PAX East 2013: A Retrospective Series – Part 3

Saturday morning rolls around, and I’m totally the first one up and out the door. I was psyched to get to the BCEC early, because my friend Amanda was going to be meeting us. So exciting! We waited in the queue line so we could start the morning on the expo floor. I was on a mission. I had to get to….


That’s right. They had a huge booth and it was all like “Rawr! Come see our video!” And I wanted to get in line early, because the line was always capped every time I walked by. I was able to get in line and fortunately, the line moved pretty fast – I was only there for about an hour. They showed us a great video, about 10 minutes long, about the game, some game play, and interviews with some of the staff working on the game. They didn’t allow photos or video in the booth, as the game is still pre-alpha, but suffice it to say, it looks REALLY cool. There will be underwater environments to explore – including sunken ships, as well as underwater life. Black Flag is set in 1715 in the Caribbean islands, during the “golden age” of pirates. As such, the game’s landscape, as shown in the preview, is a magnificently and beautifully-rendered tropical island. The video featured Edward Kenway (the protagonist) walking in some of the island’s varying environments, including a sandy beach, through a coastal town with a busy harbor, and deep within a humid, dark, inland rainforest. One of the developers did share that exploration of the environments would be “key” in the game progression, but they didn’t elaborate much, which leaves us wondering…

There’s also going to be naval combat, and it will build on what was in ACIII, as Edward’s ship will be upgradable and customizable. It will also require a crew to operate and man the cannons, which will need to be recruited and maintained throughout the course of the game.  Black Flag will also feature the ability to board “virtually all” ships and accomplish your objective as you see fit.

Needless to say, I preordered the game, if only for the free shirt for my husband. But overall, the game really does look cool.

Next stop was the BioWare base, for the panel on Dragon Age: Thedas Unlocked. I have a huge respect for BioWare, and the Dragon Age team, because they really respect their fans and are interested in what they have to say. I should emphasize, they respect the fans that respect them, as any good relationship should. But they are getting ready to release a new book, a first volume, that is basically an encyclopedia of Thedas.

DSCF3572As always, the team was interesting to listen to, and very funny. I enjoyed hearing from people at Dark Horse as well as Tor Books about the role they’ve played in bringing Thedas to life for so many people. Amanda was even able to get a print for asking a question at the end of the panel, which was super cool!

She, JayRain and Bard (JayRain’s fiance) stayed at BioWare for a while, but from there, I moved on to a panel with video game music composers and their work in the industry. I was primarily interested in going because Inon Zur, Dragon Age: Origins, Awakening and DAII composer, was going to be sitting on the panel, and I was dying for a chance to see him.


From left to right: Jason Graves (Tomb Raider, the Dead Space series), Kevin Riepl (Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gears of War), Inon Zur (Fallout: New Vegas, Dragon Age 1 & II), Greg Edmonson (the Uncharted series), Jack Wall (Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Mass Effect 1 & 2), and Emily Reese, of MPR’s Top Score.

This was before the panel really got underway. Inon is the guy in the middle, looking like he’s pondering the meaning of life. Sadly, it wasn’t as exciting as I’d hope, as it was mostly just composers talking about their first projects, etc., but what WAS cool was that they were all really down to earth people. The woman on the end (with the red phone) is Emily Reese, from Minnesota Public Radio’s show Top Score. The other thing that was cool was that the panel did a signing after the talk was over, so I got all their autographs, and got my photo taken with Inon.

DSCF3582I told him the story about my daughter requesting to listen to the Dragon Age soundtrack, and he thought that was awesome! It was a fun story to tell him, too.

I tracked down my husband after that, who was leaving his panel on Dungeons and Dragons and issues that can affect the gameplay. He said it was a good panel. He and I went down to the floor after that, but then had to leave for the night. I had to go track down some food, and wanted to look for JayRain, her fiance, and Amanda. They were at the BioWare base taking part in the costume contest, but there was no way I was going to fit inside the door, so I hung out in the hall and charged my cell phone. Amanda came out to show me her teeshirt that she got for portraying the Ninth Doctor in the costume contest, as well as the photo of her and Raphael Sbarge (of Mass Effect voice acting and Once Upon a Time fame). She was ELATED at getting to meet him, and from the sounds of it, he was a really down to earth guy.

The remainder of the day was just Amanda and I hanging out, and then JayRain and I hanging out once Amanda had to leave. Bard had a Tetris Attack tournament to participate in (which he won, for the second year in a row). It was then back to the hotel for another good nights sleep – we were all pretty wiped after the day was over!



One thought on “PAX East 2013: A Retrospective Series – Part 3

  1. BioWare babes for the win!

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