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Review of the Year 2012: June

All E3, all the time.

June
It should come as no surprise that June was one of the craziest months in gaming this year. In fact it’s a pretty crazy month every year, with E3 taking centre stage at the start of the month. The first few days were filled with trailers and announcements of new titles, so lets try and break those down right off the bat.

In Konami’s pre-E3 show they gave us a new trailer for Metal Gear Rising, while in an unrelated event Tomb Raider also got a pre-E3 showing. LucasArts couldn’t wait either, and announced Star Wars 1313. It seems that people just couldn’t hold on for E3 this year.


Iwata doesn't need fancy screens, just almost featureless rooms.
It was Nintendo who kicked things off in terms of press conferences and, because they’re insane, they had three separate events this year. I suppose it’s not quite fair to call the Nintendo Direct streams press conferences but Nintendo still had a trio of distinct shows going on this year.

First up was the Nintendo Direct Wii U stream, which saw Iwata talking everyone through a few Wii U details. The event focused on the Wii U itself, leaving most of the game information for the main Nintendo press conference.

It was here that we first saw the Wii U’s Pro Controller, and got a peak at the Wii U’s online features in the form of Nintendo Network and Miiverse. We also saw a few details of the web browser, and general announcements on the hardware and operating system side of things.

We jump now to Microsoft’s main press conference, which kicked off with a look at their big hitter for the year – Halo 4. They were plenty of other trailers that you can catch here, but the highlights were probably the announcement of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, information on Xbox Music, the reveal of SmartGlass and Internet Explorer, and an appearance by Usher for Dance Central 3.

Unfortunately for Usher, he was quickly upstaged by a far more convincing performance from Flo Rida at Ubisoft’s conference. He helped kick things off with Just Dance 3, before Ubisoft got to two big announcements in the form of Rayman Legends and Watch Dogs. However, Far Cry 3 probably stole the show, even if the trailer was absolutely bizarre.

Of course EA had their own show as well, and they kept up their tradition of taking a laser-like focus on games and gameplay. One of the big moments was Dead Space 3, where they showed off the then newly announced co-op mode and had a surprising focus on action and giant drills, rather than the tense survival horror gameplay that the series is best known for; apparently it’s easier to show action gameplay in a quick trailer.

Sorry Usher, but you can't win when Flo Rida has that mic.
EA also had the announcement that Star Wars: The Old Republic was becoming free-to-play up to level 15, as well as showing off some new content for the MMO. Their conference also featured Crysis 3, FIFA 13 and Most Wanted, having a good show overall.

Next to step up was Sony, and they kicked off by announcing Quantic Dreams’ next game, Beyond: Two Souls. It was here that they also announced the now familiar Instant Game Collection for PlayStation Plus subscribers, a move that earned them praise from a variety of directions.

Then there was the strangely long section of the press conference where they demonstrated Wonderbook, a length that was in stark contrast with the relatively brief amount of time that Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation got to highlight what was happening on the Vita. If you’d like a more detailed overview of the event, Alex recapped the whole thing and gave us his thoughts.

We’re nearly to the close of the E3 conferences now, with part two of Nintendo’s line-up. This time it was their main press conference, not a Nintendo Direct video, and the focus was on software. While they did dip into their 3DS games a little, they spent most of their time on Wii U titles. They began with a new Pikmin game, before moving on to other Wii U titles like New Super Mario Bros. U and Scribblenauts Unlimited, as well as showing ported games like Batman: Arkham City: Armoured Edition. They rounded things off with Nintendo Land and a worryingly lengthy demo of one its games, Luigi’s Ghost Mansion.

Finally, there was the last of Nintendo’s E3 shows, the lengthily titled Nintendo All Access E3 2012 3DS Software Showcase. You may well have guessed that this was the time to show off their 3DS titles, including Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate and Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. They also showed off one of the biggest titles for the DS – Pokémon. Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 were there, as well as Pokémon Dream Radar and Pokédex 3D Pro for the 3DS.

And that concludes the E3 conferences, although barely into June. The month featured plenty of other topics, such as Molyneux announcing Curiosity, with its £50,000 DLC, and the excitement surrounding the first trailer for Wreck It Ralph, Disney’s video game focussed animated feature.

While E3 for Microsoft and Sony was firmly routed in this generation, June saw more information about their entries into the next generation of gaming. SCEA’s Scott Rohde confirmed that games were in development for the PS4, while an IGN survey of developers stated that the PS4 and next Xbox would be coming in 2013. That same survey also claimed that the next Microsoft system was easier to develop for, a situation that may well have left Sony unhappy.


June saw the announcement of Microsoft's Surface tablet.
In a non-E3 announcement Microsoft revealed the Surface, their own take on tablets. Its soft keyboard seemed like a very interesting innovation for tablets, but its pricing has left many unimpressed.

In other bits of news there was Hideo Kojima mentioning Metal Gear Solid 5, THQ announcing that the Enter the Dominatrix DLC for Saints Row the Third was being spun into a fully fledged sequel, and the weird news that Lingerie Football was getting its own game. In more serious news, Futurlab called the lack of trophies in PlayStations minis titles “the single biggest turn-off for most gamers”, a situation that may leave some disappointed. Personally I don’t find trophies all that compelling.

Release wise there wasn’t a whole lot going on, with Dirt: Showdown, Gravity Rush and the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection all releasing on the same day and representing a surprising chunk of quality for June releases. There was also the impressive Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, which got a 8/10 in our review, and the vastly disappointing Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor. Fortunately Spec Ops: The Line released towards the end of the month, and helped to remove the memories of that awful mech title.

So that’s June really. As per usual most of the month’s news was crammed into the few days of E3 at the beginning, although fortunately this year did see a few games to keep us going till July.

2 Comments
  1. XisTG
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    I actually like the Surface, tested one the other day. The keyboard is impressively light, although that Tegra 3 processor chugged when watching YouTube at 1080p.

    Comment posted on 24/12/2012 at 15:26.
  2. bunimomike
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Cripes. This was one hell of a month. Lovely recap and a good reminder in how the rest unfolded.

    Comment posted on 25/12/2012 at 00:50.

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