This year’s E3 is now over. As you may have guessed, I was not there. That’s not to say I’m completely without my knowledge of things that occurred during this year’s major press conferences. In fact, Other Chris is lucky and naturally talented enough to be an intern for a major game site (I won’t tell you who it is but it’s GameTrailers), meaning he was there and called me every night to give me the firsthand scoop. Utilizing all of my resources, I now present to you the big things from E3 2010.
It’s sad to say, but Microsoft may have just made a huge fool of itself this year with an incredibly lackluster showing of anything really interesting to its market of core gamers. The past few years it’s gone out of its way to point out how much it’s the “adult” system compared to Nintendo’s Wii. Then of course last year it showed off Project Natal, a version of motion control that requires only your body, similar to Sony’s Eye Toy from so many failed years ago.
Natal has a new name now: Kinect. It pains me to write that, it really does. Granted, it also pains me to see anything associated with Kinect because the games look exactly like you’d expect them to: Stupid. It’s like Microsoft isn’t even trying to differentiate itself from Nintendo either with titles like Kinect Sports and Kinect Party. Wii Fit clones? You bet, in bundles. Nintendogs with safari animals? Kinanimals, or some ridiculous name. That’s right, I won’t even bother to look it up for sure.
But what new games were shown at Microsoft’s press conference? Well, they showed off Gears of War 3, a title we already heard about last month and knew about even earlier. The new Call of Duty game appeared, which looks exactly as you’d expect it to. Once again, it was a title we had seen announced earlier. Same exact thing with Halo: Reach, a game that looks good, but still, we’ve already known about it. Finally, Metal Gear Rising, a game announced last year, was shown again. That means Microsoft showed four titles, only two that are exclusives, and spent the rest of their time pumping Kinect to an audience that couldn’t care less. Oh, and Kinect’s price point? $149.99. That’s a bit steep for the casual market, because the hardcore market sure isn’t going to buy the add-on, not even if they buy the new SKU of the 360, the Xbox 360 Slim. Wow, they’re really not trying to cover where they got all these ideas from, aren’t they?
The PS3 is slowly picking up some steam, and Sony’s press conference was thankfully better than Microsoft’s, at least a little bit. As also expected, Sony talked about their motion control device, the Sony Move, though it was toned way back compared to how much time Microsoft devoted to Kinect, possibly because Sony saw how badly Kinect was received. Little Big Planet 2 was shown, though don’t forget, that was announced a while ago as well. Will this E3 show any titles not previously shown?
Yes, actually. Sony surprised everyone by announcing a new Twisted Metal game for the PS3, a game fans have been pleading for and still somewhat expected, though not any time soon, making it a nice surprise. Another bit of a surprise was Gran Turismo 5. No, we’d heard about this one years and years and years ago, but Sony finally gave it a release date, which is big enough news. The release date is November 2nd, so we won’t know for a few months at least whether that is subject to change, though I’m willing to bet money that it will.
God of War has a new sequel for the PSP, another totally expected announcement, Killzone 3 was shown to utilize the 3D elements Sony’s implementing into the PS3 (as long as you have a $5000 3D TV), and a few other minor titles were shown off for the PSP and PS3 alike, but nothing that really stands out. A new feature for the Playstation Network was announced that says there will be a premium service added, priced the exact same as an Xbox Live Gold Subscription. Sony says the current free online service of the Playstation Network will not be changing, but if you pay to upgrade your account you’ll get early release demos, free games, and other things. I’m predicting that companies will begin requiring PS3 owners to upgrade to play more online multiplayer modes than “stock matches,” but this is just my speculation.
Nintendo won this year, hands down. No way they’ll win next year because they showed everything they’ve had secret for the past few years. Last year was all about the casual market, but this year showed Nintendo franchise titles roll out one by one, mostly thanks to the 3DS. From what I’ve read, and even more mostly from what Other Chris told me, the 3D really works and blows your mind, but it doesn’t come without severe limitations. You have to be at the exact distance and holding the system at the correct angle for the 3D to work, but when it does it freaks you out with how cool it is. The graphics aren’t quite GameCube/Wii level, but they’re still impressive for a handheld.
