Editorial: A Few of E3 2009’s Games

Ah, E3. A breathtaking, life-changing experience, to say the least. Not a bad show this year either, with more than enough big-deal announcements to keep gamers such as myself in anticipation of what’s to come.

While Ethan is busy working rich-looking businessman, (again) how ’bouts I write up some brief, initial impressions on some of the newly-announced titles that caught my eye? This is just a taste of all the news that came from E3, but I figure it’s a good place to start.

Final Fantasy XIV

Looks fairly familiar.
Looks fairly familiar.

Apparently, Square Enix’s online presence is more important to them then I, at least, figured it was. The announcement of a new Final Fantasy game is always cause for excitement, but Final Fantasy XIV is worthy of especial attention. Why? Like Final Fantasy XI before it, FFXIV will be an online-only title. Initial reports from Sony’s press conference pegged it as a PS3 exclusive, but Square Enix’s following conference stated that the game would hit PS3, PC, and perhaps even “Microsoft hardware.” Just to give a brief rundown of what’s known thus far, FFXIV is an entirely new game, set in an entirely new world. Squeenix’s intent with FFXIV is to take what they’ve learned from FFXI and use it to make FFXIV a better, more accessible experience. The launch trailer shows off some brief gameplay footage that features characters that look identical to Humes, Galka and Elvaan. Squeenix is insisting that they’re different races, however.

Will I play Final Fantasy XIV? Hmm. Clouded, the future of this title is. While Squeenix has stated they don’t want this to be a WoW clone, I can’t see it being anything other than an answer to WoW. Will their answer work? They’ve also stated that they are “trying to implement a lot of new systems that other MMOs have not used in the past,” so who knows? Maybe we’ll end up with something special. Or maybe we’ll end up with another grindy bore-fest with updated graphics and a fresh setting.

2010 Zelda Project
Okay, so apparently Nintendo really IS working on a new Legend of Zelda game for the Wii. In fact, Shigeru Miyamoto even showed off concept artwork for it, but since photography was strictly forbidden at the roundtable, you can’t see any of it. All I can tell you is that it features Link decked out in Twilight Princess form. Miyamoto claimed that he wanted to show off the new game at this year’s E3, but the team decided to focus on development instead.

It sounds like Nintendo really is trying to freshen things up with Link’s next Wii outing. I don’t really have any solid evidence to back that up yet, but it’s the vibe I received. Oh, and on a random LULZ note, Miyamoto stated that the game is incorporating so much Wii MotionPlus functionality that the game may require it. Gee, who saw that coming?

Metroid: Other M

Let's get physical...
Let's get physical...

Now this one looks like a strange beast. Nintendo is working with Tecmo’s Team Ninja (of Ninja Gaiden fame) to bring Wii owners an all-new, all-different Metroid experience. From what can be seen in the trailer, the result seems to be a mixture of first AND third-person shooter gameplay. Combat also seems to have a more visceral, physical side to it this time around, as the trailer showed Samus grappling, throwing, and vaulting over enemies. It’s Team Ninja alright; but will it make a convincing Metroid?

I’m unsure, frankly. Whether Nintendo wants to admit it or not, Metroid Prime defined the series upon its release in 2001. The masterful atmosphere, stunning presentation, and flawless transition of the Metroid mechanics into three dimensions made sure of that. But for whatever reason, every installment since then has moved further and further from what made the game work so well. Who knows, perhaps Other M will refresh the series in the way that the original Prime did… but I somehow doubt it.

NIER
In their latest attempt to appeal to the Western audience they so desparately want a (bigger) piece of, Square Enix is bringing us what appears to be a Devil May Cry ripoff. Okay, I realize I’m really quick to judge here, but that’s the impression I got. Supposedly, even the titual protagonist Nier has been designed to appeal to a western audience. As a result, Neir looks like the biggest musclebound toolbag protagonist in recent memory. Move over, Marcus Fenix.

Metal Gear Solid Rising
I’ve never played a Metal Gear game in my life, so I have practically nothing to say about this one. Why did I bring it up, you ask? Well, initially, people had the idea that MGSR would be an Xbox 360 exclusive. Konami soon confirmed that it would have a PS3 release as well, sparking Sony fanboy gloatings such as this one from lil_z_95:

helll yea losers mgs rising is multi platform in your face 360 inur face u son of a female doggy tats right they know we got them in check hell yea in ur face they know it needs to be on the ps3 because thats were its gonna sell we need only one disc for the game not like 3 dvds

Priceless.

Anyway, Ethan is back and he has chinese take-out. And ice cream. Check back tomorrow for some of his assorted thoughts.

0 comments

  1. Anybody else think it’s kind of funny that Metroid will have gone through 2 series reboots, while Zelda seems to be following the same basic formula it has since the original release?

  2. Re: Zelda, I don’t know if it’ll be “so much” motion, but rather “better” motion. If it was going to be included anyway, I’d much rather have MotionPlus exclusive. Red Steel 2 style sword play is far more appealing to me than more mapped waggle.
    I was I was in that room to see that picture. Apparently it was MORE adult than TP Link. 28 year old Link?

  3. Steady on there, old boy; Metroid Prime did not ‘define the series’. Whilst it is highly-engaging, extremely well made, and maybe the best FPS exploration game ever designed, it was extremely derivative. The vast majority of the monsters and even several prominent bosses are taken squarely from previous Metroid games. The setting, the storyline, and the main character were all developed and introduced before Metroid Prime saw the light of day.

