10 things to take away from E3 11
At this year’s E3, 46,800 industry professionals, journalists, retailers and analysts arrived in LA to experience the videogame industry’s biggest event of the year, and with over 200 exhibitors promoting their latest games and hardware, this year was arguably the biggest ever.
We cannot offer you a complete guide to E3 2011 (that would require writing a book), but we can give you this neat list featuring 10 thing that caught our attention during this year’s event. We had great games and impressive hardware on show and a lot of stuff happening in-between. Enjoy.
The remastering of PlayStation classics continues, much to our approval
Everyone is perfectly entitled to be cynical about the PS2 (and now PSP) remasters, but you must have a heart of stone if the prospect of re-playing Metal Gear Solid 3 and Silent Hill 2 in shiny HD doesn’t evoke warm feelings. Konami showed full support for the remastering project by announcing collections for Metal Gear Solid, Zone of Enders and Silent Hill. The Metal Gear Solid collection will include the second and third (the better Substance version) games as well as the outstanding PSP title Peace Walker. The ZoE collection has both the first and second games while the Silent Hill collection has the second (one of the most highly rated games of all time) and third games. We’re less enthused about God of War: Origins, which includes the two PSP God of War games (Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta). Both are great PSP titles but we’ll need to see how well they translate on to the big screen. We are delighted, however, to finally get a release date for the ICO & Shadow of the Colossus collection. This hugely anticipated release will be with us in September. Now all we need is for Rockstar to announce a Grand Theft Auto collection and we’ll be as happy as a clam.
Battlefield 3 proves that intensity doesn’t necessarily equate to all-out action
There’s no doubt all-out action made EA’s multiplayer montage for Battlefield 3 intense (see it here). However, their singleplayer Thunder Run trailer proves that you don’t need to overload the senses with lots of bangs and explosions to create intensity; in fact, there’s nothing more intense than a long, slow tank ride across a desert. Nothing much happens for the first few minutes, but the atmosphere can be cut with a knife. The beautifully rendered landscape, the authentic sounds of heavy machinery and the sight of smoke in the distance, it all helps to prepare us for what’ s to come. Sure, the action did arrive — and boy-oh-boy it did get hot — but this long drive to the battle was one of E3 11’s most genuinely intense moments.
Dust 514 introduces a new era of cross-platform gaming
You should take note of Dust 514; partly because CCP has created a good looking space shooter (and a PS3 exclusive), but more so because it changes the way we think about console gaming. CCP has declared that it is “the first console game to link players in real time with a multiplayer universe on the PC”. So, what does this mean exactly? Simply put, the battles you wage in Dust 514 will affect the experience of thousands of players playing EVE Online on PCs and Macs. EVE Online is an intergalactic MMO that lets you take part in huge fleet battles in an open world setting. The EVE Online world is built on sound financial models and CCP even look to economists for advice. People lose their life to the EVE world, so it’s a big deal that the outcomes of your conflicts will affect the territorial control of vast regions in the EVE Online universe. PC Gamers aren’t happy; we’re ecstatic.
Move still stuttering despite Dust 514 and BioShock Infinite announcements
We love Move; it’s a fantastic piece of kit. However, it’s not getting the support it deserves despite the announcements of Dust 514 and BioShock Infinite supporting Move. Seeing Ken Levine (someone we hugely respect) stand on Sony’s stage and show his approval for Move was great, but we need more. We need to see a top developer create a dedicated Move game, but sadly it’s unlikely to happen any time soon because it’s too risky. Where does that leave us? It leaves us with nice but uninspiring Medieval Moves sadly, unless LittleBigPlanet 2 and its army of bedroom programmers can save us. But do you know what? That may well happen.
Eidos leads a super E3 Square Enix line-up
Square Enix had one of the best line-ups at E3. They rocked us with great games such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution and Final Fantasy XIII-2, and not only was their line-up strong, it was diverse. It’s also mostly the work of Eidos studios (Eidos Montreal, IO and Crystal Dynamics), proving that acquiring Eidos is the best thing Square Enix has ever done. Without Eidos studios they’d have been left with Final Fantasy and its many spin-offs (XIII-2 looks great mind). Hopefully the Japanese studios will repay the favour at TGS. Let’s not completely downplay Square Enix though; Eidos was struggling until Square Enix rode in to rescue them, and it’s been a perfect marriage so far.
