The countdown is on. PAX AUS is around the corner, with 10th birthday celebrations set to kick off when the doors at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre open on Friday, October 6th at 10am.
The convention is three days long with the formal festivities of the weekend set to wrap up at 6pm on Sunday evening.
At least in past years, keen attendees will start a pre-queue at 7am or even earlier.
Those planning to cosplay at the convention with props should take extra note that the weapons check desk typically opens at 8:30am, where they must be approved to access the event.
There’s no shortage of things to see and do this year from the lovely headline guests to developers to panels and of course, a cheeky bit of esports.
Here’s what we’re keeping a lookout for at PAX AUS this year.
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PAX Australia 2023: Guests, schedule, panels, and more
This year’s Storytime speaker is Erika Ishii, a voice actor with credits ranging from Valkyrie in Apex Legends to roles in Destiny 2, to Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical to name a few, and is also known for appearances on beloved tabletop shows such as Dimension 20 and Critical Role.
Ishii is set to deliver this year’s keynote at 12pm on Friday, October 6th to anoint this year’s convention.
Another notable mention is one for the nostalgic Aussie gamers as the Back Pocket crew has their live “interactive extravaganza” on Saturday afternoon starting from 3:30pm.
Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen and Gus “Goose” Ronald from Good Game along with the rest of the Back Pocket squad, Peter “Pierreth” Burns, Ruby Innes, William “Wilbo” Yates, and Snowball’s very own Josh Swift will be roaming the convention halls beyond their set appearance.
Other voice talent making an appearance will include Ben Prendergast—best known for his work on God of War: Ragnarök and Apex Legends—and Jenny Yokobori with a wide range of voice roles in games like Street Fighter 6, Genshin Impact, and Omega Strikers.
There are other guests to keep an eye out for such as John Robinson from The Dark Room, The Consouls (a personal favourite of mine), TOS Girls, Zelda Universe, and Robert Hartley to name a few.
In typical PAX fashion, there’s naturally a handful of exhibitors keen to fill up the halls–big and small.
Nintendo is back with a handful of giveaways, tournaments, their signature My Nintendo Store, and of course, demos for their fans to enjoy. Games playable at the booth will include the unreleased Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Detective Pikachu Returns, and more.
Alongside them, SEGA also makes their return with Sonic Superstars and Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name playable at the booth.
Devolver Digital, the publisher behind titles such as Hotline Miami and Cult of the Lamb, will give an exclusive ‘first look’ at their upcoming action-adventure game, Plucky Squire.
Bethesda, Bandai Namco, Halfbrick Studios, and Summerfall Studios are a few of the other big names that have been announced to grace the event, with some also hosting panels throughout the weekend.
As always, the independent developers at PAX Rising and the Aus Indie Showcase are keen to show off their new games on a smaller stage, with the latter showing off the awesome Showcase selection for this year in six digital games and four tabletop experiences.
Among the indie games, Ukiyo Studios has curated a collection of Southeast Asian indie games for their booth in the form of “SEA What I Made! (SWIM)”, with a wide range of genres spanning over 15 titles, originating from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
With so many panels to keep track of, make sure you’re planning around them while wandering the expo halls.
We made a list of a handful of panels that caught our eye:
Friday, October 6
- What’s up with (some) esports, and how to “fix” them: Dropbear Theatre @ 1pm- 2pm
- A panel featuring experienced industry insiders discussing the nature of esports as a whole. Panelists: Fasfyy, Jeremy Loeliger, Dave Harris, Oliver “DickStacy” Tierney and led by Mat Jessep.
- The Year That Was PAX AUS 2013: Main Theatre @ 3:30pm-4:30pm.
- A retrospective panel reflecting on what PAX AUS looked like on its debut a decade ago. Panelists: Simon Alty, Trent Kusters, Raelene Knowles, Lewis Mitchell and led by Steph August.
Saturday, October 7
- Secrets & Stories, Music & Myths: A Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Development Retrospective: Main Theatre @ 12pm-1pm
- Fireside chat with Bethesda Creative & Game Directors John Johanas & Rich Lambert: Twitch Quokka Theatre @ 2pm-3pm
- You think you know Overwatch?: Kookaburra Theatre @ 3:30pm-4:30pm
- A discussion and trivia hybrid based on Overwatch, touching on the state of the game and Overwatch League. Panelists: POG, Profound Rice, DixOnM8 and thegemcosplay.
- Halfbrick Fireside: Twitch Quokka Theatre @ 3:30pm-4:30pm
- Back Pocket– An Extravagant Variety Hour (and a half): Main Theatre @ 3:30pm-5pm
- Not quite a panel, but Back Pocket will be filmed live from PAX AUS. Go say hi to Swifty!
- Women in Esports: PAX Together Theatre @ 5:45pm-6:45pm
- This panel shines a spotlight on some of the women in esports and their inspirational stories against adversity to prepare the next generation of those in esports. Panelists: Alicia Munday, Loz, Triana, Emi and led by Profound Rice.
Sunday, October 8
- My parents wanted me to be a doctor, but I want to be a content creator: Twitch Quokka Theatre @ 12:30pm-1:30pm
- A panel focused on content creators going against the pressures and expectations from their parents as they pursued a nontraditional career. Panelists: T10Nat, Elevenz, Lyanna Kea, Vindooly, Bubbles, and led by Sozo.
- How to work in gaming when you’re not a streamer: Dropbear Theatre @ 1:30pm-2:30pm
- A panel discussing alternate pathways adjacent to esports and content creation for those wishing to follow their dreams of making a career in gaming. Panelists: Phid McAwesome, Brad Norton, Ben Armstrong, Domino Jack, and Doomcutie.
The core of PAX AUS esports returns with the ESL Stage at its heart. Throughout the weekend, you can catch a huge variety of games on the live stage to tide you over until IEM later this month. From Counter-Strike 2 to Splatoon 3, there’s plenty to look forward to.
Friday morning will see League of Legends in a series of LCO showmatches with participants yet to be announced—think Worlds, but at home. The afternoon will bring CS2 onto the stage with the ZOWIE Community Challenge.
Rocket League takes centre stage on Saturday with the JBL Quantum Grand Slam Playoffs after competing remotely to qualify. All matches will be played in a Bo7 set, with participants competing for their share of $10,000 AUD.
The closing day of the convention will see VALORANT Game Changers in the morning, with Nintendo’s Splatoon 3 and the Mario Kart AU/NZ Championship finals to wrap up the afternoon.
With some brilliant talent working the stage such as Elfishguy, Zenox, Fluke, Conky, Gem, and Profound Rice, the PAX Arena will be a great point of entertainment for the weekend.
There’s plenty to see and do on the weekend, so be sure to plan out your PAX AUS 10th birthday celebration with the schedule and exhibitor list available on the PAX AUS website.