There’s no official PAX Australia this year, with COVID-19 merging the show into PAX Online instead. But there are plenty of Australians and Kiwis taking part in this year’s virtual gaming convention, including the makers of Cyberpunk 2020, DayZ and the OG himself, Tony Hawk.
Running from September 13 to September 21, PAX Online — a combination of PAX Australia and PAX West — will run as a digital event focusing on traditional panels, livestreamed performances and various online tournaments. It’s the latter that Tony Hawk will appear in, providing commentary for a Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 event alongside skating photographer Atiba Jefferson.
On the Cyberpunk front, Mike Pondsmith will be this year’s keynote speaker. Pondsmith is the creator of Cyberpunk 2020 and has been working closely with CD Projekt Red on Cyberpunk 2077 from the beginning, being first wheeled out in 2012 at a CD Projekt Red conference when the RPG was first announced. His address will air on 3:15am AEST on Sunday, September 13, although for Australians the keynote will be rebroadcast at 8:00pm that night for easier viewing.
Sid Meier, the legendary creator of Civilization, will go over his gaming career in a panel, while a special edition of Game Maker’s Notebook will be recorded live with Insomniac Games’ Ted Price (Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart) and Sucker Punch Productions’ Brian Fleming (Ghost of Tsushima).
Other highlight events and panels for PAX Online include:
- Chaosium Creator’s series: Three RPGs from Chaosium. Three of their biggest settings: Call of Cthulhu, 7th Sea and Runequest. Three of the games’ creators and writers running live games for some amazing players.
- The Lyrical: From Games to Gigs: A live concert from amazing Brisbane-based musician, Karl Smith, playing a dynamic set of music inspired by a lifelong love of games.
- A Long Time Ago: A History of Star Wars Games: Since 1982, Star Wars has been letting us play in a galaxy far, far away. Join us as we discuss some of the classic Star Wars games showcasing the good, the bad and the bantha poodoo.
- DIY Robot Overlord: How does AI really work? In this session, game developers from Tasmania’s Secret Lab (Night in the Woods) and academics will reveal what genuine AI is. How machine learning works, and how the rise of our machine overlords might still be a few decades away yet… as we train a real, actual AI to play a game.
- Press X to SCIENCE! Can the biggest questions in science be solved by gamers? How can video games make us better scientists? Why are experts prescribing Dungeons and Dragons to their patients? Catch some SCIENCE! with Tim, Megan, and Phill as they bring their contagious enthusiasm from Australia to PAX Online!
- How Performances Bring Game Icons To Life: Australia’s Jono Pech hosts Jennifer Hale and Yuri Lowenthal to learn about turning words on a page into an immersive gameplay narrative.
- Survival of the Fittest: DayZ to Battle Royale to Icarus: Join DayZ creator Dean Hall and Battle Royale pioneer Brian Hicks as they chart the past, present and future of the survival game genre. Featuring never-before-shared lessons from DayZ the mod, early Battle Royale tournaments like the Survivor Games and the upcoming Icarus, these industry veterans will explore the technical, development and gameplay barriers the genre faces.
- Play it Again: Preserving Australia’s Game History: The 1990s was an important era in Australian game development, with technological innovations such as Full-Motion-Video and motion capture helping to shape a new generation of games. This panel will discuss the Play it Again ARC project, whose aims are to collect and preserve iconic titles from the era.
The organisers also announced this morning the games for the PAX Indie Showcase. The selection was made from “over 350 indie games available on Steam”, and include some Australian bangers like Unpacking:
- Anew: The Distant Light
- Boyfriend Dungeon
- Gone Viral
- HyperBrawl Tournament
- JUSTICE SUCKS: RECHARGED
- Later Alligator
- Polter Pals
- Ring of Pain
- Stronghold: Warlords
- Swapette Showdown
- The Last Cube
- TopplePOP: Bungee Blockbusters
For more PAX Online info, head to the official website.
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