So with this new system was the announcement of tons of titles, most noteworthy the launch title Kid Icarus Uprising, the Kid Icarus game fans have demanded since the last Kid Icarus game on the Game Boy. Nintendo’s toyed with fans long enough, putting Pit in Brawl, but now there’s a new game and it looks freaking amazing. Definitely a strong-looking launch title.
But that’s not all. Three more titles coming out for the 3DS caught my eye and got me happy. The first was a remake of Star Fox 64, a game that works absolutely perfectly for the handheld. The second was more hushed, but it’s a Paper Mario game, a series I figured lent itself perfectly to the new system (kind of sad I didn’t get a chance to pitch it first). And of course the biggest reveal: Ocarina of Time MIGHT be remade for the 3DS. Should it? Of course, the more people that play Ocarina of Time the better, plus the graphics even in the teaser demo were a huge improvement over the 64 graphics. That’s just astonishing to me. But remember, Nintendo has NOT confirmed they’re for sure remaking that game, just suggested that it’s a possibility. At this point though, it’ll happen.
Still more awesome titles were shown, such as the Legend of Zelda game we all knew was coming. It’s titled the Skyward Sword and has an art style somewhere in between Twilight Princess and Wind Waker. Personally I think it looks cool, plus I’m a Zelda fan anyway, but I can promise you that fans will be angrily split since the overall graphical sheen looks brighter and happier in tone, a big no-no for fans, apparently. A bit of a surprise was the new Kirby game for the Wii with a really unique art style that looks like yarn. Not much to say, but it’s going to be a game Kirby fans will love. More than the Zelda release, one of the best-received games was Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii. It’s being developed by Retro Studios, the company behind the Metroid Prime series, and looks like a return to form back to the SNES titles. Finally, Donkey Kong is awesome again.
Other Big Companies:
Yes, there are more games to talk about other than just ones from the Big Three, but not a whole lot to go into. Square Enix did their usual thing by showing little pieces of games here and there, such as Final Fantasy IV, an online game they showed last year. Nothing new there, and since it’s an online Final Fantasy game the core fans are generally brushing it aside. Plus, Kingdom Hearts games were mentioned for the various systems, but nothing like the official Kingdom Hearts 3, so I didn’t really care.
EA came out and did its thing by just showing the Medal of Honor game developed by the guys booted off the Call of Duty series…so basically a new Call of Duty game from EA. Seriously, it looked the same to me, but I’m told it’s “better” than Call of Duty. Ask me if I really care.
Ubisoft seems to have given the most embarrassing press conference this year with one awkward moment after another, such as showcasing a DDR-style game controlled by breathing. I know, exciting, right? No, not really. I was happy to hear of a really cool Rayman platformer, but that was it. Nothing else from Ubisoft is worth mentioning unless it’s to explicitly mock them, or so I’m told. All second hand info here.
Let’s see, other big titles…oh, Mortal Kombat is back and it remembered how to be Mortal Kombat. That’s good news, what with the blood and gore and real fatalities in a game that Mortal Kombat fans are pretty happy with. Infamous 2 was announced and shown with the big change coming down to ice as the primary power rather than electricity. Cool (oh, see what I just did there?!). I’m now racking my brain to think…Epic Mickey, yeah, that finally got shown, and it was pretty…meh, I’ll wait for more interesting gameplay to be shown before I make a real judgment call. Oh! Right! Force Unleashed II! Yeah, looks pretty much like a sequel to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Good for them, I guess.
Okay, what more? Goldeneye is getting remade for the Wii, and while it looks interesting, I doubt anyone will really go for it. Goldeneye’s charm is way past gone, so all it has remaining is the nostalgia factor going for it. Ah, but Portal 2, that looks promising. There’s a nice cross-section of the FPS genre with Goldeneye getting remade and Portal getting a sequel at last. Good news for everyone there.
Alright, I’m out of news to share. A lot more was shown, but this is what stuck out to me. The rest is up for you to see. So now the question is, as it is every year, who do you think “won” E3? I’m voting for Nintendo for all the obvious reasons, but who did you pick? Or was E3 a total wash for you? Leave a comment and let me know. Besides, now that E3’s over we have to start speculating about what E3 next year will be like.