This opening paragraph is where I would normally talk about how E3 used to be something I was excited for, but I think we are a little past that. It has been a good four years since I last watched all the press conferences live and every year since has pushed out that excitement with apathy.
I will admit that I miss it. There was something thrilling in how I did not doubt for a second that I would find a way to secretly tune in at work and how I felt like I was a part of something and that I had my ear on the ground of gaming news.
But while the signs were evident back then, it is not only the perspective that comes with age that has dampened my excitement, but also the rising mainstream popularity of gaming. The less niche the market, the more broad the show and the lingo. Microsoft is self-actualizing and Nintendo is reinventing gaming. Of course they are not doing these things, but this is PR speak and this is a giant industry machine.
Also, as the industry gets bigger and more companies have their own press conferences, the time for E3 megatons is long past, and the companies seem to know that. Surprising to some, it was actually Nintendo with their online-only direct video that recalled most closely the E3 feeling of old. Anyway, how about I talk about the stuff that caught my attention – for better or worse – this E3.
Nothing From Microsoft
Well that is not entirely true. But the stuff I did care about, – or rather the thing I cared about – Inside is not even exclusive to XBox, although it is a timed release. But that is not entirely fair to Microsoft. I have never been an XBox guy, only ever owning a 360 and I only did that because it was cheaper and had Tales of Vesperia on it. It was my first console of that generation, so I was more excited by the technology than the actual system. Soon it became my Mass Effect and Forza machine and then when the Mass Effect Trilogy was released for PS3, I never took my 360 out of the closet again. So I was already apathetic going in to the Microsoft conference which I only watched by reading the live tweets. So it is not a fair assessment, but also XBox is awful.
The Long and Winding Sony
This is another press conference I did not watch directly, but I care a great deal more about Sony than I do about Microsoft. Still, nothing coming down the live tweet pipeline gave me any interest. People seemed to be excited for No Man’s Sky, but I am not sure I understand why. It might be because “procedurally generated” makes me tune out while it excites others, but I like a deliberated crafted game world. I do think Abzu looks good, but I am going to wait for more information before I judge something on an art style alone.
I suppose there was Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Metal Gear Solid V but the former was just a teaser trailer that – while technically captured using the in-game engine – tells us nothing about how the game will be or how it will genuinely look, and the latter I could personally care less about. I know that is not a legitimate reason, but it is still enough for me to not talk about it.
The Benefits of Being Nintendo
I actually prefer the Nintendo Direct to a press conference, at least in this format. It was nice to hear developers talk genuinely about their games. It was still largely vague and obviously skewed to be positive, but it did feel like developers talking and not executives and PR reps talking. They seemed to like their games and I enjoyed the insight into the process. The Robot Chicken-esque sequences were not great, but I preferred them to scripted dialogue between awkward actors or executives (although that came later in the Treehouse thing). When it came to the games, there was nothing mind-blowing, but nothing I found particularly obnoxious either. It was Nintendo’s careful style of deliberate game development which is a strange combination of consistent and stubborn to the receiving public. In the interest of making more subheadings, I will separate my thoughts about a few of the Nintendo games.
Skyward Sword art style plus Link Between World style character models plus Legend of Zelda design philosophy plus Ocarina of Time style Hyrule equals something incredibly promising. Of course, we saw nothing of substance, so let the typical year of speculation begin.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn – despite being incredibly – easy was a beautiful and delightfully creative game. I will buy Yoshi’s new game.
Nintendo Enters Online
And does it well, apparently?! That squid game seems to have a lot of great ideas behind it. It keeps the concept simple, but it looks like tactics will be very fun and satisfying to master. It also looks like the game will benefit from not only individual skill, but creative teamwork as well, so I really think that this is something to keep an excited eye on.
Smash Blah Blah
Yes. Smash Brothers is a game. We are already sold or not sold.
Okay. Will buy if reasonably priced.
Just as Julian “SiliconNooB” Taylor finally got his hands on the long-awaited fan translation of the previously Japanese only Final Fantasy Type-0, Square Enix decided to give it a glossy new coat of paint and send it off to the PS4 later this year. So there you have it.
I am more excited by gaming as a medium now than I ever have been. I think a new age is beginning to take form and no longer will games be art that one interacts with, but the interaction itself will become an art. At least in a way that we are beginning to understand and harness. But as my excitement for the medium increases, my interest in what I used to associate with gaming is starting to fall away. I do not feel like E3 is a show that relates to me any more. I am excited by some of the games, but I am not particularly excited by the event. I am happy that it has happened and that it will soon be over because that means that the gaming news drought will soon end, but I did not need this forum to learn about these games. All these companies could have released all these trailers at any point and found ways for the press to play them and give their contrived impressions without needing a big show. Or who knows? Maybe I am too jaded. What do you think, LusiExpos? What are your feeling on this year’s E3? Do not let my impressions colour yours.