Confessions of an Editor-in-Chief X: This is the future?…

Boy, is anyone pleased to be a current-gen platform owner, console or portable, at this moment? Because E3 2012 sure hasn’t offered many reasons to be.

It was a painful mistake to even feel excited for Nintendo’s press conference this afternoon, as I was. Sure it was great to be able to actually WATCH the dumb thing at work on Nintendo’s Facebook page, seeing as every source for Microsoft’s stream didn’t cooperate with my Thunderbolt, but man talk about a borefest E3! This is the first time in the history of my keeping up with the goings-on at the week-long convention where I’m disappointed across the board with what every company is doing.

Yes, several games were demonstrated or at least verbally described that we can look forward to: Halo 4, The Last of Us, Watch Dogs, LEGO City, Tomb RaiderSplinter Cell, etc. But outside of those, I’m honestly embarrassed to have spent the over five hours to date to be informed of what’s on the gaming horizon.

Is this a rant? Well, I don’t intend it to be, but it will come off as one I’m sure. My desire here instead is to express what I believe is a fantastic time to be a dedicated mobile gamer! After having seen the different company’s conferences, I don’t feel like I’m missing out in the least. I’m personally looking forward to finishing N.O.V.A. 2 on my Thunderbolt soon so that I can enjoy the very sick-looking N.O.V.A. 3 in the near future. I just hope Gameloft soon launches support for my ASUS Transformer Pad tablet (though it strangely died tonight and I must return it…), because I really want to play the games I’ve purchased from them on the device. I’ve enjoyed Dead Space and Shadowgun on it as well, but not Modern Combat 3 or N.O.V.A. yet.

Anyway, rabbit trail…back to E3.

Microsoft, when will you learn to stop hiring celebrities to make your conferences seem cool? The Beatles didn’t impress me a couple years ago, and Usher didn’t either in 2012. No one cared to watch his incredibly lame choreography while at the same time failing to do much of anything with the actual Dance Central game. In general, all three companies did really stupid things that dragged out for no logical reason. Wonderbook? Yes, easily the dumbest move of the bunch, and one no one will ever understand. If any parent watching that garbage actually felt intrigued by it, please email me so I can set you straight. And Nintendo, what possessed them to create Nintendo Land? Is that supposed to be their version of PlayStation Home or something? And thanks for the ghost game that’s basically already available in Wii Party. Oh brother.

Where were my 23 games as well, Nintendo? I think you forgot to say “on the showfloor”, if that’s even really the case. You baited me Reggie, and I didn’t appreciate it. Plus, no hint of Zelda, Metroid, Mario Kart, or Smash. Were two been there, done that Mario games supposed to blow us away? I’m sorry readers and fellow COE staff, but after the wonderful Super Mario 3D Land came to the scene recently, I thought the two new titles were a sad step backward. Stickers?! Did hardcore gamers become kindergartners again all of a sudden? Oh, and all those coins! Yes! (Isn’t that Wario’s pride and joy?) I also still don’t know the point of the WiiU or its controller. If Nintendo was really that attracted to the tablet space thanks to Apple, why not just go that route? Sophisticated Nintendo software on a tablet with traditional gaming inputs? That sounds pretty sweet to me. But alas, they want to integrate it with a console, and everyone is confused. Isn’t it supposed to be HD too? Pikmin 3 and Scribblenauts Unlimited sure didn’t showcase that. Furthermore, how did Nintendo sucker Ubisoft into this, and even WB for the matter? Who will buy Assassin’s Creed III, Batman or Mass Effect 3? The 3DS content looked way more exciting than the WiiU stuff, and it was ironically brushed aside in favor of a supposed return to the console hardcore base. Right… It’s no wonder pricing and a launch date weren’t announced. Rethink your strategy Nintendo, please, before it’s too late.

On Sony’s side, I’m about to say something very unpopular. Beyond was boring, The Last of Us didn’t make any sense and God of War was a disaster. Why is Kratos coming back? No one asked for that; yet because some Sony exec was convinced that we were all pining for co-op with non Blades of Chaos-wielding, non-Kratos characters, we’re getting Ascension. What I saw was God of War III DLC. Same combat gameplay, different location. What a waste of company resources there. Why Beyond boring? Well, I just didn’t find sitting there for ten minutes watching a mute young woman do the same as anything to write home about. Obviously the game is about the supernatural, but that didn’t move me. A coffee cup mysteriously smashed into a police officer’s office wall. Ooohhhh, spooky. Um, no. Sure, the facial expressions looked fantastic, but we saw that in Heavy Rain too. Beyond will probably be a fantastic game, but the conference reveal didn’t convince me of that potential. The Last of Us, I haven’t understood since day one. Why are the people fighting each other? Isn’t there a zombie outbreak of some sort? Plus, if there are other people, doesn’t that sort of contradict the title? I was lost. I’m not even going to mention Wonderbook any more than with this sentence. Blech! (Yes, I mentioned it above, oh well.)

