Tag Archives: E3

[E3 2019] Subscriptions and Nintendo’s Strong Off-Beat Momentum

Notice: SpaceEngine actually came out on Steam Early Access this past week. I reviewed it for Indie Game Website. https://www.indiegamewebsite.com/2019/06/11/spaceengine-early-access-review/


A lot of people seem to be saying Nintendo won E3 2019. I don’t like getting into press conference wars, but if Nintendo did do better than Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft (not to mention Sony not even being at E3 this year), it was probably because it’s in the middle of a hardware cycle rather than approaching the end of one. Developers working on Switch are hitting their stride now where they’re familiar with the hardware, whereas everyone working on PlayStation and Xbox is getting ready for big technological shifts. Once again Nintendo turned the failure of the Wii U into a strength for the Switch. Nintendo was also just about the only company at E3 not talking about subscription or streaming services. Continue reading

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[E3 2019] Video Game Platforms And The Pre-Pre-Next-Gen E3


I have a feeling E3 this year is gonna feel a bit cool because the console gaming industry is starting to move into next-gen transition mode. I’m interested in a lot of games that will be at E3 of course, and I imagine there will be some big surprises, but I’m not going in with any specific hopes and dreams for earth-shattering revelations. Continue reading

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[E3 2017] Did Anybody Really “Win” The Conference Wars?



The discussion over which E3 2017 press conference was the best is a really subjective one. They basically just showed off a lot of games — nothing to change the balance of power between the platforms. Because of that, which conference was the best is really going to depend on what particular games each person watching preferred. Continue reading

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What I’m Looking For At The E3 2017 Conferences.


This is an odd E3 when it comes to hardware hype vs software hype. Nintendo has revealed and launched a new hardware platform between E3s, and Micrsooft is unveiling the first step in its plan for incremental hardware upgrades. Otherwise though it’s gonna be one of those E3s that’s mostly just about games.

With predictions about, all I can really do is talk about what I’d personally like to see from each company presenting there, what it would take to get me to buy into each platform being presented. Continue reading

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[E3 2016] No E3 Predictions


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.


  • 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


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.


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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.


  • There’s evidence that the Steam summer sale is brewing…
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