The 2018 Game Developers Conference was a week long convention that allowed game developers a professional insight into the industry along with a chance to check out the latest trends. At the same time, many studios would showcase their latest titles. The event took place during the week of March 19th until March 23rd at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
8Bit/Digi was there to cover the event and to gain some insight from professionals in the industry. After a week of learning from industry experts and meeting new people, these are the highlights during our time at the GDC.
The Expo Floor
The expo floor had a good number of studios and publishers setup who wanted to share their work while also on the look out for new talent. Each booth allowed guests to learn about the company and the projects they are working or sample a demo of their upcoming game. Here are some of the booths and setups that got my attention during the week.
Epic dominated the GDC Expo floor thanks to their massive Fornite setup that was literally the center of attention. This was less of an exhibition and more of an excuse for people to kick back and relax. Guest could enjoy a cold beer and play a game of Fornite or watch the many Twitch stars who were playing live during the convention. The brave were offered the challenge to ride a mechanical lama and win a prize if they could last more then 25 seconds.
Oculus and PlayStation were back again with a solid show of force on the Expo floor with each powerhouse wanting to demonstrate their hardware. Oculus allowed attendees to try the Oculus Go for the first time while Sony had a booth setup to try some PlayStation VR titles.
Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) was there to highlight some of the best games being developed in South Korea. The booth had a verity of games from VR shooters to mobile titles and browser based RPG’s.
Retro Games was a special section dedicating to sharing the history of gaming with the support of the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, MAGFest, and the Digital Game Museum. Attendees got to learn some gaming history or play some classic titles from back in the day. As an added bonus, Super Souls Bros, was there to play some old school gaming songs.
Amazon had a major presence wanting to demonstrate the work that Twitch and GameSparks are doing. One such new innovation was the Twitch Drop, a means to promote viewer engagement bu having the audience vote to give free in-game support to players. Other tools that were being showcased allowed developers to measure how their games are doing on Twitch.
Following their successful presence during the VRDC, Anzu.io was back to offer a more comprehensive look into how their system could help developers monetize in-game advertising. Their system has changed a lot since September and they are working to offer publishers a way to monetize from in-game advertising.
Ubisoft was back with their own personal booth on the second floor of the Moscone West Hall. This year they were focused on promoting Far Cry 5 and sharing the story behind bring this new world to life. This was also a great opportunity to learn more about the company and to get some insight into their community development plan.
Games Career Seminar
This was a series of panels that were held on Friday that offered attendees guidance on how to break into the game industry. The panels offered insight into the challenges people will face when trying to find the right career path along with the hardships that come with trying to go independent. This was a must attend panel for anyone who has just graduated from college or had limited skill sets.
Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards
The Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards was an opportunity for the industry to honor the best works of 2017. You could learn more about the award show from our coverage here.
The Game Developers Conference is not just about understanding the latest trends in the industry but also a chance to play some upcoming titles. During the week, I got to try some amazing games that are set to launch or are coming soon,
One of the first games I got to try out was 60 Parsecs!. This narrative driven survival titles has players manage a space voyage while trying to keep the crew alive. The title featured rogue elements while also having a great sense of humor with the artwork and dialogue.
I tried Evasion back at VRDC 2017 and since then it has undergone a lot of changes. New classes were introduced and the style of movement had become a choice between free roaming or zapping. The locomotion had also be altered to allow players to have a sense free motion without messing with their senses.
Arizona Sunshine – Dead Man DLC was a VR shooter that has players attempt to survive a zombie pandemic. In the demo, I had to escape a military base that has been overrun with zombies while using my limited resources to survive.
Far Cry 5 was available at both the PlayStation booth and the Ubisoft Lounge at Moscone West. There was a mission but I basically spent the time exploring the map and causing havoc for the PEGS. If you’re a Far Cry fan then this is definitely a game one should pick up at launch.
Bomber Crew is a squad based bomber simulator that was a major hit on the PC and is now coming to the consoles. I got the chance to try it out for the Nintendo Switch, which features several new changes for console gamers. During the demo, I got to participate in a mission then try some of the mimi-games.
Following its successful launch on the PC, Warhammer: Vermintide II is set to come to the consoles sometime before the Summer. The team at FatShark have taken the concept of Left 4 Dead and incorporated into the world of Warhammer. In the demo that was available, players choose between two classes and then lead a party against an army of orcs that are laying waste to a city.
Sinner is what happens when you take the ascetics along with difficulty curve of Dark Souls and combine it with Shadow of the Coleuses. This hack and slash game has players battling a single boss in each level while progressing in what ever order they want. The game is set to be released for all major consoles sometime in Summer 2018.
GDC Film Festival
Returning for a second year, the Game Developers Conference Film Festival featured a special screening of several documentaries that either showcase or highlighted the culture of video games. Here are some of the films that I got to check out:
Touching Sound is a 2017 film that tells the story of the influence that DJMAX TECHNIKA had on the gaming industry. This was an insightful documentary that looked into how one title (despite all the hurdles it faced) help redefine the industry.
The Lost Arcade is a 2015 documentary film that was directed by Kurt Vincent and produced by Irene Chin. The film looks at the influence of the Chinatown Fair arcade has had on the gaming community of New York City and how it continues to thrive despite the many changes that have impacting the gaming industry.
Off-Site Mixers and After Party
Given the significance of GDC, there were plenty of off-site after parties and mixers to checkout. For anyone who wants to break into the game industry, these are the places to go just to meet the right person. Here are a few that I got to check out:
The best way to start the GDC week is with some good food, meeting new friends and playing some amazing games. That was the atmosphere at the Polish Party, a mixer that allowed the media and special guests to network with some of the most prominent developers from Poland.
ID@Xbox Party was a special mixer that allowed indie developers to showcase their upcoming titles for the Xbox One. Members of the press got to check out some ambitious titles that offered a verity of experiences.
There was a good chance that one of the events that guests attended was hosted by Level Up Entertainment. On Tuesday; I got to check out the GDC XPerience Networking Mixer at the Hotel VIA followed by the GDC XPerience After Party at Hawthorn. On Thursday, the GDC XPerience Mixer + After Party at Temple Night Club was the place to be.
Did you attend the Game Developers Conference 2018? If so then please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: GDC provided 8Bit/Digi with press passes for the week.