e3_logo

Peep Game: The Best of E3 – Electronic Entertainment Expo

 

There is not an event in existence with the

meaning of Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3. Even if the Electronic

Software Association has been unwinding some of the previous life that was

associated with the gaming extravaganza by pulling away some of the

extravagance that once populated the event, it is still the source of plenty of

gaming news.

 

Also the source of the biggest press conferences

of the year by the big three companies, Sony America’s CEO Jack Tretten said

during Sony’s press conference that it “takes years off of his life to prepare

the presentation.” I can believe it. Most companies take months of ardent

preparation and late nights to get that hour to two-hour press conference

together.

 

With that said, this year’s E3 may have been a bit

of a letdown. In years past there were more surprises, more elegance and more

speculation. This year may have seemed like an end of an era.

 

Is this the fault of the hardware developers, the

ESA or the software companies? Perhaps all three may share the blame, but even

so, there is still plenty to talk about.

 

The

Hardware Press Conferences

The hardware companies presentations may have had

less lackluster presentations in previous years. Perhaps this was signaled by

the shift in power positions, with Microsoft’s Peter Moore moving to EA Sports

and Sony’s Phil Harrison moving to Infrogrames. With that said, I still have to

give the winner of the hardware press conferences to the not-so-jolly green

giant, Microsoft.

 

Here is the breakdown:

 

Company: Microsoft

Focus: Software/online interaction

Surprise: Final Fantasy XIII

being non-exclusive

 

The truth of the matter

is although this may have been the best of the conference, it’s not saying

much. Its highlight happened to be the bombshell that SquareEnix’ once Sony-exclusive

title Final Fantasy XIII was going to

be appearing on the Xbox 360. However, this move isn’t a total surprise, as

Square had announced that they were going to start publishing for the platform

earlier this year.

 

Another focus was the

new online service redesign. The main highlight of this move will be the

addition of avatars, allowing people to chat and interact between each other.

It mostly seems like a mix of Home

and Nintendo’s Mii’s. Nothing truly ground shaking, but Gears of War 2 looked great, Rock

Band 2 is a timed exclusive, and RE 5

got a release date. In past years this may be

construed as middle of the pack, which may say more of their competitors than

of themselves.

 

Company: Sony

Focus: Software/online interaction

Surprise: Ratchet And Clank:

Quest for booty

Being the last major press conference of the

Summit, one could see the air of confidence in Jack Tretton’s eyes. It is a shame

that the information behind it just couldn’t capitalize upon the opportunity

that Sony had. Their focus on the Playstation Network was apparent, as the

unveiling of the new Video Service, which is now available, and the titles

being made available network wide over the next year, highlighted by the Ratchet and Clank Quest for Booty should

make cheap gamers happy. However, with no real news on home leaves the services

ability to overtake Xbox Live questionable at best.

 

Starting off the conference with playable Resistance 2 and LittleBigPlanet was exciting to say the least. Both games looked

like they could provide hours of entertainment. However, the rest of the

presentation was as meager, as the aforementioned gamers were exciting. The PSP

lineup looked paltry at best, even with the great Ratchet: Size Matters Pack being set up for a holiday release. God of War 3 looks great, but not much

information was given. MAG although

on paper seems like a great idea, seems like a game that most likely will see

the delay block to a holiday release in ‘09, so judgment will be reserved until

more information drops.

 

Company: Microsoft

Focus: Casual gaming

Surprise: Wii Music

 

Nintendo is the longest running company and the

market leader at this point. So what do they decide to do? The same thing they

have been doing lately, which led to their ability to hold the market share.

They cater to the casual.

 

Hardcore fans will probably be mad at this, but in

the eyes of most mainstream media outlets, Nintendo won again. Wii Music, the upgrade to Wiimote with

extra motion capabilities, Shaun White

Snowboarding giving the Balance Board more burn, and an actual Lightsaber

game should only boost sales for the console.

 

Not to mention the DS now getting an exclusive Grand Theft Auto game, along with a Guitar Hero title should also help the

handheld leader hold position. For the hardcore, this conference may make them

want to sell their Wii, but also, because of this conference they should find

plenty of buyers around holiday time.

