Nintendo’s conference left fans a little perplexed. No less than 23 games were on show, which is a figure none too shabby, but most had already been announced while the rest felt distinctly casual.
At least things got off on the right foot with a demonstration of Pikmin 3 on Wii U. The visuals are a clear step up from the humble Wii with environments both detailed and smooth. A new Pikmin type was also shown – rock Pikmin – who are able to smash glass blockades and large crystals. The trailer also has a quick glimpse of flying Pikmin. Keep an eye out for them right at the end:
A triple helping of Mario titles were shown including New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Mario Bros. 2 for 3DS. During the demonstration for Wii U, Reggie confirmed that two Wii U GamePads can be used on a console at a time. A second player is able to drop support items in for player one which can be used to assist during the new speed-run elements. New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the other hand has a focus on coin collecting – the shiny things are everywhere. An American release date was confirmed – 29th August. Paper Mario for 3DS finishes off the trio and now has the title of Paper Mario: Sticker Star, thanks to the ability to place stickers in the papery levels. In the short demo we saw a fan sticker being used to power a windmill.
Batman Arkham City: Armoured Edition was the first third-party Wii U title to be given an airing. Rather than simply slap a map onto the Wii U GamePad screen, the developers have clearly put a great deal of thought into how the additional screen can be used. A batarang can be guided through the air by tilting the device and the screen can also be used to scan areas when held up facing your TV. Warner Bros. has another Wii U game in the pipeline – Scribblenauts Unlimited. The touch screen is used here to draw items that then appear in the game. A 3DS version is also planned.
After these short but pleasing demonstrations a showreel of other Wii U games gave us a look at the future. Darksiders II, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Aliens: Colonial Marines and Trine 2: The Directors Cut should need no introduction, and nor should the surprise Wii U version of Mass Effect 3. Namco’s Tank! Tank! Tank! is a previously unannounced game, however. We assume this is a conversion of their 2010 arcade game. Environments are destroyable and there are fantasy elements including hydra-like enemies.
Things then took a turn for the casual with footage of the self-explanatory Wii Fit U – which can be used in conjunction with a pedometer – and SiNG (working title) from DJ Hero developers FreeStyleGames. Thankfully Reggie wasn’t forced to have a good old jive to show off Ubisoft’s previously announced Just Dance 4.
As for additional 3DS games, another showreel provided quick tasters of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the 2D Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Scribblenauts Unlimited and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Luigi’s Mansion on 3DS now also has a new subtitle – Dark Moon. We can’t wait for this one.
Since we last saw LEGO City it has received a name alteration to LEGO City Undercover. It looks incredibly fun, resembling a LEGO GTA with the slightly warped sense of humour we’ve come to expect from Traveller’s Tales. The trailer ended with a LEGO man building a familiar looking green pipe, followed by a familiar sound-effect when leaping down it. A 3DS version is also in the works.
Just Dance 4 wasn’t the only Ubisoft game to get an airing. The ZombiU trailer which was first shown during last night’s Ubisoft conference was played again in full. This is what Killer Freaks from Outer Space has become – a zombie game set in London, complete with the ability to map your face into the game. It looks pretty decent, and much like Batman Arkham City the GamePad is being put to good use. We saw it being used as a torch and as a sniper rifle. Don’t expect such innovations in Assassin’s Creed 3 – it has been confirmed the touchscreen is simply being used as a map and to swap weapons. The Avengers: Battle for Earth is one we can’t really comment on just yet as not much has been shown. It’s worth nothing though that it also stars Spider-Man and the X-Men. Rayman Legends was confirmed to have a five player mode and those Rabbids aren’t too far away either, this time starring in Rabbids Land. Sports Connection and YourShape: Fitness Evolved 2013 should need no explanation.
The conference ended with Nintendo Land – a virtual theme park housing several mini-games based on various Nintendo franchises. Last year’s Catch Mii demo appears to have evolved into an Animal Crossing endeavor subtitled Sweet Days. Other mini-games confirmed were the single-player Donkey Kong’s Crash Course and Takamaru’s Ninja Castle along with the multi-player The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest and Luigi’s Ghost Mansion which bares more than a slight resemblance to Pac-Man Vs.
Nintendo left us with a trailer of Nintendo Land, complete with fireworks and trumpets.