    Moreover, there have been only four 3D Metroid games, only one of which is meritorious (One is Hunters for DS, and the other two are sequels to the original Metroid Prime). There have been five 2D Metroid games, and it is these which set the tone for the series–indeed, even the tone for Metroid Prime, which plays much like a 3D version of Super Metroid, even keeping all the mechanics from that earlier title.

    We know you love Metroid Prime, but don’t convince yourself that the series conceptually ‘begins’ there, or that Metroid Prime somehow set the tone for the series which existed successfully long before it was invented. Those things were there prior to its conception and it is no surprise that they remain after the trilogy has run its course. Chaining Metroid to the Prime trilogy is not a positive move, neither is it justifiable.

    For my part, I am delighted to see Nintendo doing the sensible thing and making the modern equivalent of a 2D platformer with the next Metroid. The 3D action/adventure hybrid has replaced the 2D platformers of old, and so Metroid: Other M is the natural progression from the ‘classic’ Metroid games now that the interlude of the Gamecube-era Prime games has reached its terminus.

    The name is retarded though. I’ve farted more exciting titles.

  4. My mistake, I thought your FFXIV pararaph had an abnormally large break between it, but now I see you’ve continued in that format for the entire article.

    IMO SE gets a lot of false credit for the games it publishes. Nier is made by Cavia who did the Drakkenguard games, so they’re no strangers to action hack ‘n slash titles.

    I was actually more excited by MGS: Peace Walker as it marks the return of Big Boss/Naked Snake.

  5. Metroid reboot? Wouldn’t everyone be surprised if this one turned out to have exploration. Do you think they would risk upsetting their fanbase by implimenting such a radicle shift in game design?

  6. The quote is from GameSpot. Lots of brilliant stuff to be found on the forums there.

    And Lusipurr, I might have done better to say that Metroid Prime defined the series from that point on.

  7. Metroid: Other M is not a reboot of the franchise.
    According to an interview with Yoshio Sakamoto, director of the project and one of the co-creators of the Metroid franchise, he indicated that the game takes place between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion stories. It’s intended to fill in some of the background of Samus’ character.

    Here’s two links to the interviews:

    http://wii.ign.com/articles/991/991793p1.html

    http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?pager.offset=1&cId=3174587&p=

    Yoshio Sakamoto has

    I’d also have to say that I’m pretty excited about the prospect of this game. I enjoyed the Prime series, but my heart always belonged to the original 2D Metroid games.

  8. Thanks for the link, Sundoulos! And he doesn’t look as different from the TP Link as I might have hoped, but it IS cool that they’re bringing back one of the best parts of WW, The Mother Child Island design.
    Welp, when usually I’d be drooling in hype right now, I’ll REALLY have to see some gameplay before I can make a single judgement either way. Another Twilight Princess /OoT clone might be enough to push me into the apathetic.

  9. FF14 looks like it could be pretty good. They’re apparently not using EXP or leveling but some other system for character progression.

    The head guy is responsible for FF2 though, so I’m a little worried.

    I’m not sure I want to play another MMO ever again though. They’re just ridiculous timesinks and I could play lots of other games with the time I have for gaming instead.

    @Lusi, are you going to jump ship to 14?

    Also, I’d be interested to hear what you guys think about prerendered backdrops in FF9 and other PSX era games if you discuss it on the podcast.

  10. @Evilpaul: I left FFXI about a month ago as I didn’t have the time for both WoW and FFXI, and all of my friends play WoW. Seeing as I will be moving to Chicago, I want to stay in touch with my friends somehow, so I’m keeping WoW. I tried to do both at once, but it just wasn’t possible.

    However, all of us own PS3s, and all of us have vowed to get FFXIV when it eventually comes out, so we will be switching from WoW to that. In the meantime, FFXIV it is.

    I ran into someone from my CatFancy days yesterday in the game, in fact! Good ol’ Oddigy (late of #CatFancy) saw me in Orgrimmar and said hello. Vy good of him, I think!

  11. @evilpaul – Yeah, I’d love to discuss that. Suikoden for DS harkens back to those days.
    I tried WoW for a few hours and shrugged, but maybe I’ll try FFXIV. I’ll definitely have a PS3 then, and it would be cool to try from the beginning.

  12. I’m not sure about Other M. It seems a lot… Louder than previous Metroid games. Something about the emphasis on more visceral combat irks me. And while I doubt you’ll notice the difference, Oliver, I can’t help but think the exploration aspect is going to be massively toned down, perhaps even worse than the neutered Hunters or Metroid Prime 3.

    NIER – When I hear SE talk about appealing to a Western audience, I think of the laughable characters and concepts from The Last Remnant and immediately pass. I’ll stick to Bayonetta and DMC for that type of game.

    Metal Gear Solid Rising – Considering it’s very likely to star ninja-suit Raiden, I can’t help but think they’re going to even further go away from the stealth roots of the series and turn THIS into a Devil May Cry style game. Not impressed.

  13. Hey, hey, hey, LIGHTNING BOLT ACTION is just as cool!
    Is that what it was? I couldn’t believe they replaced Tactical Espionage Action with Lightning Bolt Action. Or whatever similarly ridiculous title it was.
    Didn’t really care for the Prime series, but the Other M trailer interested me!

  14. I’m much more interested in MGS: Peace Walker because of its ties into the MGS3 plotline.