As the final day of E3 drew to a close, my head and hands were stiff from the constant note taking during detail-heavy interviews. I had just finished my second to last appointment–an exciting though thoroughly exhausting tour through the Disney booth. I was happy to escape the insanity of South Hall as my pain-laden legs trudged towards my final commitment. Daedalic Entertainment was my destination, a German software development and publishing company whose meeting room was tucked away in an oft-forgotten section of the Convention Center. I was nervous and intimidated entering the Concourse Hall, a separated section filled with walled-in cubicles for smaller exhibitors, knowing I would be unable to stealthily slip away in the crowd should the interview turn sour. As I approached the door to Daedalic's designated room, however, I was greeted with a warmth I did not expect.
The developers invited me into their world, a cramped area with folding chairs that felt more comfortable than the beanbag seats in the Media Hospitality room. It wasn't the material that made this room relaxed but the peaceful atmosphere instilled by the smiles of the Deutschland devs. I was offered a cold beverage before the presentation. Of course, I kindly traded in my Coke when I realized they also had Beck's German beer. Had Daedalic been my first appointment on the first day of E3, I likely would have kept my soda, but I had worked hard, and since this was my final assignment (a shuttle bus would be waiting for me afterwards), my conscience had no quarrel with me loosening my belt.
Yet, as I sat with my notebook in one hand and a beer in the other, I was assaulted with the unsavory side of my profession sitting three feet across from me: another journalist, but one who couldn't find the decency to get off his phone so the presentation could commence, and when he finally did so, kept it laid on his thigh so he could check texts every five seconds. He abruptly left halfway through the appointment with a less than sincere thanks. I'm not one for cursing, but at that moment my insides were shouting every profanity imaginable. Yet in that flash of hatred, my resolve to be even more polite and enthusiastic cut right through the tension that exited the room.
As I listened to these two gentleman from Daedalic talk passionately about their creation, I was struck by the complete disconnect between smaller developers and the behemoths in the South and West Hall. I was not simply another journalist invited onto the exclusive second floor plateau of Activision or Electronic Arts, mingling with executives and casting sneers down at the lowly attendees scurrying around the floor below. Nor did I feel like the beer in my hand was a reward for my backstage pass, handed down by developers with the goal of catering to my base desires in exchange for positive press. With Daedalic, it was about extending a hand of friendship and allowing us to join in the celebration of their accomplishments.
Watching the demonstrations of Memoria and Goodbye Deponia, two of the company's upcoming point-and-click adventures, the relationship between the men and their creations was clear. They weren't feeding me groundbreaking features; they didn’t go on about how their titles were revolutionary and better than the competition. It wasn't about real-time global illumination and sixty frames per second. Instead, they looked like proud parents doting on their children. They wanted these games to have their own voice, rather than simply conforming to the cool group. They spoke with genuine love for the entire project, as opposed to a team member gloating about their individual contributions. At that moment, nothing else at E3 mattered. The PS4 and Xbox One were faint memories in my head. I was not excited about getting my hands on Watch Dogs or partaking in a sixty-four-player co-op mission at the Battlefield 4 booth. Daedalic had won my heart, and they did it with nothing more than kindness and sincerity.
The people at Daedalic are making great titles, and they deserve more than being brushed aside simply because they aren't making a AAA shooter or survival horror game. Perhaps you're not a fan of point-and-click adventures, but chances are you know somebody who is–a parent, a cousin, or even a friend too shy to admit it. So go on Steam, search for Daedalic, and break away from your daily gaming grind. Let your friends and family know about them, or better yet, part with twenty dollars and send a game as a gift.
Closing out the Expo with Daedalic was the best possible finish I could have imagined. Not only was I treated to a cordial showcase of their upcoming titles, but I feel like I genuinely made new friends. The mission for my first E3 was to make the absolute most of my time there. I may be called naive by jaded journalists, but should I have the privilege of attending this event in the years to come, I will continue to open doors for people, find new friends in the cafeteria, and give every developer the same enthusiasm and respect--no matter their clout. Thank you Daedalic Entertainment for confirming my personal belief that games don't have to be about leaderboards and next-gen graphics; they just have to be made from the heart.
Senior Contributing Writer