Tag Archives: E3

[E3 2016] No E3 Predictions

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It seems like E3 has kind of already kicked off with leaks and pre-E3 stream. In the past this might have been some kind of E3 predictions post but I’ve moved on from that kind of thing.

I don’t know if this is some kind of zen thing, but I’ve pretty much decided not to “expect” or “predict” anything from E3 this year. That’s not pessimism, that’s just me trying to let the proceedings flow. I won’t be disappointed, and if there are pleasant surprises then they’ll be pleasant surprises. Continue reading

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The Near Future Of User-Generated Content On Consoles

A small trend at E3 this year was level editing in games like LittleBigPlanet 3, Mario Maker, and Far Cry 4, which has caused me to wonder if they’ll ever really “come back” to consoles, or rather become even semi-common in the first place.

Even though modding has almost always been a hallmark of PC gaming, I feel like it’s become more commonplace, or at least more accessible in the years since Valve added Workshop to Steam. Now it’s like a lot of games, including indies, are expected to come with level editors. Not just ones for hardcore modders either, but simple editors usable by everyday consumers. One of my favorite games from last year — Gunpoint, originally came with one but just recently added Steam Workshop support. I just put that in there so maybe more people would pay attention to that game.

I used to spend hours messing with some of the few console games that had level editors back in the day. One of the most famous was probably Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. I probably spent an unreasonable amount of time on TimeSplitters trying to design multiplayer maps and singleplayer missions.

You’d think online implementation in console games would increase the prevalence of map editors, letting gamers more freely distribute them, but other than LittleBigPlanet there haven’t really been console games that take full advantage of that potential, at least not recently. I guess it’s because publishers want to sell levels as DLC. LittleBigPlanet instead sells additional creation tools.

Out of what was shown at E3, Mario Maker definitely has the most potential depending on the content distribution method and whether it becomes as well-known as other Mario platformers. I think Pushmo is a good indicator of where Nintendo might go with this. QR codes are easy to post online, but I imagine Nintendo will find some way to heavily leverage MiiVerse with Mario Maker. Nintendo probably should have done this a long time ago. I wonder if the ROM hack community will latch onto this game.

Far Cry 4 has some potential too. The tradition for the franchise has been multiplayer map editors, but I’ve never seen Far Cry multiplayer become a big deal. I’ve seen some impressive maps but I’ve never seen any really catch on. It would be excellent if the Steam edition used Workshop but somehow I imagine Ubisoft will just try its own system through UPlay or in the game itself.

What has me enticed though is a magazine clip suggesting Far Cry 4 will let players design their own outposts for friends to capture. That’s basically user-generated singleplayer and co-op content, which could multiply the amount of time people spend with the game, and I’m confident it’ll have some good creation tools.

It’s kind of weird talking about this at the dawn of a new console generation. All that talk of new online features and only now are we hearing hints of user-generated gameplay content. It’ll never be on the level of PC gaming, but there is some potential that I think isn’t being explored.

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E3 2014: What Is Evil Within Shaping Up To Be?

One of the less talked-about games in all the shuffle of E3 is The Evil Within from Bethesda and Shinji Mikami. A bit of new footage and commentary from IGN has started to brighten my hopes for the game by revealing more about its structure.

There’s always been a feeling Evil Within is trying to recapture the feel of not only Mikami’s Resident Evil 4, but also games like the original Resident Evil. We just hadn’t seen much of any evidence of that. Pretty much every trailer I’ve seen for this game has been some kind of scripted event or maybe a chase sequence from a monster. I’ve seen little substance to back up Bethesda’s and Mikami’s claims.

IGN’s latest E3 demonstration is the most I’ve ever seen this game actually look like the aforementioned classics. We see them running through a mansion-like area that probably deliberately evokes RE1, specifically the Gamecube version. Plus the Bethesda spokesman confirms Evil Within is in fact not a linear game and that it will require some exploration. From there we can only speculate how all that will play out.

