E3s of past have always been insane. They always capitalize on the alluring effect of getting a glimpse into the future. The past two years have been dull and I've always said, “Yeah, this was kind of a whatever show. Just wait until we get into the next-gen.”
Finally that happened.
Universally everyone is saying this has been a fantastic show thus far. While it's debatable if Microsoft really wowed gamers or if there were too many shooters or not, this whole show has proven that videogames are still very much alive. 2013 hasn't just given us a glimpse into the future, but solid evidence that this industry we love is about to get some fresh energy injected into it.
First we had Microsoft's Press Conference. They showed a shit ton of games as promised but I would've also enjoyed seeing some of the system-level stuff. We saw Sony demonstrate the PS4's UI back in February, yet I don't have a good handling of what the Hell a XONE looks like.
Despite being the first guy that would shit on a Kinect-heavy press conference, Microsoft could have been well served dishing out some details on Kinect 2.0 and demoing some games. Kinect 2.0 (is that even the official title?) is technically an entire platform itself. Two years ago the original Kinect was treated as its own platform with a unique identity and given the full circus any new console gets. I don't know if this is indicative of low confidence in the new(er) motion sensing tech or perhaps Microsoft knows people like you and me just want to see titles like Titanfall.
Microsoft started the show with a showstopper with MGS5. I think Afghanistan has a lot of environmental and historic elements that can play well within the context of a videogame. It looked gorgeous to boot! Metal Gear has always been very linear but has always held onto some fun elements that break linearity such as the memory card thing in the original MGS and the fight with The End in MGS3. I'm stoked to see Metal Gear break out of its very linear environmental design. With that, I feel Hideo Kojima is truly out of whatever sanity cage may have existed.
A lot of folks are excited for Project Spark. If it plays as advertised I will be the first in line for it. However, I'm awaiting to see how that game actually operates in a real environment before placing any pre-orders. I'm skeptical of how well it works or if whatever you create will be fun. Aside from that I'm excited to see Swery's new episodic game but everything else was kind of “meh”.
Microsoft showed up with what they thought were the big guns. While titles like Titanfall are impressive, the XONE doesn't appear to have any personality. Microsoft's robotic presentation and their idea of just tossing out game announcements like dog food is alarming. Not to mention the $500 price tag.
Next we had third parties. I felt EA's event was very by-the-numbers. Battlefield 4 was super impressive, but a known and familiar quantity. Seems like just a prettier more technically competent Battlefield 3, but for me that's enough for now.
Ubisoft was knocking out of the park with new properties.
Yet Assassin's Creed has simply run out of steam. I'm at the point where I'm honestly confused whenever someone is excited for a new game in that franchise.
Jack Tretton is E3 2013's MVP, hands down.
Sony's press conference started out dull with “megaton” announcements like TellTale's The Walking Dead coming to Vita. But the conference slowly started gaining momentum until the Sony train couldn't be stopped. Not even by a price point of a new console.
After playing a 15 minute demo of Transistor at PAX East this year, I can confirm that it plays insanely well. That game's commitment to atmosphere is astonishing. SuperGiantGames is shooting for the stars with the full package of smart gameplay, awesome music, and a creative art style. So far, they look that they are going to be successful.
Of course there will be indie games on the XONE, but Sony positioned themselves as the console for the people. They won hearts and minds putting the likes of Octodad on stage and if the reports are true, this console is super easy to develop for and indies can self-publish with ease. Anything that gets rids of the behind the scenes clutter and paves an easy avenue for indie developers to express themselves has my vote.
Given all the games, Sony was clearly going for the kill. They virtually put up every bit of bad press Microsoft was getting and saying the PS4 will be the opposite. The shear insanity that ensued after Jack Tretton announced the PS4 will allow used games and not impose controversial DRM plans will probably go down as my most memorable E3 moment ever. My phone almost crashed with the Twitter response.
It was then GiantBomb moderator Marino tweeted: “If Sony says the PS4 is $399 the roof is coming off that place”. I instantly realized that Microsoft was down. Sony then went on for about 10 more minutes bullshitting. We were all awaiting the price. I could feel that at that point Jack Tretton felt on top of the world and was living in his moment. He knew he “won”. Tretton delivered his final blow that he technically didn't even need. Yet he unleashed that $399 blow.
At that point I stood up from my couch and just yelled, “WHHHAAAAATTTT!!!!! Shit this videogame machine down, it's over!” It was the equivalent of a flawless victory in a fighting game match. No videogame thing has ever gotten a verbel response out of me outside intoxicating Rock Band nights.
Jack Tretton Divekicked Don Mattrick.
Don't get the wrong impression. I don't get into this “console war” bullshit. But I love competition. It's sexy to think that these companies are in a bloodbath for my dollar. I'll end up with both consoles anyway, but the show is entertaining. Simply how well Sony executed its middle finger against Microsoft was brilliant.
A lot of folks are asking me what console I'm getting. Right now there doesn't seem to be a big reason to get anything this November. Most of the PS4 and XONE's games are cross-gen. However, if you're crazy like me and want a new shiny toy, I'm getting the PS4 for the PSN Plus benefits and smaller price tag. I made the commitment to pre-order a PS4 and if I happen to find a XONE this holiday I'll grab it.
So who won E3? You did. We did. The game industry has been kind of lackluster the past two years. Thankfully the new generation appears to be pouring some energy in the mix and we're all getting great games out of it. What makes videogames amazing in this era is the incredible volume of options and power the consumer has. All major avenues to consume game are totally viable and offer their own uniqueness without heavily sacrificing anything.
So whether you share some weird allegiance to a corporation, sticking with Steam, or an insane person that just buys everything, sit tight because you have so many great things to look forward to.