Edge readers share their opinions; one wins a year’s PlayStation Plus
I’m typing this whilst watching one of the major publisher’s E3 briefings. I won’t single them out; the briefing I’ve watched has simply been the straw that broke the camel’s back. My issue: CGI or pre-rendered trailers. What on earth are these accomplishing? I can almost understand their presence when they are thrown online two years before release. A little 15-second alert to let fans know that something they’re crazy about is about to re-emerge. But what I’ve witnessed so far from streaming the E3 conferences is anything but.
This is what irks me: I’ve watched numerous game reveals this E3 open with a CGI sequence that displays some outstanding action or gameplay possibilities. Characters sliding while shooting in two places at once, before leaping and throwing knives in multiple directions to take out more bad guys. Supercar racers that hustle for position at the same time as dodging obstacles or crashed vehicles by mere inches. Horror-genre footage (usually displayed from firstperson) you watch as the protagonist runs from one horrifying situation to the next. Interest piqued.
Then what happens? The game director/ producer/representative walks on stage, CGI preview finished, and talks up the game. Fair enough. But then they introduce the actual gameplay footage and most of the things you thought you could do in the game (thanks to the CGI intro literally shown minutes ago) have disappeared. You go from unbelievable expectations to hard-hitting reality in no time at all.
Videogames seem to get away with this practice. Can you imagine Marvel, having shown the Spider-Man Homecoming trailers, revealing the movie actually features a lad in Spidey pyjamas battling some plastic vultures? Or a popular band releasing a fantastic single ahead of their album, but when you buy the album the other tracks are primary-school children playing Greensleeves?
The amount of money it costs to put these trailers together must be phenomenal. I’d prefer to see that cash invested in showing what I can do in a game and paying devs to make a game better, rather than being teased something that we all know won’t see the light of day. Russell Halford
They can’t win, really. If it’s not CGI trailers we’re complaining about, it’s scripted co-op banter or graphical downgrades. This year Sony showed almost entirely gameplay footage, and people said it was boring. Perhaps they’ll get it right next yea– ah, who are we kidding.
“Everyone came for Project Scorpio and left with shoulders sore from shrugging”
A sting in the tail
Watching Microsoft’s E3 conference reminded me of what it’s like to hear a new record from your favourite ’80s band: you hope past glories might be rekindled, but you soon realise they’ve lost it.
Everyone came for Project Scorpio and left with shoulders sore from shrugging. Sure, this generation doesn’t really feel like it’s anywhere near ready to be over, but who doesn’t love the excitement of a brand new console launch? Is the Xbox One X really all Microsoft had after teasing it for over a year? Does anyone other than PC owners get excited by teraflops and pixel density?
Still, there must be some cracking exclusive games coming, right? Hmm. It seems people are more excited about Shadow Of The Colossus being remade. Nintendo only had to show two minutes of Mario to get Game Of The Show.
I still don’t understand how Microsoft has thrown it all away after the majesty of the Xbox 360. Its firstparty and exclusive line-up
is shocking. Nintendo has shown how a new console can be shifted off the back of a single must-have game. Sony has had a stellar 12 months of exclusive classics. Microsoft has... well... Forza.
I get it – the mid-cycle upgrade is important. At some point, games will be made that only work on the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, and backward compatibility locks in your users. But which sane PS4 owner is going to ditch their backlog to move to Microsoft’s weedy line-up?
It’s all about the games, Phil Spencer trumpeted, again. Ten years ago, Microsoft slapped down $4 billion to save Xbox 360 from the Red Ring Of Death. Here’s an idea. Why not put down the same amount to secure exclusive rights to Red Dead
Redemption 2 or the inevitable GTAVI? Because better exclusives are the only way I’m going to leave my PS4 behind. Ivan Harding
Somehow we’re not convinced even $4 billion would turn Rockstar’s head, but in any case it’s the firstparty line-up, rather than thirdparty exclusives, that is Microsoft’s main problem. We hope it’s investing heavily behind the scenes. Endless Forza, Gears and Halo games won’t put Xbox back on top by themselves.
Stop the press
This year’s E3 was, for me, a crushing disappointment of a show. Nintendo arrived with a typically strong showing of previously announced firstparty games, teases of upcoming projects and some interesting thirdparty releases but, as a whole, E3 felt like a show that is at odds with how we consume games.
EA realised this last year; as a medium to showcase new games, E3 as we know it is dying. EA Play may take place around the same period, most likely out of fear of distancing itself too much from other publishers, but as a format it could take place at any point in the year.
The same could also be said for almost every E3 Nintendo Direct and Treehouse showcase over the last few years. Both Bethesda and Microsoft made the most of having a physical venue to shill their wares but very little about them felt revelatory – and the less said about Intel’s presence at the PC Gaming Show, the better. Even Sony’s generally strong E3 showing was little more than a YouTube playlist of trailers for, mostly, previously announced titles. In fact, I believe that only Ubisoft managed to embrace the E3 keynote format through its celebration of the culture, creativity and creators behind games. Ubisoft may have only shown a handful of truly interesting new games, but on the whole it felt like an event that could have taken place on a global stage like E3.
The reason for E3’s decline, and why many publishers may be looking elsewhere, is because events like PlayStation Experience, Nintendo’s roadshows, Gamescom and the PAX events all allow fans to go hands-on with games right away. They also fit neatly into the last-minute release-cycle hype where fans aren’t left hanging for so long they become jaded or disappointed waiting for a release. It should come as no surprise that E3’s organisers opened its doors to the public (albeit at a ludicrous price): some may say it was to help with falling revenues, but it’s clear that finally they’ve realised that the industry isn’t interested in attending pressonly events anymore. In my opinion, that’s the scariest thought to come out of this year’s E3. Well, that and the fact that a remake of a 17-year-old game was my personal highlight of the entire show. Vaughn Highfield
If anything, we expect the experience of opening E3 up to the public will have shown to platform holders and publishers that they still need traditional media events. It’s not like the calendar isn’t already teeming with plenty of fan-focused shows that are much better suited to flowing hordes of Joe Public.
As usual E3 was fantastic. I think there was more respect for secrets this year as there seemed to be fewer leaks. If you had the
Shadow Of The Colossus remake spoiled for you or knew about the Xbox price in advance then I’ve a suggestion for next year – stay away from sources of game news. At least until the last day!
Metroid: Samus Returns was the highlight for me and I only caught it live by pure chance. My wife is not a gamer and temporarily endured a lengthy post-E3 summary when I emerged from my media nest after the main Nintendo presentation had ended.
“Remember when I said I’d sell the Switch if Nintendo didn’t announce Metroid?” “Yes, dear.” “Well they flashed a logo for five seconds!” I thoughtfully explained that this was both somehow exciting and disappointing at the same time and she nodded witheringly.
Later, as I passed the mancave entrance I saw the word ‘ Metroid’ briefly appear on a screen in a decorative, Star Trek-style font unfamiliar to me. It was clearly a different logo than the hastily copy-pasted Prime 4 job I’d seen earlier, so I wandered closer and put on my headphones just as 3DS in-game graphics popped in.
I ran reeling to my ever-patient spouse, delighted not to be watching even a single additional in-game frame. Ironically all I wanted was Metroid footage to be shown; I didn’t actually want to see it. Stephen Mahon
At last, some positivity. While it’s natural, and healthy, to be sceptical about the most overfunded event on the industry calendar, you can’t deny that, at its best, there’s nothing else like it. This was, on the whole, another great year – for Metroid fans especially. We hope your new PS Plus subscription yields enough games to tide you over until Nintendo deems that Samus is ready for primetime.