Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Thoughts on the 2013 E3 press conferences

With Nintendo's "Nintendo Direct" finishing up this morning, all five of the major E3 press conferences have concluded for this year. So what were my big takeaways?

Everyone's talking about how Sony trumped Microsoft this year. PlayStation 4 will be $400, a hundred dollars cheaper than the Xbox One, and without any of the always-online or anti-used games shenanigans Xbox is pulling.

But I don't care about that. I won't be able to afford either console at launch, so launch prices don't matter to me. In the last console generation, PlayStation 3 released with a staggering $600 price tag which doomed it for years... until Sony got its act together and PS3 became the console of choice for arty games everywhere. They also introduced PlayStation Plus, essentially letting players subscribe to get free games every month and putting Xbox Live to shame. We don't know where PS4 or Xbone will be a few years down the road. And since it takes a while for new consoles to foster substantial game libraries anyway, I'll wait and see. The only thing that really matters about a game console is its games. So I'm undecided on this console war.

Xbox One does have one advantage, though. A new game from Swery 65, creator of Deadly Premonition! It's called D4:

Deadly Premonition is one of my all-time favorite games, and this one looks to be just as strange. It's being developed by Swery's studio Access Games and published by Microsoft. This will be a day-one purchase for me whenever it comes out, so I hope the Xbox One gets a bit cheaper between now and then...

The other trailer that blew me away was a game I've been waiting for for years. EA had a very successful conference in 2013, and they hit it out of the park when they closed with a trailer for a sequel to one of my other favorite games of all time, Mirror's Edge:

Of course, this was one of only two games at the entire show revealed so far this year with a non-male or non-white protagonist (the other being Bayonetta 2). I love the closing line "Coming... when it's ready." This will be on both PS4 and Xbone so it won't affect my console purchasing decision. But gosh darn, it looks beautiful. EA finally gave its Swedish studio DICE a chance to leave Battlefield for a moment and return to what truly makes it a great developer.

Nintendo holds a special place in my heart, so I'm disappointed their press conference was short and predictable. New Mario, new Mario Kart, new Super Smash Bros, rinse, repeat. Of course a new Zelda game is always nice (and an HD release of my favorite Zelda game, The Wind Waker!), and everyone's been waiting for Pikmin 3 forever. These games all look great, but there were no surprises.

I wish they would've announced some snazzy new series, or at least sequels to series that haven't gotten much love as of late... particularly my most beloved series, Retro Studios' Metroid. Retro is working on a new Donkey Kong title, so it'll be a while before they get back to Samus. But think about it: they could've announced a new F-Zero or the console-based Pok√©mon MMO fans want. Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. look fun... but I was hoping for more.

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