It is around this time every year that all of the news reports from E3 and pre-E3 conferences begin to come out, filling gamers everywhere with euphoria as they wait and pray that their favorite games will actually come out before the same time next year. This year seems to be particularly hot and heavy because we are in the midst of the next generation console battle, with Microsoft having their system well out the door and yet still unsatisfactory to many, Nintendo’s oddly named system on the way, and Sony’s heads collectively shoved up their own arses. But is the E3 Expo still doing what it was originally started to do, or has it become a monster of a completely different design?
For the uninitiated or for those who are simply out of the videogame community “loop”, E3 stands for Electronic Entertainment Expo and is a large trade show for the computer and videogame industries held in California every May. This year’s is taking place right now, from May 9th to May 12th, and the news from the early conferences is already pouring out. It had seemed that the expo was becoming more and more mainstream, with its booth babes and extravagant display costs growing larger and larger each year (I think you know what I mean), and the flashy displays could easily ostracise many anti-social gamers. However, recently the expo has sadly removed the booth babes in what might be an attempt to re-focus the expo on the subject matter at hands, which would be the games. Perhaps that or the companies simply realised that no matter how many attractive women you have selling your game, if the product doesn’t live up to the hype then your sales will suffer.
Does E3 really provide the industry with a nice expo to display their next year’s worth of product, or has it become an overglorified armwrestling competition where the major companies attempt to 1-up each other and steal ideas back and forth? The booth babes may be gone, but the astronomical expenses of every single booth are still present. Is the Electronics Entertainment Expo friendly and open to independent publishers and designers? We know that the guys from Penny Arcade get to go, as well as most press and industry professionals, but that all could change when the public eye falls upon the Expo and every single average joe decides they want a peek. This may be a long way off, I would probably place it alongside the day when videogames are accepted as an artform and the mass-media influential accusationatron turns its attention to the next big target. Origami. Children are already taking paper guns and knives to school, with folded paper swastikas pinned to their backpacks. Is it really an art form? It’s just folding paper, for the love of god!
Now on to the actual news from E3 so far: Gamespot speculates that the FASA website is hinting at a game based upon their old roleplaying system Shadowrun, which would be a welcome trip down memory lane as quite a few of us liked the system a lot, it just could never quite wrench itself into our regular gaming sessions. The system recently showed up as an ilconcieved clix game using larger figures in one on one combat, but perhaps a PC game based on the franchise will bring about a kind of rennaisance, where dwarves and trolls happily hack computers and cast spells in all their cyberpunk glory!
On a much less speculative note, a next generation Turok: Dinosaur Hunter game has been announced for X-Box 360 and PS3 coming out in 2007. Ever since the first N64 game I have loved this character, possibly for the simply ridiculous concept of a native american inspired character who fights with dinosaurs and aliens in a vast land of jungles and temples. It is ridiculous in such a way that makes it particularly awesome, as you see arrows loosed into the charging body of a raptor. The older comics were never top notch, and any of the game sequels fell far short of the innovation and character of the original, yet after a few years of dormancy perhaps next year will become affectionately known as ‘Turok Time’.
A summation of other news coming from E3: Jade Empire coming to the PC, Metal Gear Solid action title coming to the PSP, Sony ripping off Nintendo’s motion sensitive controllers for the PS3, versions of the PS3 costing $499 – 599, a total of three games for Final Fantasy XIII, and the announcement of a World of Warcraft feature film. (Gamespot Article)
Wait…what was that?