Leftover E3 Thoughts: Sony’s Show

Sony, among the big three console makers, appears to have had the most interesting show at this year’s E3, at least in terms of making promises that will actually interest gaming enthusiasts.

And this happened even though I’m not sure I can say Sony had a stellar E3. Keep in mind the company did not reveal anything about a PlayStation 4 (wait until next year’s show, I guess) and its big hardware reveal was for something called Wonderbook, which is something that I still don’t understand except for the fact that it appears to be aimed at small children.

Sony succeeded because aside from Wonderbook – which I count as a potential success – they focused on big-time exclusive games. If Twitter feeds are any reflection on reality, anyone who owns a PlayStation 3 and is following E3 is excited about the post-apocalyptic “The Last of Us.”

Sony’s other big reveal, “Beyond: Two Souls,” is surely not the kind of game one expects to jump to the top of sales list but Sony’s willingness to give the E3 spotlight to what should be a highly-narrative game featuring voice work by actress Ellen Page shows the company wants to be taken seriously by gamers.

Microsoft, by contrast, spent so much of its energy explaining their plans to use the XBox 360 as just about anything other than a gaming console. Nintendo, who I have yet to praise or complain about, turned in a mediocre performance (everybody says so!)  and I doubt Nintendo really knows how to market their next console, the Wii U.

More on that later. This is Sony’s turn.
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E3 Video: Madden NFL 13

This clip from EA talks up the Infinity Engine running underneath the hood of the new Madden NFL 13 and how it’s going to change the experience. Things like balance, tripping over the legs of other players, and how it affects handling how well you can break tackles during and after getting tagged. It will be interesting to see just how long time franchise fans will like what the engine brings to the table when it is arrives August 28th.

E3 Video: Beyond – Two Souls

Quantic Dream, the makers of Heavy Rain, had also unveiled their next PS3 exclusive at E3 called Beyond: Two Souls starring a young woman named Jodie and asks the question of whether there is something else after death.

It also sports Quantic Dream’s improved engine which brings even more creepy realism to their CG actors. Ellen Paige (X-Men, Juno) is also the main actress, loaning her likeness and voice talents to star in the title. After seeing this the first time, it immediately hit my “must have” list.

This clip is adult stuff meaning that there’s frank language in there along with a little violence, but it’s also as eye catching as anything that you might have seen on the big screen. So heed the warning at the start.

E3 Video: Agni’s Philosophy – Final Fantasy Realtime Tech Demo

Square Enix had this to show at E3 to wow audiences with. It’s new tech, not necessarily a game, that this bit of footage shows off in realtime. In other words, none of this is pre-rendered.

Servers didn’t slave over hours to push out pixels frozen in film. Everything in this clip was happening, as the title says, in realtime until someone captured the demo to post on the ‘net. Which means that one day, possibly very soon, you might be playing a game that looks as good as this.

E3 Thoughts: Ubisoft’s Press Conference

French games publisher Ubisoft had Monday’s third presser and by all indications, execs decided they needed more than games to get everybody’s attention because their show had more bloodshed and partial nudity than the day’s others presentations put together.

Ubisoft also previewed “Assassins Creed 3,” being the fifth Assassin’s Creed title for consoles and “Watch Dogs,” which is thus far the most intriguing title of E3. Watch Dogs looks something like a cyberpunk “Grand Theft Auto, and promises to deal with relevant themes such as electronic surveillance, cyber warfare and shooting people.

Snark aside, watch this and think about it:

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E3 Thoughts: EA Games Press Conference

EA Games had the second of today’s pre-E3 press conferences and somehow had time to promote three first-person shooters and a couple sports games called Madden NFL and FIFA. Readers of this blog may have heard of them.

The publishers also previewed the new SimCity, which filled this former city beat reporter with dreams of finally being able to run a major metroplitan my way. (At least for the first time since I played SimCity 4.)


EA Games, in their own way, also continued the social-media-and-connectivity-are-good-themes Microsoft established in their show. The publisher advertised social media tie-ins for at least three titles (there’s a lot of new info swimming in my head today) and we’ll see how that goes. From my perspective, the audience that is willing to pay $60 for a premium game is not necessarily the same audience that wants a quick bit of fun on a mobile device, but I’m happy to reserve judgement until the social media stuff actually comes out.

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E3 Thoughts: Microsoft’s Press Conference

Microsoft led off Monday’s rush of pre-E3 press conferences and observers may be forgiven if they got the idea that Microsoft forgot the XBox 360 is a video game console.

Sure, Microsoft opened their presentation with new Halo 4 footage, but company seemed to spend more than half of its time promoting anything the XBox 360 can do besides play video games, such as the aforementioned Halo 4.

Microsoft’s biggest announcement was for a forthcoming feature called SmartGlass, in which customers would be able to link smartphones or tablets to their 360 and access info related to a movie or television program while the content streams through their console. Microsoft also promised SmartGlass functionality with games, so it looks like somebody in Washington State liked Nintendo’s planned tablet controller for the forthcoming Wii U.


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E3 Video: Watch Dogs

The nearly ten minute debut of Watch Dogs, a new IP from Ubisoft that plays on information as a weapon…and then some. It’s like a mash up of The Net, Sneakers, a little Cyberpunk, and Eagle Eye blended in gently with Splinter Cell and Grand Theft Auto. So it’s all kind of awesome.

Also, it gets pretty brutal in both language and bodily harm, so be warned. The UK rating stamp isn’t just there for show.