Yes! Affordance was in LA June 14-16 at the gigantic Los Angeles Convention Center for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) last week! We sent our co-founder David Duguay as our ambassador for the event. Upon his return from his mission in distant lands, he told us his tale with great enthusiasm. Here’s his story…
At 12pm on Tuesday the 14th, I joined up with the Quebec delegation to start out on my adventure. First, we explored the new Zelda game at the Nintendo VIP booth space. It was decorated with life-size replicas of the game characters and beautiful background banners. Nintendo really achieved its objective in immersing people in the world of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It made me feel like I was part of the game!
Also in the booth, there were game consoles and screens to give visitors a chance to check out the game for at least 30 minutes per trial. My rating: Buy the game! With an expansive and beautifully rendered open-world, Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the biggest game Nintendo has ever developed according to its producer Eiji Aonuma in an interview with Gamespot.
The game starts a little bit like Fallout 3. Link wakes up from a long slumber and discovers a vast world that is wide-open to exploration. The graphics are breathtaking. The climbing mechanic really allows you to climb any vertical surface: trees, mountains, walls, etc. And the open world lets you go anywhere and do anything.
By being free of some of the most common spatial constraints of many other open-world games, the player is driven to think differently. In short, Zelda: Breath of the Wild seems to be up to the expectations. After this first impression, I can’t wait to see if the story will be as good as the gameplay. We will find out when the game is released in early 2017.
After trying out Zelda, I had multiple chances to check out different virtual reality (VR) devices. VR also dominated the GDC in San Francisco that we attended back in December. Despite the long lines which ended up taking on average 2.5 hours, I was able to try out the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. They were well worth the wait! Unfortunately, because time was limited and the lines were really just too long, I could only stare with envy at Oculus Touch controller, the VR Fallout Experience and the PlayStation VR. Everyone testing them, though, looked to be having a great time!
It was amazing to see the incredible excitement for games from Quebec studios like Red Barrels’Outlast 2,and Compulsion Games’We Happy Few. In fact, We Happy Few was in fifth position for the most popular E3 games. It’s the only Xbox game that was on the list and Compulsion Games was the top studio on the list in terms of popularity for the entire expo. Needless to say, there was a long line to try out both of these games. By the way, We Happy Few has been lauded by many criticsand has been compared to Bioshock, frequently referred to as one of the best games in the genre.
Fun fact: I met the amazing Tim Schafer, master game designer, in front of an Airheads Candy board where we proceeded to get into a very deep and philosophical discussion about candy. Unfortunately, there was not enough time for a selfie because Mr. Shafer was called away for a meeting. I did manage to get a picture of his hand though! In case you didn’t know, Shafer and his studio, Double Fine, raised $3.3 million for their kickstarter goal, surpassing their original goal of $400,000 by just a little…
After two long and busy days at the LA Convention Center, it was time for some private parties organized by the studios! I went to a few but the best one by far was organized by Eidos for their next game Deux Ex: Mankind Divided. The location was a downtown garage which had been transformed to look underground, a little trashy and definitely futuristic. A great place to get a beer. And a great “coup de marketing” as we say in French!
I was also lucky enough to get the chance to visit the Warner’s Brothers studio where I saw the sets for some of my favorite television shows and films including Friends, the Big Bang Theory, Gravity and Harry Potter. I also took a tour of the Google Venice, which is supposed to be a “small regional office” for the company. It turned out that the place was huge! There was a gym, a large cafeteria, game rooms, a massage therapy center … and a few places to work too. You can’t go twenty-five steps without running into another coffee machine. This is my new dream office!
My adventure ended on a high note with a friendly diner in the company of some great Quebecois indie game developers also attending E3. It was a great way to cool down before the flight back home. What a great way to relax before taking the red eye back to Montreal. Thanks to theBoard of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, to the Alliance Numérique, and to the rest of the Quebec delegation for this great trip!