E3 2012 conferences impressions!
It’s E3 time! And, as per usual, I’ll spend some time talking about what us, the general public, can see from E3. Specifically the Big 3′s conferences.
For full disclosure, here were my expectations for E3 2012 before the conferences started:
Microsoft would end up having a pretty worthless presentation, Sony would have a great presentation because, at this point, they NEED to, and Nintendo will kick ass with tons of Wii U announcements and 3DS dates and announcements. So basically: Business as usual for MS, Sony going more above and beyond than usual and Nintendo being Nintendo, pretty much.
So let’s talk about the 3 main conferences. What worked, what didn’t, who sucked, who didn’t, stuff like that.
Just to clarify, I’m not judging the show floor at E3, I’m just talking about the press conferences that are widely streamed online that anyone can watch. I’m not at E3 this year, so I can’t talk about anything that’s going on there. So no “Well X company showed Y game on the show floor!” comments, it doesn’t matter here, since I’m specifically talking about the conferences. This is what each company was showing to the public, not what ONLY the press has access to.
I know these press conferences are usually held for, you know, the press (oh and stockholders), but for a while that’s not really what it’s been all about. Instead, the press conferences are for everyone to see, a chance for each company to really show what they have coming out.
And E3 isn’t all about the conferences, it’s about the gameplay demos and the tons of videos that pop out during the event, some of which actually really interested me, and overall I will say I’m pretty happy with this year’s E3, a lot of interesting games were shown, and I found interest in games I wasn’t interested in before.
Also… Here’s the most awesome moment of the conference: http://i.imgur.com/RfBIB.png
First conference: Microsoft
Talk about drawing out that Halo 4 gameplay at the beginning… Hey, Microsoft! We get it! It’s a Halo game! Get on with the show! We already know what a new Halo will look and play like years before it actually comes out, there’s no need to waste our time. What a lame intro, setting the mood for a lame conference.
Then comes Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Let’s forget the fact that it looks more like CoD than ever… it seems to have decent ideas and the Kinect integration, while 100% useless, is kinda cool. Then EA Sports on full display for some reason (okay, it might be because the 360 is the console where their games sell most). This part was just painful to watch. Then a Wii-style ad for Fable: The Journey which looks lame.
“NEW GAME ANNOUNCEMENTS” at this point, by which I mean they announced 2 sequels awe alread knew about. Oh really Microsoft? Releasing a new Gears and a new Forza? Who woulda thought? And they showed nothing about them, making their announcement useless.
Now a bunch of worthless stuff no one cares about is announced. Streaming video and music, myeh. Oh and some Nike fitness game, who cares.
This is the big thing though. Xbox SmartGlass. This is actually really cool, conceptually. Basically, all your devices would be linked. Your Windows 8 PC, your Windows Phone, your tablet (Windows 8, Android or iPad) and your Xbox 360, basically sharing everything together. Factually, who’s actually going to use this to the level that Microsoft is expecting? No one, that’s who.
Oh and they announced Internet Explorer on Xbox, FINALLY catching up to the PSP!
Some Tomb Raider gameplay… and now I get why people call this game torture porn. It’s basically Uncharted with boobs (which is kinda funny since people wrongfully call Uncharted “Dude Raider”), mixed with on-rail segments of Lara Croft being beat up by the environment. Looks sort of average-ish.
3 new “franchises” were announced! And I won’t even mention them since Microsoft didn’t feel they needed any exposure or anything.
Next we saw a couple random things: Resident Evil 6 gameplay (doesn’t really feel needed at all), Wrecketeer (Angry Birds but in 3D), South Park: The Stick of Truth (but no gameplay was shown, making that part worthless) and Dance Central 3 (putting some really bad pop singer that I don’t know on stage to attempt to advertise it). Nothing unexpected or… really worth showing, really.
The conference closed on Call of Hey Look We’re Making the Same Game Again: Black Ops 2. It’s standard Call of Duty, nothing original or fun it seems. And, again, it lasted way too long.
Why Microsoft failed
This was SO BORING and nothing new was shown other than SmartGlass and that Splinter Cell game (everything else was known about, and the Splinter Cell game could have just been shown at the Ubisoft conference). The overall impression of a watcher shouldn’t be “is this done already?” or “stop wasting my time”. Microsoft: You failed. Badly. So basically they fell well within my expectations.
I had high expectations Sony. What the heck happened? Let’s see.
The first thing they show is Beyond: Two Souls, a game made by the worst developer they have access to. Hey, Quantic Dreams… You’re not good at making games, the fact that you made the worst game ever is proof of that. If you want to make subpar movies, GO MAKE SUBPAR MOVIES. And FUCK this trailer was boring. This was even worse than that overly long Halo 4 gameplay.
Then they showed a match of Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, which I was hyped for! And… Holy crap they made this game look boring. I’m still willing to give it a chance, maybe the players here were just being lame, but this was a TERRIBLE representation of the game. Oh, hey, it’s coming to Vita and you can Vita as a controller to play it AND it’s cross-platform multiplayer. Meh.
