What do you do when GamesCom is really full? The answer is that you don’t go to GamesCom. As the expo took in 62,000 people organisers closed it off to any more people, only letting new people in as others came out. After battling a morning of particularly battering illness, I met Mat at around 11am to see if there was any chance of playing some videogames. There weren’t.
After grabbing a drink, it became pretty clear that things became too busy. If you hopped onto VG24/7 on Saturday, you might have seen a photo of the inside of the GamesCom halls: I’d taken the snap quickly while journeying down from the café and it went viral. Not bad for something I might not have even taken, but that’s the internet for you, right?
The earlier illness was still taking its toll so Mat and I made straight for the door and jumped the tram back to the hotel.
GamesCom ended as an event for us on day four, but the work won’t end for a while. The entire crew rendezvoused back at the hotel after resting up – something we hadn’t actually done all week, I should add – and stole a business room in which to record our EA Community Podcast, which should hopefully be with you not long after this diary. The six of us – that would be yours truly, Mat, Rax, Tom, Adam and Joe – spent just short of an hour discussing the five biggest EA games of the show, before picking our favourite titles. There are probably a few surprises to be found, as well as some neat insights into Gamescom itself.
By the time that was done (a lot of quality in 50 minutes, by the by) it was time to suit up, or at least have a wash, and head to the side of the Reine for a beach party with everyone EA; one final farewell before we left Cologne.
It’s at parties like these you realise how many people are involved in making this sort of thing happen: about 400 Bioware employees (might have exaggerated that a bit), several international EA reporters and PR agents and a lot more people in between. It was great to get to talk to a lot of these people – and propose a Mass Effect karting and chess spin-off to Bioware’s Evil Chris Priestly for once the trilogy is complete – and I’ll be the first to say that I genuinely felt like part of a great big family, despite the fact I was only invited to join it for a week.
There was a definite air of irony as we headed to another party, because this one was hosted inside the halls of Gamescom themselves. That said, I stayed for about as long as I managed during the day, since there was a plane seat with my name on the next morning. That’s something I’d rather not miss, which you might understand?
Either way, my final day of Gamescom ended with not much gaming being done, but with feeling like part of a big family. That’s probably half of what the games industry is actually about: yes, there’s definitely some videogames in there somewhere, but the forces that drive those games undoubtedly help make them as good as they are. I got a taste of what that family is like at Gamescom, and sitting with my Subway sandwich at 2.30am with a flight merely hours away, I really hope I get to witness it again for myself.
There’s still plenty more previews to come here at www.EA.com/UK but as for diary entries, that’s me just about done. Unless you want to hear about my supersonic taxi ride to the airport on unrestricted autobahn…but nah: you don’t want to hear about that.