Judging by our Twitter feed many Nintendo fans felt disappointed that there was no other big name Nintendo franchises on show other than Mario. In fact, “no Zelda” even started trending on Twitter just minutes after the conference ended. Is it too much to expect a new Zelda just eight months after Skyward Sword? Perhaps, but a showing of another big-name Nintendo franchise wouldn’t have gone amiss. There wasn’t even the slightest hint of Pokemon.
After disappointment came confusion – just moments after the conference ended word broke that Spike TV were announcing a new Platinum Games Wii U title currently known as P-100. It looks like a mixture of Viewtiful Joe and Pikmin, giving you the chance to control an army of tiny superheroes able to morph into giant hands, swords, aircraft and more. Spike TV had bagged the exclusive but quite why Nintendo didn’t fight to get this trailer is a mystery. As you can see below, it already has all the hallmarks of a classic:
Moreover, Nintendo’s press site contains footage of a new Wario Ware title – Game & Wario – which was also not shown. Why choose to demonstrate Just Dance 4 over this? E3 conferences are for the Nintendo hardcore; not the casual market.
While the conference did help to put a lot of faith into the Wii U hardware – Nintendo’s games look even more charming in HD – we’d be lying if we didn’t say we expected a few more surprises and big name titles.
Sony’s E3 2012 press conference came and went, much as expected, and a little light on dramatic unveilings. Whilst the big hitters such as The Last of Us and God of War: Ascension oozed quality, the biggest surprise of the night was arguably Wonderbook, an augmented reality… book. In its favour, the first Wonderbook title, The Book of Spells, is a creation of Harry Potter’s J. K. Rowling.
Sony’s show was also heavy of the Ellen Page. In addition to The Last of Us featuring Ellen’s doppleganger, Quantic Dream’s new title Beyond actually stars Ellen Page, with the actress providing the voice and motion capture for the game’s main character. It’s a game about telekinesis and the after life, so hopefully it should be as good as Quantic Dream’s last game, Heavy Rain.
PS Vita titles were a little thin on the ground – the main news being an exclusive version of Assassin’s Creed III for the Vita and the ability to use the Vita as an additional super control pad in various games, such as Little Big Planet and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Speaking of the All-Stars… Super Smash Bros wants its game concept back.
Fittingly, the show was played out with The Last of Us, which reinforces Naughty Dog’s position as possibly the best developers around right now and easily producing the most impressive titles on Sony’s system since the first Uncharted.
As always, an E3 without a new system unveiling can be a little quiet, and Sony didn’t really throw out any big surprises to set the world alight, but there was nothing particularly wrong and they’ve shown that there’s some life left in the old dog.
Should you want to sit through the whole conference yourself, Sony livestreamed the event online, and you can catch it on Youtube below.
You might want to skip to the 30 minute mark.
There have been so many leaks over the past few days that the only new games to be shown during Microsoft’s E3 conference were a handful of Xbox Live Arcade titles along with some Nike fitness software.
Even Ubisoft’s reasonably impressive looking Splinter Cell: Blacklist was ousted a few hours before the show.
Things kicked off with a live action Halo 4 video which involved a USNC ship coming under attack. Master Chief then finds himself on a jungle-like planet, which is where the footage then turned into an in-game demonstration. We saw Master Chief battling a new enemy – a bipedal scarab-like alien before then picking up a new weapon based on Forerunner technology. Halo 4 was shown later during the conference too to demonstrate Microsoft’s new Smart Glass app. This app turns “any” mobile device into a second screen for the Xbox 360, much like Wii U GamePad. We saw Halo multi-player options being selected on a touch screen device and also a list of Madden 13 team formations being played around with.
EA’s sporting titles were shown very early on with a focus on Kinect voice controls for both FIFA 13 and Madden 13, which was demonstrated by American football hall of famer Joe Montana.
You can view that Halo 4 footage here on Kotaku.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist saw Sam Fisher in a desert base and dressed in desert camo, taking out enemies with some slick melee combat. During one section the words ‘execute ready’ appeared on screen. Enemies can also be distracted by shouting into the Kinect mic. We also saw Sam Fisher climbing up a wall in a very Assassin’s Creed-style nature. Mercs vs Spies death-matches were confirmed.
Demos of Tomb Raider and Resident Evil 6 – the only Japanese-developed game on show – also impressed. Tomb Raider didn’t feature any tombs to speak of, instead opting for some Uncharted-style adventuring. Lara took down several enemies using a humble bow and arrow, and also plunged down a rapid river behind landing inside the cockpit of a wrecked airplane.