Then they had the Vita segment. Using the Vita to control LBP2 with some cross-platform stuff with LBP PSVITA. Playstation Classics confirmed to be coming soon (when they should have been ALREADY WORKING AT LAUNCH). A bunch of stuff we can stream videos from (Amazon, HuluPlus, Netflix, Youtube, Crackle) which I’m sure no one actually cares about. Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified gets a release date and… that’s it, no gameplay or anything. And finally Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation is shown with a new Vita bundle (with a cool white console)… So basically all they really did was show us a bunch of things we already knew about with no real info.
Then a couple of Ubisoft games were shown. Assassin’s Creed 3, but here they showed a naval battle… Okay, it actually looked REALLY FUCKING COOL visually, but it was way drawn out and didn’t look exciting to actually play. Then, Far Cry 3, which looks terrible. “Okay, so here’s this FPS which looks and plays like every other FPS ever!”. You know how they managed to get people excited when they showed this during Ubisoft’s conference? TITS. Seriously.
Now here’s the only new announcements of the presentation… A book! It’s called Wonderbook. So you need Move and the camera thingy, and compatible games… So you open up the book, and things will either be written on it (on the screen) or will appear in or above it (also on the screen). The idea is okay-ish, and the tech seems to work great actually. But DAMN does this look dumb. Are you really serious with this Sony? Who’s the target audience? Kids don’t want a book, they want to shoot stuff in bad FPS games! Come on guys, what the heck? Who has a PS3 AND Move AND happens to be interested by this? No one, that’s who. Oh and be sure to linger on this crappy product for as freaking long as possible!
And now to end the presentation. First some God of War Ascension gameplay, or, in other words, further proof that Santa Monica Studios is rather incompetent when it comes to making action games. No as much as, say, Ninja Theory (who may actually redeem themselves with DmC) or Team Ninja (who made the absolutely horrible Ninja Gaiden 3), but come ON. What is up with this game? What is Kratos doing with the Blades of Chaos, and why is he doing exactly the same thing he’s been doing in every other GoW game? This was the BEST time for Santa Monica Studios to try something different, and they blew it.
And finally some The Last of Us gameplay. I’ll be honest here. I’m not really impressed. It looks like Uncharted, except you have some survival mechanics (low amount of ammo, have to find stuff to build your equipment) and an AI helper who isn’t completely ineffectual. Don’t get me wrong, the gameplay demo showed really cool AI and a couple interesting gameplay elements… but it doesn’t look like something I’m personally interested by. I guess it IS the high note of Sony’s conference though.
(If you watched after the presentation, there was also a LittleBigPlanet Karting trailer, which just gives this sense of “why does this even exist when they already have ModNation?”, moreso than it did before)
Why did Sony fail
They announced NOTHING. Literally the only announcement was that Wonderbook thing which just has no reason to exist.
My biggest expectation here was, at the very least, Sony attempting to save the Vita, because frankly it’s doing horribly and there’s nothing coming out to save it except maybe Call of Boring… But they showed nothing for the Vita that we didn’t already knew about (though apparently there’s some stuff on the show floor, or so I’ve heard… not seeing anyone actually talking about that, but you know…). In fact, even the PS3 had nothing new shown for it.
The only real high point of the conference was The Last of Us showing some pretty cool ideas, even though it didn’t really interest me personally. But that’s really it.
Nintendo is doing things differently this year, with 2 streamed presentations. One concentrating on Wii U, and another for 3DS software. My impressions? Read on.
They start up with Pikmin 3. Great. People have been wanting it for so long and they’re been teasing it for so long, it’s gone to the point where I just wasn’t expecting them to release it. And it looks awesome(with some gameplay shown), and it’s a launch title. Best conference beginning of this E3 by FAR!
On to Wii U, they talk a a bit about Miiverse and such, nothing terribly interesting or that we didn’t know about from Nintendo’s pre-conference 2 days earlier. Then, New Super Mario Bros. U is confirmed, though we were expecting it. But it does look really good… just like, you know, every Nintendo-made Mario game. It’s nice to actually see gameplay footage of a new announcement once again.
Then third-party stuff. Arkham City gets a badass new version. Scribblenauts Unlimited looks… like Scribblenauts, nothing much to say, but it has a story mode so that’s potentially interesting. Then a quick montage with other multi-platform games. Mass Effect 3, Darksiders 2, Tekken Tag 2, Trine 2 (a Wii U-exclusive version), Ninja Gaiden 3 (this game sucks, by the way), Aliens: Colonial Marines… oh and Tank! Tank! Tank! which is actually exclusive. Not much to really say here, it’s fine but nothing we didn’t already known about other than Tank! Tank! Tank! which they didn’t show much of.
Casual stuff! Wii Fit U and Sing, whatever, not interesting whatsoever though the Wii Fit U video does show cool applications of the Wii U Gamepad.
