Here I sit, hours after the event, processing the nonsense to the predictible. Each conference had its ups and downs. So let’s go in chronological order:
Xbox Press Conference
The show starts with a showstopper, a mildly confusing for gameplay video plays, but is live-action showing off the past and present of what the ships they’re designing are meant for versus what they actually get used for. The new threat is focusing on the elusive Forerunners, who are mostly orrange in color as Master Chief was going through the lush jungles. Though, they are much enhanced of Halo 3’s jungles in that first level. The forerunner weapons appeared to transform and pack a powerful punch. There was a much more action oriented feel to Halo 4 with Master Chief sprinting to locations and Cortana yelling orders, and we learned her AI is failing and she gets a bit psychotic. No multiplayer was shown. Coming out November 6th, 2012.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
A true surprise, started up showing a mysterious character in the Middle East, revealed to be Sam Fisher who looked surprisingly young and I think it might be a prequel, but it wasn’t stated. Sam continues the Mark and Execute feature from Conviction. This time, seems much more fluid as he liines up chain kills and effortlessly transitions from enemy to enemy doing a ballet of kills. Sam alsso appears to take a page from a couple of Ubisoft franchises, Prince of Persia or Assassin’s Creed by being able to climb walls with ease. Blacklist uses Kinect this time, and now you can distract your enemies with your words. Spring 2013 release date.
Not much to say, Madden was shown off by Joe Montana and he played the game, executed plays using Kinect and was a mostly uneventful and short demo. Obviously coming later this fall.
Fable the Journey
Shown as a trailer, no demo. It was intense and looked more detailed than that of what we’ve seen before. They said this was a new direction for the Fable franchise, so there might have been some tweaks since we last saw it.
Gears of War: Judgment
Finally a solid reveal for the game, looks fantastic, no demo or HUD shown. But I get a strong NFS ProStreet vibe, but done right. There appear to be multi-class and style races happening simultaneously as a Mitsubishi Lancer and Audi rally car raced on dirt, and met up on tarmac with a Dodge Viper. Then there was dubstep, which worked well for the trailer and likely will be in the game.
Lara Croft has done got herself into trouble in the origin story of the soon-to-be famous treasure hunter. Taking a page from Naughty Dog, this story tells a tale of gritty survival and revenge against the oppressors of where she crash lands and reuniting with her crew. There was some quick time events and scripted events while shooting arrows while they are shooting guns, unfair. Lara did have some flaming arrows that inexplicably got lit. Unfortunately they announced DLC would be for the game.
Ascend: New Gods
Signal Studios of Toy Soldiers have been busy, and showed off a promising game in which you fight well-armored foes and big creatures.
A short teaser from Twisted Pixel Games (The Maw, Splosion Man, Gunstringer) with a strong Tron influence.
Resident Evil 6
Hard not to see that giraffe image in the logo. Leon is present, floppy hair and all. Shambling zombies abound, and Leon shot them without them even trying to attack him. The game follows a ppure Japanese action movie formula to a tee, and featured explosion after explosion.
A quick demo was shown off for the XBLA Kinect game, which is essentially “Angry Ballistas” but gives you a lot of control over where things are going. Looks neat.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Only trailer footage shown, but Matt Stone and Trey Parker came out and talked about the game, off-script as they had no teleprompter like everyone else uses.
Dance Central 3
Not much was said or even shown, but Usher came out and performed moves from the moves that will be included in the game. Dude can dance!
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
The show-closer, to some this is the same thing over and over. Though with some future tech, it wasn’t over the top, showing a realistic future without huge leaps in technology. We saw some great scripted events and powerful combat. Though, a ground war fighter will not be jumping into a jet. But for the sake of a videogame it’s fine.
Ubisoft Press Conference
Boobs. No, really. Starts off with a fade in to a woman topless in tribal art on top of you having finished your new tattoo. A new tat-too. From there you run and gun and showing something what we saw in Blacklist and chaining kills together with your knife melee attacks. Absolutely impressive tech at work and amazing looking.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Here it was shown again, but ultimately disappointing as I learned Michael Ironside is not returning (yet) and it was all CGI footage and no more gameplay as we saw at the Xbox Briefing.
