E3's been over a little while, but work's been *crazy* lately so I'm only now getting around to posting some thoughts.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
The show got big again this year. Not much sign of recession other than on the faces of some friends who's studios either were casualties or are still standing after a grueling year. Signs seem to point to things being up though, and that's a good thing.
Short version of E3 was absolutely nailed by Penny Arcade and by Zero Punctuation:
So, E3 in short form:
Motion Control: MS and Sony *finally* show up with their Wiimote-killers. Sony's is a Wiimote with better accuracy (camera input to add some multiplayer capabilities) and MS's is the more ambitious Kinect. Why did it take so long? Because both companies went through the Five stages of competitor acceptance: "It'll never work", "It's a fad", "It's a novelty that appeals to a niche", "well, they'll never beat our installed base numbers", and finally "holy crap, we need to build us a wiimote!". Add product development on top of that, and you get five years of Nintendo first-mover advantage.
Ironically, there was a bit of ho-hum as maybe people are tiring of Wii style motion control and were hoping for dramatically better but didn't see it? At the very least, the hype has subsided from "In the future all games will be played this way!" to "It's good for some types of games"
Stereo3D: Sony's doing stereo on TVs with glasses, tapping their performance headroom to engage with developers and to the full cinematic immersive thing. Nintendo on the other hand impressed folks with the 3DS, which is using a lenticular filter/display to do no-glasses, single-player viewing.
One interesting point that I haven't heard anyone talk about (which I should do a longer post on at some point) is that the type of content that will lend itself to the handheld Stereo3D (DS, plus people are talking about doing this on phones, etc) will likely be different content. Rather than think stereo3D movies like Avatar, think macro-lens style close-ups of small objects.
I'll have to think about what that means for developers. Also, it makes me wonder where on the spectrum PCs will end up. Are they single viewer devices?
Onlive: There stuff looked good. Lots of interesting features that are one-up over consoles (e.g. jump in/out of spectator mode). Of course, the real question is how it runs in the field.
Favorite game of the show: A toss up between Pacman: Battle Royale (Warlords meets Pacman for a 4-player competitive arcade deathmatch), and Miegakure, a brain-twisting FOUR-dimensional puzzle-platformer. There’s a video here, but you won’t get it until you play it (and even then, it’s doubtful!)
Best graphics of the show: Many people claimed PS3’s Killzone 3, but I thought that was mainly cinematics and presentation. Personally, I thought Mafia 2 on PC was outstanding. I heard that Id’s Rage was awesome as well, but didn’t get to see it.
Best Game that wasn’t on the showfloor: I went to the Indiecade BBQ on Thursday and got to playtest Chris Hecker’s SpyParty , and even this early it’s a temple-sweating, nail-biter, multiplayer game.
Best Random Art Encounter: I was walking down the street after dinner and happened upon The Vader Project