I don’t think we’re going to see exploration and puzzle-solving at the same slow pace as older survival horror games not only due to the combat focus, but also the differences between the hardware of today and the hardware of the mid 90’s. If you go back to those old games you realize part of their pacing came from the fact that every individual room was its own self-contained environment isolated by loading screens because that’s all the original PlayStation could handle. In today’s games, starting with RE4, players and enemies can freely run throughout an area the size of RE1’s mansion at a much quicker and more immediate pace. Resident Evil 5’s RE1 mansion replica proved that, and the whole environment felt smaller because of it.

Evil Within could end up feeling a lot like RE4 where individual sections are simply larger areas (Amnesia: The Dark Descent is another example). If that’s true, what’s gonna be the balance of combat versus exploration or puzzle-solving? All-in-all it’s looking like Evil Within could end up sitting somewhere in-between older survival horror games and newer action horror games.

Can it be argued some games have already attempted this balance? Leon’s campaign in Resident Evil 6 kind of tried this for a few minutes at certain parts, but didn’t really succeed. People like to say this of the first Dead Space game when looking back from Dead Space 3, which is a straight-up shooter. However I always thought even the original was an action horror game.

I think if you want a real survival horror game on today’s consoles you should probably wait for Frictional’s SOMA. It was never going to be a mainstream genre, but I’m just hoping Evil Within can strike just enough of a balance between satisfying fans of that genre and satisfying the demands of the retail games market.

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Hopes And Dreams For Far Cry 4 Post-E3

To be honest, Far Cry 4 was one of the main reasons I anticipated seeing the E3 press conferences this week. What I saw of it at Sony’s conference still leaves a lot of questions, but I’m slightly more optimistic now on a game for which I have high hopes but also a lot of concerns.

I already went over my hopes for this game a few weeks ago, and I constantly look for any rays of hope they might be even partially fulfilled. Ubisoft’s recent quotes and FC4’s Sony press conference demonstration suggests the game is headed in a better direction than Far Cry 3, if only a little better.

From a bit of information from Game Informer and that demo, Ubisoft seems to have determined base liberation was the best and most popular part of FC3. The Game Informer website, teasing a bit of its latest cover story on FC4, says Ubisoft wants to merge the feeling of the last game’s base capturing with FC4’s campaign. Most notably, the entire E3 demonstration for the game was the liberation of a base.

Even though the overall gameplay loop is pretty similar to the base capturing in Assassin’s Creed (that has now made its way into Watch_Dogs), FC3’s FPS mechanics makes things feel a bit more involving, delivering on the “systemic open world” feeling better than probably any of Ubisoft’s other recent open-world games. That’s probably why it was the most talked-about part of FC3 in the weeks following the game’s release, and Ubisoft has figured this out.

What we’ve seen at E3 seems to be a kind of “super base,” — bases that are much larger and more difficult to liberate than the ones in FC3. Who knows how much of the game this will comprise, but it’s the first thing Ubisoft wants us to see about this game. I just hope some of that translates to significant changes to the campaign structure.

It’s hard to say what Ubisoft actually means by bringing that base-clearing feeling to the campaign. Maybe campaign objectives will be tied to the bases. It might be too much to hope that Ubisoft is returning to the completely open-ended mission structure of Far Cry 2. Maybe they’re trying to balance that feeling with whatever linear “character-driven” story they want to tell this time around.

Anyway, some of the other features from the demo look nice. The Gyrocopter might be a big one — it essentially introduces aircraft to the franchise. Maybe having designed FC3’s world around the wingsuit and hang glider made actual aircraft the logical conclusion. I don’t expect any kind of traversal on the level of Grand Theft Auto’s helicopters, but it’s the next step in communicating the scale of an open-world game.

The grappling hook is a good addition too — adding much needed verticality to these kinds of games. Mountains and cliff sides are an all-too-annoying progress-blocker in FC and similar open-world games. I just hope It’s not limited to like seventeen specific points in the game.

