EG Expo 2009: Exhibitor vox pops

The faces behind the games.

The Leeds half of the Eurogamer Expo 2009 has finished, and I jolly well hope everybody that turned up enjoyed their sneak preview of the world's biggest upcoming games. Here, however, I turn the microphone on the people whose games you were playing: the exhibitors brave enough to lay bare their unfinished products for all to fondle. You may have bumped in to one or two of them.

Ben Walker, SEGA, senior product manager - Aliens vs. Predator

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Ben Walker, who's AVP top tip was that practice makes perfect.

"You can be quite detached sometimes from the audience. Having the ability to show quality code to a hardcore audience and getting their response - that's the best barometer for any game. Everyone loves Alien vs. Predator, it's the first multiplayer showing we've done. It seems to be one of the most popular games here if not the most. Absolutely brilliant, really couldn't have asked for more."

Robin Lacey, Beatnik, producer - Plain Sight

"It's been great to just meet people who end up playing the game, because we spend a lot of time just sitting in an office, where it's just you a bunch of guys. Seeing a bunch of people enjoying it makes it a hell of a lot better than seeing it in front of the people who've been developing it the whole day. It is just good to get feedback from people, and they often spot things we haven't."

David Hayward, Pixel-Lab, project co-ordinator - Indie Arcade.

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David Hayward, an indie champion.

"You've got such a broad range of gamers on Eurogamer. You can have shows like this in small venues by themselves and they might attract very little attention, but because it's the Expo, because it's such a huge event, it's great to be a part of that - because you have so many thousands of people coming through the doors. We're not necessarily what they're expecting when they go to see God of War III, but they come through here and they find something very unusual."

Sean Murray, Hello Games, lead designer - Joe Danger.

"This is our first time doing anything like this but it's been awesome. We wouldn't have gotten an opportunity to show publicly without this. We've just had hundreds of people going through, which is pretty unique for us. Obviously other people seeing your game is something we really get nervous about having worked in a vacuum."

Ben Barraondo, NVIDIA, PR Manager for Northern Europe.

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Ben Barraondo's 3D demonstrations left jaws agape.

"It's a perfect place to really talk to people who actually play the games. The majority of the shows - E3, gamescom - it's all about the trade, the industry, which is great. But this is one of the few shows where you can actually talk to all the proper gamers out there. 3D isn't the kind of thing you can easily video or talk about, so you need to experience it. This is a great way to get it in front of everyone."

Andrew Hatch, Cryptic Studios, system administrator - Star Trek Online

"It gives us probably the best overall impression of how Europe as a whole is going to react to a new game that we're working on. With Star Trek Online we had no idea what kind of response we were going to get. It's a new genre, and because its fans span like two generations now, we don't know if can really appeal to both those kind of market in Europe. So far we've had a lot of responses, and the really interesting thing I like is that you see older people, grey-haired people walking by, take a stop and start playing a game where, for the most part, it's the younger demographic. We kind of have a nice split between kids, adults - everybody immediately walks in and goes, 'Oh, Star Trek!'."

Rob Bartholomew, Bethesda, European brand manager - Brink and others

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Rob Bartholomew: deceptively tall.

"Bethesda's still quite a new publisher, although obviously we've been developing for a long, long time. It's shows like this that we're still virgins at, in terms of talking to consumers and showing our games off in this kind of setting. So it's been a real eye opener for Bethesda personally because we can get along to something like this, show our games off first-hand to consumers and get their feedback on exactly what they're thinking and what they're otherwise playing.

"We've got some really big titles coming up like Brink, which of course we had the big developer sessions on and so far they've been really, really good. And it's been great to get that in-front of people because that's going to be a really major title for us next year. Just to hear people who are going to end up buying and playing the game in the future saying really nice things about it obviously is personally really very nice, but it makes a lot of what we battle to do everyday nice and worthwhile."

James O'Reilly, Ubisoft, group brand manager

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James O'Reilly, who's 12 per cent through Assassin's Creed II.

"It's one of the best occasions where we can actually take our games out to the gamer and get a reaction first-hand. We can take a look at what people feed back on forums - and we do - but actually giving them hands-on with our title and seeing how they react to them is just a pleasure really. They're an incredibly intelligent and well-informed audience. They're people who love their games, who are passionate and knowledgeable about them. If you can put your games in front of them and they're positive about them then it leaves you in a really good place."

Jade Tidy, Relentless Software, producer - Blue Toad Murder Files

"The Eurogamer Expo lets us bring our game out to the public and let them play it. It's been amazing: really, really good. We've had so many people coming up and playing the game, queuing to play it and chatting about it. It's been ace for us. There's been people standing around and just watching. I didn't think we'd get as much interest because people want to go play L4D2 and things like that. But we've had loads of people coming up and saying, 'I keep hearing about Blue Toad around here. What's going on? What's it all about?' It's been great."

Tom Bramwell, Editor, Eurogamer

"When I originally thought up this blog post, I didn't realise they'd all be so nice about us. Now it looks like we're just having a massive circle jerk. Nevertheless, I thought Leeds was awesome - nicest place I've been to in ages, and the only place I've ever been where a cabbie has offered me a crisp. The only thing wrong with it: Bertie's hair. Anyway, see you in London hopefully!"

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