PAX East 2016 News Round-Up

Posted by | April 25, 2016 | News | No Comments
pax east showfloor

We’ve gathered all the biggest news, announcements, and gameplay footage from PAX East 2016 in one handy post!

Gearbox Software casually announced Borderlands 3. “Obviously there’s going to be another Borderlands,” teased Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford at the “Inside Gearbox” Panel. Details are sparse. Since many of Gearbox’s main developers were on stage, they revealed Scott Kester as the art director and Mikey Neumann (voice of Scooter) as the writer. Pitchford joked that that studio may not even call it Borderlands 3. Neumann revealed that he’ll be voicing Scooter’s son, Scooper.

Gearbox also announced that two Battleborn characters, Thorn and Miko, will arrive as DLC in Rock Band 4. Rock Band 4 was on full display at the Harmonix booth and stage. Everyone that attended Harmonix’s panel received free song DLC codes. Rock Band is getting a Practice Mode in June, and a full expansion pack in the Fall. They teased “big features and the start of more free updates to come.” They confirmed their biggest and most requested feature since launch – online multiplayer!

The sequel to my personal Game of the Year in 2014, Divinity: Original Sin 2’s Larian Studios was showing off the new competitive multiplayer. The tactical combat will delight fans of tabletop wargaming. You can combine abilities to electrocute water puddles or create deadly grease fires. All this in addition to an expansive single and cooperative RPG.

The upcoming live action Warcraft film held its own panel at PAX East 2016. You can watch the full panel with Director Duncan Jones and actor Rob Kazinsky. Jones also unveiled the latest character poster featuring Draka, mother to Warcraft hero Thrall. Oh, and here’s a picture of Duncan Jones dressed as Overwatch hero McCree in a bathtub.

In other Blizzard Entertainment news, PAX East 2016 hosted a competitive Overwatch tournament. Dubbed “For the Watch,” the tournament pitted Penny Arcade creators Gabe and Tycho against each other. The Best of Five matches were presented as a full esports tournament with casters and a live audience. The action is not yet available online but you can watch Gabe and Tycho talk about the significance of the competition.

overwatchIn less fun Overwatch news, an Uber driver’s truck emblazoned with Overwatch hit a car right outside the convention center. Blizzard had commissioned several Uber drivers and vehicles as part of a grand marketing promotion. In this case it backfired a bit when Randy Pitchford, who works on Battleborn, tweeted about the accident. Battleborn is often seen as a direct competitor to Overwatch.

It wouldn’t be a gaming convention without some kind of awkward controversy. With PAX East that dubious award goes to the “Nerds Want Equality” panel. Sexism in the gaming industry is an important topic to discuss. It also requires a modicum of respect and research when it comes to all marginalized groups. In their panel, the 16 year old activist came under fire when she fielded a question dismissing trans people in gaming. You can read an explanation of her words here. In the fallout, she has deleted the group’s Facebook page.

PAX is always a great avenue for discovering new indie games. Devolver Digital’s Ruiner features a top-down, action-packed cyberpunk landscape. IGN has 15 minutes of gameplay footage. The Metronomicon cleverly combines an RPG with the scrolling notes of Rock Band. Monsters here love to dance, and heroes must harness these dance parties to cast spells. I Expect You to Die drops you into a VR deathtrap filled with puzzles. Thimbleweed Park marks adventure game pioneers Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick’s old-school return to the genre. Finally, IGN has 22 minutes of gameplay footage from Supergiant Games’ Pyre.

Eric Watson

About Eric Watson

Eric is a freelance writer who enjoys talking about video games, movies, books and Dallas-based sports teams. Every week he watches a random film from his collection of several hundred DVDs and live tweets about it @RogueWatson. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla. He lives near Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and daughter, two dogs, two cats, two fish tanks, some hermit crabs and a bookshelf full of Transformers.