View Full Version : A Star Player’s Diaries - Gamescom 2015

08-15-2015, 05:41 PM
Gamescom 2015, an experience like no other.

I was contacted by Ubisoft, July 11th, 2015. I was in my hotel room when I received an and my heart skipped a beat when I got an email from Community Manager, Natchai Stappers, and read these lines:

“Through your engagement, work and passion you have for the Ubisoft brands, I’m pleased to inform you that we’d like to invite you for two days of Gamescom in Cologne, Germany from August 5th until August 6th where you will be able to discover Ubisoft’s official line-up.”

That’s when I started counting the days, the hours, the minutes and the seconds until August 4th, the day my flight was scheduled to Cologne, Germany.

The days that followed had me thinking and planning what to wear, what to say and what to expect and I though I wanna tell you the whole story in details, first, I have to say that whatever I was expecting and imagining in my mind, the experience was even better. It exceeded my expectations in every way.

August 4th came and I was heading to the airport, full of excitement. I took my flight to Berlin, then the other flight to Cologne. As I arrived, I claimed my bags and the first thing I noticed was my personal driver holding up a sign with my name and Ubisoft’s logo, underneath. That’s when I knew that the most wondrous experience of my life had just begun.

We drove to the hotel, chatting about the city, about video games and social networking. As I arrived, I checked-in and I was given a package which contained my road book and Ubisoft lanyard and badge. I ran into Audrey Couyras, before going to my room to drop my bags and get ready to meet the team and fellow Star Players at the hotel bar.

Shortly afterwards, I went downstairs and ran into my dear friends, Marco and Sary, whom I met last year at Gamescom. It was such a great pleasure seeing them again, along with meeting Natchai, Dominique and the Star Players of other Ubisoft games, down at the bar.

I got to meet Jonathan, a fellow Star Player and cosplayer for the game Rainbow Six. We sat down together with Marco, Sary, Natchai and Audrey and talked, we laughed and we took lots of pictures, before going up to get dressed to have dinner at a beautiful steakhouse across the street, and that’s when I met my long-time friend, who invited me to the Official Assassin’s Creed Live Stream back in February, 2015, whom I was eagerly looking forward to meet for the first time, Community Manager, Justin Kruger!

That moment felt so special and so spontaneous at the same time. Meeting with all these people whom are so big, so talented and so inspirational and at the same time, so kind, so down to earth and so welcoming that you feel like you’re sitting among friends that you’ve known for ages. And that was priceless.

Shortly afterwards, I got to meet Dominique Falkenberg, who was in touch with me along with Natchai during the period before the event, and I got to know Issam Majdoub, the sweet and friendly communications and events manager at Ubisoft, with whom I got along so fast and became such great friends in no time.

We were all waiting for a fellow Star Player and a friend of mine, SixKeys, whose flight has been delayed. She arrived and we all sat together on our huge T-shaped table, and had an amazing time together discussing video games, life and our excitement for the big day, tomorrow, Gamescom Media Day.

I got to know the amazing cosplayer, Lowmex, who’s also a Star Player with us. He showed me his Shay Cormac outfit that he was working on and I was impressed and then he showed me some professional set of pictures of himself doing cosplay for The Division and Assassin’s Creed, and my first impression was “Is that you or a CGI render?” and I truly thought it was CGI at first. The guy is absolutely brilliant as he makes his own outfits and his photography is beyond impressive.

We were all exhausted and we needed to replenish our synch bars for the big day. So we went back to the hotel. The next day, I woke up at 6:00, got dressed, had breakfast and headed to the lobby to meet with the group and took our private bus to Koelnmesse, to Gamescom.

When I arrived and saw the exteriors of Koelnmesse, I realized how much I missed the place and how long it felt since my last visit, back in 2014. We walked in from the North Entrance, Media Center and got our badges scanned by the lady at the door, as the excitement filled our hearts and that’s when Natchai said “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Gamescom!” as we entered the then-empty halls of Koelnmesse, before the media and everyone else.

We were taken on a tour in Hall 6, where Ubisoft demo rooms, stages and the Uplay Lounge were installed, and I’m honored to say that I was the very first to enter the Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate demo room and the first to play the Evie Frye demo, which I enjoyed very much and got me even more excited to play the full game when its out.

