What to expect at EGX 2019
On the 17th until the 20th of October 2019, excited video games fans from across the UK and the wider world will be flocking to ExCeL London, the international convention centre based in East London to take part in one of Europe’s biggest annual gaming festivals, EGX, formerly known as the Eurogamer Expo and organised by Gamer Network.
There will be plenty of opportunities for attendees to check out the latest and upcoming highly anticipated games, with great showings from Nintendo and PlayStation, as well as several events dubbed as Experiences such as CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 and Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding. That is just the tip of the iceberg with the amount of gaming related things to do here as we’ll also see:
- Competitive esports tournaments
- Meet and greet celebrity content creators
- Discussions of gaming and games designs at panels
- Live podcast recording panels
- Careers in gaming discussions and opportunities
- Cosplay workshops and masquerades
- Retro gaming
- Tabletop gaming
- Speedrunning events – Our own WGN member InstaSim is taking part!
- And a big ole AFTERPARTY!
The most exciting part of events like this for me though, are the indie games! There will be a huge selection of independent games available within multiple zones, these are self-published games usually created by small teams on a shoe-string budget, possibly while working non gaming related jobs. Looking at the list of developers, I see at least a few which have survived purely through kickstarter and other fundraising campaigns so I can’t wait for the public to see them in action. The bigger budget indie games will be held in the REZZED Zone while we shall see smaller budget but fantastically unique games in both the Tentacle Collective Zone and the Leftfield Collection.
BUT WAIT – WHAT ABOUT THE WELSH VIDEO GAMES?
This year we will see ATLEAST 10 game developer teams migrating from Wales for EGX 2019.
This includes two teams taking part in Tranzfuser, a competitive games design competition from the minds and pockets of the UK Games Fund. Tranzfuser is a new Government scheme designed to give funding and guidance through a series of events throughout the Summer to teams from universities across the UK simulating working and surviving in the games industry. The winning team from each university, known as a “Tranzfuser Game Hub” receive the funding go on to show their final product at EGX, where the public can vote for their favourite, and the eventual winner (I think there is a private vote as well) goes on to receive a large grant to finish their game. Previous winners include University of South Wales student team Mochi Mode with their adorable cow herding game Moo Moo Move in 2017. Following their footsteps last year was Dodgebrawl from the same university, who became an instant fan favourite but unfortunately lost out on the final funding.
This year we will cheer on University of South Wales team Superiority Complex with their FPS game Recoil. I have had the opportunity to try this game on several occasions and it is a fun and unique 4 player split-screen game where you play as living, sentient guns trying to blap each other to victory. I am excited to see how far they have come since I last tried Recoil back in June, their maps are looking fantastic from the screenshots I’ve seen! University of South Wales was recognised this year by the UK Games Fund at an awards ceremony by narrowly beating out Wrexham Glyndŵr University for the “Tranzfuser Local Hub Of The Year” award.
We will also be cheering on Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s team Treasure Map Tales with their adorable 4 player brawler Bagheads. I met Treasure Map Tales last year at Level Up Wales while they were working on an environmental educational augmented reality game and it sounded brilliant. Bagheads is looking like a great 4 player party game and I can see a lot of inspiration from the likes of Gang Beasts in this.
Games Talent Wales
Recently founded by a partnership of Wrexham Glyndŵr University, University of South Wales, Wales Interactive, Tiny Rebel Games, Uk Games Fund and the Welsh Government, comes Game Talent Wales. This is a “grass-roots talent development programme” with the aims to use professional mentoring from within the gaming industry in Wales as well as development grants with the goal to create sustainable indie game studios within the country.
I love this project as it is exactly what has been needed since games development became so popular in Wales. Most game studios start by breaking off from major companies such as Ubisoft or Rockstar, and just stay local to those major studios. We are unique in Wales as there isn’t a major multi million pound game studio HQ like that here, so we need to support our indie developers more than ever, especially as it is becoming such a popular profession. Although it is fantastic to see our students move to major studios, or see major success themselves (University of South Wales’ alumni Mike Bithell has released beautifully looking John Wick Hex today at the time of this writing!) we do need to support the games developers and gaming industry within Wales through projects like this.
And with that, Games Talent Wales are hosting their own stand at EGX 2019. They are bringing 8 home-grown Welsh games studios with them, including 5 from North Wales and 3 from South Wales. You should look out for their stand and try out games by:
- Static Shell Studios
- Evil Owl Studios
- Round Squares Studios
- Define Logic
- Techtonik Games
- Mochi Mode
- Big Brain Games
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