Come every June, video game fanatics know the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), is sure to rock the foundation of the gaming community.
Whether you watched, didn’t watch or didn’t know it was happening, it is easy to get lost in the extensive coverage from the four days of this event. Most companies had their share of hits and misses, but a few announcements blew the audience away.
Nintendo had a few interesting comments, mostly revolving around their upcoming platform, the Wii U. This multi-platform gaming console comes with a tablet, allowing the players to control both the game and the television set – though players can buy a controller for the more traditional experience. Pikmin 3 and Super Mario U have already been announced for this system.
“The next generation is a place where the best idea, not the biggest budget, will win,” says Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo. He obviously had no qualms about unleashing the next generation of gaming. While no release date was given during the convention, most think it will be available this November.
Microsoft was on-point throughout, delivering a series of major game footage, including demos for Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Black Ops II, Tomb Raider and Halo 4.
Yet, these games are more than simple improvements on old, beloved formulas. Splinter Cell: Blacklist showcased a dynamic ‘slow time’ interface where players could highlight several different enemies, then sit back and watch Sam Fisher, the protagonist, take down a series of people in one swift sprint. This game will also feature a Kinect component, allowing the gamer to distract enemies by actually yelling at them. This should be released in March 2013.
Tomb Raider takes the roughand- ready Lara Croft back to her roots, allowing the player to take control of the inexperienced teenaged woman. After being stranded in a remote area with little more than a bow and arrow, players will be forced to rely on cunning and conservation, rather than firepower, to survive. This is set to hit the shelves on March 5th.
Black Ops II is going to have branching storylines, with one taking place in the 1980s and the other in 2025 – players will have to be wary of the consequences for hasty decisions. This is coming to a store near you on November 13, 2012.
Halo 4 i s going to be the first in a new trilogy – and unlike the former installments, the devlopers actually intend for it to be a trilogy this time! The plot features Master Chief dealing with a strange, hostile new environment and the nowrogue AI, Cortana, who no longer seems to be acting in his best interest. This will be available on November 5.
Along with these highly anticipated releases brought about talks regarding Gears of War: Judgement and Resident Evil 6. Both of these games have become known for their high-intensity action combat, but some mourn the loss of Resident Evil’s survival horror roots.
Judgement is going to be a prequel to the infamous Gears of War trilogy, where some well known characters, like the snarky Baird, appear alongside some fresh faces to deal with Emergence Day, which marked the beginning of the war for mankind’s survival. It has no set release date. Resident Evil 6 is set to be a massive game that spans three continents, involves at least four playable characters (each with their own distinct combat style), and ties old plot lines into new, action-packed circumstances where old friends and lost lovers are set against each other in a race against time. This game will be released on October 2.
To top it off, the company announced that it is developing a product known as Smart Glass, which will be able to sync with other electronic devices.
Sony got the audience in an uproar over news of the game Beyond: Two Souls, the newest project from developer Quantic Dreams, which created Heavy Rain, known for its “no game over” gameplay style. Beyond: Two Souls features lifelike visuals and the protagonist is voiced by Ellen Paige (Inception, Juno), guaranteeing an experience that no player will forget.
The plot follows Jodie Holmes as she struggles to survive overwhelming circumstances- including a team of SWAT agents that are bent on finding and possibly killing her. The odds are evened by the fact that she seems to share her body with a spirit called Aiden, which can possess people and manipulate objects- often without her consent, a fact that severely complicates her attempt to live a normal life.
That didn’t overshadow God of War: Ascenmsion or The Last of Us, both of which have received a great reception and seem packed with action of their own. . Sony also unveiled the Wonderbook, a combination of the Playstation Move and a tablet. It’s first game is Book of Spells, a Harry Potter game headed by J. K. Rowling herself.
Square Enix, a company wellknown for their Final Fantasy series, unveiled Final Fantasy XIV. Though it got some negative reviews, the game is far from finished. This gaming titan also showed off the new Luminous Studio engine, a breath-taking, real-time graphics processor that will be a core component of the next generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
Electronic Arts, more commonly referred to as EA, held its own amidst the other companies. It announced Dead Space 3 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
Dead Space 3 will feature Isaac Clark, the series protagonist, stranded on an icy planet covered with new and even more deadly necromorphs. This installment is bringing in a co-op mode. While most won’t need a reason to play with a friend, certain scenes will only be available in this mode, so you’ll have to if you want to see the whole story. This will be available on Feburary 5.
Most Wanted is a remake of a previous Need for Speed title by the same name. This combines classic racing game elements, such as insane jumps and naturally occuring events, such as a bridge raising or earthquake occuring, with newer elements like giving the player points for destruction, not just for winning the race. This will be available on October 30th.
Electronic Arts also purchased the UFC rights from game company THQ, meaning that gamers who want to virtually slug their best friend in the face from time to time will now get to do so courtesy of the high-quality nature of EA games.
An honorable mention goes out to upcoming Ubisoft title, Watch Dogs. Judged as the “Biggest Surprise” at E3 by the gaming magazine company, Game Informer, this title is set in a futuristic Chicago where CTOS, a computer system, controls the whole city. Players will take on the role of Aiden Pierce, a vigilante who can tap into the massive computer network to access personal information as well as hack electronic devices. In the demo shown at this year’s E3, he can control stop lights, jam cell signals and even raise draw bridges to cut off those who might be pursuing him while in cars or on foot.
“Some developers have the right idea about creating a very personalized experience with a smaller audience,” says Jeff Bakalar, writing for CNET, capturing the essence of why niche games like Watch Dogs and Beyond: Two Souls become hits.
In a nutshell, this year’s E3 conference featured some revolutionary new games, specializing in everything from neo-noir settings to graphics that set a new standard for high definition. Whether you prefer action, thrillers, shooters or RPGs, the coming year will be sure to bring you something great. Nintendo may have beaten Microsoft and Sony to the nextgeneration finish line, but none of these companies are backing down.
“We’ve never been first, we’ve never been cheapest, it’s about being the best,” says Jack Trenton, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America.
What will be the best idea, though? Will it be Smart Glass and the next Xbox, the Wii U and its dual-controller style, or the PS4, the features of which are shrouded in mystery? Either way, the next generation is sure to break the bank- and all current standards for the industry- so start saving now, gamers!