Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of E3 2013

E3 2013 is over, and Chris takes a look at what went down in the craziest week in videogames! There was plenty of shenanigans to go around this year, and we're taking a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good:

Sony’s Throwdown of a Press Conference

Nobody expected Sony to throw down the gauntlet like they did. Although they certainly had the upper hand, due to their press conference happening hours after Microsoft’s, the jabs they threw at their biggest competitor came outta nowhere. Sony seemingly did the opposite of every single move Microsoft made. Indie games were given ample stage time, on-stage guests were kept to a minimum, and several game announcements brought the usually tepid press conference audience to their feet several times.

The conclusion of the Sony conference was like the climax to a Michael Bay film. Knockout blows came one after another, and Jack Tretton was visibly giggling like a schoolboy every time the crowd got hyped up. In an almost unheard of move, both manufacturers revealed their next-gen price points, with the PS4 coming in a cool $100 cheaper than the XBox One. Combined with the anti-DRM policies, and embracing of used games, Sony certainly won the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere.


The whole Infinity Ward fiasco was years ago at this point, and since then, very little information has been leaked from Respawn’s new project. Titanfall looks to grab fans of Call of Duty and Halo, with an always-online sci-fi epic shooter. The game demo’d incredibly well, and the fact that XBox One managed to secure this game as an exclusive is a major coup.

Sequels Everyone’s Been Asking For

“Shut up, nerds.”

That seemed to be the message several developers were sending this year at E3. Major franchises, long-dormant, have been resurrected for the next-gen. Star Wars Battlefront, Mirror’s Edge, Kingdom Hearts, Killer Instinct, and more were all given grand unveiling. Now, admittedly, some of these games will almost certainly be disappointments (I’m looking at you, Killer Instinct) but just having them come back from the dead is enough to pump up fans of the classic games that inspired them.

The Bad:

Nintendo Plays it Safe

Now, I’m no Nintendo fan. The last system I’ve owned from the Big N was the Nintendo 64. And even then, I never really found myself compelled by the big franchises like Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon. But I can totally accept that a lot of people live and die by these games, and more power to them. Nintendo decided to forgo a typical presser, in exchange for an incredibly weird, standing room only, cramped, show-floor...speech...thing.

New entries in the Mario, Donkey Kong, and Super Smash Brothers franchises were all announced, as well as an HD update of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Only two new third-party IPs were shown: The Wonderful 101, and a new mech game called X. The Wii U is going to have a hard time staying relevant this holiday season as it is, and these uninspired, by the book, kid-friendly sequels aren’t enough to keep Nintendo in the headlines for long.

No J Allard

Seriously, what else is that guy doing?

Current Gen Gets Shoved Aside

Amidst the fanfare of new consoles, several AAA titles for the current gen were breezed over very quickly during E3. Batman: Arkham Origins, Beyond: Two Souls, and Castlevania: Lords of Shadows 2 are all due for release later this year. These were be no-brainer major hits during any other year, but with gamers working to save their cash for the next generation, this last gasp of the the XBox 360 and PS3 could see significant sales drops.

The Ugly:

Microsoft’s Messaging Disaster

Oh man. I don’t think I’ve seen a company flounder like this in a long time. Already pissing off gamers with their “Draconian” policies regarding used games, and always-online requirements, Microsoft did little-to-nothing to address these issues at E3.

Well, except saying that people who can’t be always-online “can buy an XBox 360.” Yeah, that’s not exactly how you treat consumers, Microsoft.

Technical Difficulties

Several demos at E3 suffered from severe technical difficulties. Assassin’s Creed IV locked up several times during the on-stage demo during the Ubisoft conference. Crimson Dragon’s major re-unveiling trailer during the Microsoft conference was devoid of audio, and most cringe-worthy of all was the minute-long wait for the Battlefield demo to properly begin.

Ouch. This isn’t how you want your game to be presented to the public, and you have to feel for the development teams who worked long days, nights, and weekends in the lead-up to E3, in an effort to polish their games as best they could.


Most alarmingly of all, lots of real-world thefts were reported this year at E3. Perhaps most notably, Giant Bomb suffered a major burglary, and lost the majority of their livestream equipment. This kind of thing is always tough to deal with, and having it happen during a generally positive event like E3 brings the mood down considerably. The city of Los Angeles needs to step up their efforts to make the city welcoming to the industry, or E3 could easily go elsewhere. And that might not be a bad thing.

Chris has already preordered a PS4. He is a sheep.

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