As we finished exploring all of the Ubisoft-related sections at Hall 6, we went to the Business Center to checkout Ubisoft’s section there, which was impressive. Shortly afterwards, the media was allowed in, along with other invited individuals and the place was fully packed. hundreds? thousands? hundreds of thousands? I couldn’t really count.

Shortly afterwards, we attended the first Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Q&A with Senior Producer, Jeff Skalski, who’s so friendly, and sweet and autographed some lithos for me and it was so sweet of him to remember my name in every Q&A in the days that followed after Justin introduced me as the Question Machine and the Lore Expert to him.

Later, while the giveaways on Ubisoft’s stage was being carried out, I got on stage, I took some merchandise and I started throwing to people, hearing them cheer and scream, I told the man “let’s get everyone on stage!” and people were getting on stage as he yelled for them. And in the midst of the crowds, something out of this world happened. The man I was hoping to meet was among the crowds and suddenly, he got pulled on stage to stand right next to me. The CEO of Ubisoft, Mr. Yves Guillemot!

I just stood there in awe and honor to be so close to the man behind the company that changed my life with its creativity and talent. The company that led me to meet the love of my life.
After a delicious lunch at Hase, we had lots of free time to explore the halls and boulevards of Koelnmesse which were crowded with people, with cosplayers, with vast screens, loud music, impressive video games and a wide range of merchandise.

We were asked to gather at 7:30 at Hall 6 for a Late Night With Ubisoft dinner and gathering, and by that time, the halls were empty like a ghosttown, and it was just us with the amazing staff. I got to test the amazing VR simulator, Rabbids, which was incredibly realistic and then we entered the Ubisoft section, had dinner, we sat down and we talked for a long time and we got to play the demos of Ubisoft games, again, now that the demo rooms were empty just for us to experience.

Later, we went back to the hotel to recharge for the next day, the first public day of Gamescom.

The next day, which was the 2nd public day of Gamescom, followed a similar schedule to the day before, attending another Q&A, shopping for merchandise and testing other games with my good friend, Kai whom I’ve gotten to know the night before while trying to top up my phone credit at a nearby supermarket. He turned out to be a gamer like me and also attending Gamescom and it was so much fun.

While the other Star Players were taking their flights back home the same afternoon, I got to extend my trip to cover the whole week, thanks to Audrey, Issam, Natchai and Dominique, to stay till the end of Gamescom!

The next day also had a similar routine as the first two days, between exploring other games, catching up with friends that I’ve known online who got to attend Gamescom to shopping for merchandise, it was so much fun and even more crowded than the first two days. I was invited by Meagan Marie, Senior Community Manager of Tomb Raider, whom I was happy to see again on media day, to attend a community dinner at Rhein-Terrassen restaurant, as an Official Fan Site Founder. It was such a pleasure meeting with her and Game Director, Brian Horton who’s in charge of Rise of the Tomb Raider, along with meeting fellow fans, official fan site webmasters and cosplayers. The night was absolutely magical.

Day 3 of Gamescom and my 5th day, overall; I wanted to do some shopping in town before Gamescom, which was fun. I went to Koelnmesse, and I got to meet some good friends of mine whom are also gamers and fans of Assassin’s Creed and Watch_Dogs that I’ve known online for a while. The best part is that the wonderful Justin Kruger, invited me along with Marco and Sary, my good friends who run Access The Animus fan site, to an classic old German bar and restaurant, after Gamescom, that day.

The place was basically a tavern carved out of Assassin’s Creed games. We had a great time there, great dinner and an unexpected party that startled all of us when the classic chandeliers suddenly turned to colorful spotlight by 10:00 PM. So between dancing among the crowds to german hits that we did not know but still sang along to, to taking selfies and shooting short videos, to arguing about being #TeamPorkKnuckle or #TeamRumpSteak, I must say that this is one night that I’ll never forget.

Now the last day of Gamescom has arrived, a bittersweet moment of celebrating the games and saying goodbye to a wonderful event and week, but me and my friends found a wonderful way to say goodbye to this amazing week we spent together. After saying goodbye to the amazing Ubisoft staff, Justin, Natchai, Issam and Audrey, we decided to attend the last show of Video Games Live concert which was being carried out at Gamescom Hall 11. We found great seats, booked the tickets and attended this very nostalgic and intimate show that had a variety of memorable tracks from various video games, played by the extremely talented orchestra with the beautiful music and vocals of Laura Intravia, in addition to some nice speeches about how video games are a form of art and how the claim that video games promote violence and are nothing more than an entertainment for children is as far from the truth as you can imagine.

