To reword John Lennon – So this is E3.
For the first time in six years – or to put it another way, for the first time since I started about games professionally and not as an enthusiast – I won’t be writing about E3. I’ve written about E3 on either side of the writing fence since 2008. Oh the memories – that Final Fantasy XIII bombshell, knowing almost immediately the second the first CG footage aired, FFXIV unveiled the following year to delight (then bewilderment seconds later), the Nintendo 3DS reveal, the Wii U reveal (that fucked up), the Wii U re-reveal (that also fucked up) and the Watch Dogs announcement that surprised (and cheered up) everyone in what was a very dire E3.
For the first time in six years, I won’t be covering it. For anyone. And I’m gutted as I love the thrill E3 gives. It’s dreary, exhausting, so depleting of energy. But at the end of the week, it won’t matter, because this E3 shows why we love games. But this year is truly special. We’ve not had an E3 like this since E3 2005 or maybe even E3 2006. We now await the first next-gen dance from most of the major companies holding a press conference, while one company in particular is instead putting aside the ritz and glitz of a traditional press conference for its biggest Direct yet, focusing on an ailing system that needs a boost in the arm now more than ever.
E3 2013 – it’s going to be mental. So I’ve decided to make the best of the situation and decided, ‘hey, I’m gonna write about E3 for myself’. Here’s how it’s gonna go down.
@Project_Boom – This goes without saying, but Project Boom will have the latest on whats happening surrounding the big dance and it’ll have the big announcements straight from the press conferences, from Microsoft at 5:30pm tonight to Sony at 2am BST tomorrow morning, it’s all go baby. Follow it now if you haven’t already.
@JohnnyCullen/JohnnyCullen on Vine – This is happening. After kind of doing this yesterday with the Sony E3 2009 press conference and certain moments, I’m gonna be Vining reaction to the press conferences. Imagine a Mirror’s Edge 2 announcement – excitement one second, bewilderment the next after finding out it’s Kinect-essential. I’m also gonna drop a snarky tweet or two so if by some chance you don’t follow me yet, now’s your chance.
Right here: JohnnyCullen.net – I’m gonna attempt to write up my thoughts on all of the press conferences once done (or in the case of Sony, tomorrow morning – it’ll be 4am by the time it’s done!). This is probably the thing I’m more excited for. Sad, I know, but still.
I’m all of the excited for what is looking set to be the best E3 ever. Not just by what’s out there so far, but with the interesting chatter backstage, put it like that. It’s all go for LA. Here’s the rundown on what’s happening.
Microsoft (5:30pm BST/9:30am PST/12:30pm EST) – Microsoft is already on the backfoot following its shambles of an Xbox One reveal a few weeks back, exaggerated even more by the confusing messaging the company has put out regarding always-on online and second-hand games. Not to mention the TVTVTVTVsportsCallofDuty-centric presentation of May 21.
Now, tonight, Microsoft has vowed it will all be about the games. The question is what games? Crytek’s Ryse will certainly be there, Quantum Break from Remedy will be there and Forza Motorsport 5 is as good as confirmed. But what else? We’re expecting to hear the revival of an old Rare IP, as well as the most likely announcements of Halo 5, TitanFall from Respawn & EA Partners and Mirror’s Edge 2 from DICE. You have it all to do, Don. Don’t disappoint.
EA (9:00pm BST/1:00pm PST/4:00pm EST) – EA will be the first of the two third-party press conferences. If last year’s EA presser – the last to feature ex-EA CEO John Riccitiello and that saying of games becoming “the place you go” rather than the “thing you buy” – was to pad out another year, this year’s conference looks set to be brimming. Battlefield 4, FIFA, Madden, UFC, Need for Speed: The Rivals and more.
Plus. at last, Respawn’s TitanFall (if not already announced at Microsoft but will be at EA either way), Dragon Age III from BioWare, the company’s plans for Star Wars and – a moment five years in the making and one that, while possibly spoiled by the internet already, one I will have no hesitation in marking out for (unless it goes south) – Mirror’s Edge 2 from DICE. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg from EA. This should be good.