Super short 3DS segment! A date for NSMB2 with a new trailer, Paper Mario Sticker Star trailer with holiday release window, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon trailer with holiday release window, all cool stuff. They apparently HAD to limit 3DS exposure though, which explains the software showcase the day after (which I mention later in this post!). A quick trailer showing off Castlevania, Epic Mickey, Scribblenauts and Kingdom Hearts and it’s back to Wii U. I liked this part, finally confirming dates for some cool games.
Lego City Undercover showed for Wii U (and a complimentary game being released on 3DS)… Very fun trailer. Not sure if it’s something I personally want to play, but it actually doesn’t look bad at all. Sort of a very light-hearted/crazy version of GTA, with Lego blocks.
Then Ubisoft comes and just… does stuff. Not sure why we needed them there again, they’ve literally been on at every conference so far other than EA’s. ZombiU seems pretty interesting despite being a zombie game (and despite the amazingly dumb title) due to the “one bite and you die, no checkpoints” concept, but otherwise, nothing too interesting. Just Dance 4 and… a montage with AC3, Rabbids, Avengers, Rayman, and other crap. Meeeeeeeeeeeeh.
Nintendo’s presentation ends on Nintendo Land, a mini-game compilation for Wii U. It may or may not be a pack-in game (Nintendo are unsure at this point, but they did point out that they want “an extremely high attack rate for Nintendo Land”, so that does point towards pack-in, or low-priced). It seems kinda cool to show off the Wii U to friends, some of the minigames even look decent. Not sure I’d be willing to actually pay for it, but… if it’s a pack-in I’d be pretty happy about that.
3DS Software showcase
I’ll go through this fast, because it’s barely worth mentioning.
First they showed off Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate, and it actually looks really cool contrarily to my previous expectations. I’m… kinda hyped for it now despite some crappy gameplay elements here and there.
Then, a ton of stuff we already knew about. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Paper Mario Sticker Star and Kingdom Hearts 3D, Scribblenauts Unlimited. Nothing really new was shown for any of them, other than a good explanation of the gameplay for Paper Mario which seems pretty badass.
Then a quick montage of 3rd party stuff (lego batman, transformers prime, rabbids rumble, heroes of ruin), a quick mention of Pokemon Black/White 2, some dumb Nintendo Video show no one should watch (Threediots I think it was called? whatever) and a quick mention of Pokemon Dream Radar (AR pokemon game) and Pokedex 3D Pro.
And then it ended with a quick demonstration of New Super Mario Bros 2, which looks obviously good… and that’s it. They actually didn’t announce anything. LAME.
You know why this sucks? Because they DID announce something for 3DS, on their Twitter 2 hours later: https://twitter.com/NintendoAmerica/status/210570017471864833 … so why didn’t they announce it during the presentation?
When the first presentation was done, I was kinda pissed. No crazy announcements, no showing what Retro Studios is working on (seriously Nintendo, we NEED to know), no games shown for Wii U that are coming after the launch window… It felt kinda bland. Oh, and no release date or price for the Wii U. Re-watching it a couple hours after it happened, I kinda got it. It definitely wasn’t as good as it should have been, but it did what it needed to. There were actual announcements, they showed off the Wii U well enough, we got dates and release windows for other stuff, and more specifically we saw a lot of the near-launch stuff for Wii U… It… wasn’t bad, they showed a good part of what they needed to.
But they clearly could have shown a lot more. Like “Project P-100″ which was shown after the conference and it looks freaking amazing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9YjceHWgC8 Seriously, look at that! And it’s directed by Mister DMC/RE/VJ/Bayonetta himself, Hideki Kamiya!).
They said at the beginning of the conference that what was being shown wasn’t everything that was being worked on for the Wii U so… why not a quick montage of other things at the end? You know, just to whet our appetite a bit? That would have made this conference a million times better.
Oh and the separate presentation for 3DS titles? Great idea. Too bad they did NOTHING with it. Seriously, what? That was basically a waste of an hour.
Looking back, Microsoft showed a bit more stuff than Sony… And yet they still managed to have the worst conference this year because of the lack of actual announcements and overall boring conference.
Sony was ultimately disappointing but were at least a lot more interesting to look at than Microsoft. Sony failed though, due to the lack of announcements and the fact that they don’t feel like saving what may possibly be a dying console.
Nintendo didn’t kick as much ass as they should have, but they still did fine.
So Nintendo definitely “won”, and, while not by too much, Microsoft definitely “lost”. I do see a lot of people saying Ubisoft won, but the only reason for that is Watch Dogs, where the gameplay demo had about 10 minutes of DOING NOTHING, with a couple minutes of bad substandard cover-based third-person shooting. I guess people just like being bored. Oh and fuck Ubisoft for butting into every other conference, kinda destroys the point of having their own conference, does it not?
My expectations for everyone but Microsoft were quite high, and clearly they didn’t even come close to reaching them.
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