E3: The Rebel Gaming Post Mortem
All Good things...
And so it has come to at end for another year. The booths have come down, the plugs have been pulled and the attendees have gone back to their homes across the world. The gaming industry's biggest event- the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 for short has drawn to a close and so it's time for us to take a look back at this year's show. Join us as we take a look at E3 2013 and see what we've learnt, who are the winners, who are the losers and what and who were the stars of the show.
We've known for some time that this was set to be the most important E3 for some time. With both Sony and Microsoft having announced their new consoles ahead of time, it was time to see how the two gaming giants would compare- and who was likely to have the upper hand as we enter the new console cycle. It was also a big year for Nintendo, as the pressure was on the Japanese firm to present a slate that could turn the Wii U around.
This year's event was indeed the highest attended for some time, with 48, 200 people from 102 countries, visiting the conference centre in LA across the three days of the expo. Around 230 companies were exhibiting. This was undoubtedly a big show.
So... Same time next year?
The Console War Goes Nuclear
This year's event has mainly been framed at being about Microsoft versus Sony and Xbox One Versus Playstation 4. Without any shadow of a doubt, Sony were going into the event with the brunt of the gaming community behind them. Following the absolute PR nightmare that MS has been having since they announced the Xbox One, complete with it's DRM policies and mandatory internet connectivity, Sony had won a lot of support while actually saying very little. In the end Microsoft decided not to talk about any of the controversial elements, and in fact canceled their usual post-conference press briefing altogether.
Microsoft's conference came first, and as they had promised did focus almost exclusively on games. Yet eyebrows were raised when they revealed the new 'box would launch at a wallet-worrying $499. For my fellow Brits it was worse news still, with £429 working out at around $670. With that in mind Sony's rep could have essentially walked out on to the stage and said " No pre-owned DRM, $399.. POW!" and dropped the mic and walked off stage and still would have "won" in most people's eyes. Instead they chose to go out of their way to draw attention to the PS4's lack of such unpopular functions, and then proceeded to reveal a $100 price advantage in their favour.
Of course it is way too early to declare a winner of the next gen, with their release still being around six months away, but if the internet reaction is anything to go on, Sony could be looking at a return to dominance not seen since the Ps2 days.
How they Performed
Sony's show may have made headlines with their revelations, but it was also the first time they've shown the console itself. It being a black box was hardly a surprise, but it looks sleek enough, and hopefully it's similarity to PS2 also bodes well. Sony said that "there are over 70 million gamers" wanting to see the line-up for Ps3 and Vita, but lets be honest Sony, there's not anywhere near that many Vita owners. Yes, I realise that's the PS3 userbase, but they can't fool me with their sly wording. That said, it's good to know that they are continuing to support their current formats, and The Last Of Us, Between Two Worlds and Grand Theft Auto V prove the Ps3 is still a strong, vital format. And Vita... still exists. Then it was on to the reason we were all really here: the PS4.
Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 were a bit of a coup, although it turned out neither were actually exclusives. In fact, fantastic as many of the games shown off were, there were few exclusives aside from the ones that we already knew were coming (Killzone, inFamous etc). A nice line-up of indie games was also a nice indicator that Ps4 will be a home for smaller games too, and finished up a very strong line up overall.
Score Oveeall : A
I am not an Xbox gamer by any stretch of the imagination, have never owned a MS console, and am certainly not going to start with the Xbox One. Therefore I find it odd to be in the position of defending Microsoft's showing. If you put aside for a minute what they didn't say, that price and their behaviour outside the conference itself ,then you can actually concentrate on what they did show. They promised games (rather than "TV, TV, TV, Sports, TV, Call of Duty DOG") and on that front they delivered. They had a distinct advantage in the number of exclusives, and they all looked stunning running on the new hardware. Personally the FPS genre does nothing for me, but Halo, and a new effort from Respawn will be a big deal for many gamers. The likes of Sunset Overdrive, Spark and Killer Instinct show there is a fair bit of variety in the line-up too. MS may have had a bit of a nightmare E3 in many ways, but in terms of games, they brought the big guns- and the score reflects that, and only that.
We may have been deprived seeing the Regginator take to the stage this year, but the usual announcements were instead delivered directly to fans worldwide through the Nintendo Direct. Some people may have criticised them for playing it safe but Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8 and Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze are exactly the kind of game the Wii U needs to pull it out of it's current troubles. Admittedly they perhaps should have been made for the console's launch but still it's a fan pleasing slate. It was good to have a new Smash Bros confirmed too. A strong line up from the guys and girls in Japan!
The Games Of The Show
- Watch Dogs. We've already sung the praises of Ubisoft's upcoming Hack'em-up rather a lot on Rebel Gaming, and the new footage only has us more excited. Looking stunning on next gen hardware, it also looks set to boast innovative gameplay.
- The Order 1886. To be fair, this could easily be a stinker, as we've only seen a cinematic trailer (albeit one rendered in ingame engine) but this steampunk influenced game brings us zombies (or zombie like things) in Victorian London, which looks and sounds AMAZING.
- Mirror's Edge. Long awaited sequel/reboot of the innovative "First Person FreeRunner" from DICE, it looks mindblowing in next gen. Forgive our drooling.
- Super Mario 3D World/ Mario Kart 8. This double whammy of Mario games shows the full potential of High Definition Nintendo. And if you don't want to play as Cat Suit Mario then frankly you're probably a terrible human being. Or a dog person.
- X. From the makers of Xenoblade this Wii U open world RPG looks simply amazing, and it has dinosaurs. What more could you want? Giant robots? It has them too. Score!
- Sunset Overdrive. This is the Xbox One exclusive from Insomniac. An open-world action game utilising the dreaded cloud, it looks colourful and action packed.
- Metal Gear Solid V. Next-gen Snake (with Kiefer Sutherland lending his growl) looks as amazing as you would hope, and this continues to climb up our most anticipated game list.
- Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey New 'N' Tasty. This remake/update of the classic PS1 platformer is coming to Ps4 and looks better than ever.
- Dragon Age Inquisition For big-time fans of this BioWare series, this was one of the highlights of EA's showing, at this year's Expo- Rebel Gaming's very own Robin Burks very much included.
- InFamous Second Son. Footage from this was one of the highlights of the original PS4 event back in February, and even more featured at this yera's E3. Rebel's Andrew Duval picked it as his highlight of Sony's line-up.
- Kingdom Hearts 3 Undoubtedly one of the biggest surprises of the show, The Square Enix/Disney Crossover made people's days the world over, perhaps no-one more than our very own JJ Evangelista, who I believe is still doing a happy dance since this unexpected announcement of the latest sequel to one of his favourite games of all time.