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Yesterday I went to three E3 2013 press conferences: Microsoft, EA, and Sony. I watched some of Ubisoft’s with a few friends through streaming video, but quickly got bored (to be fair, I was pretty tired at the time). Here are some random thoughts on the day’s pressers.
Sony Curb Stomps Microsoft: The biggest talk of the day was Sony giving Microsoft a major beatdown — at least in the eyes of hardcore gamers. Enthusiasts love that Sony isn’t following Microsoft’s strict stance on game licenses, allowing PS4 owners to sell, trade, and gift games as they see fit. Mainstream consumers will see the $100 difference in price points: $499 for Xbox One and $399 for PS4. To be fair, the Xbox One package comes with Kinect, which is required to use the system. The new PlayStation Eye will cost an extra $59, but isn’t required to use the PlayStation 4.
Still, the sentiment right after the Sony presser was one of disbelief. Some people couldn’t believe how thoroughly Sony one-upped Microsoft. Some couldn’t believe the manner in which the company did it, equating it with the beating in American History X, repeated curb stomps, and repeated kicks to the testicles. The words to used to describe Sony’s delivery were fascinating. Some thought it was funny, some thought it was arrogant, and others thought it lacked class. No matter what they thought of the delivery, almost everyone agreed that Sony had a point and shoved it in the competition’s face.
Microsoft hosted a party shortly after the Sony presser was over. Several joked that the party should have been reclassified as a wake.
The Rape Joke: Blogs, forums, and social media services blew up over some trash talk used during the Killer Instinct portion of the Microsoft presser. A guy was trouncing a girl in the game and said, “Just let it happen. It’ll be over soon.” Several people labeled the comment a “rape joke” and lambasted Microsoft for using misogynistic comments in its press conference. I really want to hear your take on the matter.
Rape didn’t come to my mind at all. At first I thought of Muhammad Ali using similar lines against his opponents. Then I thought of an Ultimate Spider-Man arc that had Spidey and Wolverine switching bodies. When Spidey (in Wolverine’s body) got shot in the head, he panicked. Wolverine (as Peter Parker) pulled out the bullet and said, “Relax. Let it happen.” I had no idea that phrase was a rape reference and didn’t think of it as a rape joke. However, I want to check myself. There’s a good chance that I’m ignorant of the connotation because I’m older, a boxing fan, and a comic-book nerd. Did you guys and gals think anything was wrong with comment?
My Indie Darlings: While there were a lot of big-budget games to get excited about, two of the ones I’m amped for are smaller games from independent developers. I was delighted that Capybara Games’ Below was featured at the Xbox One presser and Supergiant Games’ Transistor was featured at the PlayStation 4 presser. I’m a huge fan of these independent developers. Capy is known for the lovely Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, while Supergiant Games created the fantastic Bastion.
I know that most of you aren’t nearly into indie games as I am and that journalists are often accused of overrating indies (though I’m a verbal entertainer, so I’m not sure that I count), but I’ve noticed that independent games have been catching my eye at these shows. At the last few E3s, I recall being enamored with Journey, Sound Shapes, and The Unfinished Swan. Perhaps it’s because I’ve covered and played so many big-budget games; maybe I find indie games refreshing? I’d like to think that I genuinely love these games, but as a philosophy major, I have to question the pattern.
Do you guys and gals pay any attention to the indies? Or is it all about the major releases for you at E3?
The Big Boys: Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall got the most buzz according to the incredibly inaccurate survey I took (i.e. chatting with industry friends). A lot of people were high on Bungie’s Destiny. At the EA presser, the teasers for Mirror’s Edge 2 and Star Wars: Battlefront were met with joyous reactions. While I was psyched to see Kyrie Irving during the NBA Live demo, my inner 12-year old keep chucking at the repeated use of the phrase “ball handling.”
Games shown today that excited me include Dragon Age 3, inFamous: Second Son, Knack, UFC, Crimson Dragon, Kingdom Hearts III, and Final Fantasy XV.
While most of my pals are certain that Watch Dogs will be a quality game, they’re starting to lose interest in it. It never clicked with me and I still don’t see what’s so amazing about the game.
Of course all of this stuff played differently to the people that watched the press conferences at home and/or read about them. What games shown at yesterday’s pressers have you jazzed?
Onto Day One: Tomorrow should be a light day and heavy night for me. I have one important meeting (at the Hooters across the street from the convention center) and will use the rest of my time to play stuff that I care about (journalists rarely get to do this, which is another advantage of being a verbal entertainer). The evening will be the outstanding Wedbush party (my favorite E3 party, affectionately called Pachter-palooza) followed by a Bethesda shindig. If there’s anything you want me to check out, please let me know in the comments section.