This year's EGX, the UK games festival formerly known as the Eurogamer Expo (and run by our parent company Gamer Network, disclosure fans), will be the first opportunity to play Ubisoft's 2016 juggernaut The Division in the UK, it has been announced. By which I mean, the guys a couple of desks away have told me.
The September 2015 show - which will be the first to take place at Birmingham's NEC after the untimely demise of our previous home, London's Earls Court - will also step up its eSports ambitions by hosting a major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament organised by Gfinity, with a $100,000 prize pot.
It's all starting to get a bit real!
The Division, developed by Sweden's Massive (and other Ubi studios, including Reflections in the UK) and due for release in March next year, is Ubisoft's play in the burgeoning area of console-friendly persistent games, or shared world games, or new-wave MMOs, or whatever you'd like to call them - a genre currently dominated by Destiny. It's an online third-person action game in which players team up to reclaim a post-disaster New York City, or scrap over loot in the mass-PVP Dark Zones. (Tom tried out Dark Zones at E3.) Many years in the making and somewhat delayed, The Division is one of the most ambitious games in development anywhere right now - so it will be fascinating to see how it shapes up and how players respond to it on the EGX show floor.
Also playable at EGX will be Ubisoft's 2015 big hitters Assassin's Creed: Syndicate and Rainbow Six: Siege, both due out in October. Syndicate is the cor-blimey-luv-a-duck Victorian London edition of the popular historical action series, while Siege updates the much-loved tactical shooter with its online hostage scenarios. Mike from Outside Xbox is a fan.
This will also be the biggest EGX to date by far for eSports. Promoter Gfinity is bringing four top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams - fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team EnvyUs and Virtus Pro - to the show. Over the weekend of 26th and 27th September, they will compete for a $100,000 prize pot in the Gfinity Champion of Champions event. On the Thursday and Friday, eight StarCraft 2 players will compete live in the Gfinity Summer Masters. We expect a clean fight.
Also confirmed for EGX this year: playable Just Cause 3, tons of indie games including the famed Indie Megabooth, and cosplay, Capcom Pro Tour and Dota 2 events. You can of course expect many more major playable games to be announced between now and the show, and the usual roster of developer sessions.
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