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EGX 2019: a round-up

And that’s EGX done for another year. Rather than being at the NEC Birmingham, this time the event had moved to ExCeL London so thousands of gamers hit the capital between 17 and 20 October 2019 to get their hands on the latest video game releases and talk to developers about their projects.

After some calculations back in April, I found that over 45% of the games due to be displayed at EGX Rezzed had either appeared at the expos since 2017 or were already available for purchase. That figure has increased over the past several years and the line-up advertised on the EGX website didn’t do anything to buck the trend. This explains why my other-half and I were a little apprehensive as we drove into the city last Thursday and Friday; would what we would discover there make the trip worthwhile?

The highlights

After appearing at both expos for so long it was starting to become a bit of cliché, I’m pleased to report that Gang Beasts was nowhere to be found this year. Instead I played several games which were promptly added to my wishlist. I first met Jonathan Nielssen in 2017 when he was at EGX with Falling Sky, and it was great to see him back with development studio Loeding and SNOW. Then there was Röki, a lovely-looking adventure by Polygon Treenhouse. More about both of those later this week.

The title I was most excited to see however was Beyond a Steel Sky: we’ve waited 25-years for a Beneath a Steel Sky sequel and it was great to finally get a chance to play the demo. It’s very different from the original but didn’t disappoint. Later in the day we attended a developer session by Charles Cecil where he discussed the making of the title, working with Dave Gibbons and his thoughts on adventures. I can’t wait to play to play the game when it’s released.

A huge retro section had been added to the schedule this time and many attendees headed over to get their nostalgia hit. I’ve written before about the problems with displaying retro titles at expos and it seemed like the organisers had put some thought into this: Replay Events implemented a great ‘library’ system. You chose your game from a bookcase, collected it from their desk and then found yourself a seat. It meant the consoles weren’t permanently occupied by the same people, and that we got some time with the original Devil May Cry.

The lowlights

I may have found three games I can’t wait to play but there were far fewer titles on display that appealed to me this year. It feels as if we’re experiencing a shift away from the narrative trend we picked up on at EGX Rezzed in 2018; the stands were full of platformers, hack-and-slashers, and more action-orientated projects. Since starting to attend the expos in 2012, it was the first time I came away from the Leftfield Collection without finding something niche I wanted to shout about.

Last week I’d seen comments left on the EGX Facebook page complaining about the increased focus on indie games this time around. Although not a bad thing in itself, there was much less big-budget stuff – in fact, out of the 36 titles included in the press bible I received before the event, 19 entries were already available to buy. The Death Stranding ‘experience’ was nothing more than a 20-minute video in a small black-curtained room; and that for Cyberpunk 2077 seemed to be closed more than it was open.

The Rezzed talks at EGX are usually one of my highlights but the schedule was disappointing. Those we did see ended up being slightly different than advertised, and some of the speakers seemed more interested in promoting their companies than sharing their knowledge of the topic. Overall, I’m glad I attended the expo this year but I’m sorry to say it was the most lacklustre one I’ve been to. Perhaps this has something to do it with being a slow year for video games and we might see more sparkle at 2020’s event with the new console releases.

Did you attend the EGX event? If so, what did you think of it and what was your game of the show? There’ll be more posts coming up over the next few days and in the meantime, you can check out our photo gallery below.

EGX 2019 photo gallery

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Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

23 thoughts on “EGX 2019: a round-up Leave a comment

  1. I was there too! 🙂 Really happy to go this year. I love the ExCel Centre, although I felt EGX’s show floor wasn’t as big or well laid out as previous years. Maybe it’s just because it’s their first time in this venue. Still had a great time though 🙂

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    • I love the NEC, and thought maybe that had affected some of my opinion about this year’s event. So it’s really interesting to hear from someone who likes the ExCeL and still says it didn’t feel well laid out! After looking at the map on the app before EGX, I got the impression that it was going to be huge; but it seemed smaller when we arrived and some areas felt empty.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah it definitely could have been better. Both the NEC and ExCel I felt could have done a better job compared to past years. But I think you may have a point with regards to the year. If we get new consoles next year perhaps EGX will blossom again. I recall 2013 being utterly insane because of PS4 😆 Good memories.

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    • 2013 was the first one I went to, and I’m sure I spent most of it with a permanent look of shock of my face ha ha! It would be great if they could recapture that feeling again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s always interesting to see different angles depending on what people are interested into! Your “slow year for video games” has been one of the best years I’ve enjoyed for a long time, with an absolute ton of stuff I’ve really, really enjoyed — and plenty more to come before the year is out, too.

    That said, most of the stuff I enjoy isn’t the sort of stuff that would show up at EGX — you’d be more inclined to see them somewhere like MCM, if they have an expo presence at all over here!

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    • Sadly, I think the popularity of the sort of games I like is on the decline again. I guess that could be because the publishers are gearing up for next year’s console releases though: “Let’s make stuff with guns and explosions, that’ll get the kids attention!”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. No fortnite this year. That was a plus. I do agree though I think it felt a little underwhelming overall. I still found some good games but it did seem to lack a bit.

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      • I got the chance to play Unexplored 2. Which wasnt being shown publicly, that was really cool. Circuit superstars was a fun multiplayer racer and I could see me and my friends playing that a lot.
        They were probably my favourites.

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          • I played Beyond Steel and Sky. That seemed cool I must have liked it because I got kicked off for taking to long haha.

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            • We were fortunate enough to get in there early on the first day, so they let us stay to complete the demo before anyone else arrived! I’m going to have to replay Beneath a Steel Sky now.

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  5. The one good thing about seeing less titles that appeal to you is that it’s easier on the ol’ backlog. Woot! My “trying to see the positive in everything” skill is leveling up 😁

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    • You know what, that’s a great point! And less chance of being disappointed when you hear that the releases for all the games you liked are being delayed. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gutted they moved it to London, now I’m in Somerset I was looking forward to a quick train up to the NEC! No matter where it lands next year, I think I’ll have to make the effort.

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    • I really like the NEC, so I was kind of disappointed when I heard the show was moving to London (although it’s a lot easier for us in terms of travel).

      Will you be doing Rezzed in March? We have a spare room… 😉

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        • As long as you can put up with a single bed in a house that’s still being renovated, a cat who meows at 2am, a stinky 12-year old and being asked if you want tea or coffee every half hour, the room is yours! We do have video games though.

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  7. The new consoles by Sony and Microsoft somehow don’t grab my attention. I like the switch and the cute games it has, as well as the lack of incessent microtransactions, but I also feel that it’s been a very slow year for video games, maybe because so many studios focus on making the same games with different labels on them, I don’t know

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