Welcome to the first edition of “from some asshole who wasn’t there,” a regular column in which I offer my opinions and analysis of game events I did not attend. In the interest of full transparency, let me tell what I was doing during E3 2009. I was about 15 miles away, working at my day job. I found time to stay abreast of all major developments at E3, observe Twitter chatter, and in general pretend like I was there. Here, reader, is all of what happened at E3 2009, from memory, four days later.
1. Microsoft won E3.
By any subjective or objective measure, I think you’d be hard pressed to disagree with this. Foremost, they announced a shattering blow to Sony, in the form of Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Hideo Kojima’s next project (whose teaser site I found addicting, for some reason). If you remember, last year Microsoft unleashed a behemoth: Final Fantasy XIII for Xbox 360, which shattered 10+ years of almost complete Sony-exclusivity with the wildly popular franchise. A big new Metal Gear title for Xbox 360 leaves even one less feather in Sony’s cap, and one less reason for Xbox 360 owners to pony up cash for a PS3.
Microsoft also introduced a host of compelling updates for Xbox Live, including Twitter and Facebook integration.
Then Microsoft took a swipe at Nintendo, and unveiled Project Natal, their forray into the motion controller realm. The twist? You’re the controller. Personally, I’ve never been wowed by motion technology, but this looks pretty interesting.
2. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction Looks Badass
In many ways, this is shaping up to be a very compelling hyrbrid action/stealth game from Ubisoft Montreal (Assassin’s Creed). The concept in and of itself is pretty intriguing: with his daughter murdered, Sam Fisher comes out of the shadows, throws his usual sneakiness to the wind and gets fuck-you violent on everyone in his path, with deadly precision. A few gameplay mechanics were shown off in videos that premiered during E3. Here’s a couple I’ve seen that look nuts:
a). this “auto target tagging” thing: Fisher can carefully observe his enemies in hiding, “tag” them with target markers, and then when ready, snap into action and execute a series of headshots.
b). “last position” memory(?): You can set a sort of waypoint for yourself in any position, which leaves behind a ghost-image of Fisher. When the need arises, Fisher can instantly return to this position to quickly get the upper hand.
3. Star Wars: The Old Republic has an awesome trailer
The setting: a whole bunch of Sith throw down against a whole bunch of Jedi. It’s all CGI, but come on, you know you watched and were immediately taken in by the sheer idea of a Star Wars-themed MMO on an epic scale developed by RPG pros BioWare. Programmer Doug Benyen Tweeted his feelings thusly:
“I require a way to watch The Old Republic trailer non-stop until the game comes out…”
Which I think about sums it up.
4. I’m usually eager to poo-poo any new Mario game, and am always thwarted
New Super Mario Bros. Wii, as it’s titled, looks like a simple joy to play. Unsurprisingly, it resembles New Super Mario Bros for the DS, but with a bunch of new Mario goodies: new suits, new enemies, and the introduction of four-player co-op gameplay.
5. Square refuses to remake FFVII on the PS3.
I’m pretty puzzled as to why this hasn’t materialized yet (I know…I know…logically it’s because Square’s key developers are busy with Final Fantasy XIII. Right? Is there any news on the issue newer than that? They also say they have “no plans” for the remake. Bah). Both Sony and Square Enix have an obvious interest in an exclusive remake of this magnitude.
Worse, Square tortured fans a few days before E3, announcing Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation Network, playable on both the PS3 and PSP. What started as a pretty exciting tech demo back in 2005 is now turning into a nearly sadistic refusal.