New year, new venue and new air conditioning. There were certainly huge levels of excitement surrounding RTX’s return to Sydney for 2017.
With Rooster Teeth’s flagship entertainment expo back for a second year — this time taking place at the ICC in Darling Harbour in glorious air-conditioning, no less — Geek Bomb had the pleasure of taking in all the sights and sounds of the weekend just gone. Neek, Brad and I all attended, and here are just some of the highlights!
Hands-on with the Switch
With our media passes thankfully getting us in early on day one, we knew there was one place we immediately wanted to go: the Nintendo Switch stall. With a bright red display area showcasing the console in all its controller configurations, it was interesting to see how it compared to its predecessors. Launch title Arms showcased the two Joycon set-up, despite feeling a little finicky providing motion-based boxing combat, while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (a game I did not lose at all weekend, by the way — 5 races for 5 wins) gave a greater indication as to how the Wii U-style Gamepad set-up would affect gameplay.
The single Joycon set-up allowed for the frantic fun of 1, 2, Switch! in what was one of the most entertaining periods of the weekend. Behind five doors were some of the title’s mini-games, each showing off the new features of the controller. From cracking a safe and chowing down on some hoagies to pistols at dawn and, oddly enough, milking a cow, there was plenty of bizarre fun to be had, especially since the rooms were visible for everyone to see.
The biggest drawcard, however, was the opportunity to get hands-on with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild! Both Neek and I were able to fit some time in before the crowds (and huge lines) stampeded the booth, and we definitely liked what we saw. The game looks and feels fantastic, especially in the 1080p docked set-up, and feels very reminiscent of Zelda games gone by. I did feel that the controller peripheral’s layout for moving the camera is a bit disorienting with the right stick lower down the Joycon, but this is a small gripe for what was a promising first look at the console.
Even when the guests for RTX were announced, with a veritable who’s who of Rooster Teeth content creators, there was one special name that set tongues wagging. Enter Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, who would appear for an exclusive interview on the Saturday.
Hosted by Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller, Kojima, through the aid of a translator, opened up about his early career, his time away from game directing, the future of gaming and, of course, his upcoming title Death Stranding, which still has us scratching our heads. Brad opened up the can of worms multiple times about the game’s plot (“Is Norman Reedus in purgatory?”) but it just proved to show how masterful a creator Kojima is. A truly surreal experience for everyone, even worth spending two hours standing up for.
All about the cosplays
As with any good convention, it’s always fun to see the cosplays people have created walking around the show floor — and RTX was no exception! With plenty of creations for Rooster Teeth content, including the popular anime RWBY, there was also lots of love for Halo, with an abundance of Spartans in attendance. It’s fair to say the attention to detail was impressive, with one cosplayer even creating a minigun from an electric drill!
One of our favourite games here at Geek Bomb — Blizzard’s team-based, FPS epic Overwatch — was also strongly represented over the weekend. With plenty of Tracers and D.va’s roaming the show floor, it was a Winter Zarya and an unbelievable Thunderbird Pharah that stole the show, in my opinion. Above is just one of the photos we grabbed over the weekend.
Indie games steal the show
While much of the focus was on Nintendo’s upcoming console and to a lesser extent, the Microsoft stall showcasing the soon-to-be-released Halo Wars 2, it was certainly a weekend where the little guys flexed their creative muscle. The “Indie Zone” near the back of the convention hall housed some of the best and brightest titles from Australian and international developers. While I indulged in Blowfish Studio’s Gunscape — a build-it-yourself nod to retro first-person shooters — Brad was absolutely loving Sloclap Entertainment’s fast-paced combat RPG Absolver, as well as the frantic local multiplayer for Dungeon League. We’re hoping we can get our hands on more of these solid titles this year!
While much of day one was spent checking out all the goodies on the main show floor, day two was a chance to check out the panels being put on by the expo!
Neek managed to get a fantastic position for The RT Podcast panel, hosted by Rooster Teeth co-owner Burnie Burns, as the regular crew discussed working for the company and their most embarrassing moments. Meanwhile, I squeezed into the ZQRacing Ballroom for the madness that was Funhaus. Even after the line for the panel was capped a staggering two hours before the start of the show, causing plenty of Guardians to freak out trying to quell the massive wave of fans, the team showcased the bizarre humour that saw them gain a million subscribers in two years. From a kangaroo boxing Donald Trump to team member Lawrence Sonntag drinking a “shoey,” they crammed in plenty of wild behaviour into fifty minutes.
There was also lots to see on the main stage, some panels more successful than others. Case in point being “A Game of Knifey Spoony,” which ended up as a strange game of Quiplash. With the game devolving into dick jokes, casual Donald Trump references and plenty of “My Name Jeff,” even IGN’s Alanah Pearce had to apologise for the panel that had the unfortunate honour of following up Kojima’s Q&A.
So there were most of our big highlights for RTX Sydney 2017! It was a fantastic weekend that, while encountering some growing pains moving to a larger venue, allowed plenty of fans the opportunity to meet their internet heroes. With tons of RT shirts that could be spotted around Sydney, you could tell that the expo is growing in popularity, and we certainly hope that it sticks around for years to come.
Were you there at RTX this weekend? Let us know what you enjoyed in the comments! Make sure to also follow us on Instagram – @geekbomb – to see just some of the mayhem we encountered in Darling Harbour.