In any case, FC4 remains on my radar for this fall. I await reviews and friendly impressions with cautious optimism. Even if it does end up being FC3.5 and is just another soulless AAA open-world game, I at least hope I can find enjoyment in parts of it like I have in FC3. As for why I even try to do that, Far Cry right now is pretty much the only new mainstream sandbox first person action game. We’ve got all these next-gen open-world games that look great, but only Far Cry is first person, carrying all the potentially immersive gameplay that entails. Man I can’t wait until Fallout 4 is unveiled.

BULLETS

  • Finished Dark Souls II. Back on ArmA II, which is my current source of open-world systemic first person gameplay.
  • Astro Boy to receive yet another remake. http://t.co/egnX1P9Gh9
  • So someone at NASA actually wants to build a real sci-fi-esque spacecraft. http://t.co/4kvjrVIl7t
  • One of the highlights of the latest batch of greenlit Steam games is Yatagarasu, on which I did a blog post a while ago. http://t.co/182yaKahDa
  • Another is Sacred Tears TRUE. http://t.co/bGtgI8xdcF
  • The first official trailer for The Legend of Korra Season 3. http://t.co/iASOvkxmlb
  • Personal touches like this are part of the reason people like Metal Gear — stopping for a smoke break fast forwards time. http://t.co/BLxb3Rfn4R
  • New York Times has an interesting story about all the remasters in gaming compared to other industries. http://t.co/qKEaayvIcf
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E3 2014: The Real Issue Behind AC Unity’s Player Characters

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One bit of controversy surrounding E3 games is Assassin’s Creed Unity’s lack of a female player character despite being a four-player co-op game. Looking at the reason behind this reveals deeper issues with the game’s development, especially given Ubisoft’s history with this kind of thing.

When asked why all four of Unity’s player characters are white dudes, Ubisoft revealed that it’s actually only one white dude. Players can customize their tools and clothes, but in fact each one will see themself as the main character — Arno. They’ll see their three friends as slightly different dudes, and apparently including a female option meant double the work on costumes and animations. Their problem here is Ubisoft designed a four-player co-op game with only one playable character.

This is odd given Unity’s co-op has been the main focus of its advertising. Maybe that’s just PR playing up that aspect because it’s the most unique aspect of the game, and maybe the actual developers included co-op as a very secondary feature. If so that’s a side-effect of marketing but also probably a lack of planning on the part of the developers. Ubisoft has handled this before and handled it better than what we’re seeing with Unity.

Far Cry 3’s co-op missions put players in control of four player characters, allowing for a better level of diversity. Far Cry 4 this week has already shoed off a little co-op revealing at least two playable characters, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more. That’s not even mentioning the various characters of the competitive multiplayer modes of past Creed games.

Why couldn’t Ubisoft just write four characters and let players select them when going into co-op? Why can’t they just have Aveline from Assassin’s Creed Liberation travel to France (she’s half French) — that’s one character already written. If it hasn’t been confirmed already it seems like Ubisoft wants Unity’s co-op to be drop-in-drop-out, but once again, so is FC4’s.

With all the manpower, work, and detail that goes into the Creed games, and what Ubisoft has done before, it seems really odd to me they’d make and advertise a big co-op game like this with only one real character.

BULLETS:

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Did E3 2014’s Press Conferences Convince You To Buy Consoles? If So, When?

It looks like none of E3 2014’s press conferences have allayed my main concern I voiced last week: almost everything is coming out next year, especially the biggest console exclusives. I think these conferences can convince a lot of people to finally upgrade to the new consoles, but not just yet.

Last week I basically said the number of exclusives Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have for their consoles this fall is slim, and it remains slim today. I think all the conferences were pretty good, but if there were any real surprises, they were all leaked beforehand. Still, those exclusives will sell some people on these consoles.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is undoubtedly a big deal for a lot of people. It ain’t Halo 5, but it is going to bring back some of the most beloved online multiplayer on consoles with better visuals and dedicated servers. I kind of see this as Microsoft finally unveiling Office for its latest operating system — resurrecting cherished features of the software for which people buy Xbox. Forza Horizon 2 is the same for some people but to a lesser degree. Sunset Overdrive looks like a nice departure from typical shooters, but to me it looks like a game that’s nice to buy when you already own an Xbox One, not a game that sells Xbox Ones.

