Saturday, June 2, 2012

E3 2012 (6 things)

Well, its been just about a year since last year's E3, and it has actually been a pretty great year. Last fall was definitely one of the busiest falls in terms of new releases with Dead Island, Battlefield 3, Batman Arkham City, Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, Assassin's Creed Revelations, and Saints Row the Third, among many others. So far, this year is struggling to top the likes of 2011, but the fall lineup is definitely coming into shape. One major difference about this year's E3 though, as compared to last year, is that I'M ACTUALLY GOING.

Now, I know that may be hard to believe, but its happening. I leave Monday, and since the press conferences are invite only I won't be able to attend. Tuesday through Thursday though, I'll be playing some of the most anticipated titles of the year, as well as talking with industry professionals and networking as much as possible. Since this is my first E3, I'm not entirely sure what to expect, but I'm sure I won't be disappointed. Here are some predictions/expectations that I have, in a nice list format. 6 things I want to see while I'm there, and 6 things I don't want to see while I'm there. Let's start with the bad news.

6 Things I DO NOT Want to See

1. New consoles announced for Microsoft or Sony.
 You may be thinking, "Why wouldn't he want to see the new consoles?" The main reason I don't want them there is because of the fact that developers are still innovating on the current generation. Ubisoft has just developed a new engine that allows them to have hundreds if not thousands of NPCs on screen at once. Games are still improving the way that they look, with each Uncharted pushing the limits of the Playstation 3. Also, at this point in the game, there haven't been any good rumors for the consumer. With most rumors about the next generation focusing on not playing used games, always being online, not having discs, etc, there's nothing very enticing about the next generation. 

2. Developers or Publishers Opting Out of Attendance.

There have been many mentions of developers and publishers not showing at E3. Whether this is because they have nothing to show, or because they don't want to attend for whatever reason, this isn't good news. Since this is one of the biggest gaming conventions in the world, it would be great to see as many new games and innovations as possible. This is a time for everyone to show what they've done and prove that video games are a very viable medium for expression and entertainment. Also, it would be a bummer to show up to an empty show floor.

3. Microsoft Focusing on Kinect.

Last year's Microsoft press conference had about 85% Kinect and about 5% hardcore gamers. This convention is about showing gamers what they want, and the people who watch and go to the show are mainly hardcore gamers. Unless Microsoft has a way to really truly make the Kinect appeal to hardcore gamers, it's going to miss the target audience again; instead, going for a new audience. I'm not a Microsoft fan, but I'd at least appreciate if they catered to their most loyal group of providers - the hardcore gamers.

4. Games Getting Pushed Back.

As long as a game is good, it doesn't matter when it comes out. At least, unless a developer promises it will be out in the fall, and it gets pushed back to the spring. Honestly, its quite disappointing when this happens, and sometimes it is out of the developer or publishers hands. For the most part though, if a game 1 going to be ready in the fall, bring it out in the fall. If it won't be ready in the fall, do not announce that it will be out in the fall. Give your game a realistic development cycle and stick to it. If something arises, most gamers will understand, but please don't tease the community.

5. Sony Talking About the Move, At All.

Let's face it - the Playstation Move is dead. In Europe, this may not be exactly true because it did sell pretty well, but in the United States, the move is all but dead. While I was an early adopter, and don't regret buying it because it truly is a great piece of technology, it just lacks support from Sony. The games that come out for it are pretty fun to play, but it just doesn't have the support behind it to really drive it to be something amazing. It combines the best parts of the Wii controller and Kinect, but somehow missed the boat and really doesn't sell well. The only way Sony can talk about Move is if it really intends on making the experience greater.

6. Nintendo Doing What They Do.

This is Nintendo's chance to steal the show. With their next generation console being the only one expected to be at the show, they have the upper hand against Sony and Microsoft. The worst thing they could do now is appeal to the same demographic they have for the Wii. The Wii U will no doubt attract those people already. What Nintendo really needs to do to have a chance at becoming a real contender for hardcore gamers is to appeal to them. Make them drool at the possibilities that the Wii U opens up for hardcore games like Assassin's Creed and Bioshock. They should try to stay away from the Mii games as much as possible, and show off the graphical capabilities of the Wii U. Show off how it actually controls. We'll see in a few days.

6 Things I DO Want to See
1. Sony Rescuing the Vita.
 The Vita is doing so well, its not a secret. The overall sales are very low compared to other systems, but high compared to Sony's expectations. I'm absolutely in love with my Vita, and will be playing it very much while waiting at the show. Sony needs to make every single person there want to buy a Vita. Reviews for the hardware have been great, but they need to prove why people need it. Sony will need to announce huge new features and many new games for the Vita to succeed. It has great potential, but Sony needs to capitalize. 

2.  Sony Announcing Release Dates for Anticipated Titles.

There are so many new release titles coming for the Playstation 3, and its even a really wide variety of types of games. Some of these titles include God of War Ascension, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, Little Big Planet Karting, The Last of Us, Sly Cooper 4, and more. Sony needs to show that these titles are coming, and in the near future. Microsoft has Halo 4 releasing this fall, and really Sony doesn't have much confirmed for that crucial fall time period. While all of these games look outstanding, they need release dates before people get really excited for them. 

3. Rockstar Having a Big Presence.

Grand Theft Auto V was announced last fall with a debut trailer. Since then, Rockstar Games have said next to nothing concerning one of the most anticipated games this generation. Rockstar Games usually doesn't have a big presence at conventions, opting for a more personal release of information as they see fit. It would at least be nice to see a release window set for the game, maybe some gameplay for it, and a few more details. This game could honestly steal the show if they decide to bring it, since the game has the potential to be absolutely huge. Also, its possible but highly unlikely that we'll see a Red Dead sequel or L.A. Noire sequel, but one can wish.

4. New Games and Surprises.

Well, in the past couple days there have been way too many leaks and announcements for this to really even happen, but one can hope. It would be outstanding to see some brand new IPs being announced, along with some much desired sequels. Honestly, Killzone 4 won't really be as exciting as an entirely new IP. I'm getting a bit tired of seeing the same titles releasing over and over, with Gears, God of War, Halo, and Killzone all going on their 4th games its getting quite old. Also, being surprised is great. Having the chills run down your spine because of something so entirely exciting is the best feeling in gaming. Let's have something huge announced that makes me want to tell everyone to "Shut up and take my money!"

5. Amazing Displays.

Since this is my first E3, this one is a bit more personal. I'd love to see some amazing posters, displays, interactive units, and just awesome things in general. I want to walk away having had the best experience ever. I want to be impressed, and want to go back every year. I don't want to be underwhelmed. Since this is the first time I'm getting to play games really before they're released, I want to see many of these games with long demos. I want to see more than just boring trailers.

6. A Good Show.

Overall, I really just want everyone to succeed. I want to see Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo making games that appeal to everyone. I want to see a great show that really promotes the video game entertainment industry. I want to be impressed by the cooperation of developers and publishers. With the next generation of consoles coming up, this could be the last E3 that really showcases the developers, rather than hardware for a while. I would love to see a great competition, but good camaraderie. This probably won't happen when everyone is directly competing, but let's hope.

What predictions do you have for the show? What do you want to see? What don't you want to see? Let me know in the comments!


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