably updated for the modern gamescape. Nervous trepidation about how it was going to be treated has now given way to real anticipation. This one looks like the real deal for fans of the original series, and new generation of gamers alike.

Of course games aren't the only things at the show either, and I also took the opportunity to check out the comic and modelling vendors. I picked up some more Tau battlesuits from Forgeworld since they had traveled across from the UK with a good selection, and also grabbed some Warmachine infantry to break up the painting of hulking great battlesuits a little. That said the painting projects are now wracking up, should be good for some time with all the models sitting on the painting table at the moment!

PAX is a testament to the passion of the gaming community and pop culture in general. A lot of people also volunteer their time to make the whole thing go smoothly and they also deserve a huge thanks. The blue clad Enforcers of PAX are a great bunch of folk, who made sure everyone was safe and had fun. Everyone that went should offer their thanks to them, they deserve it!

Until next year!

PAX Prime 2012 5401136528352875134

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