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Reloading... gamescom Day Three: Trailer Trash

Posted Fri, Aug 19, 2011 by Ethec

Welcome to the 60th Edition of Reloading…
 
Everyone can use a feel good moment to start the day. Let’s try this…
 

 
Another day dawns at Europe’s largest games event, and it’s been a good show so far. Yesterday we fought the heat and unwashed masses for the first time as the show opened up to the general public. I do mean unwashed, at least in terms of smell (and that reeks of irony with the event taking place in Cologne), though one booth tried to do their part by giving away small aerosol cans of Axe body spray. This seemed like a good idea… that is, until scores of German tweens turned the giveaway into a PvP event, running around, spraying each other down. Halle 6 was unbreatheable for an hour, and Ben and I were subsequently cadged a minor sunburn from the hole in the atmo above the Kölnmesse.
 
Ben got the lowdown on Wildstar, which sounds less like a hair band and feels less like Free Realms meets Firefly ripoff the more time we spend with the game. Meanwhile, I was running all over the platz, skidding and sliding on the shredded paper that lined the floors of the place (apparently German kids are a festive bunch and make their own litter confetti out of the glossy handouts), but it was worth it to discover our first big surprise of the show.
 
I had thought gamigo would make hay out of their recent Otherland acquisition, but that wasn’t on the demo menu. Instead, we got a look at Grimlands, which is the closest thing I’ve seen to what I want the Fallout MMO to be. Excellent graphics, a great setting, vehicles, Fallout-inspired collecting and crafting, and a focus on player settlements and player-controlled interactions (there are no NPC cities in the game) make this aiming for 2012 MMORPG one to watch. Read more about Grimlands on the site.
 
My RAGE demo lived up to its name when I was ushered to a PS3 and immediately remembered why I don’t take to shooters on consoles. The control scheme took some serious getting used to – the quick selection buttons took a withering amount of setup, and even then I’d toss a grenade when I needed to melee, with sad results. Without spoiling too much of the opening 40 minutes, there are some definite jump out of your seat moments. It’s more Dead Space than Borderlands, which saddens me a little. But just a little – the game’s oozing with quality, and I’ll likely pick it up  no matter what contortions it demands of my controller-laden fingers. Or not, since I’ll be playing it on PC.
 
Next came a fun League of Legends demo with Ryan Scott. You learned everything you need to know from Stow’s fine Dominion articles, so all that was left for me was to learn to like what seems like highly repetitive MOBA gameplay, and I did a little. Riot Games is taking steps to make the game more accessible with the new Dominion mode. For my money (or not, since the game is free to play), it’s working. Finally, Salem (the puritanical permadeath MMO that I like more every time I see it) and Transformers Universe Online rounded out the day. We managed to discover a few little known details about Jagex’s expectations-laden project – tune in for our interview on Monday.
 
And now, a word about trailers, since I just spent hours getting all of these trailers in shape for transmission back to Ten Ton Hammer HQ. Don’t get me wrong, trailers are cool. The WildStar and World of Tanks trailers are especially cool. Video sequences used to be the big payoff for beating the game. Nowadays, we pay for the game in advance, we get the big CGI cutscenes in advance, and it usually seems like the only thing left to do is to be disappointed with the game.
 
I’m just suggesting everyone ease up on the trailer arms race. We have developers worrying about building and deploying Blur trailers at astronomical cost when updates aren’t making schedule. CGI is cool, but environments and interactions tell stories far better.
 
Have a great weekend!
 
Jeff “Ethec” Woleslagle
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