Post-E3 Thoughts

Two weeks out from E3 and I'm finally overcoming the disgusting amount of inertia it took to actually write this piece.    I've got a lot of content due out for this place, so let's just jump right into it.

- It's 2014, and publishers are finally taking advantage of the internet.   "And it's available...right NOW!" became a catch phrase for the pre-show conferences, as publishers offered everything from betas to full games.   This is really something that should've happened with the PS3 and 360, but they were too busy figuring out the "season pass" concept, I guess.

- Nintendo won E3.  Y'know, a couple days after E3 I had this big report on each company's press conference that was three or four pages long in MS Word, and then I realized it all broke down to this: Nintendo kicked ass.  Microsoft did good, Sony did okay, Ubisoft was Ubisoft, and EA was garbage, but Nintendo came in and blew the fucking doors off.  I know from doing some brief looking around right after the conference there were some disappointed people, but I also know a lot of those people were looking for Metroid and F-Zero and anything less would've been a failure.  No, we didn't get those, but Nintendo was still incredible.

In forty minutes, they managed to show off: Super Smash Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Yoshi's Wooly World, Bayonetta 1+2, Hyrule Warriors, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Mario Maker, and Splatoon.   That's ten games, six of which you had never seen before the show started.  Then later they revealed Devil's Third was a Wii U exclusive.   This is all without showing a single "indie" that games complain about being at Sony or MS' shows, and with very little third-party support.   Everyone was convinced that Nintendo quit, but honestly they seem more invested in the latter half of 2014 and 2015 than they did when people thought they had a chance in 2012. 

Do I think this will bring the Wii U back from the brink of irrelevancy?   Unless Splatoon is a shocking smash hit that literally sells 20 million consoles on it's own, probably not.  The lack of third-party support means that the Wii U can only ever be most gamers' "second console", while the system being underpowered ensures that after the cross-gen era dies there won't be much point in third-parties giving support that isn't exclusive.   But, I love that Nintendo is refusing to simply "give up and move to 'next-gen' " like so many fans think they should.

- This year's E3 set an impossibly high standard.   Now that we're well and truly into the new generation, companies spent this E3 in "fan pleasing" mode.  And what's the one thing fans want to hear about at E3?  Games.   That's literally the only thing they want to hear about, and this E3, that's what we got.  Aside from Ubisoft's brief push-up contest and the random dance thing, each conference was stuffed to the brim with games.  The problem is, this isn't sustainable.  I mean, look at the first half of 2014--barren as fuck.   

Sometimes that happens.  Sometimes a year's first half is just...empty.   Games cost a lot to produce, and publishers often try to compete rather than schedule their games for empty spots in the year, so to expect the avalanche of games we got in the conferences this year, every year, is going to eventually lead to disappointment.

- There were a lot of "expected" games missing. Yes, yes, there were back to back games but I was honestly surprised at how many titles we didn't hear about.  EA's showcase was a joke, so while I consider Mass Effect 4 to exist, it wasn't fucking "revealed" by any means.  Same with whatever Bioware's new IP is.  Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 were noticeably absent.   To say nothing of Square's Western games that skipped out on E3: Deus Ex.  Hitman.  Just Cause 3. The game I actually care about amongst them, Triad Wars (successor to the Sleeping Dogs franchise).   Then there's Cyberpunk 2077, Beyond Good and Evil 2, and Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem. 

I think pretty much everyone expected at least one of these games to be present, and to have all of them missing left a hole that even this year's monster number of titles couldn't quite fill.   This means...

- Expect the remaining game reveals from now up to and including E3 2015 to be crazy.  I was told not to get all that hyped for E3 2014 because most of the really insane stuff would be saved for next year.  Aside from Nintendo (who we covered already), and Microsoft's random "these will be out in 2016" games, this was mostly true.  So expect conferences like Gamescom and possibly even TGS to have some nice reveals--especially since they'll be away from the insanity of E3 and have their own little hype cycles.

I'll be back later this weekend with the best in show for me.  'Til then.


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