Welcome to Beyond Co-Op, a weekly piece that talks about industry stories that may or may not be related to co-op gaming.
The stories for this week:
- Microsoft E3 Press Conference
- EA E3 Press Conference
- Sony E3 Press Conference
- Nintendo E3 Press Conference
- Duke Nukem Forever, Alice: Madness Returns, Wii Play Motion, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Child of Eden This Week
Microsoft E3 Press Conference
Since E3 was this week, I figured I would give my reaction on the conferences and talk about some games I saw coverage of on G4 this week. First up is the Microsoft Press Conference. If you’re into Kinect, you probably liked what was shown off. If you’re not into Kinect at all you basically had Gears of War 3, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 4 and the opening of the show: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Kinect was certainly front and center for Microsoft. I think they had a relatively good press conference, although like I said if you aren’t into Kinect the conference will be seen as a failure. Having children on the stage is almost always an awkward experience and it was no different this year. It’s cool to show kids, but let them say what they want…don’t give them canned responses that come off awkward. The coolest Kinect thing I saw was the one tied to Ghost Recon: Future Soldier from Ubisoft. Being able to disassemble guns and add/upgrade parts along with the possibility of having a competent shooting experience using the Kinect sans controller was pretty exciting. I would also guess that Forza 4 will be a big Kinect-enabled game, although they really didn’t show off the game in a live demo.
The problem here is that if you’re not into Kinect, Microsoft has a pretty weak lineup. You really only have Gears of War 3 and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary to look forward to in an exclusive capacity. If you’re into Kinect there will be a lot of things to look at later this year and into next. I do find it funny that the general feeling was that people felt there weren’t enough Kinect stuff out there, now that they have plenty in development people blow it off. What the heck do you want people?
EA E3 Press Conference
I did miss one press conference in Ubisoft’s one, but I did catch the EA one simply because I wanted to see what they’d show off. Mass Effect 3 opened the show with a release date of March 6, 2012. At the Microsoft show they did indeed announce that the game would have Kinect abilities, allowing you to speak during conversations as well as command your team. It sounds interesting, but I’m not sure people will buy up the 360 version just for that, you know?
Then came Need for Speed: The Run. The online journalists got all excited that the “outside the car” stuff was all controllable by you, but it was obvious from the demo that they were just Quicktime Events and that you don’t control where your character goes. I do have to say that the NFS series has seen a return to form lately and I certainly hope this one continues that run even though Black Box is handling the development duties.
Then EA started showing off sports games. I personally enjoy their sports games (and Madden, FIFA and the next Tiger Woods will all be Kinect enabled), but I know many others that read the site are not, so I won’t dwell too much on them. The one key game shown off was SSX which looks interesting, but isn’t coming until January 2012.
The blockbuster ending was a tank battle in Battlefield 3 that was shown on a PC. The game is looking really good and I really do think that EA will give Activision a run for its money this year. Do I think this game will outsell Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3? Probably not, but I think it will sell better than the newer Battlefield games that have come out. The game and the Frostbite 2 engine are looking really good. I do find it funny that Bobby Kotick was barred from seeing Battlefield 3 when he stopped by the EA booth.
EA took a very minimalist position this year with a very small stage. They did what they wanted to: showed off their games and bookended the show with their two biggest games on tap: Mass Effect 3 and Battlefield 3. The sad thing is that EA didn’t show off any new IPs, so that was a bummer.
Sony E3 Press Conference
Sony started the show off with what everyone thought they would: showing off Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. The game looks awesome and given how great the last two games were I have no doubt this one will be as well. They continued by showing off Resistance 3 with the obvious realization that they are pushing 3D quite a bit as the showgoers had their 3D glasses on through much of the presentation. Then they announced the remastering of the PSP God of War games onto PS3 and the remastering of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus (two fantastic games if you haven’t played them) coming out later this year.
Then they showed off a new PS branded 24” television that is 3D capable and will allow two people to see full screen in a split-screen environment (meaning player one will see the full screen taken up by their half of the screen and the other would see their full screen whereas someone without glasses watching would see the screen split) and a cheaper active 3D glasses option.
Then they went into Move-enabled games and started showing off some core games like Starhawk and that a new Sly Cooper game called Thieves in Time would be out in 2012. Then finally they showed off their new portable system, now named the PS Vita. Two games stood out that were shown off: Sony Bend’s Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Ruin, a game that will allow you to play on the Vita or the PS3 and keep your gamesave going. There will also be a LittleBigPlanet on the Vita as well as Street Fighter X Tekken with Cole from inFAMOUS making an appearance. The biggest news was the price and Sony obviously learned a lesson since the WiFi version will cost $249 while the 3G equipped version will be $299. The problem with the 3G one is that AT&T is the exclusive partner which got a big grown out of the audience. I wonder if Sony will rethink that connection or not.