I would say the same about all those indie games. They’re great for console owners, but don’t really sell the consoles so much as enrich the experience after you buy them. Plus, whenever someone at the conferences said “Its console debut…,” I immediately thought to myself “I can’t wait to get this game… on Steam.”

Sony’s one legitimate 2014 surprise at its conference was LittleBigPlanet 3 (which might also be on PS3). Including every level created for the first two games is real nice, but I don’t know how the playerbase of those games has held up since the first one. One thing I noticed is since the conferences were pretty much all about the games, Sony and Microsoft didn’t really talk about big changes to the PlayStation and Xbox platforms themselves. Microsoft didn’t talk about any significant new things for LIVE (maybe because it already announced the big changes to Gold), and Sony really only confirmed that PlayStation Now is moving along smoothly.

As I said last week, the most significant console exclusive this fall is probably going to be Super Smash Bros. on Wii U. Even that game isn’t a definite immediate purchase for me because of the 3DS version in October. Bayonetta 2 including the original and coming out in October is great, but it’s also a niche game. It’s great content to fill out the lineup, but it’s still only for a specific audience. I don’t know about anyone else but I think Captain Toad looks really fun.

Predictably, almost all the real hits coming out this fall are third party and multiplatform… and mostly cross-generation. When you think about it, Assassin’s Creed Unity might be the biggest help to the PS4 and Xbox One this fall. Market-wise it’s probably the most significant title that’s only coming out for the new systems. The only other big new-console-only game for this fall is Evolve, the success of which probably depends on how well it can capture the Left 4 Dead fanbase (which was fairly significant on Xbox).

I guess we can still debate how many people bill buy games like Far Cry 4, Destiny, and Call of Duty Advanced Warfare on the new consoles as opposed to the old. So far the answer to that is a mishmash for recent cross-generation games. According to NPD results in North America for most games the Xbox 360 version still seems to be the top-seller, but PS4 versions of these games seem to be pulling ahead of PS3 versions.

Unless you’re a big fan of one of the 2014 games shown at the conferences, it seems like the best time to upgrade your hardware is in 2015. I’m not a big fan of the Batman Arkham games but I have to admit that Arkham Knight footage looked dope, and I’m pleasantly surprised we got Witcher 3 gameplay footage, no matter how short it was. I already did a whole post on Rainbow Six Siege.

Right now 2015 exclusives seem scant, but significant. I’m definitely going to keep my eye on Scalebound. We may have seen effectively nothing of the real game from that CG trailer, but director Hideki Kamiya hasn’t let me down yet. Crackdown 3 is of course a fan favorite. There’s probably a lot more time to see what else could pop up before Halo 5 looms on the horizon. Uncharted 4 predictably looked like an incredible showcase for the PS4, and as I said before, the game that became Bloodborne is looking like it’s going to be a big deal for me. I think I’m going to wait until there’s more actual gameplay footage, but I’m a bit surprised it’s set to hit as soon as Spring 2015.

The dilemma of Nintendo is that even though the Wii U is getting basically none of the multiplatform third party games, it may have the most colorful lineup of games you can’t get anywhere else for 2015. Mario Maker looks like a sleeping giant that Nintendo maybe should have done years ago. games like Kirby and the Rainbow Curse and Yoshi’s Wolly World should nicely fill out the platformer lineup, and Splatoon looks like a genuinely fresh addition. Zelda looks to be pretty much exactly what I hoped it might be.

A kicker here though is so far E3 2014 has made an excellent case for upgrading to the new consoles next year… if you haven’t or aren’t willing to drop $800+ on a PC with a decent graphics card. If you have or plan to, then those exclusives are pretty much the only reasons to buy any console at this point. A few exclusives and a bunch of multiplatform games are a great reason to buy a console, but how well do those few exclusives alone justify the $400 purchase if you’re going to play everything else on PC? It’s been something like a year since I’ve purchased a PlayStation or Xbox game.

BULLETS:

  • There’s evidence that the Steam summer sale is brewing…
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E3 2014: The Real Return Of Rainbow Six?