The first WiiU game shown off, looks utterly amazing and breathtaking with its Michel Ancel visuals. Loved every minute of it, allowing the WiiU to implement music elements as in the co-op demo did an amazing rock co-op adventure with minimal interference from enemies. Fantastic demo, and will be an impressive, cohesive Rayman experience. Go play Rayman Origins.
No that’s not short for Zombi University, just a cutesy name for this zombie game taking place in London, 28 Days Later style and all CGI that reminded me of the first trailer for Dead Island.
Assassin’s Creed III
First time for me seeing the HUD, similar to past games with updates you’d expect. Connor assassinated EVERYTHING in his path, deer, wolves, people. There’s nothing he won’t kill, but his hunt is clearly to find the Templars, a running theme and goal in the series. Though Connor seems to have quests to do for other people. Brutes from prior games return as characters in big armor and wearing kilts.
An eSports demo presentation was shown for the game, ShootMania is part of a network of games alongside TrackMania and features a highly competitive aspect that’s a cross between Counter-Strike and Unreal Tournament. A nonsense gender battle was played out where the men won, so I don’t know what underlying story is being told there.
This is the show stopper for Ubisoft, and has grabbed EVERYONE who watched it. At first it was a breakdown of how technology worked and the implementation of “ctOS” that controls cities and how it can be hacked.We saw a character who had a target to kill, but was made and he gets out of there. Soon all hell breaks loose and things are blowing up, huge gun battles. And then, another player is watching over this helping reroute traffic and helping him. Then other players are shown to be in the game, a multiplayer world exists here too. Visually stunning and confirmed to be running on a PC for that demo.
Sony Press Conference
A fantastic looking game from David Cage and crew at Quantic Dream. A very cool game voiced and mo-capped by Ellen Page and seems somewhat supernatural and about a woman with amnesia or wants to hide her past. Again, impressive looking in tech – but hard to tell where there was gameplay.
PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale
Super Smash Brothers, lets be honest here. It looks and plays great.
LittleBigPlanet 2 getting Cross Controller DLC
Allows you to play across Vita and PS3
PlayStation+ to get bigger
Offering InFAMOUS 2, LittleBigPlanet 2, and Saints Row 2.
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation
A PlayStation Vita game featuring the first female protagonist of the game’s series, pulling off amazing movies. It gets a special crystal white bundle for purchase and launches same day as Assassin’s Creed III proper.
Assassin’s Creed III
A great naval battle was shown, in full gameplay and was stunning as it transitioned from sunny fun to rocky seas in storms. I talked with Stone Chin, a PR rep for Ubisoft who said there is even more awesome to show at E3.
In collaboration with J.K. Rowling, showing off a Potterverse game using Move and casting spells and looking really neat and making augmented reality games and making books come alive.
PlayStation Suite transitions to PlayStation Mobile
Going to make PlayStation for all mobile devices for phones and tablets soon.
God of War: Ascension
Previously showing off the multiplayer, this showed off Kratos’ singleplayer mode, and is just as viscious as ever, maybe even more so. Kratos now carries something (medusa head?) where he can rewind time and fix items that get damaged so he can platform his way up to new areas. Though he can’t seem to use it to rewind time to save people from certain death.
The Last of Us
The end of show, Naughty Dogs new IP, and is looking and playing fantastic live in front of us. It’s gritty, harsh and while the character you play is great, the girl you’re with does her own thing and there’s little to no interaction with her. I hope this changes or just wasn’t part of what we saw. She seemed crucial to your characters success. And OW when it came to that final shotgun shot that actually showed the face destroyed.
And that’s Day 0. We saw a lot, some of it good, some of it bad. Tomorrow morning is Nintendo’s Press Conference, and then I head off to the show floor for the real games to begin. I’ll be focusing on Warner Brothers and NetherRealm Studios to get a look at “Injustice: Gods Among Us” but will be visiting other booths as well.