The show concluded with a beautiful, positive note with all of us mimicking the Mario theme “doot doot doot… doot doot doot doot doot” and then singing along to Still Alive from Portal.

After saying goodbye to my friends, I went back to my hotel with my newly bought Gamescom bag to carry the merchandise that I bought and couldn’t fit into my bags.

The next day, I took my flight to Vienna and since I had 8 hours between flights, I had enough time to leave the airport, explore Vienna for the first time, do some shopping and then head back to airpot to take my flight back home.

Now that the journey is over, I sit in front of my screen, almost done writing my story to you, but before I go, I have to dedicate all my gratitude to the amazing team of people, the wonderful friends at Ubisoft who supported me from the very beginning and made me feel like a Star Player and a dear friend before this program even began, and I wanna thank each and every person in charge of this program and the Assassin’s Creed brands.

Thank you, Gabriel Graziani. Since I met you, last year at Gamescom and I’ve never felt closer to this amazing franchise that I’ve loved and supported since day one. You are wonderful and I can’t even describe how much I admire and respect you.

Andrien Gbinigie, thanks for being the sweetest Com Dev in the world and a dear friend that I eagerly look forward to meeting in the near future. Thanks for everything.

Justin Kruger, I remember when I told you how talking to you feels like more like friends chats than formal speech between consumer and producer, and you said “because you’re my friend, Reno” and that meant the world to me. I am honored to have a friend like you. Assassin’s Creed wouldn’t be as perfect without you and this whole experience wouldn’t have been as fun had you not been with us.

Natchai, I will forever remember the day you invited me and how I jumped on the bed out of excitement and how awesome it was to meet you, chat with you, take selfies and party with you. You’re absolutely amazing and I’m lucky to have met you, and I look forward to meeting you again, really soon, I hope.

Issam, since we met and I knew we’re gonna be friends in no time. And for that, I’m so grateful. Thanks for the amazing time. I will forever remember every minute of it and look forward to the next time we meet. Forever #TeamRumpSteak

Audrey, I can’t describe how happy I was to know you, and how much fun we had there, together. Thanks for helping me extend my trip and for making it so wonderful and unforgettable. The trip surely wouldn’t have been as cool without you. I hope to see you again, soon.

Dominique, I’m gonna miss all the crazy facial expressions we made in those selfies we took. I really hope I get to see you again. You are amazing and I thank you for being there from the start.

Tamara, your photography is amazing and you are an incredibly amazing lady that I hope to meet again, really soon.

I also wanna thank all my friends, and fellow star players whom I’ve known before and the ones I got to know for the first time. Marco and Sary, my two lovely friends that I’m lucky to meet again, Jonathan, with his amazing camera that captured this amazing experience from day 1 and his sweet sense of humor, SixKeys, Lowmex, Kai and each and every person I met there.

It was a brilliant experience, yes, but it wouldn’t have been as perfect without the amazing people involved in it.

Thanks to the generosity of Ubisoft, I’ve never been closer to favorite franchise and thanks to all these wonderful people for making this experience so unforgettable and sweet. I will forever hold on to its memory and the tons of selfies and videos we shot, and look forward to experiencing it again, in the future.

Ubi today. Ubi tomorrow. Ubi forever.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xtf1/t31.0-8/11231275_10206532250092392_1592000107596727140_o.j pg

08-15-2015, 07:30 PM
Sounds amazing. You deserved this so much, I'm really happy for you. For the theories, TheLorePages, and just discussions with you on Facebook, you know your stuff about the franchise and It is obviously a passion for you.

08-15-2015, 09:40 PM
That's so awesome! :cool:

08-15-2015, 09:59 PM
Your work is awesome, Rino, I'm glad they are doing something for you too.

08-15-2015, 10:37 PM
That's quite the experience. Got to say a well deserved grats to you, as a fellow lore lover. :)

Impressed at the efforts made by Ubisoft this year. What with the recent tour, and the star player thing from E3 and Gamescom, they are on quite the charm offensive. It's nice to see! I know certain other developers who charge purely for an interview with them, so Ubisoft remain held in high regard in my eyes.

08-15-2015, 11:55 PM
Amazing story. So glad you could be a part of it!

