GDC Impressions

I just got back from the 2004 Game Developer’s Conference. The conference went well, though I was less excited with it as I have been in previous years. I was able to attend a few very good game design talks and one or two interesting technical talks (I am a programmer by trade).

At the expo, Sony had Resident Evil Outbreak and Siren running. Both games were very difficult to see thanks to the angle of the lights on the LCD displays, but I played a bit of them anyway. My initial impression of Siren is good: the mission-based structure is a new addition to this genre, the controls seem solid, and sightjacking is freaking awesome. I also became aware that I need to play this in my home and not next to a bunch of people standing around Taiko no Tetsujin, as the repetitive thumping of the drum controller put a damper on Siren’s dark mood.

My biggest surprise with RE: Outbreak was the control scheme. Perhaps I just didn’t notice last time I played the game a year ago, but the controls at GDC were camera-centric! Being as used to the RE classic “Tank Control” model as I am, I had a very difficult time moving the characters around. I checked the options screen for alternate control setups, but the only customizations available seemed to be the button mappings. Perhaps a classic control option will be available when the game ships in the US on April 1st. In related Outbreak news, it looks like the game will be shipping without online support in Europe this September. Disappointing for our European friends indeed.