Introducing the Discovery Stage

This year, panel content makes its return to the SXSW Gaming Expo floor with the introduction of the Discovery Stage! Formerly known as the Geek Stage, the Discovery Stage will be central to the SXSW Gaming experience this year, hosting visionaries, creators, performers and players in fan-centered talks and workshops. Expect frank discussions about the journey of making games, first-look revelations on top upcoming titles and fun, and creative live play all at the heart of SXSW.

The Discovery Stage’s inaugural lineup features an initial ten sessions. Check them out below!

It’s Here! Shroud of the Avatar and What’s Coming Next
Richard Garriott (Portalarium)

After several years of successful development as the second highest crowdfunded game ever, Shroud of the Avatar is finally launching! Join Richard “Lord British” Garriott himself as the gaming legend and astronaut discusses the journey of Shroud of the Avatar as a pioneer of crowdfunded game development, what new surprises fans and players can expect with the much-anticipated launch, and where the journey goes from here for the spiritual successor to the renowned Ultima series.

Exploring Underworld Ascendant with PC Gamer
Warren Spector (Otherside Entertainment), Paul Neurath (Otherside Entertainment), and Evan Lahti (PC Gamer)

OtherSide Entertainment’s Paul Neurath and Warren Spector join PC Gamer to discuss the upcoming release of Underworld Ascendant. Known for their critically acclaimed work on Ultima Underworld, System Shock and Deus Ex, and their contributions to the founding of the ‘immersive sim’ genre of games, Paul and Warren will take the audience through a journey into the world of the new Stygian Abyss to showcase one of the most anticipated PC titles of 2018.

Legendary Koji Igarashi Chats Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Koji “Iga” Igarashi (ArtPlay)

Join legendary game designer, producer and writer Koji Igarashi (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) to discuss Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Igarashi will share his experiences developing and creating one of the most buzzed-about fan-funded games of all time and will discuss his return to the Metroidvania genre he helped shape, define and re-imagine throughout the years. From character development, story and art design to music and gameplay, Igarashi will discuss the challenges and triumphs in bringing Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night to fans around the world. Discussion will be followed by a brief audience Q&A and meet-and-greet with Igarashi.

Dungeons & Dragons in The Writer’s Room
Chris Prynoski (Titmouse), Leah Hoyer (Telltale Games), and Ryan Verniere (Riot Games)

Playing a tabletop RPG can train you well for a writer’s room — both in TV and video games. Through fluid storytelling and improvisation, writers can develop great characters and story arcs in RPGs that go on to serve as invaluable skills in the professional writing world. Join industry leaders from Titmouse, Blizzard, and Riot Games as they take the audience through a live example of just how impactful a session of D&D can be on the creative writing process.

Above The Sky: A New Era of Compassionate Gameplay
Jennie Kong (thatgamecompany), Morgan Wilson (thatgamecompany), Sunni Pavlovic (thatgamecompany), Vincent Diamante (thatgamecompany)

With the launch of Sky, thatgamecompany reflects on the studio’s approach to developing their new global social adventure game that hopes to put compassion, altruism and friendship at the heart of the experience. Best known for crafting artistic and meaningful games like Flower and Journey, the team discusses the creative considerations faced when breaking down boundaries that pave the way for accessible positive-behavior and emotionally-driven experiences for mainstream audiences.

Emerging Visions: Game Studios of Latin America
Ana Ribeiro (ARVORE Immersive), Eivar Rojas Castro (Efecto Studios), Jorge Morales (Larva Game Studios), and Martina Santoro (OKAM Studio)

As the gaming industry continues to boom globally, take a moment to learn more about the thriving game development scene that exists in Latin America. With cultures ingrained in art and rich histories, join gaming industry experts from Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil as they open up a lens into the world of Latin American gamedev. Learn about what it takes to be a Latin American game developer, what role this pivotal region plays for the gaming industry at large, and experience a unique style of games that’s rarely ever seen.

Nerdcore: Let’s Make Some Music
Amanda Lee (LeeandLie), Raheem Jarbo (MegaRan), Russell McKamey (Rockit Gaming), and Vincent Newsom (Rockit Gaming)

Join superstar artists Rockit Gaming, MegaRan, and AmaLee as they open the doors to the world of nerdcore, a new genre of music taking the industry by storm. Listen to cutting-edge music, learn how to mix your very own track, and get to know the faces behind some of the most trending music on YouTube today. If you’ve ever wanted to see what can happen when you mix music with games and geek culture, then you won’t want to miss out on this completely new experience!

Gotta Go Fast: The Official Sonic the Hedgehog Panel
Aaron Webber (SEGA), Austin Keys (SEGA), Takashi Iizuka (SEGA), and Tyson Hesse (SEGA)

Sonic is back, and ready to take 2018 by storm. Join the official team from SEGA who are building Sonic’s future as they give you an update on last year’s strong performance of Sonic Mania as well as the world-exclusive first look at what comes next for the fastest blue hedgehog. Speakers include Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka, Sonic PD Director Austin Keys, Sonic Mania Animation Director Tyson Hesse, and Sonic Social Media Manager Aaron Webber. You won’t want to miss this!

AR Gaming: What’s Now, What’s Next
Christine Barron (Mira), Jeremy Kinsky (MERGE), John Keefe (SwapBots), and Matt Stern (Mira)

Augmented reality (AR) had its coming-out party in 2017, with more than 200 AR / VR companies raising a combined total of $2.1 billion in VC funding. With AR platforms including ARKit, ARCore, Snapchat Lens, and the Mira SDK democratizing developer tools, app and video game creators are exploring what’s possible when the physical and digital worlds merge. As phone-based AR experiences continue to take off, learn how companies are already building premium, hands-free AR experiences that will take the medium to the next level.

Bringing Internet Culture to Linear Television
Corrado Carretto (Attack Media), Alex Corea (Attack Media), Kevin Pereira (Attack Media), Yaniv Fituci (Attack Media)

Thanks to its original host and founder, Kevin Pereira, The Attack has also evolved into a full-fledged production company, Attack Media, which has taken internet culture and turned traditional “let’s plays” into linear formats on TV. With shows like “Player Select” on Disney XD and licensing deals like “The Attack” on DXP, the new media brand is challenging the conformity of appointment TV and slowly changing the rules of broadcast standards. Join Kevin Pereira and his producing team in this discussion on what it will take to bridge the gap between digital pop culture and traditional media.

Counter Programming: How Opposites Attract New Audiences
Jon Carnage (Twitch)
Alternative, but still relative. Different, but very familiar. Growing your audience on Twitch can be difficult when experimenting with content that’s considered counter programming, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it! Join Jon Carnage as he talks about counter programming, the art of broadcasting content atypical yet related to your existing programming, across a variety of platforms and methods. Jon will also explain how to effectively apply this principle of “being different, but not too different” when introducing new content to your channel to keep and attract new fans while maintaining your core audience!

Patricia Summersett chats The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Patricia Summersett (Zelda)
Join Patricia Summersett, the voice of Princess Zelda, as she discusses 2017’s Game of the Year, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Sharing her experience on what it was like bringing this iconic character to life, Summersett will discuss things from the audition process, recording sessions and the industry as a whole, as well as the triumphs and challenges that led her to working on this groundbreaking game. Discussion will be followed by a brief audience Q&A and meet-and-greet with Summersett.

Photo credit: Luis Bustos


Estevan Aviles

Gaming Festival Programming Specialist

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