EGX 2017 ǀ Day Two

With the zone map now memorised I started day two of EGX by heading straight to the Assassins Creed Origins booth. With Ubisoft’s other contribution, Far Cry 5 being one of my favourite games of my first day at EGX, I was excited to see what else this developer had to offer. My first issue was quickly having to learn how to use an Xbox One controller (this weekend’s been full of firsts!). Once I had gotten my head around that I found myself quickly falling in love with the latest in the Assassins Creed series.

The Alpha demo of Assassins Creed: Origins is set in the middle of the Egyptian desert. Just like every player around me, I was drawn into the heart of a nearby village. On the Xbox One the graphics look outstanding with clean, crisp environments and incredibly detailed touches which all managed to catch my eye. There has been an obvious change in the combat formula for the better as assailants will now attack in groups rather than patiently and unrealistically waiting their turn to be slaughtered. This alteration to the long-lasting Assassins Creed formula was a welcome shake up and this new Creed game had me drawing similarities to The Witcher 3. Unique touches in the newest game in the series such as the ability to call your eagle and literally get a bird’s eye perspective to the world felt original and it paid off exceptionally well. I was also impressed that the environment was consistently detailed once I was up in the air. Ubisoft have succeeded in creating a game which looks sleek and is comfortable to control. Definitely a must buy game for fans of the franchise, especially if Syndicate left a sour taste in your mouth.

After Ubisoft, I headed to the Xbox One X stand. With EGX being the only place in the UK to play the Xbox One X before its release this was a must play at the conference. The game of choice was Forza Motorsport 7 and with racing games very much in vogue I was interested to see how Forza would look on the much-anticipated Xbox One X.

The demo station encompassed both normal stands (controlled with the new Xbox One X controller) and the elite driving seat stand with clutch, brake and accelerator. The driver’s seat is where I ended up. Xbox One X can be forgiven for boasting about the capabilities of its graphics because the game looks stunning. The bonnet of the cars gleam in the sunlight and the side of the track is detailed with spectators and confetti cannons. The steering on the sporty driver’s seat was extremely stiff however and I felt as though I was fighting against the horsepower of an actual racing car. Turning the wheel too far to the left to tackle a sharp bend at the wrong speed would result in you spinning out in the other direction. Any alteration to the steering leads to a sharp response from the car meaning that I spent a few seconds twisting the steering from right to left in quick succession to get the car on a straight path. The speed on Forza 7 was ridiculous and I finished the two-lap demo in just over a minute. In comparison to my VR experience yesterday I found the Forza Motorsport 7 experience more enjoyable and thrilling, but that might be because I didn’t feel nauseous afterwards! This game should definitely be pre-ordered by all racing fans ahead of its 3rd of October release date.

After lunch, I caught up with the Toxic Game team and was fortunate enough to ask them a few questions about their upcoming game, Q.U.B.E 2. My interview with artist Connor Stanley will be at the bottom of this round up. As for the game itself, I found the Q.U.B.E 2 demo to be pleasantly challenging, some puzzles made me scratch my head in confusion and then mentally scold myself once I realised the solution. The new colour palate is gorgeous with deeper hues of colour adding tone and emotion into the continuous exchange of dialogue going on between the two characters as you play.

Finally, to draw the day to a close I hopped on indie game Lost Words which is a 2D puzzle platformer with an interactive story line. Lost Words physically puts words related to the story on the screen and gets you to interact with them. These words come from your emotionally distressed character, who is suffering with grief in her family life and using books and story-telling to find an escape. I must admit that I was in awe when I was playing this, I’ve never been so impressed by the originality of an indie game story before. Frankly, I demand anyone visiting the show this weekend plays the game in the Rezzed section of EGX. I guarantee that you will not regret it!

Q.U.B.E. 2. Interview with Connor Stanley (Environment Artist)

RS – For those unfamiliar with Q.U.B.E can you simply explain it to me?

Conner – So Q.U.B.E 2 is basically a first-person puzzle game where you play as a stranded scientist. The scientist can extract cubes from the environment and bounce them off other cubes in order to solve puzzles and progress.

RS- One thing that really interested me from this game compared to Q.U.B.E is the use of colour and more intricate environments. Why did you decide to shake up the formula from Q.U.B.E’s white block environment to this intricate and in depth scenery?

Conner – Obviously with games being pushed further and further with technology we wanted our game to look stunning, so we kept the interactive blocks an edge colour whereas the floor and walls are grey or black in our demo. This colour change helps us in a numerous amount of ways; the puzzles can be quite confusing so you don’t want a lot of detail in the environment as it can throw the player off. So, what we can do is use reflections to help us make the environment seem cooler than it actually is, because in the end, it’s just made of cubes. The use of lighting as well helps make the game look good, play well and people love it.

RS – When I watched the teaser trailer I thought I saw hints of sci-fi/horror in there. Do you think that’s a fair observation?

Conner – So the game does have a very strong narrative behind it and it works hand in hand with the game. The players will have an understanding of the environment and how the universe of Q.U.B.E 2 works. Once the full game comes out, everyone will be able to experience the narrative and understand how crazy it actually is.

RS- Congratulations on breaking through in the indie scene, do you think that it’s difficult to get noticed when you’re competing against bigger titles?

Conner – Yeah so it is definitely hard to get that breakthrough moment. I think one thing to keep in mind for any developer is if you’ve gone something interesting then it will get noticed, it’s just how much work you put into it getting out there and how much you believe in it.

RS – The game looks great; do you have a release date for it yet?

Conner – We’re looking at early 2018, maybe February, maybe earlier maybe later.

RS- Thank you very much for your time.

That’s all for me today! Tomorrow I will return to the floor with a mission to fully explore the indie games there and hopefully get more interviews, cosplay and info for you guys! Keep it at Square XO for all your EGX updates!

Day one EGX coverage: http://www.squarexo.co.uk/egx-2017-day-one/
Day three EGX coverage: http://www.squarexo.co.uk/egx-2017-%C7%80-day-three/
Day four EGX coverage: http://www.squarexo.co.uk/egx-2017-%C7%80-day-four/