Well, E3 2009 has officially wrapped up and compared to last year’s (2008) event, this year’s has blown it out of the water. First and foremost, E3 has finally returned to its roots and was once again held in Los Angeles at the city’s convention center. Although a few big names still decided to skip the convention (thanks, Blizzard), the majority of the industry’s big players were still in attendance, including: Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Konami, just to name a few. I was able to actually catch the Nintendo, Sony and Square-Enix press conferences but I wont go into the nitty gritty details of the entire convention or even individual press conferences. Basically, below, you’ll find some of the highlights and games I thought were a big deal and my initial impressions as well as a list of games/hardware to be on a look out for!
- Microsoft announced Project Natal during their press conference. Natal is MS’s own version of motion-based controls for games and media on the Xbox360 platform. The technology wasn’t officially demoed and all that was shown was a video commercial introducing its features with some lame acting. Sorry folks, no tech demo here. Although I’m not a huge fan of Microsoft, Natal is very very ambitious! It boasts to use a camera (add-on accessory to the 360) that is able to capture full body motions, thus eliminating the need for a controller! The camera can detect hand movements and gestures (too many dirty jokes…) that can also be implemented in menu browsing, similar to what Tom Cruise did in the movie, Minority Report. Additionally, there is said to be facial recognition with it as well. From the sounds of it, MS is attempting to get rid of a controller all together. Like I said, very ambitious things MS has planned, all we can do is wait and see if they can actually pull it off.
- Konami and Kojima Productions officially announced Metal Gear Solid Rising for the Xbox360 (later in the event it was announced it would also be coming to the PS3 and PC). The game will be starring Raiden, the main character of MGS 2. The game will be a “Lightning Action Game” as opposed to the franchise’s “Stealth Action Game” tagline used in preceding itterations of the series. I’m thinking the game will be heavily based on action and speed instead of the stealth. I loved MGS4 and I will be picking this up as soon as it gets released, although rumors say the game wont be released until sometime in 2010.
- Although many will probably disagree with me, I thought Nintendo’s big announcements were very good for the most part. Wii Motion Plus is nothing new in terms of surprise announcements, although it does bode well for the console since its been getting some flack lately for games that lacked good motion controls. Wii Sports Resort (includes Wii Motion Plus) looks to be a great title that is fun but yet is very simple to pick up, similar to its predeccesor, Wii Sports. Highlights from Nintendo’s announcements include: Super Mario Bros. Wii, a 2D classic style platformer that boasts a multiplayer system similar to what is found in LittleBigPlanet, where players assist one another to complete a level or task; Super Mario Galaxy 2 was also announced and set to come out sometime in 2010; and lastly, Metroid: Other M was also announced as a new episode in the Metroid franchise. The game looked great and action packed. I’ll post more info on the games listed above as it becomes available, just keep an eye out!
- The surprise announcement nobody was expecting came in the form of Final Fantasy…14! That’s right, Final Fantasy 14..Online! Very little has been announced at this point, although it was said the game would be released around the same time as Final Fantasy 13 (both due Spring-ish 2010). As of right now, FF14 will be exclusive to the PS3 and PC, Square Enix has said they are “considering” Microsoft hardware release for the future, but nothing official right now. The game will take place in a new world (different from that of FF11 Online), with a new emphasis and option of solo play in order to appeal to a more casual crowd. Personally, I’m pretty pumped for this release!
- Sony also gave us a sneak peak at some gameplay footage of God of War III. From what I’ve seen, it looks pretty damn good. The graphics, gameplay, and gore is exactly what one would have expected from a next-gen God of War game. Yet another game to keep a close eye on!
- Obviously, I only gave highlights of a few announcements that really got me revved for the coming months. Microsoft announced a few other titles and gave sneak peaks to games like Assassin’s Creed 2. Nintendo also announced a slew of DS games that I could care less about (including one where you own and operate your own clothing boutique). Sony introduced a tech demo of its own motion control scheme that looked like a cross between Project Natal and Wii Motion Plus. But until I see some actual games utilizing this motion control technology that the big 3 are working on, I’ll hold back my enthusiasm. Sony did (in my opinion) have the best game announcements in terms of exclusives: The Agent, a new Rockstar exclusive; Massive Action Game; ModNation Racers (think Mario Kart meets LittleBigPlanet); The Guardian, a new game from the team that brought us Shadow of Colossus; the PSPGo and slew of PSP titles including Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker (written, directed and produced by Hideo Kojima himself) and LittleBigPlanet for the PSP. Keep your eyes peeled in the coming months as I preview some of these great titles!
Now as a treat, I’ll leave you guys with the teaser trailer for Bioware’s upcoming MMORPG title, Star Wars: The Old Republic. This was probably the best trailer shown at E3 2009. Enjoy and happy gaming!