#oneaday Day 869: Eeeeeeee by 3


E3’s leaving me a bit cold this year. The fact I’m not covering it for a gaming website is actually a blessed relief, as it means I don’t have to stay up until ass o’ clock in the morning watching cringeworthy live performances from executives who should know better. But I’m not even feeling particularly inspired to seek out the big news from it myself — nothing’s grabbing me as hugely exciting. The most interesting thing to me is probably Nintendo’s new console, which does some genuinely innovative and cool things — but we’ll have to wait and see on pricing.

E3’s not necessarily about people like me though. It’s first and foremost about the suits and the money, secondly about the press and the actual gaming public comes in a distant third somewhere. It is, in essence, a huge PR circus whereby lots of companies can make outlandish promises about their new products and hope no-one remembers by the time the product in question actually comes out. (See: anything Peter Molyneux or Microsoft have ever said, anything regarding motion control, anything regarding Vitality Sensors.) It’s an important time for publishers to show off their big new titles to keep their shareholders happy, and for the press to help keep the buzz flowing.

I’ve never been to an E3, so I can’t speak for what the experience of actually being there is like. I’m sure smaller developers and publishers are there, too, but I feel a bit sorry for them. As is always the case, the big news is always about what Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft and EA are up to — and probably something Call of Duty-related from Activision, too. Smaller companies are there to get their products noticed, too, but it must regularly seem like an uphill battle to them when all the big sites want to cover is Halo 4, Call of Duty 300 and other Games With Guns In.

There have been a few surprises, of course. Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs is looking cool — at least it did until the dude pulled a gun out — and David Cage’s latest project is sure to be just as interesting and divisive as his previous work. I’m not yet convinced by The Last of Us (ugh, zombies) and I want to know more about pricing before I get too excited about Wii U.

Herein lies the rub, though. I couldn’t give a crap about the “big games”. I know that plenty of people do, otherwise we wouldn’t be on our sixth Halo game, our fifth Assassin’s Creed game (not counting spinoff titles) and our four hundred and seventy-sixth Mario title. And the big sites certainly cover the big games with aplomb. But where is the discussion about more niche titles like Larian Studios’ upcoming new Divinity game and the batshit-crazy looking Dragon Commander? Where’s the love for independent developers? Where can I find what I’ll be putting in my shopping cart without question next time there’s a Steam sale?

This information is out there, I’m sure, but it’s hard to find. It’s easy to be cynical about E3 because of the information that gets the highest priority. “Biggest budget” seems to equate to “most important” in the eyes of a lot of press and public alike, and that’s a bit of a shame. For me, the most important titles should be the ones that move the genre forward, the ones that do genuinely interesting things, the ones that I’d want to discuss on the Squadron of Shame SquadCast. But I guess they call things like that “niche” for a reason.

Also, fuck E3 memes. If one more person makes a “my body is ready” joke I will punch them. Hard.

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Pete Davison

Southampton-based music teacher, writer and enthusiast of Japanese popular culture.

2 thoughts on “#oneaday Day 869: Eeeeeeee by 3”

  1. My head still hurts and I didn’t have to write a single article this year (Thank God!). I couldn’t even pull myself to write a blog post about E3 last night, as I was sick of the hype train.

    It was a weak year for big-budget gaming. Microsoft is all but forgetting why people buy their systems, and Nintendo had the poorest showing I’ve ever witnessed — destroying all my excitement for their upcoming Wii U in the process. Still, it’s good to have a company developing games for younger gamers, which is where their obviously going with Wii U — regardless of their previous statements.

    Sony did a pretty good job, as they are the only company of the three that’s pushing core games, instead of everything but — with exception to Wonderbook, which did drag on for far too long.

    Assassins Creed, along with most other “must have games,” aren’t exactly my cup of tea, but I have to say that Ubisoft is really doing something special with AC3. It’s intrigued me something fierce.

    I’d encourage giving The Last of Us a second look though. It’s not a typical ‘zombie’ title, of which I’m sick of myself. Zombie U… (barf)! The gameplay mechanics are quite innovative and it looks like it has the potential for a new level of intensity in gaming. You’ll have to check out the new gameplay trailer to really understand it though. The denizens don’t look like zombies anymore either, just ragged people that are crazed in the head — a needed change in my opinion.

    1. We’ll see. I like Naughty Dog’s previous stuff (though I have to confess, I still haven’t played Uncharted 3) so I have a small degree of faith they’ll do something interesting. I’ll wait and see what people say when it eventually releases.

      Oddly, I actually quite like the sound of some of the stuff the Wii U will be doing. Again, it’s one to wait and see on, I think — if it’s nothing but Mario Kart and Mario platformers I can probably safely give it a miss, but if developers like Monolithsoft, Mistwalker and Ganbarion (Xenoblade, The Last Story, Pandora’s Tower respectively) sign up, then colour me interested.

      The thing with the Wii is that it was actually home to a ton of awesome, creative “gamers’ games” that it never got credit for just because it was, well, the Wii. But there are some brilliant adventure games, RPGs, shooters and all manner of other things on that system, all because it’s less of a risk for developers and publishers to work on it. I’m hoping the Wii U will continue that trend as “next-gen” costs inevitably spiral out of control.

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