With the con season winding down, it’s time to plan for next year. With tickets on sale and dates announced, PAX South will be kicking off the 2019 convention rotations in San Antonio, TX from January 18th to 20th at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. If you haven’t heard of PAX or the Penny Arcade Expo, it is a festival for “gamers to celebrate gaming culture.” We’ve covered PAX South in the past and 2019 marks a milestone for the tabletop and video game event, year five.
This year’s keynote will be delivered by Cory Barlog. But why does that name sound familiar? Barlog is the game director for one of the biggest games of 2018, God of War (2018) from Sony Santa Monica Studio. Not only was he the game director for this newest installment in the franchise but he also served as lead animator on the original God of War in 2003.
After that, he continued Kratos’ story in God of War II as both writer and director of the project which resulted in a BAFTA win for writing. He also contributed to God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta as writer and creative director. Also serving as game director for God of War III for the first eight months of its development. But being behind one of the most iconic Play Station video game franchises isn’t all he’s done. He’s also worked on projects for LucasArts and was even a part of the reboot of one of my favorite franchises Tomb Raider (2013)at Crystal Dynamics.
Ultimately 2018 saw the rebirth and changing of God of War and it’s character Kratos which has been praised universally. Having described the game as a “reimagining” they were able to adapt the iconic game and protagonist to a new mythology and personality. The changes didn’t just stop at a fatherly and wiser Kratos, the gameplay changed significantly. Switching from a fixed camera to an over-the-shoulder-free-cam, including role-playing aspects, utilizing Kratos’ son Atreus in combat, and ultimately changing the weapons that the game is known for, from double blades to a magical battle-ax.
Such a large change to the gameplay, some thought that the game would flop, but it did the opposite. Barlog and team weaved a new narrative and world with new lore, relationships, and ultimately a stronger narrative than we had seen in other installments, at least in my opinion.
It’s safe to say that Barlog has had a hand in some of the most successful and impactful game reboots, or as he would day reimaginings in gaming to date. This is one of the reasons why the storyteller has been asked to speak at PAX South 2019. “Doing a sequel to a beloved game is a unique challenge, and so is rebooting a franchise for a modern audience – Cory Barlog has done both,” said Jerry Holkins, co-founder, Penny Arcade. “We’re overjoyed to have him join us at PAX South.
PAX South 2019 tickets are on sale now: Three-day badges are currently available for $85, single-day passes cost $42, and families can pick up Sunday kids badges (for children age 7-12) for $10 apiece. We hope to see you there!
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.