Resident Evil 6 had a very cinematic feel also – we saw Leon running from an inferno caused by an airplane crashing into a tower block. In the background of the conference we spotted a screen mention that all Resident Evil 6 DLC would be free on Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 will also be getting Tomb Raider DLC first. Let’s hope it’s not just an avatar outfit, eh?
Forza Horizon – which is being developed by staff members behind Project Gotham and Blur – has a release date of October 23rd. It’s an open world affair, just like Burnout Paradise and Test Drive Unlimited, and set in Colorado. Some of our Twitter followers are excited about the prospect of it being free roaming while others are not. Eurogamer has a very good preview available to read right now.
Fable: The Journey was shown in trailer form, which to much amusement ended with the player performing a Street Fighter-style ‘Hadouken’ move. Another Kinect game shown as Wreckateer which entails firing projectiles at castles. Visually it’s very bright and colourful. We don’t have long to wait for it either – it’s part of the Summer of Arcade line-up.
Those other previously unannounced arcade games? Racer Loco Cycle from Twisted Pixel, which had a very Tron-like look to it, and fantasy brawler Ascend: New Gods from the Toy Soldiers guys. There was also Matter, of which very little was shown. That’s for Kinect too.
Trailers for Loco Cycle and Matter can be found below:
Gears of War Judgement would have been a surprise if US publication Game Informer didn’t tell the world last week that it’s this month’s cover game. It’s set 15 years before the original and stars Cole and Baird. There’s going to be a character class-based multi-player mode much like Team Fortress 2, including mechanics, soldiers and medics. Polish developers People Can Fly are at the helm who worked on Bulletstorm. If you haven’t played that yet, then this news is the ideal reason to.
Eurogamer has the teaser trailer here.
The highlight for us was seeing South Park’s Trey Stone and Matt Parker go on stage to talk about South Park: Stick of Truth. Their speech was an impromptu performance involving some mick-taking at the expense of the only just unveiled Smart Glass app. Stick of Truth is going to have Xbox 360 exclusive DLC and also exclusive pre-order incentives. It’s out 5th March 2013.
Sticking to what they know, Harmonix also showed Dance Central 3 which was demonstrated by Usher. We wish that Harmonix would make a new Frequency or Amped for the likes of 3DS and PS Vita, but we guess there’s still money to be made from dancing games.
The conference ended with Call of Duty: Black Ops II gameplay footage. We have to say the fantasy elements about this one do appeal, even if it the storyline has more than a slight whiff of Terminator 2: Judgment Day about it.
E3 is now go. Are you excited? We are excited. Let’s speculate, with some very improbable predictions, shall we?
Ubisoft hands out free rabbits in order to promote 3DS title Rabbids Rumble. By the end of the week the price of carrots inflates to an all-time high.
Out of force of habit, 2K Games puts up posters saying “Duke Nukem Forever: Coming Soon”.
Shigsy appears on stage wearing a diver’s helmet and a wetsuit. Nintendo’s E3 conference ends without revealing why.
Nintendo announces Wii Fat – a hilarious novelty version of Wii Fit. Comes with £50 of Burger King vouchers.
505 Games dresses a staff member in a Naughty Bear costume to promote Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise. They’re mistaken for Pedobear and escorted off the premises.
Activision shuts off the power for 10 minutes, plunging the show into darkness and eventual chaos. It’s revealed, two days later, that the blackout was to promote Black Ops II.
Sony blockades all doors and refuses anybody to leave without buying a PS Vita.
Microsoft launches a new advertising campaign – “Look mate, just buy a Kinect yeah?”
Nintendo’s decision to release a special pre-E3 edition of their news show Nintendo Direct has a slight knee-jerk feel to it. Most have assumed it’s because EA and Ubisoft are planning to show their Wii U titles at E3 on Monday, which is something they wouldn’t be able to do without showing off the new and improved Wii U hardware. Nintendo’s full-blown conference isn’t until Tuesday, lest you forget.
So what’s new? The controller, now known as the Wii U GamePad, has improved analogue sticks and NFC has been confirmed allowing for Skylanders-style scanning of physical items. The button to activate it is circled in yellow in the image below:
As well as the new Wii U GamePad, a comfortable looking Wii U Classic Controller has also been shown which resembles an Xbox 360 controller. The blue lights on the bottom suggest four can be synced to a system.
