This week is the Develop Conference in Brighton. A good few of my colleagues are going down to take in the talks, present a topic or two, and more than likely have a beer in a bar overlooking the beach. It’s quite understandable why they go; with tracks on coding, design, production, art, business and audio the conference is aimed squarely at them.
On the flip side, why Eurogamer, Videogaming247 and a host of other European sites are drawn to Brighton is harder to pin down. Are they bedroom coders eager to hear just what Andrew Ostler has to say on Human IK Middleware? Maybe they’re frustrated artists, waiting to hang on the every word of the LittleBigPlanet Art Director? Or could it possibly be that they’re hoping for a scoop?
It’s already happened to GDC; with the passing of E3 some years ago the media were intent on fixing their searchlights squarely on another event which captured the razzmatazz and spectacle of the gaming industry. They wanted big stages, big announcements and big stories and whilst GDC seems to have succumbed slightly it seems to have for the most part resisted the temptation. Not a year goes by without rumour of Triple A unveilings or exclusivity deals going on behind the scenes but for the most part it has kept to what it was originally intended: a game developers’ conference.
Develop is not on quite the same scale as GDC but still gains attention for the European press. Many highly regarded studios are represented in some way, shape or form during those few days in Brighton meaning it’s only natural that it would garner a few column inches, but does the average gamer actually expect anything from it? There may be an inadvertent word here or a rumour that could make its way out but on the whole it’s doubtful. I will personally be very surprised if anything other than look backs, post-mortems or technical reviews lead the headlines.