Tomorrow sees the start of EGX 2017 at the NEC in Birmingam. It claims to be the ‘UK’s biggest video games event’ (whereas Insomnia calls itself the ‘UK’s biggest gaming festival’), and attendees will have the opportunity to play a whole range of both console and PC games months before they’re released. The expo also offers presentations by developers from studios around the world, areas dedicated to eSports, and the opportunity to chat with game creators.
This will be my fifth year at EGX and so it’s kind of a milestone for me. The event has changed during that period and I like it more each time I go: it used to be brash and primarily dedicated to big-budget AAA titles, with publishers shouting about their latest releases from the rootftops and over the loudspeakers. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still brash and incredibly noisy – but additional space has been made for indie developers and the size of the Leftfield Collection has increased. Both sides offer a different perspective of gaming and mean there’s something that will to appeal to everyone.
I’ll be at the event for two days from tomorrow and I’ve already added a few games to my to-do list. I know many people don’t enjoy the Quantic Dream titles for their lack of action but I absolutely love them, and so Detroit: Become Human is likely to be one of the first I try out. Falling Sky by Jonathan Neilssen, which ‘takes its inspiration from games like Heavy Rain but feels like an episode of Twin Peaks‘ looks as if it’ll be right up my street; as does Lake Ridden by Midnight Hub, a ‘thrilling supernatural adventure’. I might even get a chance to try The Occupation by White Paper Games this time too, after my stepson decided to take over while I was playing when we were at Rezzed earlier this year.
One area of EGX that hasn’t appealed to me so much in recent years is the developer sessions. In the past I’ve had the opportunity to watch presentations by David Cage on Beyond: Two Souls and by Bethesda on The Evil Within; but more recent lineups just haven’t interested me. I much prefer the Rezzed sessions which are more ‘intimate’ and offer an insight into the games industry. At the time of writing, the schedule for tomorrow and Friday haven’t yet been announced but last year I got to see Charles Cecil talk about the adventure genre and the team from Small Impact Games discuss survival releases.
Events like EGX are such a great experience so if you ever have the opportunity to go, do it. And please don’t think a press pass is a requirement for shows like this – I no longer apply for them because you can get just as much out of a regular ticket, as I’ve shared previously! Come and say hello if you bump into me in the crowd this year – and watch out for some EGX-related content next week.