It seems Ubisoft has gotten used to having “stingers” at the ends of its E3 press conferences. This year’s looks extremely promising… to a specific subset of shooter fans, and that’s if what we saw wasn’t heavily scripted.

Watch_Dogs at E3 2012 and The Division in 2013 impressed mainly with their graphics, but Rainbow Six Siege this week looks interesting because it almost looks like a return to real tactical shooters. I’m just wondering how many people that will actually interest in this day and age.

In a few posts a while ago I, like many old school fans of Tom Clancy games, lamented the disappearance of tactical shooters that actually let players plan and execute missions. The recent Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six games have been typical, linear shooters with some friendly AI command controls thrown in. Siege looks like a return to the thoughtful, slow-paced, and lethal games of old if you actually pay attention to what’s going on in that demonstration.

The first thing the Siege video showed was the return of a long-missing feature in Tom Clancy shooters — the planning phase. The second major feature that’s apparent here is the absence of any respawn. That by itself changes the way players approach the game because they don’t want to die — they start actually trying to use tactics instead of just upping their kill count. The games Siege reminds me the most of are SWAT 4 and Rainbow Six: Raven Shield.

And because this whole demo was multiplayer, it looks like the kind of multiplayer I’ve wanted to see for a while in tactical shooters. I always wondered why no one tried to make a multiplayer mode where each team takes a minute to draw up a game plan against the other. I have to give it to Ubisoft for believing some players might like that slow, cerebral element instead of just spawning right into the zone.

Maybe Ubisoft has a little faith in this because it was willing to bring back Splinter Cell’s multiplayer last year. Maybe the company hopes Siege can stand out from the typical Call of Duty-inspired games in a way similar to Evolve.

Overall, I have a feeling this won’t be a complete return to the hardcore level of realism of, say, Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear. It looks like Siege might be somewhere in-between today’s accessible shooters and the tactical simulations of the past, which I might actually like better. I’ve always wanted to play a shooter with the options and freedom of a tactical simulation but also the comfort of today’s shooters.

The press release for Siege confirms it will have a singleplayer campaign but at this stage it’s a complete unknown. Will it have the same kinds of open-ended maps as the multiplayer with the resurrected planning phase? Will you command AI teammnates? These things are at least as interesting as the multiplayer concepts.

There’s just the question of how much of the Siege demo was even real. Some people are burned on Watch_Dogs because the final game doesn’t look quite as beautiful as the 2012 demo. Far Cry 3 has received similar criticisms, so there’s already skepticism surrounding Siege.

The graphics and gameplay concepts in the Siege demo look completely within the grasp of the PS4 and Xbox One. It’s just that the actions of the players, as well as the voice chat, were probably heavily scripted. I have faith the final game will look like the demo we just saw, but real people probably won’t play it like that.

BULLETS:

  • Nice logo for the game by the way: http://t.co/N4fHxOsL3w
  • A lot of the E3 live demos have ended with a cinematic shot taking over.
  • I hope Assassin’s Creed Unity can actually deliver on the word “Systemic” Ubisoft dropped at its conference.
  • Disappointed at the total lack of actual Far Cry 4 gameplay so far.
  • A smaller overlooked E3 announcement: Hotline Miami 2 will feature a level editor.
  • If anybody is interested in that game Cuphead from Microsoft’s indie games reel, there’s more info here: http://t.co/LdD4QzMosl
  • The guy who made Gunpoint just released a free game. http://t.co/Cj4KuPePJe
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What Will They Have To Do To Sell You On Consoles At E3?

Being the first E3 after the launch of new consoles, next week is probably going to be the week developers, publishers, and console manufacturers make their best cases for why you should upgrade. I already talked about how a lot of the content, including most of the exclusives, isn’t coming out until 2015, but E3 2014 is still when it all get’s exposed. Despite already owning a gaming-quality PC, I have to admit Sony and Microsoft have a legitimate shot of selling me on their new consoles in the long term.

