The most pervasive trend was the whole franchise reboot thing. It’s something that came up at the very beginning of this year, but now we know for sure that the games industry is excited about giving its back catalog a Star Trek style reskin. Medal of Honor, Mortal Kombat, Twisted Metal, Lara Croft, Driver, XCOM, Kirby, Kid Icarus, Donkey Kong Country, even Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (in some regards) all plunder the past and reimagine things in a contemporary way, and seem to do so effectively. This is a topic for a future editorial, but it’s possible to look at this in two different ways. On one hand it’s exciting to see brands that we love given a chance to shine in front of a new, younger audience, but on the other you do have to wonder why the whole industry has become so creatively barren that it now has to feed on itself so ravenously.
Great points on the highs (and lows) of the aggregate messaging of this year’s E3. I’m looking forward to a follow-up article on this “reboot” thing that I agree was starkly front-and-center from almost every major player.
(via E3 2010: The Real Trends of E3, News from GamePro.)
Rock Band Pro mode is all about potential. It’s about the individual player’s potential to move on up to the next, optional level of difficulty in the game, and, eventually, the player’s potential to make real music with a real instrument. And as Harmonix reps told us, it seems “designed to show the potential of what the music category can do in gaming” — if anything can answer that question of whether music games can translate to the real world, this mode will do it.
My anticipation for the new challenges inherent in Pro Mode is at a ridiculously high level. It’s like taking Expert in Rock Band 2 and then pushing it over a cliff.
But it’s a really awesome cliff.
(via Preview: Rock Band 3 Pro mode | Joystiq.)
With Kinect, Microsoft is trying to get the whole family playing games. Now it hopes to get the whole family paying for Xbox Live as well, through a discounted “Family” offer. The Xbox Live Gold Family plan, available this November, offers a year of Xbox Live Gold membership to four different family members for a total cost of $99.99, half the normal cost of four individual memberships.
It’s about time.
(via $99 Xbox Live Gold Family plan available this November | Joystiq.)
Honestly, I dont even remember which game was being demoed — Medal of Honor? Black Ops? All the shooters I saw at this weeks conferences kind of blurred together for me in a stream of non-stop explosions and guns and “ripped from the headlines” power fantasies… and my rigid E3 schedule and general lack of sleep certainly didnt help. I think it was the former, but I suppose that doesnt matter so much as what I do remember… namely, the sensation that the games industry has forgotten how to communicate by any means other than screaming at the top of its lungs about the awesomeness of lovingly rendered gore.
Read the whole thing. This is an all-too-often unspoken-about problem in games today.
At a time when some stand-out games are finding ways to transcend the previous limits of the medium and tell compelling stories, other developers are creating games that glorify violence to the abandonment of storytelling.
(via Jeremy Parish.)
You can safely file this under the “things that dominate small corners of my brain” department.
Rock Band + Flip Mino HD + poster putty = this:
The focal point is in a bad place, and the buttons on this thing are too loud. All I did was take the Mino and slap it on the headstock of the fake guitar with some putty. If I wanted to take this all the way, I’d design some kind of a mount for it to elevate the camera and get some angle on the buttons, and then a counter-weight for the body of the guitar (it added a not-insignificant amount of weight to the headstock).
Lazard Capital analyst Colin Sebastian:
“We expect a late 2010 launch of the 3DS in Japan, followed by March 2011 in North America, with a price point in the $249-$299 range.”
That’s pretty funny. I highly doubt Nintendo holds any illusions that they’d be able to sell people on a new DS that cost that much more than the old ones. There are patterns to follow, just like with iPod/iPhone pricing: this will enter the market at $199, tops.
(via E32010: 3DS To Cost $249-$299? | Edge Online.)
“…As we move through 2011, 2012, it’s likely to be an opportunity both for additional growth and perhaps premium pricing for titles that better support 3D,” Riccitiello added.
Good to know that the video game industry cares about 3D for the same reason the movie industry does: it’s a way to make things more expensive for very little benefit.
(via E32010: 3D Games Could Be More Expensive – EA | Edge Online.)
This E3 has been difficult to observe usefully from afar, because merely watching doesn’t convey the data it used to: so much of the offering is directly experiential. People are waving things, or they’re waving their arms in front of things, or they’re looking at magical screens that shit is popping right out of. It would be like if a person came out and started talking about chocolate, and then ate some chocolate, and then walked off stage. That is not data. There’s so much conjecture that whatever you come up with is almost hopelessly attenuated.
This is very true of what I’ve seen of E3 from here. Motion controllers, insanely expensive 3D setups for your living room, and other insanity are ruling the day.
There will be more posts on this—of course—but hardware aside, the games that are being revealed make me very interested in the next 12 months or so.
As a bonus, the comic from yesterday is quite vulgar but also quite funny, and is a very apt description of what the three major press conferences were like at E3.
(via Penny Arcade – Let’s Get Ready To Rummmmbllllle.)
As unfair as it is, what initially gave us hesitation about Mad Catz and Squier’s Stratocaster Pro guitar controller was that, well, it’s Fender’s second-tier brand. Despite these prejudices from our youth, Harmonix pretty much sold us on it with one pretty badass trick: the ability to simultaneously play Rock Band 3 on Pro Expert and rock the same tune through an amplifier.
Watch the video to see it in action. This is a crazy step forward for music video games and could be a downright interesting way to teach people how to play guitar.
(via Rock Band 3 Squier Stratocaster plays both real and virtual guitar… at the same time (video) — Engadget.)