Ubisoft (11:00pm BST/3:00pm PST/6:00pm EST) – Ubisoft was the best press conference of last year’s E3, though that’s not exactly saying much considering most of the other competition was a bit wank. Don’t take anything away from Ubisoft, though: decent showings were had of Assassin’s Creed III, Far Cry 3 and Splinter Cell: Blacklist. And of course, that surprising but brilliant unveil of Watch Dogs. This year, Ubi is prepared for next-gen. How? Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Rayman Origins and South Park: The Stick of Truth aside, the line-up we know of will involve next-gen somehow.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Watch Dogs are both cross-gen games, of which we’ll see more of tonight. Then the rest – Ubisoft Reflections in Newcastle are said to be unveiling a new racing game called The Crew, while Ubisoft remembered Peyj from Beyond Good and Evil exists. On the eve of E3? Funny timing. Beyond Good and Evil 2 re-reveal then. Plus, we’ve yet to see new Rainbow Six: Patriots stuff in two years. And could we see what Jade Raymond and Ubisoft Toronto are working on besides Blacklist? Could we even see the next Ghost Recon announced? Presentation issues aside, Ubisoft’s conference has been chock full of games these past few years. This year looks set to be more of the same.
Sony (Tuesday, 2:00am BST/Monday, 6:00pm PST/9:00pm EST) – While Microsoft has everything to do, Sony has everything to lose following a good, momentum building PlayStation Meeting in February and goodwill gathered since, including the Xbox One reveal. Sony have been mysteriously quiet on certain aspects of PlayStation 4, including what DRM, if any, it will have. And while it has said in the past it won’t restrict second-hand games, we still don’t know the specifics. Simply, it’s something Sony can’t ignore. One thing Sony won’t ignore this time, however, is the PS4’s casing. After not seeing it in New York, E3 will finally give us a first glimpse at the chasis of the system after a brief yet exciting tease a few weeks back.
For games, expect more of what was announced at the PS Meeting: Knack, Killzone: Shadow Fall, my personal favorite DriveClub and inFamous: Second Son. But what of new games? Will we see Last Guardian come to PS4? Will we see new games from Sony Santa Monica and – whisper it – Amy Hennig’s team at Naughty Dog? And remember: a new Final Fantasy game will be unveiled at the event. Put it like this: don’t dare blink.
But it’s not all about PS4 – Sony has to acknowledge Vita. How, I don’t know, but guess what Jackie T? VITA STILL LIVES. Give it games, give it a price-cut, give it a shot in the arm. It’s doing alright in Japan (better than Wii U anyways) but not so great elsewhere. Do it. On the other hand, PS3 is going out in a blaze of glory. Gran Turismo 6, Beyond: Two Souls and Puppeteer are all set for Christmas. And this is before a little game out on Friday called The Last of Us. I wouldn’t buy it, though: look’s a bit shit (JUST KIDDING! *winks*). It’s a big E3 for Sony – everything to lose, but if done right, even more to gain.
Nintendo Direct E3 (Tuesday, 3:00pm BST/7:00am PST/10:00am EST) – Oh Nintendo, you’ve really got to pull it out of the hat here. While 3DS is doing fine, it’s Wii U in the shit. But that said, Nintendo in panic mode is the best Nintendo. Tomorrow looks set to demonstrate that. Tomorrow’s Direct will debut the first footage of a new 3D Mario, Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS and Mario Kart U. Plus, it’s likely we’re gonna see what Metro Studios in Texas are doing following on from Donkey Kong Country Returns on Wii.
And what about Zelda? We’re obviously gonna get new stuff on Wind Waker HD, but what about that next big Zelda game? Could we have it teased during the Direct tomorrow? And what of Monolithsoft’s X? Will we see more of Bayonetta 2 (Wonderful 101 is essentially a lock, though)? And could we get a price-cut? So many coulds, so little time to do it in one hour. Please understand, Nintendo, we’re awaiting bombs. Time to drop them.
And that’s your lot. E3 2013 – it’s going to be a mother!