There’s already a ton of known software I’m excited to see at E3 between Mortal Kombat X, The Witcher 3, Super Smash Bros., Evolve, Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, and a lot more. Even with all that we still have a bunch of unannounced games set to be unveiled. I’m probably gonna spend most of the summer pouring over screenshots and videos.

Microsoft I think has the most work to do in selling me on its new console. They’ve already done much of it by chucking Kinect for price parity with the PS4 and letting go of the paywall for media apps. Since my PC’s graphics card already compares favorably to both new consoles, I’m pretty much gonna be playing every third party multiplatform game on PC, so from my perspective exclusives are pretty much all that are going to matter, and almost all those exclusives will probably be first party.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, I’m not a huge fan of Halo. I think the games are great but I got into them really late and thus don’t have an absolute need to own the next Halo. That said I’m still interested in what Halo 5 will look like. If Microsoft actually ends up unveiling a collection of the four numbered Halo games tn 1080p I admit that would be pretty enticing. I have no idea what else they could do though. I’m also personally not that pumped up for Quantum Break but I know a lot of people are. Maybe if that exclusive deal with Platinum Games turns out to be more than a rumor — they’re a developer whose games I’ll nearly always buy sight unseen.

Sony’s chances of selling me on a PS4 next week rely almost completely on certain rumors being true. I continue to hold out hope for The Last Guardian, but honestly, what it’s really about for me is “Project Beast.” I think I already said a Demon’s Souls sequel is pretty much the only game that by itself could sell me on a PS4, and “Project Beast” looks like something of that nature. We have footage so we know it’s a real game, we just don’t know much else. Uncharted 4 will probably be amazing too.

I already know I’m going to buy a Wii U eventually, I just don’t know when. My number one most anticipated game of E3 right now is Super Smash Bros., both on Wii U and the 3DS I already own. If you pay attention though, you’ll notice Nintendo plans to show off four as-of-yet unannounced games next week. News sites have been buzzing about one of them which Nintendo confirmed is a “new 3DS game” that’s apparently a big enough deal for Nintendo to hold an E3 roundtable about it — the kind of roundtable that’s usually reserved for a Zelda game. Those unannounced games better be Wii U titles for the sake of that system’s software lineup. Chances of Zelda Wii U appearing? I think there’s a decent chance we’ll see a reveal trailer but not much more.

Everything else I’m hyped for is third party, and I feel like there’s too much of it to cover in this post. I feel like this might be one of the most exciting E3s in terms of software, but that could just be my preferences.

BULLETS:

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A Pre-E3 Look At Fall 2014 Exclusives

We better see some good stuff at E3 in a couple weeks to make up for all these delays. Sony’s recent delay of The Order 1886 is just the latest in a series that’s sucking the new consoles dry of exclusives for this year.

The Order is now slated for 2015, Halo 5 is 2015, there are rumors Uncharted 4 might be 2015, there’s no way Quantum Break is coming out this year. As far as we know heading into E3, for fall 2014 exclusives Microsoft now has Sunset Overdrive and possibly some classic Halo ports for Xbox One, and Sony has Driveclub and a PS4 port of The Last of Us. Right now it actually looks like Super Smash Bros. might be the most significant first party console game coming out this fall.

The fall 2014 lineup still looks great, but it’s all multi-platform third party games, many of which are still cross-generation. Call of Duty is still cross-gen this year, Dragon Age Inquisition is cross-gen, Far Cry 4 is cross-gen, Destiny is cross-gen. It seems this fall still won’t be quite the definitive moment for console gamers to fully enter this new generation. Though, I think this will be the first time we see a good number of tantalizing games that are only on the new machines: Batman: Arkham Knight, Evolve, and Assassin’s Creed Unity.

Coming into E3, this leaves the playing field oddly even between Sony and Microsoft. They both undoubtedly have plays to make in the coming weeks, so this E3 is going to be important not only when it comes to looking forward into next year, but also in determining what console a lot of people will get this fall. Both companies have yet to really prove their new machines are really worth investing in. If someone does make the case, right now it seems it’ll be a third party.

