Every E3, the three console creators, and some of the big game producers, give a keynote to promote their upcoming products. What started as sober corporate speeches, highlighting sales numbers, and profit projections, has turned into glitzy multimedia spectacles. Each company ups the ante every year in an attempt to outshine their competitors, and be declared the “winner” of E3. Sometimes they hit it out of the park; other times… they are clearly trying too hard. Here are the best and worst moments of this year’s keynotes.
The Best: Trey Parker punks the whole show
The trailer for the newest South Park game “South Park: The Stick of Truth” shown about half way through the keynote was very funny in its own right, but it couldn’t beat what came next. After the trailer, series creators Trey Parker, and Matt Stone came on the stage to talk about development of the game, but Trey couldn’t resist mocking the charade they were involved in. “What if you could make a game that syncs with your tablet, and talks to your phone, which you play while interfacing through your PC, as it’s hooked up through your oven, all while sitting in your refrigerator?”. Nobody can cut through the bull like Trey can. It was awesome.
The Worst: Damn near everything else
There were some interesting products announced at Microsoft’s keynote, but the actual show they were shown during was concentrated torture. The unspeakably awkward Kinect presentations, the professional athletes’ tepid enthusiasm, the head scratching multimedia functionality, Usher. The games seemed secondary to everything else Microsoft was up to. All E3 keynotes are glitzy multimedia spectacles, but this was as a bit much.
The Best: “FIFA ’13”
Americans aren’t exactly the biggest soccer fans. Heck, we even gave the name to another sport. After watching EA’s “FIFA ’13” presentation though, even the most hardened soccer hater would have to be excited. It looks slick, fully featured, and a lot of fun.
The Worst: Isaac Clark: Delta Squad
There were a lot of competitors for this title at the EA keynote, but the prize has to go to the bizarre “Dead Space 3” trailer. “Dead Space” is known as a survival horror series, with a focus on darkness and claustrophobia. The “Dead Space 3” trailer took place partly in broad daylight, outside, and featured gameplay more at home in a “Gears of War” game. Hell, it wasn’t in space and nothing was dead, the characters were fighting a giant drill. The confusion in the crowd was palpable, and the reaction from journalists wasn’t much different.
The Best: “Watch Dogs”
It’s impossible to tell how much was staged, and how much was real, but the gameplay trailer for Ubisoft’s new third person action title “Watch Dogs” was incredible. The games unique concept makes it hard to describe, but the trailer may be the most exciting thing shown all E3. The possibility of not only exploring a GTA style open world, but controlling it as well is exhilarating. The story appears to be shaping up, and the teased multiplayer is tantalizing to say the least.
The Worst: Aisha and Toby
It’s hard to have a worst host then last years “Mr. Caffeine” but god did Ubisoft try. Aisha Tyler is hysterical as Lana Kane on the TV show Archer, but pairing her with Toby the human skin rash was a huge mistake. Aisha’s dead pan delivery wore thin very quickly, and everyone watching wanted to kill Toby on sight. We know your company is run by French people, but even the broken English speaking CEOs could do a better job then your hosts of late.
The Best: “The Last of Us”
Everyone at the Sony keynote was itching to find out more about Naughty Dog’s next IP, and they weren’t disappointed. To say that the gameplay trailer for “The Last of Us” was intense is a massive understatement. There’s really not much else to say, just watch it.
The Worst: Book of Fails
About halfway through the keynote, Sony announced the Wonderbook, an AR interactive book for use with the PS Eye. To demonstrate the new Wonderbook, Sony also announced J.K. Rowling’s “Book of Spells” which allows people to use the PS Move like a wand to cast spells; or it would if it worked correctly. There were several, painful, minute long pauses during the Wonderbook demo, making the whole thing seem shoddy, and it didn’t even look like fun when it did work.
The Best: Wii U Lineup
The jury is still out on if the Wii U will take off like the original Wii did, but at least it won’t have the same lineup issues. The Wii very often didn’t get the major releases the PS3 and Xbox 360 got, but the presence of titles like “Assassins Creed III”, “Ninja Gaiden III” and “Mass Effect III” on the Wii U seems to indicate that the major developers will be fully on board this time.
The Worst: Wii Conniption Fit
To see a video featuring a family having way too much fun using a Wii peripheral is pretty typical for a Nintendo keynote. Usually the family is having fun though. Watching a guy screaming and moaning while trying to use the Wii Fit U was very disconcerting. It looked like the board was giving him a colonoscopy. Yikes.
Check back later in the week for more coverage of E3 2012.