Category Archives: Conference Roundup

A series of features looking at press conferences.

Conference Round-up: Sony

Sony Logo for E3 Conference Round Up on Gaming Advance

The Sony conference was a mixed bag. Whilst it was certainly a poor conference, it did have far more meaningful titles and news to show off than the majority of previous conferences. To sum it up: Sony actually showed off some neat gameplay demos for almost everything they were presenting, with the exception of the only true unveiling.

As a publisher of whom is often capable of announcing exclusive new IP’s or, at the very least, sequels to recent exclusive IP’s, their conference can’t help but make me feel disappointed at the outcome. The only real unveiling was Beyond: Two Souls, which was a cinematic trailer and revealed nothing in regards to gameplay at all. Whilst this is undoubtedly going to be another quick-time event based game much like Heavy Rain, it still tells me nothing worth getting excited over. The only impressive aspect shown off was the graphics, which is honestly at a level I expected after Quantic Dream’s recent CGI movie. One can argue that it’s impressive because it’s gameplay, but considering that the entire game could very easily be pre-rendered, that’s just not an incredible feat. The sad part was that this was still one of the highlights of the show for me.

Sony seemed to have focused on a shorter presentation. I actually wish they didn’t. I don’t mind their long presentations because they normally have stuff to show off, but they literally omitted some of their most vital components that was expected from the conference. The Vita had nothing to show, and it sorely needs the support right now. Yes, Tretton announced after the presentation that the Vita would have sixty titles, but that wasn’t actually during their presentation. Instead, they spent fifteen minutes on Wonderbook.

Wonderbook is a title that, whilst I have no issues with children getting games with this as I actually feel this was a good thing, it just felt like it should have been shown off at a toy convention or something. At the very least, fifteen minutes on Wonderbook was a minimum of ten minutes wasted; although some would argue that it wasted all fifteen minutes.

The best thing that came from the conference, without a doubt, is from the demo of The Last of Us – an exclusive and brand new IP for the PlayStation platform. The Last of Us looks different, and sounds different. And for those complaining, it doesn’t look that scripted at all. It reminds me of Uncharted 3 in how it handles all the contextual fighting and the like. It also looks like it’s the first survival game done right in quite some time, although I may be forgetting something with that statement.

Overall, Sony delivered barely enough to make the presentation worth witnessing. Next time Sony, remember to show off your support for your brand new system. I’d hate to see the PlayStation 4 announced with no titles. It’s a pattern you need to give up some day.

E3 Conference Roundup: Ubisoft

Ubisoft Logo for E3 Conference

Notorious for their DRM and punishing consumers to combat piracy, the infamous Ubisoft actually had the most surprising conference out of the bunch. Bundled with their expected display of Assassin’s Creed III, and Far Cry 3. They also gave us a splendid display of Rayman Legends, which I’ll be undoubtedly touting as the next coming of Christ.

What initially surprised me was how much support Ubisoft were giving Nintendo’s Wii U, but given that it’s a new platform that will need support then it makes perfect sense. It’s always good to see a publisher support a brand new system. Some people seem to find issues with that, but I don’t understand why. Should they just ignore the new system or just port their older games onto it? I’d rather see them try to make use of the system’s features early in the console’s cycle.  It needs support to be worth buying.

The big unveiling came at the end with the surprise announcement of Watch_Dogs. The game looks intriguing, and has potential to be absolutely fantastic. Even just walking down the streets at the start of the gameplay demonstration, it was obvious that something was different. Of course, at the same time, I couldn’t help but draw parallels with Rockstar’s RAGE Engine. The way the animations worked, the way the city and UI looked, the way the cover and shooting looked. It all reminded me of Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto IV and LA Noire at the same time. But despite all that, it looked like it was doing something relatively unique. At the very least, you could be a far better assassin than you were in Assassin’s Creed.

Ubisoft made significant guest appearances at everyone else’s conference, with the exception of EA. They showed off the most surprising and interesting title. And, putting aside their awful hosts, they also focused the most on video games. They were the best at E3.

E3 Conference Roundup: EA

Well, well. Look at who we have here. Famous in the games industry for being the most corrupt publisher in the games industry, and that’s after Bobby Kotick, known as the ‘Devil of the Games Industry’, and his very own Activision! EA have done a lot of things to outright anger their consumers, and are usually at the centre of a lot of controversy in the industry. So, as you can guess, they’re very much hated through-out the globe. So, was their conference good, or is it just as hate-worthy?