BULLETS:

  • This post is pretty late (and short) because I got knocked out by a fever all day yesterday.
  • Whoa. This is project 2015. http://t.co/PtZtCgoQGZ (Slightly NSFW)
  • Finally finished Coffee Prince. I don’t think I’m gonna let myself get sucked into K-drama long-term.
  • Well that’s one way to deter piracy… http://t.co/5MwHcNMjr5
  • Well, now I really have to get ArmA 3. http://t.co/cBophcv9Ah
  • Castle Vidcons 131. http://t.co/lmpKYbGs0h
  • This Space Coybow stuff makes me the most excited I’ve ever been to play the next Sky Rogue alpha. http://t.co/Rouooxb8z9
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Nintendo’s Increasingly Tight PR At E3

As of this writing I’m still not sure how Nintendo’s decision to yet again forgo a big E3 press conference will affect the company and its products going forward. Nintendo’s obviously in a different position from Sony or Microsoft these days and there are probably advantages to taking a different approach, but does Nintendo have them right now?

My first thoughts upon seeing Nintendo’s E3 2014 plans — releasing a pre-recorded PR video, holding a tournament for the new Super Smash Bros., bringing that game to Best Buy kiosks, and holding E3 livestreams with developers, was sheer hype regarding Smash. You can believe I’m gonna try to be at Best Buy that week, and that might be enough to keep me hyped for Nintendo. It’s also probably Nintendo’s best chance to sell me on the Wii U version of Smash for when it comes out months after the version for the 3DS I already own.

The main criticism against Nintendo’s current PR path is that it amounts to restricting the company’s messaging to extremely narrow, controlled channels. The E3 press conferences themselves however are already very much controlled channels. They’re really more press briefings than press conferences since people don’t ask questions there.

The difference between that and a Nintendo Direct in my opinion though is reach — I haven’t seen any proof Nintendo’s pre-recorded online streams actually reach anyone outside games journalists and hardcore fans. E3 conferences reach mainstream news publications and through them mainstream readers, and I’ve seen that effect play out. Will Nintendo get the message out to general audiences about Smash Bros. or any other software it might show at E3? I’m having a hard time imagining that happening. Tech sites will eventually report it, but all I’ve seen coming from mainstream news about Nintendo recently are stories about lagging sales.

Nintendo’s games will still be playable at E3 and we’ll probably get great impressions of those from industry journalists. Have you ever read preview impressions from anyone outside that group though?

One reason this E3 is really important for Nintendo is because the release schedules for 3DS and Wii U for later this year are kind of barren. Nintendo loves to announce games at E3 that are less than six months from launch, but how many can it really give us in the span of essentially one Nintendo Direct?

Giving a heavily controlled presentation at an expo can work if you bring the right message. I just don’t know what kind of message Nintendo can bring at this point outside the usual games. If Iwata really means to redefine Nintendo, he might try to make a pretty big statement at E3 this year, but who knows.

BULLETS:

  • Nice Polygon article on Ukranian game developers and the current crisis. http://t.co/mwyYyhYxgt
  • Didn’t realize Ghost Song only just now hit Steam Greenlight. Vote for it. http://t.co/oNBHOyGDB2
  • The Star Wars prequels were not all CG. https://t.co/DEqAAeVTrT
  • This fall there will be a whole class of high schoolers who were born around 2000. Think about that.
  • The best deal on Sony’s current sale is probably Vagrant Story for $3. https://t.co/qvgV3jbDNA
  • Nice article on Aliens and video games. http://t.co/uSLTHwPMDm
  • The original Deus Ex just keeps getting better. http://t.co/iYBpgdIhBc
  • USGamer pretty much lays out the reason Sony is pushing for so many indies on PS4: http://t.co/UchhpDtXLX “Wanting the next Minecraft or DayZ to appear on their consoles.”
  • ArmA II continues to suck me in as I visit its expansions. All I’ll say here is that this game is everything console gamers hate about PC games. Its level of freedom is liberating but its control scheme is downright scary. I’ll spend 45 minutes figuring out a relatively simple task and somehow I still enjoy this game.
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