E3 has traditionally been the battleground for the ‘Big 3’—Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo—as the main console players around. Keynote addresses from each are often scrutinized by media and public to find a ‘winner’ - the company with the most significant announcements and anticipated exclusives. This year’s E3? Nobody wins… well maybe Nintendo a little.
E3 2014 Roundup
Let’s first agree that it’s pointless to go into such a discussion with any kind of objective analysis. You can’t tabulate the entire show game-by-game, announcement-byannouncement and come up with some kind of score for the big companies involved. All three hardware makers had some great games, some surprising games, and a few murmurs.
Nintendo’s strategy of making bright, family games in a market of death and destruction might not be winning it market share—at least not in the living room. But it’s different, in a fundamental, core-of-thecompany way. It’s the only one of the big three that is still putting ‘play’, in the truest, lightest sense of that word, at the heart of its strategy, products and message. Its games are often ridiculous, genuinely batty, and impossible not to love.
Microsoft and Sony are asking you to fight, to compete, demolish and crush your opponents, and your friends’ hopes and dreams by owning the best, most powerful and most aggressive hardware in the world.
Nintendo is asking you to use paint to splatter your foes and cover the floor with your own color in order to win. Or make a green-colored dinosaur made of yarn grapple with its tongue.
That’s not to say that I don’t want to play GTA V in HD, or shoot bad guys in the new Call of Duty, hit a hat-trick in FIFA 14 or play all of the genuinely cool-looking indie titles on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It’s also not to say that Nintendo doesn’t make mistakes, release bad, incomplete or poorly thought-out games, or need to rapidly reassess its hardware strategy, if not at this E3 than in a few years time.
Or in the case of the Wii U, that it couldn’t do with at least a couple of those above third-party titles on its own system.
But it was also clear during Nintendo’s E3 announcements via its Nintendo Direct streaming channel, that when it comes to a vision for what games are, should be and will look like in a year or two years (like in the case of the jaw-dropping impressive Zelda for Wii U), the Japanese company is the only one of the three that has its head really above the clouds, gazing at the stars and wondering what they’d look like if they were made of paint, yarn or something.
Anyway, back to reality. The lineup of games for Nintendo isn’t bad, but could be better. Smash Bros and Bayonetta 2 look great. The new Zelda appears to be dramatically gorgeous, if a bit ethereal at this early stage. Some of the platformers looked a bit generic, but Splatoon could be a brilliant reworking of the stale shooter genre, if it’s given a chance. Too many of the games aren’t out for too long.
And the Wii U might not last that long. On the other side, Microsoft and Sony also had some killer titles – most notably the massive remastered compilation of past Halo games on the way to the Xbox One, and Uncharted, Grim Fandango and LittleBigPlanet 3 will all be must-buys on PlayStation 4. They have momentum, big ideas, money and the allegiance of the hardcore. More importantly, the third-party publishers.
If I can, I’ll play them all. And I’ll love many of them equally. But when I look back to E3 2014, and how each of company sees games, and how they want me to play them, there should have been a winner… except, of course, there isn’t.
In the meantime, we have compiled the most talked about games that were showcased at E3 2014 – including our personal ‘Best of’ picks. Which one/s are you waiting for most?
The Games of E3 2014
E3 has come and gone and this year seemed a little muted. One of the main factors was due to the fact that the excitement from new console launches has died down from last year. This year’s focus was on games of course and we’ve gone through the trouble to cherry-pick the most promising from the show floor. There’s actually plenty of variety, so gamers of all genres should have something to look out for in the coming months.