Now that E3 is over, and we’ve had a chance to catch up and think about what we saw, Game Debate are pleased to bring you their E3 wrap-up.
This year there was a stark divide between the two traditional things people want to see from the show: new hardware and new games…
Firstly, perhaps the biggest news was what we didn’t see. No new consoles announced. Sure, the Wii U gamepad came out of the stable for the first time, to the amazement of few and the complete confusion of others (I’m looking at you, CNN). Microsoft announced their Smartglass concept which will allow you to use your smartphone or tablet as another bolt-on gaming peripheral for the Xbox. But beyond that, no new consoles. No new PS4, no Xbox 720.
This is actually great news for PC gamers. Developers and publishers are still going to push the envelope in terms of game design, as some of the new reveals at the show clearly displayed. But if they’re developing for ‘unspecified console hardware’, and the consoles are dragging their feet, where can they make their money back? Why over in the trusty PC market, where technology is always in advance of game design.
Game-wise, the surprise hit had to be Ubi’s Watch Dogs. Unannounced until E3, it’s been all anyone’s been talking about since. Its technical achievement, imaginative design and fascinating possibilities are so pregnant with promise, we can’t wait for more word from this.
Assassin’s Creed 3 was always going to be something we all watched this show, and the two really noteworthy new things we’ve seen from the demos at E3 are Connor’s fluid ability to move not just through urban landscapes but through much more complex treetops and wilderness environments., and the ship-to-ship naval combat where you take the wheel and fire broadsides at the British. Both innovations show incredible technical skill on the part of the developers – the roiling waves of the sea that cause the ship to roll and pitch are particularly jaw-dropping.
Splinter Cell Blacklist finally showed its face as an action-oriented shooter as much as a stealth-based game, although that might just be one way to play. Regardless, it looks very pretty and Ubi have promised the return of the much-loved spies vs. mercs multiplayer game mode. Far Cry 3 showed up with a couple of new videos as well, and looks predictably lovely.
So much for Ubisoft. They certainly stole the show this year in terms of game output. Beyond that, Arma III had a good showing, and looks promising. It is certainly extremely beautiful, but perhaps the most interesting thing about the Arma games at the moment is the success of the DayZ mod, the open-world MMO zombie game built by the Arma team which is doing so well that Arma II (which is required to run it) has seen a huge boost in sales. A very clever and successful way of funding the last push for Arma III, perhaps?
Of course, we saw the usual annual sports franchises from the usual players, and aside from more social functionality and a few new engines, it’s business as usual for EA. Dead Space 3 was announced, as was the next Need for Speed game (open-world with cops), but nothing desperately innovative. But innovation isn’t really EA’s thing so much as putting out big-budget sequels. More power to them.
The other big things that PC gamers were excited about were probably Dishonoured, Tomb Raider and Star Wars 1313. Lucasarts have certainly gone the whole hog on technical brilliance with 1313. We’re really not sure this is a game you’re likely to see running on clunky Xbox 360 tech – remember what I said earlier about it being a sweet time for PC gamers? Dishonoured continues to excite with its moody atmosphere and attractive ‘Bioshock-meets-Half Life’ feel. We are beside ourselves waiting for that one, to be sure. Tomb Raider, though… well, it’s hard to tell. A little too linear maybe? Does the whole “forged in the crucible of a mysterious island” just mean lots of Lara shrieking in pain, and maybe doing away with the empowerment subtext that’s always fought to be heard in the Tomb Raider games? Still, it looks a bit like the TV show Lost, and if that’s the case, at least one GD reviewer will be happy.
Still not sure what E3 is all about? Well we sent our own Senior GD Reporter, Squee to check it out for you. Take a look at the video below as he experiences E3, and like most of his colleagues, he does so after consuming abusive quantities of free energy drink cocktails. I dare you to try and not laugh as he is overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the greatest show on earth, while overclocking his adrenal gland on caffeine.
Hands up who laughed?
Now tell us what you thought of E3 this year? A damp squib? Or a mouth-watering tantalisation? Let us know in the discussion area!
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