Short answer is: no. It wasn’t that bad. The issue is that it wasn’t good either. EA deal with shooters, racing games and sports games. Essentially, they target the largest demographic of video games today. The ‘casual’ market. Their conference featured all the usual titles we’d expect from EA, as well as some typical nonsense in which they’d attempt to justify their premium service. Medal of Honour looked like they could have just left it with the prototype name: ‘First-Person Shooter #104′. And in all honesty, I actually forget what the rest of the conference contained. It was pretty forgettable; although Sim City and Burnout Paradise 2 – err, Need for Speed: Most Wanted – stood out to me. Don’t worry, though. I took notes so I should be able to get back on tra- …

EA E3 notes
Oh.
Well, that’s handy. But I guess it brings me to commenting about Need for Speed: Most Wanted anyway. I guarantee that game was called Burnout Paradise 2 during development, but EA had Criterion change the name to sell more copies. It looks like what a sequel to Paradise would be like. 

E3 Conference Roundup: Microsoft

Microsoft logo for E3 Conference review

Oh, boy. It’s Microsoft again. Did anyone watch them the last two years? Microsoft have long fallen from grace, focusing on ‘better with Kinect’ than any proper video games. Now, that’s not to say Kinect games aren’t to be played or aren’t fun. They are technically proper games too, so what do I mean? Well, I mean a poorly expressed difference between the cluster of shovelware and party games that make their way onto Kinect, and the standard fare that video gaming has been for generations now. There’s no problem with the new gimmicky video games that developers produce for the Kinect peripheral, but it’s fairly evident that Microsoft are focusing far less on their core audience in an attempt to bleed more money out of the industry as they follow Nintendo’s example.

In past years, fewer exclusives and brand new IPs have been getting announced at Microsoft’s conferences. At least, none that benefit their Xbox 360 system specifically. Microsoft’s conference has been the place for third party developers to show off their multi-platform titles to try and get some hype building up. Sure, we’ve gotten the 360 exclusive Halo 4 and Gears of War: Judgement this year, but therein lies my problem. Halo 4. Gears of War: Judgement. There’s nothing truly new about this. Again, I wish to remind my readers that I have no issue with sequels or remakes – I have recently enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII-2 and I’m loving both Metal Gear Solid and Devil May Cry’s HD collections (I even plan to pick up MGS HD again on the Vita!) – but what I do have a problem with is the sheer abundance of them in exchange of brand new IPs. Microsoft have yet to announce any brand new IPs for their core audience, and even the Kinect is starting to get less new IPs as well.

Whilst the lack of brand new franchises can be correlated to the fact that the consoles are nearing the end of their lifespan, just recently Sony announced their Last of Us title, a new party fighting game and – in their own conference – Beyond: Two Souls. This generation of consoles are nearing their end, but that doesn’t mean brand new IPs cannot squeeze whatever remaining life they can out of the systems while we wait for the next generation yet to be announced. The worst part is that this is just the start of what’s wrong with their conferences.

Who aren't E3's demographic but Microsoft believes they are for their Xbox 360's Kinect
An example of the “casual” audience that
Microsoft appear to be marketing towards.

While Microsoft completely lack brand new core gaming IPs, lack focus on exclusives and focus on multi-platform games that the other systems are also going to have, and focus entirely on a peripheral that gamers are generally and seemingly not that interested in; Microsoft also forgot about video games for what seemed like a significant portion of the conference. In actuality, probably about one third of the conference was on things such as SmartGlass and ESPN on Live. This just doesn’t seem all that relevant for the E3 demographic, at all.

And then there’s the Kinect. This year, we had more focus on games being better with Kinect (spoiler: they’re not) and had only two games for the device. One was practically Angry Birds HD, and the other is probably the only game to have never received an applause at E3. I needn’t comment more, but even the Kinect is suffering from lack of support.The Kinect!

The conference was a bit of a joke. With Windows 8 being pushed and internet explorer 8 is coming to 360! Yeah. But that’s not all. Usher came out to advertise their dancing game, and they didn’t pay the game any attention at all. The best they did was show it in the background while he danced, but he was utterly out of sync and tune with it.

As a conference about a video game console, it was a terrible conference. Microsoft did little for their consumer base. They showed off the things that didn’t really matter, and forgot that they also had to have games developed. Instead, they left it to the third party developers to show off their multiplatform games at the Xbox 360 conference. Microsoft need to ask themselves why they received a spot at E3. What are they doing there? They’re there to show off their video games console. Not media centre. I remember when I wanted a 360. Ever since I got a competent PC for gaming, however, Microsoft have done little to sell the 360 to me. This was the final nail in the coffin. Their 360 is finished. Now we just need to wait a year to find out about their new console, because they’ve certainly given up on this one.

