Developers and companies alike left everything, or everything in terms of marketing strategies, on the table after E3, showing gamers what they can come to expect in the coming years. After going through all the demos and information about Xbox tablets, I have to say E3 felt empty to me.
Similar to how this year’s lineup of summer movies isn’t up to par with what movie goers have come to expect, E3 is this colossal event that is supposed to grab the gaming world’s attention and wow us with a shock and awe formula…but it hasn’t for the past two years.
Viewing festivities from the inside out, it seems as if gamers are opening up presents at Christmas that we already knew we were getting. I remember when games like Halo 2 premiered at E3 and the gaming world was dumbfounded by a truly special game. I think the recent lack of surprise has to do with the proliferation of site like Twitter – which constantly feeds on information and news leaks.
It takes a huge sum of money to make a game a blockbuster which will be revered by critics, and when that game doesn’t do well, it can be detrimental to the companies involved in the making of said game. So, in order to build word of mouth buzz, companies market their games hard, giving out loads of information to gaming news websites and essentially destroying the joy in discovery that games used to have.
Look at Borderlands 2, which comes out in 3 months, for example. I can name list almost every feature about each character class.
The class of a character is a large part of what makes the game special and I know everything about four of the character classes after E3. I remember playing Borderlands for the first time and the excitement that came over me because this franchise was new and unknown.
Borderlands 2 hasn’t let all of its secrets out yet, as a fifth classes’ abilities are still unknown and we don’t know if there may be more classes. Bravo to you Gearbox for not letting gaming publications round all the bases and for leave something (at least a little something) to the imagination.
When it came to E3, I knew all the games that were going to be at the conference and a little bit about each of them except for Watch Dogs, which stole the show and was the best thing about it. Ubisoft actually managed to hide the game from the public and gaming publications and surprised the gaming world with an unheard of game. Using a tactic like that was smart, bold and worked in their favor because Watch Dogs was the talk of the conference (view the gameplay trailer below).
|Watch Dogs screenshot|
The game had a Halo 2-like effect because it wasn’t spoiled like the rest of the games before the conference took place.
Dead Space 3 could’ve had a similar effect, but prior to the conference images of its gameplay were leaked onto the internet and publications took to writing articles and trying to unravel the game before it was even officially announced.
I’m not saying gaming journalism is bad, because that is contradictory for me to say, but something needs to be done so when we pop in a disc and start up a game, that there is something still there for us to experience and discover on our own.
I would suggest more features and looks at the industry instead of the massive amounts of breaking news of spoilers, on new game details, but you don’t see me working for IGN, G4 or GameInformer.
The other disappointing thing that came out of E3 was the lack of new franchises. Everything seemed to be a sequel or a spin-off of something that preexisted and I think this is due to the gaming industry’s mainstream success.
Halo is the game that catapulted us to where we are today, and with the success of Halo came an entire franchise. Because Halo sold so well and made gaming something for everyone, not just gaming geeks, the industry has to produce games that appeal to a broader audience which has killed creativity. Again, like summer movies, video games have a certain formula to appeal to broader audiences and that has created franchises that have a multitude of sequels.
Now we have Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 coming out, Resident Evil 6 and even Borderlands 2, and E3 presented more games that had established franchises because they want to appeal to that audience but I ask where are the new franchises at?
I love the Dead Space franchise because it was a newcomer to the survival horror franchise, but now we’re coming up on a third game in the series. It feels like an industry built on being innovative and groundbreaking is becoming stale and complacent.
E3 brought the same old bag of tricks this year. We got games like Halo and God of War that got a lot of attention, games we already knew that were coming out, and a look at how Nintendo misses more great opportunities to move itself in the middle of the Sony / Microsoft fight.
This expo needs to bring back the excitement that it once had, be an expo that shows gamers things that they never could imagine or I feel like gaming will turn into a motionless state of mediocrity. Developers need to push the envelope once again, whether it be the end of this generation or the next, and stop letting us know everything before the games get released.
Seriously leave something to the imagination developers.