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E3 2012 Analysis: The year publishers forgot

This years E3 was a bit of an anti-climax for me really. For Sony it promised so much; a total revamp of PlayStation Plus, cloud streaming and some fantastic Vita games which would set the world of fire. None of that happened really and although Sony did bring out the big guns such as The Last of Us, Beyond and God of War, the closing of the conference almost felt like it had something missing, like Sony was holding back a secret – its new console perhaps?

Not what I wanted to see at all Sony. Sure the PlayStation Plus deal is fantastic and the games you did mention all look out of this world. But as I’ve said before, I was so disappointed that Sony didn’t seem to care about the Vita one bit and as a big fan of the handheld this is a great shame.

At the other end of the scale, Microsoft showed off the impressive Halo 4, but what else was there to talk about really? Smartglass looks like impressive technology, while new apps will ensure that non-gaming entertainment will expand even further on Microsoft’s black box. But what about the other games? It seems to me that Microsoft, in cancelling its ties with CES, has decided to bring that show to E3. This is not what we as gamers have come to expect. We want to see big, new IP’s, we want to be blown away with excitement at the titles we’ll be playing later in the year. Better with Kinect? Better without Kinect in my opinion.

Nintendo was perhaps the most disappointing of the lot. We want to give you all the big third party titles, says Nintendo. What the big third party titles from eight months ago, but at full price? Pull the other one. Seriously, what exactly did Nintendo show to entice gamers to want to buy its console? Seriously, there was nothing of value on that stage at all. Sure ZombiU looked good, as did Super Mario Bros. But take those games away and all we were left with was the rather lacklustre looking Nintendo Land. Fans will no doubt be frothing at the mouth at the prospect of yet another Mario title, me? I’m sick of him. I want Nintendo to come up with something new, maybe then I’ll pay attention.

So it fell to the third parties to save the day and for me at least, they pretty much did. EA was first up, showing off Crysis 3, Dead Space 3, Medal of Honor and of course the UFC deal. Perhaps the biggest surprise here was the latter and although it’s not really a franchise that interests me, it’s a pretty big deal for EA. It’s a shame in a way that EA didn’t have more original games to show off, but at least the titles which it does have on the horizon look fantastic, especially Criterion’s Need for Speed, which for me was the highlight of this particular press conference.

When looking back at my expectations of E3 I certainly didn’t think I would be saying that Ubisoft had the best show, but there is no doubt about it. The wonderful looking Assassin’s Creed III may be yet another sequel, but at least this is one publisher trying to do something different. We were still treated to a rather odd conference, I suppose, but at least it had a brilliant surprise at the end of it – Watch Dogs. What a game this could turn out to be, it looks absolutely fantastic. Most presumed, as did I, that this game had next-gen written all over it, so it comes as a big surprise that it actually runs on Unreal Engine 3. Set for a 2013 release, this will certainly be one to watch.

Elsewhere a few other surprises have popped up. Star Wars 1313 from Lucas Arts looks like it may have something to offer, while Platinum’s Nintendo Wii U title, currently known as project P-100, could turn out to be interesting. That’s about all the comes to mind though.

To me, this E3 is the one where the next-generation failed to show. You get the feeling that the big two were readying themselves for it, before one changed its mind and instead left us with what can only be described as disappointment. Let’s hope that next year’s E3 has us brimming with excitement, because this one has me wondering just what there is to look forward to.

Edited On 08 Jun, 2012

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