08-16-2015, 07:07 PM
Very good read Reno, every time i read something you post you can feel it's full of passion for the series, i'm happy for you and what Ubisoft did a true dedicated fan.

08-17-2015, 11:16 AM
That's great, Glad to see you had a good time!:cool:

08-17-2015, 01:40 PM
That's quite the experience. Got to say a well deserved grats to you, as a fellow lore lover. :)
Impressed at the efforts made by Ubisoft this year. What with the recent tour, and the star player thing from E3 and Gamescom, they are on quite the charm offensive...

I've noticed that too, starting with the Tour earlier this year.
The most powerful thing they could do to build on this, if they have faith in ACS, is to get the review copies out c.10th October so that reviewers can play the game and get reviews out c.16th October, ahead of the 23rd October launch.

The way that review embargoes were 'weaponised' (as Polygon put it (http://www.polygon.com/2014/11/11/7193415/assassins-creed-unity-review-embargo)) with ACU's embargo not lifting until after game launch, was deeply cynical.

Good reviews could turn the general market perception of 'meh' in a way that excessive advertising can't.

08-17-2015, 02:28 PM
Although Ubi's getting a lot of crap for how they've been handling Assassin's Creed, it's good to see them doing stuff like this. Good job Rino, you deserved it

08-17-2015, 03:04 PM
Sounds awesome Rino, you certainly deserved it, your work is great!

08-17-2015, 03:20 PM
Awesomesauce :)

08-18-2015, 01:02 AM
Awesome Rino! Kinda jelly :)

08-18-2015, 03:50 PM
OH MAN has the air gotten dusty around here! I swear it's that! ITts the dust...It's gotten in my eye...

Honestly, thanks for being such an awesome human being, it was great hanging out with you! I'm happy you enjoyed your experience so much :)

08-18-2015, 06:55 PM
Really sounds like you made the most of the experience, Congrats :D! Ubi are lucky to have a fan like you!

08-18-2015, 07:02 PM
It was awesome meeting you as well, Reno. It was a crazy blur of 5 days, but I'm glad you were there. The devs really appreciated your questions, enthusiasm, and feedback. #TeamPorkKnuckle

I really do love this community and want to personally thank every single one of you for being a part of it. Keep doing awesome things, creating, and discussing and we'll take notice. ;)

08-18-2015, 07:11 PM

Super glad that you had a great time. And we will meet someday and it will be glorious, that is a promise!

08-18-2015, 08:16 PM
Aw, so many ubi staff celebrities in one thread! Its nice to see you all in these parts. ;)

Think I've spoken to most of you on Twitter at some point, so I just wanted to pass back my own thanks for taking the time to talk to me, and many others during gamescom - and all through the year. It is refreshing and reassuring to have such two way communication between company and fans. And believe me, some other developers have some shockingly bad PR. So cheers to you moderators and the community team.

Anyhoo, back to the usual programming of fans bugging all the reps with questions about the modern day of Syndicate - that they can't answer yet. :D

08-18-2015, 08:24 PM
Aw, so many ubi staff celebrities in one thread! Its nice to see you all in these parts. ;)

Think I've spoken to most of you on Twitter at some point, so I just wanted to pass back my own thanks for taking the time to talk to me, and many others during gamescom - and all through the year. It is refreshing and reassuring to have such two way communication between company and fans. And believe me, some other developers have some shockingly bad PR. So cheers to you moderators and the community team.

Anyhoo, back to the usual programming of fans bugging all the reps with questions about the modern day of Syndicate - that they can't answer yet. :D

It wouldn't be possible to have such great interactions if it wasn't for awesome fans like you, Sorrosyss. :)

And about your last point...


*Dev uses poison dart on CM... it's very effective*

08-21-2015, 12:24 PM
I just can't handle how many amazing people there are in this thread. Thank you so much for everything. I feel luck and honored. And I don't think it's the dust in the air causing me to tear up, it's your epic presence.


08-23-2015, 12:37 AM
Nice write-up, Rino. It was great getting to hang out with so many fans and devs. I'm so glad you of all people were given this opportunity since you're perhaps the most passionate AC fan I know.

09-06-2015, 09:31 PM
Thank you so much. It was such a pleasure meeting you there in person, and it's sad that we didn't say a proper goodbye. But I really hope to meet you again, soon :D