The software which instantly appears when switching the Wii U on is known as Miiverse – a Mii Universe – which allows you to see friends who are online. If you become stuck on a game, it’s possible to contact other players and ask for help via software rather like Twitter. The Miiverse will also be viewable on 3DS, PC and mobiles after the Wii U launches.
During a demonstration, a player stuck on a generic zombie shooter video-chats with his trendy grandad for assistance. A black controller was used, complete with a matching Wii U. It’s probably safe to assume the Wii U will launch in two colours, just like the 3DS did.
There’s an internet browser built-in too, which can be viewed either on the controller or on your TV. Nothing fancy, but it should come in handy when a quick trip to GameFAQs is in order. Images on the TV can be covered up and then unveiled with a curtain pull and a drum roll. “Ta da! Here’s a picture of me in the nude!”
No games were shown apart from a few clips from last year’s tech demos but we only have to wait until Tuesday to see what Nintendo has been working on. Something a little more exciting than New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, we hope.
Whoever said you can’t keep a secret these days was wrong. The new Nintendo console is not called Café, Beem, Stream or even Wii 2 or Wii HD but rather Wii U. Simply because it’s a console with something for everybody. You, specifically. There’s enough tech behind it to power visually demanding games and it’s also backwards compatible with the original Wii controllers and software.
Predictably there are a lot of conversions on the way but they’re not of older titles but rather games that are still to be released including Batman: Arkham City, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online, Tekken, Darksiders 2, Metro Last Light, Assassin’s Creed and DiRT. EA also hinted that Battlefield 3 is on it’s way. How Nintendo managed to stop developers leaking info is a mystery. Maybe Reggie threatened to crush their testicles with unsold copies of Wii Music?
There isn’t much to talk about in regards to the design of the console – it’s merely a Wii with rounded corners and a bigger power button. IBM are supplying the processor, it uses Nintendo’s own 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs and supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Yep – you can stick a HDMI cable into the back of it. There are also four USB ports because you can never have enough.
The controller itself is the real head turner. A combination of an iPad and a traditional analogue controller, it has a 6.2 inch 16:9 touch screen, two analogue sticks, four trigger buttons, a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feedback, camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus. It truly is the Swiss Army Knife of the videogame controller world. T3 magazine reports that it is very light to hold and the screen is both clear and bright. Nintendo wouldn’t tell them how long the battery life is though. Likewise, price and release date are still a mystery.
Tech demos shown so far include HD Zelda, New Super Mario Bros. Mii and Battle Mii – a Metroid themed deathmatch. It’s still early days for the console yet, although the Zelda-alike Darksiders 2 was confirmed to be a launch title.
Speaking of Zelda, Nintendo’s conference kicked off with a tribute to the hero of Hyrule. It was revealed that Legend of Zelda: Four Swords for DSi is going to be a free download on DSiWare from September while a golden Wii remote will be released to tie-in with Zelda: Skyward Sword on Wii. And to celebrate Link’s 25th, symphony concerts are going to be held across the globe and two Zelda CDs will be available for the first to register Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D with Club Nintendo.
New details for a host of 3DS games were then revealed. In Mario Kart – which is being co-developed by Retro Studios – vehicles can be customised and there are also underwater sections and hang-glider power-ups. Starfox takes photos of your face for multiplayer purposes and Super Mario 3DS (as it’s now called) mixes bits of pieces from Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Bros. 3. It’s going to have a Zelda-themed world too, viewed from a top-down perspective. Kid Icarus makes his E3 appearance for a second year running but now multiplayer has been confirmed
As for new games, how about Luigi’s Mansion 2 for size? It’s being developed by Next Level Games (who did Punch Out on Wii) and is very exciting prospect being the type of thing that’ll genuinely benefit from the 3DS’s illusion of depth. Several mansions will be on offer for Luigi to explore suggesting it won’t be as short as its predecessor. Kirby Mass Attack was also announced for 3DS, as well as Super Fossil Fighters and the very barren and bizarre looking The Rolling Western.
Namco are bringing Ace Combat and Tekken to 3DS. It’ll be the first Tekken game on a Nintendo format since Tekken Advance on GBA. Oh, and there’s going to be a Tetris game on three dimentional handheld. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
Nintendo are going to be publishing Lego City Stories (referred to as LEGO: GTA by people on Twitter) in partnership with TT Games on both 3DS and Wii U. A new Super Smash Bros was also teased for both formats.
