No killer 3DS title
and experimentation, this year’s E3 seemed to reinforce the worst stereotypes about the game industry. Also, it seemed like all major players were just hanging on, waiting for the current console generation to run its course (and of course, milk it until its dying breath) before gearing up for the next round.
So this E3 was probably notable for all the stuff that wasn’t there. No new console hardware announcement from Microsoft or Sony—the XBox 720 and the PS4 continue to be just rumours. No
Last Guardian. No killer Vita title. No killer 3DS title. Nothing about the WiiU that we didn’t already know about. No announcement on pricing or dates. No
Prince- themed disco game for the Kinect. Okay, the last one is probably a good thing. So what was there to be excited about? Microsoft showed us the next Halo and Gears of War games. Both look great—but that’s pretty much par for the course for these two blockbuster franchises. They also showed us the Smart Glass, a new technology that could potentially turn any smartphone or tablet into an XBox controller. Oh, yes, the XBox 360 is now getting Internet Explorer. Yes, you heard correctly. Do you care? Neither do we. And there were some dance games for the Kinect. Whatever.
Sony kept mum on The Last Guardian (and I will probably never forgive them for that. I enjoyed its trailer more than I enjoyed many full games last year) but they did show a couple of interesting titles in Quantic Dreams’ Beyond and Uncharted developer Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. Both games featured innovative mechanics, but it remains to be seen if they will appeal to mainstream audiences, or continue to be critically acclaimed oddities like Heavy Rain. Still—mad props to Sony for being the major publisher that takes the most risks with mainstream big-budget titles. There’s also a Sony version of Super Smash Bros coming along called
Kratos vs Sackboy? Sign me up. Sony also showed some quirky AR-books thingy they’re calling ‘Wonderbooks’. These use the PS Move controller and camera to bring books ‘to life’. Whatever that means. At least they’ve got a heavyweight name like JK Rowling on board to create the first title. It may be something to look forward to. They also announced a couple of heavyweight titles for the Vita—an Assassin’s Creed entry among them—but nothing that really makes Sony’s troubled handheld a must-buy.
Nintendo was lukewarm. They demoed a New Super Mario Bros that looks exactly like the old Super Mario Bros. They did a lot of hand-waving around the WiiU without really saying much. Their Zombie killing game (everyone’s making Zombie-based games now), Zombie-U, and the superhero game Project P-100 look promising, but not earth-shattering. Interestingly, the announcement of
Batman:Arkham City and Assassin’s Creed 3 for the Wii-U seemed to nudge the needle towards making the Nintendo console more appealing to the hardcore lot, but it remains to be seen if this will work. On the 3DS front, there was little by way of genuine excitement. Another New
Super Mario Bros (sigh), a new Luigi’s Mansion and a smattering of other first party titles.
Ubisoft showed off what was perhaps the weirdest demo of E3 for Far Cry 3, deciding to sidestep the game’s undoubtedly impressive gameplay features to focus on “realistic boobs” and suchlike. Much WTFness ensued at the conference. But they did also show off the stunning looking
Assassin’s Creed 3 to make up for it. There was also a new Tomb Raider with a reinvented Lara Croft (ironically, with smaller boobs) and perhaps the most interesting game of E3 in Watchdogs— the hacker- themed action adventure that you play on your console, tablet and phone in an integrated, connected gameplay experience.
Bethesda’s Dishonored looks amazing as well—stealth action gameplay with a great steampunk setting (I love steampunk. But haven’t seen a truly brilliant steampunk world in a non-Japanese game since
Arcanum). Two great strategy franchises are back as well: SimCity and X-Com. Torchlight 2 is around the corner and just
may steal Diablo 3’ s thunder. There’s a new Splinter Cell and a new Dead Space. So apart from a couple of genuinely innovative titles and a few more mildly interesting ones, there was really nothing to remember this E3 by. Here’s hoping that next year’s edition will feature more genuine innovation, exciting hardware announcements, and, of course, The Last
Guardian. That would be sweet.
PlayStation All-Stars. Nathan Drake vs E3 was probably notable for all the stuff that wasn’t
Nintendo was lukewarm. They demoed a New Super Mario Bros that looks exactly like the old Super
Mario Bros. Reinvented Lara Croft