 

The

Software Press Conferences

This generation may be the generation that will be

remembered for more third party titles than first. With software companies like

Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Activision – software’s big three – having great

titles to display. With such quality on display, I have to give the nod to

Electronic Arts.

 

Company: Electronic Arts

Focus: New intellectual properties

Surprise:

Peter Moore’s impact at EA Sports

EA, a company I have hated in the past for their

love affair with the fast buck of licensed games, have seemed to separate

themselves from that and are bringing many new IPs to the forefront. The best

seem to be the First Person Shooter title Mirror’s

Edge. As reported in previous Peep Game’s, I have a strong affinity with

this titles avant-garde approach to the first person action game. Spore, Will Wright’s apparent

masterpiece of genetic development was on display. Left 4 Dead and John Carmacks new IP Rage also got time, giving PC gamers something to smile about.

 

A huge surprise to me is Peter Moore’s impact

after only one year at EA sports. He has seemed to breathe new life into the NBA Live franchise with the Basketball

DNA system. This allows your team to grow together, and develop over a season

more organically. If Live can fix

some of the mechanics and add this effectively to the scheme of things, Live just may find itself in the

conversation again.

 

Tiger Woods

PGA Tour Play 09 All-Play was shaping up nicely as well, looking extremely

solid for a Wii title. Quite simply, EA aint playin’.

 

Company: Ubisoft

Focus: Covering all platforms/genres

Surprise: I Am Alive

 

Ubisoft is definitely a major player in the game.

The France-based company has had success over all platforms, and the next year

seems to be a continuation of this. Citing domination in all markets, this is a

company that has the upcoming Tom

Clancy’s Endwar, Rayman Raving Rabbits TV Party, Shaun White

Snowboarding, and the continuation of the Petz series for the DS. Talk about all encompassing.

 

The highlight of their presentation happened to be

the all new FarCry 2, another PC

breaking experience in the making. However, if you’re able to afford the

supercomputer it looks like it needs to be run on, you may have a great

experience on your hands. Prince of Persia

looks like an excellent cel-shaded adventure. I Am Alive, a new IP, looks to be a survival game to the extreme.

Not a shabby show by any means from the French publisher.

 

Company: Activision

Focus: License Games/ Sequels

Surprise: Call of Duty 5

 

License games and sequels don’t have to suck, just

normally the ones made by EA (some of my hate still remains). However,

Activision, fresh off the merging with PC titan Blizzard, came to provide a

great show for gamers. Guitar Hero World

Tour looks insane, with the ability to create your own songs and do album

covers; it’s a wonder to see just how much the creative can accomplish. Rock Band instruments are compatible for

that extra great feeling of not buying that whole set over again.

 

James Bond’s latest Quantum of Solace game will cover both the latest Bond flick with

Casino Royale. Looks exciting, as the title uses Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat’s engine, which should satisfy those

who need their Call of Duty 4 fix. Call of Duty looks like it may be a good

game, against all of my previous assumptions. Keifer Sutherland aka Jack Bauer

will be a voice in the game, it features online and offline co-op (one of my

only problems with Call of Duty 4: Modern

Combat) and will keep score.

 

Superhero games are in, as Wolverine, Spiderman: Web of

Shadows, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance

2:Fusion all look pretty solid. They didn’t even feature Blizzard’s two

megatons of Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3. Second only to EA’s show,

Activision looks like a company with plenty of upside.

 

All in all, this year will mostly be known as the

year of the software. AN oddity of third party multiplatform software being the

major buys of the season. Mario, Link, Samus, Snake, Master Chief and some more

of your favorite first party characters didn’t make an appearance, and to be

real, the hardware companies’ shows were dwarfed by their software

counterparts. Even so, it was still a show that gave a lot of information and

excitement for gamers.

To see some of the new trailers that were unveiled at E3, go to http://www.e3expo.comCatch up on more gaming news and discussion with Adam Thomas and the crew at http://www.forum.thegamerstudio.com

blog comments powered by Disqus