Vita rocks; PS3 <-> Vita link shows promise
PS Vita, the successor to the PSP, is simply an incredible piece of kit. It’s also got some great games on the way such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss (see video above), WipEout, LittleBigPlanet, Hot Shots Golf and ModNation Racers. There is even a BioShock game on the way, too. One of its big selling points is its ability to offer PS3 quality experiences on a handheld. That it can be constantly connected to the internet (either through 3G or WiFi) is another exciting prospect. But for us, a site interested in the PS3, we’re more concerned with how it interacts with the big console, and we see a lot of promise here. Ruin is interesting because it allows you to jump between your Vita and PS3. It works by storing your save game on Sony’s cloud servers, and it looks like Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker will also offer this functionality. Kojima has dubbed it “transfarring”. Expect to hear much more about transfarring in the near future. We also expect to see more creative ways to link PS3 with Vita.
Far Cry 3 announced; definition of insanity revealed
Sure, it might have given us E3’s most irritating presenter, but the Ubisoft conference was a real highlight. It had a surprise in the form of Rayman looking great; it also had Assassin’s Creed: Revelations looking unsurprisingly brilliant. Driver was also looked hot (much more polished compared to last year when we last saw it). However, the biggest moment came with the unveiling of Far Cry 3. The set-up for the trailer was this: “You are Jason Brody; your girlfriend’s missing, your boat’s been destroyed, you’re trapped on a mysterious island (with a dark secret), and everyone on it is crazy.” We were then educated on the definition of insanity. So, what’s Far Cry 3 like then? Think The Beech and Apocalypse Now blended into an FPS which has you moving from stealth gameplay to blowing up bridges in a matter of seconds. Far Cry 3’s gameplay looks varied and the graphics also look very nice. However, the trite set-up did cause our eyebrows to raise. Nevertheless, this is going to be a big one.
QTE running sections in racers are not the future
Every E3 has a head scratching moment. This year’s was Need for Speed: The Run. It’s a game that has you racing down streets, before having your character jump out of his car to run. This might sound interesting, presuming it’s Mirror’s Edge quality free running we’re talking about, but not when it’s heavily scripted God of War-style QTE sections. What’s worse is that these scripted scenes aren’t particularly great to watch either. The general response was: “Why?” At least the racing seemed all right.
No alarms and no surprises
E3, as it is most years, was dominated by sequels: Uncharted 3, Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Resistance 3, Mass Effect 3 etc. Sure, all the big titles looked fantastic and they are doing interesting things, but a few new IPs would’ve been the icing on the cake. The games industry is awash with quality (who actually has the time to play all these games?), but sadly it’s also pretty predictable. Usually, we rely on Japan to offer something a bit different, but there was very little on show from Japanese studios. The Last Guardian didn’t even appear, surprisingly. A new IP from Kojima at TGS is just what we need, and a David Cage announcement at Gamescom will also be welcome. Will these happen? Hopefully…
Multi-screen functionality the future?
The most significant announcement at E3 didn’t come from Sony. It was Nintendo unveiling their new console, the Wii U. The Wii U will feature an interesting controller. It’s basically a regular controller, albeit much larger than average, but it has a touch-sensitive screen built into it (or is it a screen with added buttons?). Will this change the way we play games in the future? It’s a strong possibility. It opens numerous gaming opportunities, such as being able to control your inventory and view maps on your smaller screen without ever having to open a menu. It also allows you to plot tactics, utilise tactile controls and much more. The big question is: will Sony take inspiration from Nintendo? We’ve already seen examples of Vita linking up with the PS3. Is it possible for developers use Vita in the same way Nintendo plan to utilise their Wii U controller? We certainly hope so. Multi-screen gaming may be the future.