E3 Roundup

Every year there’s the E3 convention. A place of gaming news, reveals, demos, and disappointments. I figured that it made sense to write a series of articles about the different conferences on my opinions and what they mean.

Now, I’m not a fan of internet memes or anything of the sort. I try to keep the internet out of my writing and blog. That being said, I put together a summary of my E3 experience in the form of a report card, as done by some internet imageboards. It seemed like a good way to start this off, so why not. Here are my opinions. Expect to see justifications through-out the week.

Summary of E3 opinions and review

Pre-E3 News Round Up

As the last day before E3 and the weekend, today was pretty eventful for gaming news. Konami released their pre-E3 footage, and several other announcements were made. In particular, there were several reveals that were significant to me, and I would like to share them with all of you!

Besides the social networking news and their PES footage; Konami showed off some really neat footage of the Zone of the Enders HD Remake due to launch in the coming weeks. It was fairly cool. But what came next was  absolutely stellar. Konami supplied a brand new trailer to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and it was amazing.  The trailer featured all sorts of crazy, over-the-top action – it also unveiled new abilities. Raiden is able to climb objects such as buildings, and initiate stealth kills. It appears to me that stealth is actually fairly possible in this game, although as to the extent of the stealth, I am unsure. Oh, and do you remember that scene in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots when Raiden swings a Gekko (a slightly smaller Metal Gear) around? Yeah, that’s in the game too.

Frankly, I’m absolutely excited for this game. I was looking forward to it during the original reveal back in 2009, but that’s about all I could say for it. When they finally showed off the gameplay a year later, it looked like it used the same engine as MGS4. That engine worked well, but for this game it just appeared to be slightly clunky and slow. However, it was in that same trailer in 2010 that we saw Raiden slice everything and anything up with expert precision. Players could cut whatever they wanted, and those objects would even generate internal textures no matter where they player sliced it. That was really impressive back then, and it still is today.

Unfortunately, that game was never meant to be. Metal Gear Solid: Rising was quietly scrapped. That was, until Platinum Games (famous for Bayonetta) picked the title back up. What once appeared as slow and clunky now had action of intense speeds and incredible depth. I witnessed Raiden fighting one soldier, slicing one behind him the moment he tried to attack, and then parry a Gekko all in one smooth flowing sequence that was gameplay. The level of control over the combat blew me away. And then to top it off, he freaking blocked a Metal Gear Ray and threw it away. That was insane! I was sold, from that moment on.

This new trailer revealed to us some more depth in the combat. Players can toss enemies into the air and chain a combo up there, swap melee weapons and use guns, and even use parkour to sneak around enemies for silent kills. Environments can still be used to defeat enemies, including slicing up an enemy through a pillar. It looks incredible, and I want it now! Unfortunately, with this trailer comes the depressing news that the game has been delayed. Again. We can expect to see Metal Gear Rising in 2013.

Next up came Konami’s surprise. I’ll let you watch below.

Yeah, that’s right. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is a thing. It’s just a CGI trailer, so there isn’t too much that I can comment on at the moment. I’m expecting some pretty cool gameplay from what I see in the trailer though. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Alucard is confirmed to be in this game. That’s pretty sweet too. Another 2013 release.

That was all from Konami, but that wasn’t all the news that got announced. For me, one of the biggest announcements outside of Konami’s Pre-E3 conference was the fact that Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is getting a PC release now! Yay! Fall of Cybertron is the sequel to the 2010 title, Transformers: War for Cybertron, and it looks great! We can expect to see that game come the fall.

For Gears of War fans, they’ll be excited to hear that Gears of War: Judgement is also a confirmed title that we’ll probably see at Microsoft’s E3 conference. I don’t really care much for the franchise at this point. It probably should have ended at the third. All the same, this probably means something to someone out there. It would amuse me to find that it’s a Kinect spinoff, however. That seems to be all the rage these days. The title is being developed by Bulletstorm’s People Can Fly development studio.

EA have announced that they will be releasing Dead Space 3 (cool, I guess), and Need for Speed: Most Wanted (god dammit!). Recently, it was announced that Criterion were developing a new game. I was hoping this would be the next Burnout. Nope! It’s yet another Need for Speed game. Give the franchise a rest for a couple of years and work on some Burnout, Criterion! We can expect more details on these titles and many others at their E3 conference on Tuesday. I’m mostly just looking forward to more details on SimCity.

Expect some leaks in the next coming days too, as that’s fairly common when it comes to E3.