Paul Barnett, Creative Director, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
It's big. Really big. And crowded. For the people who have been to
video game conventions that are reading this, it's like the old E3:
lots of noise, people, poor food and slow moving crowds. It's busier
than I imagined and the thing that caught my eye are these strange old
bags. At shows you often get bags. It’s a way for individuals
to carry stuff (“hey a bag!”), a way to show
devotion (“hey a Batman bag!”) and a way to
advertise (“hey a LEGO Batman bag!”).
Creative Director for WAR
This year the winner by a long way is the crazy big DC bags. These
things are huge; they have to be about three feet square with a long
shoulder strap. They are so big that if you have one of these on you
look like you are a midget. And they are everywhere. Never mind if the
bag looks a little silly, its got the Watchman on it. The watchman, I
mean you understand right, that's the Watchman. I guess adding Watchman
to anything at the moment gives it instant cool. I gather this
reasoning from the owlship (that’s the ship one of the
Watchman characters flies around in, he is called the owl, think
Fatbatman with feathers).
And that’s all well and good. I like the Watchman, but then I
hear the news. The Xbox… the Watchman Xbox. I mean now we
are talking. And before you know it we are all gripped. Like addicts in
withdrawal, you get computer geeks like me going when you start talking
about these two things combined.
It's like a wonder sandwich made when I am drunk and hungry. Composed
of left over food, fried, and somehow tasting like the gods breathed
upon it with their godlike sandwich tasting breath.
In my mind it’s the greatest Xbox ever built, I say in my
mind because I was chained to doing interviews and thus could not see
the Xbox in question. But I heard all about it, the raffle to win it,
the 'it will be mine' comments. As more people turned up at our booth,
some dressed as, well I am not sure its like they are dressed as.
Characters I should know but it’s seen through a crazy lens,
a sort of confus-o-vision.
Eventually I got a few spare moments and had to think hard. I mean I
needed to check the room for my talk, meet up with the Penny Arcade
guys to talk shop, catch up with Scott from 38 studios, sort out my
lunch and try to sneak a peek at the Xbox.
I got a ticket for a Watchman thing (apparently you get a signed
poster) and handed it to a young person who really, really looked like
they wanted to go. I passed the Alex Ross stand and gasped at the
prices for his artwork. Later on I stumbled across a crazy Batbike that
looked like it was from the old Batman TV series. Avoided the twenty
foot He-man statue and got confused by the Star Wars clone wars
figures. After my time with Penny Arcade I heroically failed to get
much further and had to return to the booth. Thwarted once again to
catch a glimpse of the Xbox, I asked someone - anyone - to take a photo.
Later, I had to leave the con to grab lunch and I had arranged a few
other meetings and interviews outside so I get recharged, see the
day-star and return, fuller and with sore feet.
Back at the con, it was time to check out my room. Apparently there was
no stage, no wireless mike and a bunch of tables in the way. Also no
chance for altering any of that, no chance to move anything. So I guess
I will have to stand up and sort of shout. Never mind.
I have been a little worried about the talk. I am not worried about not
giving the talk, more about what I will talk about. The style, the
tone, the content. I have decided to go broad, I want to talk about
three things that I think are important and those three things don't
really wrap around Warhammer. Oh sure they are all in Warhammer, they
are part of why the game works but the actual things are weaved into
stories about Star Wars, the chicken and archeology.
Back to the booth. More press. Apparently the Tonight Show wants me to
appear on something. Go figure. I suspect they want me to be mean to
the people in outfits, difficult because I quite like the people who
turn up in fancy dress.
Con over. It was off to dinner and getting ready for the EA party.
Still the Watchman Xbox eludes me. Tomorrow, oh yes tomorrow, I will
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