Comic Con has been a haven of fandom for over three decades now and is increasingly showcasing video games along side the more traditional comics, movies and TV shows. This years convention wrapped up this past Sunday after a plethora of developer panels, demos and video footage. There’s no chance I could see everything that happened but here is some of the stuff that caught my eye:
Seeing as it’s Comic Con where better to start than with Batman: Arkham City. Come October 18th you will be gliding, grappling and fighting your way through the villainous prison city but we are still hearing about which characters you will be meeting. A new trailer focuses on an encounter between Batman and the Penguin, with a Solomon Grundy cameo, but the big character news was the inclusion of Talia al Ghul, the daughter of villain Ra’s al Ghul and onetime love interest for Batman. There’s no word on exactly how she will fit into the plot but then, who’d want to ruin the surprise?
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim made a brief appearance with a video montage of gameplay footage, a lot of which had already been shown at E3. Nevertheless videos of it have been disappearing from YouTube due to copyright claims. If you look hard enough, or maybe even just search for the words Skyrim and Comic Con you might just find it. You will see magic, swords, dragons, horses and all that you would expect from an Elder Scrolls game along with Skyrims new Wolf Kicking™ feature.
Keeping with high fantasy Snowblind showed off Lord of the Rings: War in the North with their ‘Fellowship‘ trailer, as well as a dedicated gaming truck for the public to give the game a try . GameSpot has an excellent twenty-minute demo with designer Michael de Platter that I would thoroughly recommend watching. These guys have a history of making good action-RPGs so I am allowing myself to be optimistic, the demo certainly looks fantastic.
From one war to perpetual war, Warhammer 40k: Space Marine is almost here but that didn’t deter Relic from waving the banner for it at Comic Con. Again those busy bees at GameSpot have a cracking demo with THQ Creative Manager Daniel Isaac showing off jump packs, thunder hammers and general Ork destruction. IGN also has a video covering the multiplayer and the character customisation, it wouldn’t be Warhammer without some army painting and Space Marine seems to have it covered pretty comprehensively.
If all out war isn’t your thing and you’d rather sit down for a nice chat Mass Effect 3 may well be the game for you. Unfortunately this GameSpot demo covers one of those actiony bits that you have to go through between the conversations. BioWare’s Casey Hudson still has plenty of interesting things to say though so I suppose it’s still worth a watch. The default model for the female Shephard was also put up for debate at Comic Con, six options are available on the Mass Effect Facebook page with the one being ‘liked‘ the most being put in the game. They all look pretty alike to me, and none of them even slightly resemble my Shephard so I’m abstaining, not that it will make much difference anyway as number five seems to have it all sewn up.
BioWare has guaranteed that Mass Effect 3 won’t be Gears of War in space, but what is going to be Gears of War on a planet far far away is Gears of War 3. If you have an hour to spare this lengthy developer panel will answer pretty much any question you might have about the game. Between all the backslapping and posturing over the plot you’ll see this is definitely more Gears of War, and that is certainly a good thing.
One series I am a little anxious about getting more from is Deus Ex. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is imminent and I want it to be good, I really do but I can’t help but to approach it with caution. With the original being probably one of the finest games ever made there is a weight of expectation that’s difficult for Eidos Montreal to bear, so far it seems they are treating the game with the respect its fans would like but I will reserve praise until I have had a chance to actually play. The Comic Con panel is interesting less for the information given on the game but for the background on augmentations, the real world science behind them and their applications in the world today.
Darksiders was a peculiar game in that it was fantastic despite being completely derivative. A perfect blend of genres and mechanics you’ve probably seen before with an apocalyptic flourish, rather than deride it for similarities to Zelda or God of War you can’t help but be satisfied when the result is so good. Darksiders II is coming to offer an alternative perspective on post-apocalyptic Earth with a new Horseman: Death. It’s relatively early days but we do know the RPG elements have been improved upon, there’s more hacking, more slashing, horses to ride, demons to slay and that the game will be coming to the Wii: U. So that’s exciting.
I think the opening few minutes of the Guild Wars 2 Comic Con panel succeeded more than any other in making me excited for a game. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that before watching the panel I knew very little about this game. I never played the original as I was preoccupied in Azeroth at the time, but thankfully my desire to jump around Dalaran and moan about GearScore has waned considerably and as such the free-to-play Guild Wars 2 looks increasingly attractive, literally. It’s still a way off but this looks amazing, I am now eagerly tracking it’s progress.
To finish off we’re going to splurge on Star Wars, a Comic Con favourite since 1977 still going strong in 2011, there are a couple of games to speak about. BioWare held a panel for their incredibly ambitious MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, detailing how characters will progress and have their own unique personal stories, companions and how they can be customised and a lengthy Q&A session that covers how some of the actual multiplayer aspects work. They also announced that the game is now now available for pre-order and covered some of the fancy swag you can get in the exorbitant Collectors Edition.
Not to be outdone by the increasingly impressive Old Republic, Microsoft had a lot to say about the unashamedly family orientated Kinect Star Wars. Unfortunately their big announcement centered around the release of a limited edition Xbox 360 in an R2-D2 style, complete with authentic bleeps and bloops when you power the console up. Kinect Star Wars could well be a simple, fun game for all the family but it’s still going to face the wrath of Star Wars fans and I have a feeling they are not going to be pleased.