Cynic Gamer: E3 2011 dissected
E3 has come and gone and it seems my articles from the last two years have not been read. Again we see a lack of innovation and a buttload of sequels. E3 for sure isn’t what it used to be anymore.
Microsoft were the first to kick off E3 with their press conference. Surprise, surprise, they kicked it off with two third party titles: Modern Warfare 3 and Tomb Raider. Hello? People at Microsoft? Are you not a software company? Are you not supposed to be showing off YOUR stuff? Guess not.
It wasn’t until halfway the press conference that we actually got to see something from Microsoft themselves, and that came in the form of Gears of War 3, Forza 4 and Ryse. With all due respect but this isn’t anything world shocking. The fact that all of these games have some meaningless type of support for Kinect isn’t either. None of these games actually NEED Kinect so the core gamer can still game without Microsoft’s motion controller. Fable: The Journey is seen as a huge project for Kinect but are we supposed to get excited about a game where you ride a horse and carriage and get to draw lines in the air?
I thought this was going to be the year Microsoft shows Kinect for the Core gamer. Well, that Core gamer better love kiddiegames as that’s what the majority of Mickeysoft’s lineup was all about. Plenty of kiddiegames and stuff that looks on-rails is what we’ll be getting. Sounds like Microsoft has travelled back in time and ended up in the 90s again.
The biggest new title Microsoft had to show at their presser was a short teaser for Halo 4 but that surprise was already ruined because it leaked before the conference. Great job guys! Not that there was much to see.
Oh, and before I forget: Microsoft didn’t care to show anything regarding PC games. This while last year they were all about that they would focus again more on the PC as a gaming platform with Games for Windows LIVE. Hmmm, I guess that idea got dropped quite quickly.
Sony did things a little better but mostly because they didn’t try to hide they’ve had issues with PSN.
They officially announced the Playstation Vita, their new handheld and the successor to the PlaystationPortable (we’re going to dismiss the existence of the PSPGo). The name isn’t great, but it doesn’t make us want to throw up so that’s alreday a positive thing. It won’t be out this year still, but the price of around €250 sounds good and it doesn’t look too shabby. Don’t look for too much originality, though, as the first games announced are almost all based on established franchises (Uncharted, WipeOut, LittleBigPlanet, Modnation Racers, …).
Next to the hardware, they showed Uncharted 3, Resistance 3, Starhawk and Sly 4. Guess what; all sequels. The rest of Sony’s press conference was filled with third parties, Showing again that the main platform holders seem to have lost any and all creativity.
When it comes to creativity, you expect a lot from Nintendo. They’ve been relying for years on their first party titles to keep their hardware selling, so maybe their press conference will be better? Well… no.
The big announcement was the Wii U. We’re sure someone must have had a blast when smoking some dope and coming up with that “clever” name, but we don’t like it. Wii2 or WiiHD would have been more suitable. Or hell, just give it an entirely different name as this one plain sucks.
The demonstration given was so confusing that it took explanations and pictures the day after the conference to make people understand that that tablet wasn’t the console itself, but just the controller. And to make things worse, you can only connect one of such special tablets to the console and if you want to play with multiple people, all the others will have to suffice with a Wii-Remote.
The Wii U is supposed to finally address the needs of the hardcore gamers so what did we get to see qua games from Nintendo? Zelda, Zelda, more Zelda, Mario, Mario, Luigi, Smash Bros, … Yes, there were “hardcore” games for Wii U presented, but all of them were third party titles and most of these will already be out on other platforms before the even the Wii U arrives.
I’m wondering when Nintendo will realise that as platform holder, they need to lead by example and if you want to attract hardcore gamers, you’ll need to create hardcore games. And with that I’m not aiming at a Mario first person shooter.
The fact that Nintendo’s stock dropped to an all-time low the day after the announcement of the Wii U says a lot. No need to be cynical about that. Worst product announcement in recent years.
Activision is without a doubt the biggest third party publisher in the gaming industry but they weren’t even interested in having a press conference before the show. Their conference from last year was crap, and with only Modern Warfare 3 and the announcement of their online service, Call of Duty: Elite, it’s clear there wasn’t much to show off. They therefore made the smart choice: they gave E3 the finger.
Ubisoft and Electronic Arts had reasonable decent press conferences eventhough Ubi’s Rayman demonstration took way too long and started off clumsy. However, they were again filled with sequels. Only three titles stood out as being original: Tintin, Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 (which is a sequel but looks quite different from the previous titles) and Overstrike. Just like the last few years, it seems we’re in for another 12 months of sequels and slightly updated games. Yup, definitely something to look forward to.
Either E3 has lost its momentum as the place to be when it comes to showing off the possibilities and creativity in the gaming industry or our beloved industry has just become a grown up industry ran by accountants who fear any and all change, betting on what they know. Just like the movie industry which coincidentally also resides in Hollywood, LA. If that’s the case, I may have to rebrand this column from Cynic Gamer to Melancholic Gamer.