Blizzard’s notable absence from PAX has left fans confused and even concerned. After the widely publicized layoff of 800 employees in early February, some fans wonder if this is yet another example of parent company Activision’s spending cuts. Though they may not have any significant announcements, it’s one of the biggest east coast events for the California based company, and their history of huge booths that attracted even more impressive crowds makes this move even more puzzling.
Ubisoft set up a storefront where fans could purchase their favorite Assassin’s Creed merch but lacked any demo space this year.
Square Enix drew crowds with their playable Final Fantasy XIV battle challenge, where attendees had the chance to battle Seiryu, and Kingdom Hearts Union X (cross) demos. They also announced the upcoming release Tomb Raider Legends: The Board Game, coming out in May of this year.
Nintendo drew the expected huge crowd and demoed several games including Yoshi’s Crafted World, Dragon Quest Builders 2, Mortal Kombat 11, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Hellblade: Seuna’s Sacrifice, and Assassin’s Creed III Remastered. They also hosted the final Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament, seeing Team Southeast (members Wrath, Devonte, and Poltergust) as the 2019 victors of the North American open, and moving on to the 3v3 World Championship on June 8th in LA. Team FTWIN (members Quevo, Shak, Ice, 2-D, and Kyo) won the Splatoon 2 North American Inkling Open and custom golden Splatoon switch controllers; they’ll now go on to represent North America in the Splatoon 2 World Championships on the same day as the Super Smash Bros. World Championships.
Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast announced Magic the Gathering: War of the Spark at PAX East this year. It’s an ambitious narrative-driven project far different from anything else they’ve attempted thus far. War of the Spark cards hit MTG: Arena on April 25th with physical card releases coming shortly After. Confused? If you need more context, pick up a copy of the related novel, Ravnica: War of the Spark (Penguin Random House) which hits shelves just ahead of the game on April 23rd.
War of the Spark Trailer:
Italian professional Magic Player Andrea “Mengu” Mengucci won the first MTG Mythic Invitational event, a competition with 64 players, a $1 million pot, and $250,000 first prize. Mengucci’s last win was the World Magic Cup in 2015, having brought the Italian team to their fourth consecutive Top 8 WMC placement in 2018, and he is one of the 32 pro players in the exclusive Magic Pro League. Mengucci used a White/Black/Blue Esper deck (a notoriously frustrating combination) against fellow finalist Piotr “Kanister” Głogowski’s red/blue Izzet deck, resulting in a 2-0, $250,000 win.