An E3 full of games
This year’s E3 convention was the first show that I watched as a gaming enthusiast and not as an active professional of the industry. On vacation while waiting to start my new job, I hadthe perfect opportunity to watch everything that happened during E3 without being obliged to cover the event, writ tons of texts and produce an almost infinite number of features like every year. So, yes, I did stay awake till very late (or very early in the morning, whichever you prefer) but I was really entertained.
E3 2014 was a show without any major surprises. The press conferences of the “big three” had a lot of games but the wow factor was absent; it was like a good concert with a shitty encore. Yeap, we did get to see very impressive games but that was something rather predictable and expected; after all it was the “next-gen” systems that were anticipated to shine during this year’s show.
In terms of exclusivities, I’d give Sony a thumbs up for its lineup which was carefully varied: from Bloodborne and Let it Die to Uncharted 4 and The Order 1886. On the other hand, marketing-wise, Microsoft probably announced the best deal of the event: The Master Chief Collection offers the Xbox One owners the chance to delve into Halo lore by playing each one of the series’ titles, which are remastered but maintain their unique traits (e.g. Halo 2 comes with full multiplayer support and dedicated servers). All these are offered through an honest offer which, I predict, will be soon considered as a collector’s piece.
The big news for Nintendo was the announcement of the first Zelda title for the Wii U. However I’m dying to find out the mysterious title that Ubisoft is holding back, even if the project is already completed. In my opinion, Ubisoft’s skeptical approach is a rather worrying one; third-party companies still do not trust the Wii U and with the PS4 and Xbox One strong out in the market, I can’t see how Nintendo’s system will catch the next-gen train. The Japanese company announced also Mario Maker which is a very smart concept but needs two -simple- things to succeed: a console with adequate storage and a solid network. And Nintendo lacks them both.
EA‘s presence was a complete disaster while Ubisoft should better be considered as a model company in the gaming industry. If I have to pick three games that fascinated me, then I’d choose Assassin’s Creed Unity, The Order 1886 and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, two titles that we already know plus one we saw at the convention for the first time. The new episodes of Battlefield and Call of Duty left me cold while the “emotional gameplay” of FIFA 15 is perhaps the most ridiculous approach to a football sim. ever. Destiny was absolutely stunning, Mirror’s Edge 2 is going to be a massive hit (when it comes out) and Rise of the Tomb Raider continues the new Lara Croft’s story right after the series’ reboot in 2013’s Tomb Raider.
All in all it was a full and fulfilling E3. Hardware was absent but I don’t think that anyone minded. All eyes now are on gamescom (in August) where, hopefully, the industry will look after the European market a bit more.