Seattle – Canadian presence will be strong at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo. Studios showing off upcoming titles will include Bioware and EA, Klei Entertainment, Ubisoft, Hot Head Games and Relic Entertainment. Other Vancouverites include Vancouver Film School and Game Design Expo, Simon Fraser University and Swell Games.
Bioware’s Senior Technical Designer Jason Booth will be presenting a session on Why Winning Sucks tonight at 7pm in the Raven Theatre, then at 9pm in the Wolfman Theatre, Tyler Black (Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, BC Children’s Hospital) will be presenting a session called Psychiatry, Video Games, and Kids – The Science, The Opinions, and the Lies. Hot Head Games’ Deirdra Kiai will be a panelist in Saturday’s Girls and Games: The Growing Role of Women in the Game Industry session, which takes place in the Unicorn Theatre at 10:30am. Bioware Co-founder Greg Zeschuk and Silicon Knights President Dennis Dyack will be participating in the Medium is the: Story Matters session at 1pm in the Serpent Theatre. Later on Saturday evening Klei Entertainment CEO Jamie Cheng will be presenting Creating an Xbox Live Arcade Game in the Wolfman Theatre at 6pm.
At 7pm, PAX goers can attend the session I’ve Just Been F#$%ing Fired”: How To Get Back Into the Industry On Your Own Terms Through Mobile Game Development, featuring a full panel of “north of the 49th” speakers: Jake Birkett (Lead Designer, Big Fish Games Vancouver), Tyler Sigman (Consulting Design Director, Big Sandwich Games), Matt Toner (CEO, Zeroes 2 Heroes Media), Nis Bojin (Program Manager, playWRITE) and Brian Zubert (Senior Application Development Consulting – Mobile Gaming, Research in Motion).
On Sunday morning, Relic Entertainment will be unveiling a new play mode for Dawn of War 2 called The Last Stand. Attendees can attend a post-mortem panel discussion in the Raven Theatre at 11:30am. At 1pm in the Serpent Theatre, Hot Head Games Programmers Nels Anderson and Deirdra Kiai will be participating in a discussion about Murder, Sex & Drugs. Art Institute Vancouver alumni Lani Blazier who is now living in Seattle and working as an Associate Producer for NCSoft’s Aion will be speaking as part of the Aion panel.
Ubisoft Montreal will be presenting a live on-stage demo for their upcoming titles Assassin’s Creed 2 and Splinter Cell Conviction in the Main Theatre on Friday evening, and there are new teaser trailers up on Ubisoft’s YouTube channel featuring in-game footage.
Bioware and LucasArts will be presenting Star Wars: The Old Republic in the Main Theatre on Sunday morning at 11:00am. Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins will also have a very strong presence at PAX, and judging from their team twitters, they had a great time at the Microsoft Games for Windows event held at the Redmond Campus on Thursday. Dragon Age fans can also look forward to a new 8-part web comic from Gabe and Tycho featuring the characters of Dragon Age. The first page has already been added to the DA:O site.
Don’t forget to check out The Peregrine Gaming Glove and ZBoard’s new Aion Keyboard Set and mouse pad. As we reported earlier this week, The Pergrine was developed in Lloydminster, Alberta. ZBoard is a Canadian company which was recently purchased by SteelSeries. Co-designed with NCsoft ® Corporation, Aion’s publisher and developer, the limited edition gear provides customized functionality and original artwork from the game that allows players to battle and quest with ease into Aion’s breathtaking world of Atreia.
Victor Lucas and Scott Jones from Electric Playground will also be lurking around the conference site. Say hi if you see them, but don’t ask Victor about game recommendations – his answers usually lead to game addictions. Fable 2 is a prime example.
Village Gamer will not be attending this year’s PAX due to family commitments over on Vancouver Island, but we’re certainly looking forward to hearing the reports about this year’s expo from all of our friends who are there. Maybe they’ll even bring us some swag, just because they’re awesome friends and feel our pain in not being able to be there in person.