Microsoft, coming back to you… I applaud your passion and determination to be the sole producer of varying entertainment in our living rooms, but that’s not the main reason people purchase an Xbox. Have you forgotten that? Yeah, great, you have Halo 4. We already knew that. By the way, does anyone agree that E3 didn’t have any surprises this year, not one? Everything was basically accounted for pre-June 4. Either way, Forza was just another racing game, Black Ops II was familiar and an all too-predictable way to end the conference, and Gears of War is more or less along the lines of God of War. Who asked for that either? I’m also sure that Steve can’t wait to play the next Dragon Quest Swords, or Fable: The Journey as they call it now. (I really hope you boycott Dance Central too my friend! Usher was such a pointless presence!) Lastly, what in the world is Ascent: New Gods? I saw a big dude with some kind of scythe going around slicing up other dudes. Is there more than that? Tomb Raider and Splinter Cell were the only saving graces in my opinion; Lara finally seems relevant again, though I don’t care for Sam Fisher’s new voice. Did Ironside’s contract run out or something? Oh, am I hearing you say I’ve forgotten Resident Evil 6? Eh, it doesn’t look all that compelling, sorry.

It’s borderline unforgivable that EA and Ubisoft kept my attention and sparked more interest than the Big 3 combined, but that’s not saying much. I didn’t like the planet action of Dead Space 3, and the Rabbids really need to disappear. They’re not funny anymore. Also, what’s EA Sports’ obsession with Kinect? I suppose voice commands help streamline and speed up some gameplay in Madden and what have you, but will people actually use them? And why is Criterion making another Need for Speed Most Wanted? I literally almost fell asleep watching that demo; we’ve seen it all before and then some. Is anyone seriously dying to become the Most Wanted? And to end this off, was Far Cry 3 supposed to be the next big thing for shooters? Didn’t catch a hint of that whatsoever.


There’s probably plenty that I’ve missed, but I’ll save that for the comments.

Is everything I’ve said based on the totality of the available knowledge out there for each of these games and the company’s respective plans? I admit, no, but I don’t think that entirely matters. A press conference is a press conference, and I think it’s perfectly legitimate to draw the conclusions based on what I saw during them. Do you think any of my comments are completely asinine crazy? Or do you believe I’m right on the money? Are you somewhere in between? By all means have a discussion here; I simply wanted to chime in from a perspective [as a mobile gamer] that I’ve never had before. I’m not suggesting that E3 2012 was or will be a total bust. I’m declaring that from a media standpoint, there hasn’t been this much fodder to poke fun at for a long time. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo each ought to be ashamed of themselves. The Xbox 360 is now on the path to resting in peace; the software isn’t there. The PS3 has a little life left in it, but not more than a couple years. The Vita is in serious trouble; a picture of the Call of Duty game everyone already knew existed doesn’t help the platform’s reputation. WiiU is not at all in the position Nintendo should want, and the 3DS is probably stable for the time being. Is the real next generation truly to be previewed next year, or is what we don’t know from each company going to change things for the better? Tokyo Game Show isn’t far off thankfully, but should we even waste our time anticipating it? Lots of questions; not many answers…for now.


3 thoughts on “Confessions of an Editor-in-Chief X: This is the future?…”

  1. E3 was kind of a let-down this year, but there were still a lot of things I liked. Pikmin 3, Super Mario Bros 2/U, Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2/Mirror of Fate, DmC, Resident Evil 6, Lost Planet 3, and Dead Space 3 are games I’m excited to play. But I was let down that no one had anything really new for me.

    Did you catch Ni No Kuni? I’m curious what you think of that game. I’m very excited for it, it’s probably my most anticipated game for next year, actually. I’m a bit surprised you didn’t care for Resident Evil 6 though. That’s one of the other games I’m quite excited for, I’m planning on purchasing it day one. I think it will make a lot of necessary improvements to the gameplay, but I’m hoping it can hone the creepiness that they managed to squeeze into the absolutely excellent Revelations.

  2. I’ve actually been contemplating getting back into the PC scene a little more because I want that next-gen feel…now. That Star Wars 1313 and Watch Dogs both look extremely promising and I can only imagine what those will be like on a high end PC. I’m going to slowly build my next rig over the next few months. Not the idea thing to do, but it’s about the only option I have available right now. All said and done it’ll likely cost me more than all three next-gen system combined, which explains the length of the project ;) After watching all of E3 I was really let down by everyone. Sony with their Vita stuff, MS with not really doing anything new, and Nintendo with well almost everything they showed didn’t have that wow factor I expected. I plan to actually record my PC-building and keep a running log on the site.

    Great article Justin :)

  3. Yeah, pretty much agree with the general tone of the editorial even though I’m not as fuming mad. I too expected a lot more out of the E3 2012 conferences. I’ve been looking for some surprises, something to really make me go wow. Watch Dogs was the only reveal that caused that reaction out of me. Everything else was either, “hey, this looks nice” or “this has some potential” or “I want to see gameplay” or “boring”.

    All your complaints and criticisms are valid ones to make simply because the companies didn’t show or explain much about the things we wanted to see the most. Instead, they’ve kept some of their “gamer cards” and focused on the business-oriented aspects and ventures, things that will be sure-fire hits with the casual gamers and formulaic ones…such as Nintendo Land, sequels, SmartGlass, Wonderbook. It’s smart to try and please everyone, but we are the harshest critics. And sadly, most of the big gaming IPs that have been revealed at E3 are slated for 2013, which is unfortunate.

    Quite frankly, the only chance you’ll get to discover the “gaming” ventures in E3 is to actually be there. The showfloor impressions will be far more superior than the conferences. Looking at the Beyond reveal might be boring to you, but when actual gameplay is there we’ll all probably be more impressed. Same goes for Nintendo Land. I’m expecting a couple of surprises from the showfloor, some of which have already begun.

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