Editorial: London Comic Con 2014

I should have invaded the stage.

League of Legends matches were played throughout the weekend.

Well, it has been a couple of years since I last wrote up my experiences of the UK arm of America’s favourite convention. It looked to be a great day too, what with the English weather being particularly pleasant for almost a week prior to the event. Sadly though, on the day the heavens opened and the classic British weather took hold. This would not have been too bad had the organisers chosen to keep the convention layout roughly the same as previous years, with people entering through the front before queuing to collect their wristbands. Instead, all the attendees were herded past the front doors, around the building to a side door where those with priority passes were allowed to enter. Sadly, anyone hoping to buy tickets on the day had to wait in the pouring rain.

Warm and dry, I had some time to kill before the convention area opened its door, so I decided to take a look at some of the cosplay on show. On my last visit, there were many Final Fantasy characters to be seen, especially women dressing up as either Lightning or her sister Serah (XIII-2 having been released earlier that year). This time around, League of Legends characters seemed to dominate the wardrobes of the gaming community. Perhaps this was because Comic Con was hosting an ESL invitational during the weekend. I decided to check out the first match of the day, and sure enough, the area quickly filled up with LoL fans and continued to be packed for the rest of the day.

League cosplay selphies.

League of Legends cosplay seemed to overtake Final Fantasy in terms of popularity this year.

I took the opportunity to investigate the various gaming booths while the convention was still relatively quiet. While there was no booth babes trying to sell games to young males, there were a good many games playable on the show floor, including Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn, Evolve, Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection, and Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl. The last two were part of an NIS America booth that also help a pop-up shop selling their various games, including Mugen Souls Z which had only been released the previous day. Nintendo also had a shop on the premises displaying wares that usually had to be bought through their website. In a move that should surprise nobody, Nintendo did not have any of the online-only goods to sell to the public, instead offering them a device upon which they could place an order for delivery.

I did join a fairly short queue (and by short I mean an hour and a half) to try the upcoming MMO, Transformers Universe. Having a had a quick peek behind the curtain that attempted to hide the game from the rest of the show, I could see two teams battling in a PvP match. I asked one of the promoters whether the game was more like World of Warcraft or League of Legends in its style of play. The response was typical for a game that is trying to avoid being labelled; he told me the game fit into neither category. In his attempt to explain the game to me, he described World of Warcraft EXACTLY (questing, PvE, PvP). When I called him on this he admitted he had never actually played Warcraft before. Developers, when someone promotes a game, make sure that person knows who the competition is.

The twenty minutes that I was able to spend with Transformers was actually quite enjoyable. The game is browser-based, but fully 3D. This is not surprising given that it is made by Jagex who also developed Runescape. The demo was a single PvP match between two teams of four players. Eight of us were allowed into the booth and offered a computer each, then we were thrown straight into the action. While a team consists of four people, each player has a small army of bots to chose from, allowing any team to alter their makeup as conditions change. The map was fairly large, but each bot can also transform into a vehicle to cross terrain fairly quickly. The downside to becoming a vehicle is that the player is unable to attack until they transform again. The top player of the winning team was given a free t-shirt, which sadly I missed out on by a few points.

Brian Fargo sold his left arm to fund Wasteland 2. True story.

Brian Fargo came to London himself to promote Wasteland 2.

The rest of my time was spent watching presentations for Lords of the Fallen and Wasteland 2. Unfortunately, the convention was fairly packed by this time and phones began to have problems sending information. It was a shame, as otherwise Lusipurr would have been able to read my thoughts of the two games live on the podcast. The Lords of the Fallen talk had a rocky start when hardware issues prevented the game from loading, even then it crashed when it first booted up! Lords is an action RPG that focuses on player skill. While the developer did not think the game was for the hardcore, he did think that people would need about ten attempts to beat the first boss. Fights are mostly about studying enemy behaviours and attacking while an enemy vulnerable. It is a linear single player game that should require about forty hour to complete, but it was suggested that it could take twice as long should a player choose to explore the world.

Most people will have heard of Wasteland 2 as it is one of the high profile Kickstarter games, collecting over $3 million in funding. Brian Fargo himself came out to represent inXile Entertainment and explain just what had come from collaborating with the fans. Wasteland 2 is the sequel that Fallout 2 should have had. The game looks and plays very much like it, only the player has a squad of characters rather than an individual. The big reveal of the presentation was the opening cinematic for the game. Fargo explained, that as the fans preferred to have fewer cinematics in the game, he had tried to produce it for as little as possible. This involved hiring a small team to record people in the California Desert during Wasteland Weekend. The event is a four-day post-apocalyptic festival held each year, and meant the team did not have to spend money on costumes as each person was already dressed appropriately!

That concluded my day at Comic Con. Is there anything else you would like to see in con write ups? Would you like to read more about any of the games mentioned in this article? Would you like to read about conventions more often, or not at all? Let me know in the comments!

1 comment on “Editorial: London Comic Con 2014”

  1. How can it REALLY be a gaming convention without booth babes?

    LoL cosplay undermines my residual faith in gamers as a group. They are now wholly worthless. Time for the purge.

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