Each year, millions of people flock to the city of Los Angeles to get a taste of the future of the gaming industry. Developers and publishers from all across the globe gather to showcase their newest tech and releases and build a fair amount of hype for their upcoming games. It also plays host to some of the biggest media announcements from the top three console manufacturers: Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, as well as leading publishers such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Konami. From June 4th through June 7th, the E3 2012 had a lot to offer.
Surprisingly enough, the show started even before the event was officially underway, with Konami and Nintendo holding pre-E3 press conferences about their newest titles. Konami highlighted the importance of some of its key franchises and announced a slew of new titles, including Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Zone of the Enders HD Collection. Nintendo, on the other hand, concentrated on promoting titles for its Nintendo 3DS handheld as well as generating buzz for its new console, the Nintendo Wii U. The Wii U had gone through some major revisions since last year; and the redesigning of the Wii U Gamepad was given primary importance.
Xbox 360 console
The first of the official media briefings was hosted by Microsoft for their Xbox 360 console. Their presentation, titled ‘Xbox: Entertainment Evolved’, endeavored to show that the Xbox 360 is a powerful machine with utilities beyond gaming. Special emphasis was given to the entertainment qualities of the Xbox 360, such as its TV-on-demand feature and the inclusion of Xbox Music and Internet Explorer into the system’s OS framework. Perhaps the most important feature announced was the new Xbox SmartGlass technology, which allows players to connect their tablets and mobile devices to the Xbox 360, using it as a secondary screen capable of displaying additional information for games and media applications. The Kinect peripheral was also spotlighted as a powerful device, well integrated into the system’s design and providing additional functionality. This was shown during the demo for certain games such as Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Dance Central 3. Games displayed on the show floor included Tomb Raider, Forza Horizon, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Resident Evil 6, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, new titles such as Ascend: New Gods, LocoCycle, Matter, and the new Halo 4. The presentation ended on a strong note, with plenty of people walking away satisfied.
Electronic Arts conference
Next came EA’s turn to host their conference, titled ‘The Download’. The main emphasis of the presentation was expanding on the concept of social play and downloadable content as the games on display had these features built into them. Bringing ten of their development studios to the table. EA took time to establish their repute as one of the biggest gaming companies in the world. Titles that were part of their media briefing included Star Wars: The Old Republic. Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, FIFA ’13, Sim City and Sim City Social for Facebook. The new Need For Speed: Most Wanted and Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Despite having a strong brand name, the EA press conference came off as a little weak and uninspiring.
Later in the day was the Ubisoft press conference which was hosted by actress/gamer Aisha Tyler and internet blogger Toby Tobuscus’ Turner. It was a surprising departure from last year’s dreadful ordeal with the now-infamous Mr. Caffeine. Ubisoft managed to wow the crowd with its strong portfolio of games, which included the gorgeous Far Cry 3, Just Dance 4, Rayman Legends, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, ZombiU for the Wii U, and Assassin’s Creed III. The biggest announcement came towards the end of the press conference when they announced the revolutionary new Intellectual Property (IP) called Watch Dogs. This new game features some amazing tech and mechanics, and took the crowd by storm. In the end, the Ubisoft conference shaped up to be the best press event for the day.
Finally, at the end of the first day, Sony welcomed scores to its own media briefing, hosted by the President of Sony Computer Entertainment America. Many expected the conference to focus on the PlayStation Vita, Sony’s newest handheld device. Instead, special focus was placed on the PlayStation 3, with attention to titles such as PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and God of War: Ascension. Sony also announced the expansion of their mobile services under the newly- christened PlayStation Mobile; and announced HTC as the first third- party manufacturer to collaborate with Sony and host PlayStation titles on their device. A new title called Beyond: Two Souls was announced, starring Ellen Page and developed by the makers of Heavy Rain. A new PlayStation Vita bundle, packaged with the exclusive Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation was also unveiled. Even with a big name like J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore attached to the project, the response to the new Wonderbook augmented reality system was halfhearted. The show-stealer, though, was the special demo of The Last of Us, which showcased in-game mechanics into the highly- anticipated title. This new trailer had everyone from jaded gamers to industry legends blown away with its cinematic-style gameplay and dynamic action set-pieces.
Day two kicked off with a Nintendo media presentation, where legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and Reggie Fils-Aime, the President of Nintendo America, demonstrated the power and potential that the Wii U had to offer. The briefing highlighted the intricacies of the Wii U system’s hardware and software. Titles, such as Pikmin 3. New Super Mario Bros. U, Scribblenauts Unlimited, WIi U Fit, and Batman: Arkham City: Armored Edition, were introduced. It was speculated that third-party titles like Darksiders 2, Borderlands 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3, will be making their way to Nintendo’s new console. In addition, many games for the Nintendo 3DS were also hyped, such as New Super Mario Bros. 2, Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.
Notable new games
Once the presentation was over, the expo was open to the general public, where more than 28 developers and publishers had set up exhibitions highlighting their newest games and technology. Games of notable interest were Dishonored,Borderlands 2, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Persona 4 Golden, Lost Planet 3, DmC: Devil May Cry, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Star Wars 1313, Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs. Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Dead or Alive 5. Aliens: Colonial Marines, Metro: Last Light, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Soul Sacrifice and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The event ended on June 7 with many gamers feeling happy and content at the wonderful new games in store for the future.