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E3 Run-Down: Giraffes, Bros and Creepy Old Men

Are you tired yet of hearing me complain about E3? Yes? Good! This week you get to find out what other people are complaining about. The word on the street. The buzz... of flies around the interpoops.



Geoff Keighley is back! Some of you might remember "Doritosgate", when Mr. Keighley was featured oh so very prominently as part of a Doritos and Mountain Dew sponsored Halo promotion, calling into question how impartial journalists are. Dew-rito-soft is still a thing, by the way ( This time a picture surfaced of Geoffykins with big grin in the SpikeTV display area where they have a live giraffe. Perhaps it was part of a big game reveal... Get it? Big game? No? ...Ok, moving on...



Elsewhere the buttcramps were escalating when it was revealed that the voice of Metal Gear Solid's Solid Snake would now be provided by Kiefer Sutherland. The part was previously played by David Hayter, who snarked "Can't fault @RealKiefer Great actor, good man. The game will probably still be excellent. Like New Coke!" making it clear he does not approve of Jack Bauersnake either. Oh well, Hayter's gonna hate, amirite? I have noticed a few comments, though, implying that after hearing Kiefer playing the part he's not as bad as they thought he'd be.



Mirror's Edge 2! This should have been the best news, but the announcement of this long-demanded sequel to that wonderful almost-there-showed-promise-coulda-been-better game left a few die-hard fans a bit grumpy. It's not a sequel, it's a reboot. This is a head-scratcher - did it really need a reboot? The trailer shown was about 90% fighting and very little of the parkour that made the original stand out, which is weird, because the overall concensus of #1 was 'get rid of the guns and fighting'. Fighting was definitely not the original's strength. The character looks mostly recognisable, but did they really really have to give her puffy lips? With a different hair style she could probably be made to look identical to the current in-flavour genero-femme protagonist.



Bob Chipman, AKA MovieBob, had the best response to this:

Honestly - Drivatar? Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of made up wordses, but stupid contractions and 'buzzwords' are what's wrong with this industry. It's like those made-up new amazing never-before-seen ingredients in beauty products; just call it like it is, okay? Your avatar is a driver. Yeah, we get it. Don't make it cute. It's a racing game, it doesn't need to be cute.



Consensus is still that the XBox One appears to be squarely aimed at the bros. This was very much echoed in the titles Microsoft chose to show off at their presentation. I heard some mutterings about the over-the-top bloodshed in the Ryse gameplay demo, so I had a look. You know what, they were right. You could almost smell the testosterone. But what struck me more about that gameplay trailer, and what was also grumbled about aplenty, is that the whole "gameplay" demo was riddled with QTEs. A little X pops up above someone's head, you press X, that someone gets stabbed, followed by another X above another nameless soon to be ragdoll's head. Long scripted parts where you have to press whatever buttons the system tells you to.



Many concerns were raised about how the focus of "next gen" is all about the tech. This is neither a new complaint, nor is it necessarily a bad thing. The problem is that the focus is always on the superficial. It's "more than textures and poly counts", they claim, and then throw in mentions of material shaders. Sony presented that same "old man" face demo that they showed before. As @samred quipped,

All the focus on making the 3D look good, and the physics behave right, but little to none of the tech seems to be about making the character actually behave or react in meaningful ways towards the player. Motion capture just does not cut it. The closer we move to having truly realistic graphics, the more obvious the shortcomings are. And seriously, game industry, after showing off all this fance-pantsy graphics tech, featuring hair and particle effects, several bajillion layers of tesselation and whatever else, why do you STILL have this obsession with showing off trailers with pre-rendered cinematics?

And I sense that not many people are buying this nonsense that Microsoft is spouting about their cloud computing infrastructure; that it's going to seemlingly increase the computing power of individual consoles. I don't buy it either. No way can a supercomputer with a whole unpredictable internet between me and it contribute meaningfully to the computing done on local hardware. I do not care how powerful it is. I also don't see how they hope for that infrastructure to support the billions of consoles they think they are going to sell. My gut tells me it's Microsoft's ploy to convince consumers that the XBox One will have a longer shelf life. Their demo was that of an asteroid field with 300,000 asteroids and claimed that without the cloud computing, this would have stuttered. To me this smells like something Riley the Navy SEAL dog from COD: Ghosts left on the grass.

A few dissatisfied grunts were also heard regarding the Kinect 2.0 demo. Apparently it showed poor responsiveness with a visible half-second lag between action and result. The Microsoft rep claimed it's because they had to rush the demo out the door in a short time no, not buying that either!



Microsoft showed off their new game-making engine thingamabob called Project Sparks. It's like a game but you make a game while playing the game. Gameception! Anyway, at one point the dude demo-ing Project Sparks mentioned the infinite number of ways to 'play' Project Spark - and then went on to pull Generic McGenericpants out of a generic nondescript hat with a generic example of generic action-adventure. Yet more 'playing it safe'. Why is Mirror's Edge getting a 'reboot'? Because the first one was just a little bit off the wall (haha geddit?) and even though people generally loved the off-the-wall stuff more than the generic stuff that's the stuff that probably scared publishers into thinking 'Y'know, if we release this again but make it more generic it'll have a wider appeal and we can make MOAR MONEYS'. It's like they don't listen to anyone, ever. I think they had a board meeting once when all this stuff that's now generic was actually new and awesome, and they haven't bothered having one since.

While we're talking about genericosity, what about that Wolfenstein stuff, huh? Head on over to . See that dude on the front? Recognise him? You should - it's the same male action hero that appears in almost every videgame with a male protagonist ever. This guy keeps busy, I tell ya! So Wolfenstein is a generic action shooter. It's full of 'been there, done that'. Such a great old retro title, but I'm not sure it'll be as awesome in these here times if they don't do something a little bit different with it. Brainless shooty pew-pew? Yeah, like we don't got enough of those already.

You want even more generic? Deadpool. Did you like the gameplay mechanics of Batman: Arkham Asylum? Do you like your dialogue dumb and your plot verging on non-existant? This is the game for you, bro! They'll just keep churning this crap out if we keep buying it. And we'll keep buying it, won't we? Because what else are we to do - protest by refusing to buy titles that don't live up to the standards we've set ourselves through years of dedicated gameplay? Pff, that's silly. No, just line up the Generic Action Shmups hiding behind a variety of titles and we'll play 'em all!



Don't despair, though. There is one good thing that came out of E3 (and I'm not talking about Sony taking Microsoft over one knee for a good spanking); Princess Peach is playable in the new Mario game for the first time since 1988. So THAT'S why none of Microsoft's announced games had female protagonists - who can compete with Peach?!

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