The Wii and DS still got a look in. Kirby Wii isn’t a sequel to the lovely Kirby’s Epic Yarn but rather a 2.5 platformer much like New Super Mario Bros. complete with a four-player mode. Fortune Street from Square-Enix and Mario Party 9 should please fans of virtual board games (if any exist), the lush looking Rayman Origins is Wii-bound and Professor Layton And The Devil’s Flute is now known as Professor Layton And The Last Specter.
Finally, the award for the most unintentionally hilarious game goes to Ubisoft’s TinTin: Secret of the Unicorn which shows TinTin – who’s only a young boy, lest you forget – punching seven bells out of fully grown men and grappling them to the ground. Rah!
“Hey, Sony are doing their E3 show tonight, can you cover it?” were Matt’s last ill-fated words to me. So, following on from our Microsoft E3 conference wordage, are these words.
Much like Microsoft’s show, which had a heavy Kinect theme – because we all know standing up and waving your arms around is a vastly superior control method than ten fingers and a joypad – Sony’s E3 extravaganza had two clear themes, 3D and PSVita.
Incase you’re wondering, PSVita is the official name of Sony’s new portable system, formerly known as the NGP or PSP2, now known as a portable gaming low-fat spread.
The important news for PSVita fans (how wrong does that sound?) is that the nice little handheld will be retailing for €249, or €299 for the 3G version, with a Christmas launch date, this year obviously. If you’re Stateside, the price is $249 and $299 respectively, because clearly $1=€1 in Sony’s world. Either Sony knows something we don’t (Greece is going to default and devalue the Euro?!) or they’re greedy arseholes, but that’s nothing new. On the bright side, it’s the same price as the Nintendo 3DS, when most people (idiots mainly) were expecting it to be much more expensive.
Other than that, the PSVita is much like it was when it was announced in January. It still has a 5-inch 960×544 pixel OLED screen, and quad-core CPUs and GPUs which are the same type the iPad 2 uses (although the iPad 2 uses dual-core versions). You can read more about the specs here.
Sony demoed a whole bunch of PSVita games, most of which we’ve seen before admittedly. Uncharted: Golden Abyss looks nice, as did LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers with its neat track editor.
A Diablo-style RPG game called Ruin made an appearance, which boasts the ability to seamlessly play the game on both the PSVita and the PS3, swapping sessions between each system.
So yeh, the PSVita looks like it will have lots of nice little games, and could improve commutes for literally millions of people, unless those people find playing iPhone games less shameful in public.
On the PlayStation 3 side, Sony’s unsurprising theme was 3D for the PS3, with a little bit of Move on the side as motion-control has become mandatory for all games companies. Sony’s big focus on 3D is presumably due to all the 3D Sony Bravia TVs they hope to sell, so it’s kind of understandable.
Sony are so into their 3D, that in addition to making blurry, half-resolution 3D versions of all their new games, they’re also releasing a PlayStation 3D TV, which is a 24 inch 3D TV that comes with a pair of 3D glasses and a copy of Resistance 3, all for $499. A kind of cheap entry point to 3D, so possibly a reasonably good idea. It also features a magical technology that lets two players play split-screen games each using the whole screen (only seeing odd or even lines of pixels, with the glasses blocking out one image).
Fans of stealthy raccoons should be overjoyed to hear about Sly Cooper 4, which follows in the footsteps of 1, 2 and 3.
Nostalgics should be pleased with the Team ICO collection, which is a remastered re-release of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, in HD and 3D (presumable half HD if viewed in the 3D mode).
An interesting PlayStation exclusive is Dust 514, the EVE Online sister-game – a first person shooter that exists in the EVE universe, sharing the same servers. It will be playable on both the PS3 and PSVita, and won’t be coming to the 360, which is probably a big deal for Sony.
Aside from that, Sony showed quite a few other games, mainly existing IPs, which now feature 3D modes or Move functionality. One new title is Star Trek, based on the new films, which lets you control Kirk or Spock with the Move controller. Apparently it comes with a special phaser-shaped holder to stick your Move controller into. Hmm.
Yep, that was pretty much it. At the start Sony’s US boss Jack Tretton apologised to everyone for fucking up the PlayStation Network and allowing everyone’s accounts to be hacked. Sony are offering free downloadable games to everyone as a way to say sorry, which you can claim either by logging in to your PSN account or emailing Sony’s Nigerian office.
Next up at E3: Nintendo unveil new games featuring Mario, demo a host of 3DS titles, and possibly unveil their next console which hopefully won’t be as rubbish as the Wii.