Every year E3 throws up its odd moments of triumph, surprises, disappointment and downright side-stepping. In this first part of our examination of each category we turn to the latter in a bid to attempt to work out why some games – The Last Guardian, Grand Theft Auto V and BioShock Infinite amongst them – just didn’t make it to the show at all, oh and then there’s that lack of any next-gen consoles.
Xbox “next-box” and PS4
While it was hardly surprising that the Xbox ‘next box’ and PS4 failed to make an appearance at the show, I have to admit that the failure of such an announcement did somewhat peg back both manufacturer’s press briefings.
A logo, a hint, basically anything indicative of something taking shape from either hardware giant would have led to the show exploding, and without that spark it was easy to walk away from both briefings a little underwhelmed.
We can hardly blame either manufacturer of course, both have a number of first and third-party games depending on the current generation sticking around for the foreseeable future and both are looking for at least one more Christmas-fuelled sales boon.
The announcement of an around-the-corner next generation might have even been considered a step backwards amongst some, particularly given that Halo 4, The Last of Us, Dishonored, Assassin’s Creed 3 (did you see those waves?) and Tomb Raider are throwing effects our way that Roland Emmerich would be envious of.
That said, if you’d seen what we’ve seen of Watch_Dogs and Star Wars 1313, games of, shall we say, “no fixed abode”, then you’d no doubt be calling those wanting to stick with the 360 and PS3 fools; so staggeringly rich are the textures and animations of both.
Wii U Zelda/Metroid
We didn’t mind Nintendo’s rather low-key and family friendly press briefing. Sure, they didn’t bother to clarify a price or release point for Wii U, nor did they bother to announce specifics when it came to the power of their new device.
What they did show however was why Wii U will speak to families, demonstrating via new property Nintendo Land how the Wii U and its ‘asymmetric gameplay’ (yes, that’s really the term they’re attributing to it) will bring people together in their living rooms (and in very effective fashion too).
What we would however have killed for would have been for the criminally underused Shigeru Miyamoto (seriously, did he not have more to show than the admittedly great looking Pikmin 3) to leap up on to the stage at the final moments of their press briefing to demonstrate a Wii U Zelda, Metroid, or simply anything which shows that Nintendo are finally taking HD visuals by the scruff of the neck to produce a Nintendo first-party title with the graphical finery of a Mass Effect 3.
Yes, we know graphics aren’t everything, but once in a while can’t hurt can it? Especially when Nintendo’s last cutting-edge game, from a visual perspective at least, was arguably Mario 64.
The Last Guardian
Cancelled, flawed, vapour-ware or secret gem being held in reserve by Sony to tantalise our taste buds at a later date? Your guess is as good as ours given The Last Guardian’s no-show at this year’s E3. But at a Sony press briefing at which first-party titles of Japanese-territory origin were exceedingly low on the ground, we’d have thought that if the game was in anything like a healthy state they’d have been falling over themselves to show it.
Grand Theft Auto V
We contacted Rockstar, as you do, to attempt to book in a visit to take a look at Grand Theft Auto V on the show floor, only to be told that there wasn’t any Rockstar presence at all at this year’s E3; surprising indeed given that GTA V’s development has been known for some time and, you’d think, more details will be revealed at any time soon.
So why the no-show? Is it next-generation, not as advanced as we thought or are Rockstar thinking they’ll get more exposure if they step away from such wholesale publicity shows such as E3 and elect to release details of their games where and when they choose?
I remember speaking to Ken Levine, director of BioShock Infinite, over 18 months ago where he outlined how the game was going, what we could expect in terms of updates over the coming year and everything else.
The thing is, in 18 months we’ve not seen very much more of the game at all, certainly not what he was expecting we’d see, and with recent news confirming that Irrational Games’ title won’t see the light of day until 26 February 2013 so that the studio can ‘make Infinite into something even more extraordinary’ who would be surprised if the game suffered further delays?
Ironically enough one of Irrational’s other stated reasons for pushing the game back was to avoid the Christmas rush, the thing is there’s an absolute torrent of titles stacked up to release in the Feb/March 2013 window now so it looks like BioShock Infinite, if it does stick to its new date, will be facing more competition at its new date than it would have at its previous one.