Every year publishers and developers compete for the attention of media members and gamers everywhere with their showings at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, and this year was certainly no different.
Microsoft had a strong showing with their flagship series, Halo and the return of Master Chief and Cortana in Halo 4. They announced the latest installment in their other 1st party franchise Gears of War titled Judgement. At their press conference they also displayed many new Kinect integrated titles and debuted the new Surface Glass integration that will be available on their new tablet.
Nintendo had the only new hardware of the show with a revamped version of the Wii U set to debut this fall. I know most people were hoping to get a release date and pricing for the unit, but Nintendo is still being vague about it, instead just citing Holiday 2012 as the launch window. I’m guessing that we’ll set an actual release date announced in Japan at TGS later this summer. They did have playable units on the show floor where they showcased the New Super Mario Bros., Pikmin 3, and newly announced ZombiU from Ubisoft.
Sony had the best software lineup by far out of the big 3. Their press conference wowed with new footage from The Last of Us, Naughty Dog’s upcoming take on the “infected zombie” theme that seems so popular lately. At their press conference fans were also happy to see a lengthy and brutal demo of God of War: Ascension, which will introduce multiplayer into the series for the first time. Sony’s version of Smash Bros. called Playstation Allstars Battle Royale also was playable on the show floor, and I have to say it was one of the most fun games I got hands on at E3. The real stunner from Sony this year though, was their new IP called Beyond: Two Souls featuring Ellen Page. It features Ellen as a girl with some sort of telekinetic powers who quickly becomes a person of interest.
After coming off an amazing 2011, virtually sweeping Game of the Year awards with The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda showcased their upcoming new IP Dishonored. The buzz on this game was so hot it was on my “Must Play” list for E3 this year. After going hands-on with the game I understand why. So much of the game reminds me of Bioshock, which is certainly a great thing, but it has stealth elements that can be quite challenging. Definitely looking forward to playing this game this fall.
The publisher who really stood out for me this year was Ubisoft. They introduced a new IP titled Watch Dogs that no one in the media saw coming. It is an open-world game that fuses the stealth aspects of Deus-Ex with the crime spree, driving antics of Grand Theft Auto. The demo they showed was very impressive, with the main protagonist utilizing various pieces of technology to control the environment in a “Big Brother” way.
But my Game of Show goes to Assassin’s Creed III. I’ve been a long AC fan and everything I’ve seen so far from this game just continues to keep wowing me. From the first demo I saw at GDC earlier this year to the hands on time I got with the revamped multiplayer, this is the game to watch in 2012. The new protagonist Connor has an interesting story and the new combat mechanics look great. I’ll have a more in-depth look after their multiplayer showing at San Diego Comin-Con next month!
As per usual, there were many things I did not get to see and many more that I just don’t have time to talk about here! But keep checking back here for more updates as the big holiday season approaches.