Attending Twitch Con for the first time was truly a unique experience. It was my first convention without my team around to help cover everything, so seeing the inside of the convention center in San Jose for the first time was a little daunting, to say the least. I also walked a fine line at the event. I was an attendant primarily as media for Gaming Access Weekly but as an entertainer myself on Twitch, I had meetings on both sides of the equation. What was most important though was attending Twitch Con as a fan. Twitch has been such a huge part of my life and career since I was a teenager. I think my experiences were best summed up as “I have never felt so completely out of place while feeling completely at home.” I did not get to see everything at TwitchCon, but I will do my best to hit a lot of the major talking points here.

SplitGate: Arena Warfare

This game feels a lot like Halo, and the developers embrace that fact. The thing that sets this game apart from being perceived as just a Halo clone is its use of portals. On certain walls and objects, players can shoot a set of portals that make movement and strategies implementing them detrimental to winning a match. The gunplay was pretty solid and the team was working on several new weapons to be implemented before next years release. The only negative I pulled from the game was the range of the shotgun I felt like it needed to be toned down just a bit as I was getting killed from across hallways by it. Other than simply just sitting and watching matches was super entertaining. None of the matches I watched or participated in playing the same. The team is also planning on bringing more customization into the game. They have huge plans for cosmetics for the game and I can not wait to see everything once the game launches next year.

Remnant: From The Ashes

The developer explained this game as “Dark Souls with guns” and I can definitely see that. The demo I played pulled no punches and put me in to combat immediately. Needless to say, I was not prepared for that and died immediately. But there’s something to say for that, the game already does a fantastic job of teaching you without having to physically tell you what to do. Once I respawned I moved a lot slower in my approach to combat. It was still a fast and frantic fight but I put a lot more logic into what I did. Then a bigger tank like creature showed up and I just rolled and sprinted until I escaped with my tail between my legs. There was also a unique boss fight at the end of the demo that had that classic boss fight feel from retro games. I had to read the boss and understand their attacks in order to maneuver to a point of attack. It wasn’t just run/dodge/attack repeat based fights that I have experienced recently in games.

Scavenging materials were present in the game but it was not needed for the demo, which means next year when the game launches crafting will be a part of it. The game also features up to four player co-op and the game will increase in difficulty the higher the number of players in the game. It was moderately challenging alone, I can not wait to see what happens when more players are added to the mix. This game was almost my favorite of the show, and I am really looking forward to the 2019 release.

Earthfall: Invasion

The new Invasion update brings a horde mode to the pretty solid Earthfall foundation. I will openly say that the only reason we got so far in the demo was my partner carrying me. Seriously I should make sure his back is okay after all that heavy lifting. The Invasion update takes the fast and frantic moments where the aliens rush players in the campaign and put them on a smaller map, which is actually enjoyable. Setting up barricades, printing new weapons and communication is key to survival especially when the bigger enemies appear. It was so tense trying to run to the locked cages, cut them open and get an enemy. It was also nice to talk to the developer and see the efforts they were making to improve what they had. I hope this update brings new players to the game, it perfectly embodies that same satisfying gameplay Left 4 Dead gave us.

Two Point Hospital

Managing a hospital has never been high on my list of things I have wanted to do in life. Two Point Hospital is a fun way to bring that to mind though. Players build hospitals from the ground up and try to expand their healthcare network as far as they can in an Overcooked style map. You can unlock new areas just by getting one star in an area, and new even more humorous sicknesses arise. There was literally one that made people’s headlight bulbs and it was such a well-constructed pun I am ashamed the name escapes me. This was such a standout management style game, and talking to the developers about changes they are experimenting with have me super excited. Things like changing the appearance of buildings and the architecture itself were huge talking points for the community and the developers are working hard to make it a reality.

Total War: Three Kingdoms

This game doesn’t come out until March and I was comically bad at the warfare strategy game but I have a huge respect for the amount of attention to detail in this game. There was so much strategy in the game and almost an infinite amount of ways to form troops, implement various strategies. Generals can even get off horses and fight each other in hand to hand combat. They can also issue orders on the fly and even give area of effect buffs to soldiers nearby. Players also look over the campaigns war efforts from above in a Civilization style overseer role, controlling attacks on other Chinese territories and working to be the dominant force in the area. While I was horrible at the game I had the chance to watch on of the developers masterfully repel an ambush with ease. I can not wait for the game to release in March, so you guys can get your hands on it.

I also attended a meeting with the folks at Crytek to get my hands on Hunt: Showdown. I don’t want to go too much into it here because I am working on content for another article talking about Hunt: Showdown but as someone who is new to the game, I got hooked by it fast and I am eager for you all to get your hands on the new map and the changes coming to the game in the future.

Sadly I was not able to get anywhere near the Bethesda booth, the line was always appallingly long, but understandably so since they were showing Fallout 76. Fortnite also had a huge presence with a whole tent dedicated to the event. It featured a full Nerf warfare arena, merchandise, photo ops, mini golf, a tournament featuring some of the biggest names on Twitch, and more importantly happy fans everywhere. While I never got over across the street to Omen’s area they had a huge presence showing off tech and PUBG related events.

It was remarkable to see charities, tech, games, vendors all coming together to support each other on such a grandiose level. I spent some time talking to the lady running the St. Jude booth and I got some information on working with their charity efforts for the future. Which was fantastic because their videos of streamers meeting kids always makes me want to cry because it is so touching to see those kids smile after everything they have been through. I also had the pleasure of talking briefly to some members of DGDS who not only work to raise money for St. Jude they have also worked to raise money for Stack Up, the World Wildlife Fund, Suicide Prevention, Fuck Cancer and Anxiety Gaming. Check them out at their website.

There were also a ton of panels at Twitch Con, staff spoke about the quality of life improvements coming to the platform, for instance, moderators can now look and see when an account was made. That’s a huge step forward in battling ban evasions which is a consistent problem for streamers. Tony Hawk talked about brand establishment, Kevin Smith and Felicia Day were there. I saw Xavier Woods and Micah Burton doing D&D related shows. There was surely something there for everyone.

I’m going to take some time to gush a little bit here. I met so many people I have considered friends and colleagues for the first time at TwitchCon. Streamers I’ve raided, watched, and become fans of all under one roof. It was amazing and wonderful and so many more emotions. It was so heartwarming to see creators of all sizes getting their fair share from the event. Artists and creative streamers were shown off in the Artist Alley, Cosplay was everywhere, personalities had meetups and meet and greets. There was even a place to get really well done temporary tattoos (also one place to get real ones) at the Sea of Thieves booth. Everyone was so nice and it felt like one huge family get together and I hope I have the privilege to attend the event next year.