I think Sony had the most balanced presentation. They hit on pretty much everything and even opened with an apology from Jack Tretton about the Playstation hack. The only problem I saw was that the games outside of Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3 really weren’t given a proper showing. Much like Microsft it makes Sony’s lineup through the end of the year look a little thin.
Nintendo E3 Press Conference
It is now days after Nintendo had its press conference and I still can’t explain it. I think Nintendo had good intentions, but this had to be the worst press conference of them all (Ubisoft notwithstanding since I didn’t see it). They open up with Zelda’s 25th anniversary and showing off a bit of Skyward Sword coming later this year. Then it is off to the 3DS, probably the strongest showing here with games like Mario Kart, Super Mario 3D, StarFox 64 3D (coming in September), Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Kid Icarus: Uprising still with the childlike voice of the main character intact.
Then Nintendo shows off what everyone’s been waiting for, their new console…well, wait, they never really talk about it being a console at the press conference, they put all their attention on the controller. Nintendo announces that their system will be called the Wii U…uh, what? I thought Wii was a stupid name when it was announced, why are you just adding another letter to that? Anyway, the controller looks awesome with the 6.2” touchscreen and then they show off what it can do. Basically the big things here are that the controller can be used in games and can also be used to continue playing the game that is in the system on your touchscreen if someone else wants to watch something on TV for instance. The whole thing just becomes a bizarre situation as Reggie goes on to announce that Darksiders II and many other games like Batman: Arkham City will be out on the Wii U. Then he fires off a demo reel of those games, but being played on a PS3, 360 or PC. WHAT? How the heck do you do that without any sort of announcement that you will be showing off games on other platforms. Everyone starts to question exactly what the Wii U will do with these games. Reggie also announces they have 8 experiences (not games) for the E3 attendees to enjoy.
Now at this point I’m figuring the system will be out in the spring of 2012 simply because thinking of the system being 17 months away (November 2012) is unthinkable. Then I start reading about the experiences and the mystery roundtables that Nintendo has with some developers, especially with Ubisoft which has multiple games in the works for the system. Thing is I’m not sure they even have dev kits yet. Instead Ubisoft goes on to explain concepts that they hope will come to the Wii U versions of games. There will be a Ghost Recon Online game and some Assassin’s Creed game (but probably not Revelations as Reggie had said). Heck, even Gearbox came out and said they weren’t sure Aliens: Colonial Marines will be out on Wii U even though Reggie announced it. You’d think Nintendo would have all their ducks in a row on this, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I worry that this system won’t be out in spring and to be honest I think the price, the power under the hood and people’s perception of the new controller are really going to either bring Nintendo to new heights or destroy them.
One big minus that came out of this is that you can only use one of the touchscreen controllers on the system, the rest of the controllers will come from the current Wii ones. This of course makes the concept for multiplayer in the home start to blow your mind. At least it is Wii backwards compatible and that they’re ditching the friend codes finally. This was just a weird press conference in my mind. Nintendo could have blown people away with the new system. Instead it seems to have whimpered out. Even when the Wii was shown off people were excited, this time I’m not so sure.
One more huge disappointment with Nintendo’s show: they didn’t show any of the upcoming Wii titles, even through a reel. They did that for 3DS games, but not for Wii ones. They basically showed off Skyward Sword and that was it. No look at the new Kirby or anything else that is coming out on the Wii.
Duke Nukem Forever, Alice: Madness Returns, Wii Play Motion, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Child of Eden This Week
I always believed this week would come. It’s been over a decade in the making, but Duke Nukem Forever finally comes out this week. There are opinions all over the spectrum on the demo, so it will be interesting if the full game is good or not. Alice: Madness Returns also releases this week. The hype has been lowkey on this one, but I hope it is a lot like the original, a game I really liked. Not sure I want to pay $60 for it though, I mean how long is the game?
Wii Play: Motion comes out this week as well, will be interesting to see if it sells as well as the original. I’m not sure in this case the controller included will help much, don’t many people out there already have the motion add-on or am I mistaken? Transformers: Dark of the Moon comes out this week as well, two weeks before the new movie drops. Supposedly this game is better than the previous ones, but I’d always be hesitant with that.
Finally Child of Eden from the creator of Rez comes out on the 360 w/Kinect this week