Opinion: Top 5 Disappointments of E3 2012
To introduce their new Dance Central title, Harmonix thought it would be a good idea to have Usher deliver a concert featuring a song that will be playable in the full release. Ugh!
Are you kidding me? Just show us the games. Nobody in the crowd or at home wants to see a gig during a press conference. They belong out on the E3 show floor at night, when the majority of the press are either at a bar or back at their hotel passed out from exhaustion.
Perhaps the funniest part of this mis-judged disaster was when Usher demonstrated the onscreen dance moves for Dance Central 3 while performing his song. Towards the end he eventually gave up doing these onscreen prompts altogether, revealing in the process that the ‘gameplay’ being shown was clearly pre-recorded.
By the way, the runner-up in this specific category was definitely Flo Rida’s performance at the UbiSoft Conference. Speaking of which…
Ubisoft’s press conference
Roughly 99 per cent of UbiSoft’s presser was a complete failure, only redeemed slightly at the end with the reveal of a new game titled Watch Dogs which looks utterly fantastic. But this article is not about the good things at E3. It’s about the disappointments – and UbiSoft certainly brought the pain.
For starters they hired comedian/actress Aisha Tyler to host the event, which is never a good idea. Not only because she hasn’t been relevant since she hosted Talk Soup in the ’90s, but also because you should always be represented by someone from your own company. You know, like every other games company does. Instead, her fast-paced prattle combined with lame jokes about “Girl Wood” actually garnered groans from the crowd.
Aisha was not alone with her hosting duties however, as she was accompanied by some guy named Toby, or Tobuscus as he was referred to as. The combination of these two was like nails on a chalkboard, and actually made me pray for last year’s Mr. Caffeine to return to the stage. And murder them.
Like I said, Ubisoft somewhat redeemed themselves at the end of their press conference with Watch Dogs, but for the rest of their titles they showed footage that had either been unveiled at other press conferences, or just small sizzle reels of non-gameplay action. In fact, Ubisoft waited until the Sony press event to show off their unannounced four player co-op mode for Far Cry 3 instead of touting that bit of news at their own event. Poor planning and even worse hosting undid UbiSoft this year at E3.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
One of the first games to be shown at Monday’s Microsoft press conference was Splinter Cell: Blacklist, coming from the UbiSoft Montreal studio. The gameplay shown on the big screen had Sam Fisher infiltrating battlegrounds on foreign soil in order to rescue captured soldiers. This premise sounds fine to me, but what I saw with my own eyes deceived me: and I thought I was looking at a Metal Gear Solid game mixed with Uncharted, with a sprinkle of Call of Duty thrown in.
There’s a new setting and a new Sam as well. And this younger looking take on Sam disappointed as soon as he opened his mouth and Michael Ironside’s voice did not come out. Now I know there have been rumors of Ironside’s departure from the role for years now, but what the hell is he doing nowadays? Fans of Splinter Cell know this character, and the changes they have made to Sam seem nothing short of a let down. Character aside as well, if it’s a Splinter Cell game I want to be sneaking around government installations or taking out homeland terrorists – not charging around some battlefield in the desert while still dressed in my grey camouflage.
To be fair, this was a brief demonstration of a small part of the game, and the development studio may have traditional Splinter Cell levels in mind for the rest of the experience. But what I saw at the Microsoft event was definitely not promising.
Towards the end of Sony’s press event they unveiled a new product that anyone over the age of 10 will not care about – and that is Wonderbook. It’s a new PS Eye and Move compatible game featuring a book that when held in front of the PS Eye camera peripheral will make the book come alive much like Eyepet did a couple years back.
The faces in the crowd were blank and eyes could be heard rolling into the backs of heads as this new IP induced yawns all around the theatre. Hey Sony, you have even said yourselves that Move is a failure and the prices on the peripherals have been drastically cut over the last few months. So why are you introducing a new gaming franchise this late in the console cycle? And teaming up with J.K. Rowling for Book of Spells won’t help any if you have crappy tech running the game. In fact, Sony demonstrated this very problem onstage when a woman playing the game for the audience could not get the initial spell to work to even start the game.
Listen Sony, try this again next generation with a camera system equipped with better technology that will be able to recognize player movements without failure. Hell, Kinect was not good at launch but has at least improved as developers have been able to experiment with it. Right now Wonderbook is a bore, and like every other Move-enabled game it will fail when it launches later this year.
Lack of Gameplay Footage
Microsoft kicked the week off with their press event, but when it came to showing off some of their new games they only showed brief teaser trailers with no gameplay footage. I have been looking forward to seeing Fable the Journey in action, yet all we were shown on stage was a 15-second teaser featuring the main character firing off magic from his hands at an off-screen enemy.
When it came to one of their biggest franchises, Gears of War, Microsoft simply showed another CG trailer for the recently-revealed Judgement, that had Baird being hauled away in handcuffs by a group of Locust. Even with arcade games such as LocoCycle from Twisted Pixel – the team responsible for ‘Splosion Man – only a teaser was shown.
Now, all of these games and more are being shown to the press on the E3 show floor – but what about those who couldn’t make it out to Los Angeles this year? Why do they have to wait to see these games that are no longer embargoed? Many times I end up being disappointed with gameplay trailers after seeing a teaser first, so only time will tell whether these games are good or not. But it’s always good to showcase gameplay at E3. Microsoft was not the only company that failed on this front, but they were definitely the worst offender.
What were your biggest disappointments of E3 this year? And do you agree or disagree with Jonathan’s selections? Feel free to sound off in the comments below…