Another E3 has come and gone… This is the first one I haven’t been to in years, and from most reports it’s a very subdued event. Sounds like I didn’t miss much.
I’m a total game trailer junkie, so when E3 rolls around I completely fill my hard drive with as much footage as possible… and then spend a week or more getting around to seeing everything. I also Tivo all the coverage on G4 and zip through it at a rate of probably 10 minutes per hour of footage, which is good since there was like 12 hours of it this year.
After all that watching, however, there weren’t any big reveals, no huge news. I enjoyed seeing more Super Mario Galaxy, but much of the coverage both on the net and on cable seemed to rehash and revisit the same few titles: Assasin’s Creed, Drake’s Fortune, Ratchet and Clank, Call of Duty 4, Bioshock, and only a handful more. Perhaps the coverage just skipped over the smaller titles (IGN has a much larger list than GameTrailers), but I hope that despite the size reduction of E3 there will remain to be room for smaller games and smaller publishers.
One of my professional responsibilities (and something I enjoy) is to scan E3 for existing or emerging trends in games. Interestingly, while previous years seemed to indicate that open-world games were on the rise, they (thank goodness) didn’t emerge in the everyday GTA mold. Instead, a number of the new games have a good dose of “player freedom” and “emergent tactics”, which you could call a semantic difference but it feels more meaningful to gameplay. Bioshock, Burnout, Skate, Mercenaries, Medal of Honor, Turok, Assassin’s Creed, and others are starting to perhaps “get it” in terms of letting the player shape their own gameplay experience… This is certainly a much more interesting lesson to gain from the success of GTA than to simply attempt to make “yet another thug game in a modern city”.
Even the games without sprawling cityscapes seemed to have their hands full… most of these games had some very long development periods. That sh*t’s hard work, and next-gen is no picnic!