From a technical perspective, Shadow Warrior 2 is the prettiest game I saw at PAX East, but if we're talking design and scope, Seven: The Days Long Gone is even more astounding. Its tiny, isometric-style world creates the sense that I'm hovering over a model world splayed out across the floor of an aircraft hanger, filled with little lights, rivers, fog machines, and animatronics.
As its delicate little hero, I climbed around pipes and through windows, up and down a vertical city that looks like ruins built on ruins, with concrete and metal and snaking tree roots intertwined. When I handed off the controller to a more experienced dev, he sneaked out of the city and into the wilds of the prison island Seven takes place on, through toxic wastes and past deep canyons.
Right from the start, players will be able to go anywhere, so long as they don't get caught without the necessary paperwork. As a prisoner on this island, your rights are restricted, but you're also a master thief. So if you want to do a sidequest to earn a visa to travel to a new place, you can do that, but if you want to break into the visa office and murder the agents there to steal one, that's cool too. Or you can just climb over the walls.
Developer Fool's Theory includes some former Witcher 3 developers, and the experience is apparent, though it's early days for Seven. I got to fight with a simple real-time combat system—lock-on and start beating 'em up with melee and ranged weapons—but didn't see anything more advanced than simple combos. How character progression might work, if there are character stats at all, is unclear. And how free we'll be to finish the main storyline our way isn't decided either. I asked if we could kill vital story NPCs, and got no answer either way.
Project lead Jakub Rokosz did, however, give me a nice summary of the world and design when I chatted with him at PAX East last week. Watch that interview in the video above, and the first trailer here. Seven will be out 'when it's done.'