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E3 2011 – The Glamour Of Pre-3

E3 2011 – The Glamour Of Pre-3

E3 begins tomorrow. You probably won’t care about anything I write until then. Hell, you probably won’t care about anything I write then either. But E3 has effectively started thanks to today and what I will now call Pre-3. It’ll catch on. Wait and see.

There were four press conferences today – Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and Sony. Microsoft‘s was first and obviously I didn’t go to that but judging by how much people were moaning about it, that was probably for the best. Quick summary for those who aren’t keeping up – Halo 4, Halo: Combat Evolved in HD (that’s a separate release by the way, not a hilarious comment on Halo 4) and token Kinect stuff.

Then again, people were moaning about the queues, the weather, how tired they were, how there wasn’t anywhere nearby to get food… lots of moaning. Miserable bastards. You’re at E3! Well, Pre-3. Close enough.

So EA was up next. You’ll have seen the stories that have come out the press conference and it was very impressive stuff. BioWare’s stuff looked great. Overstrike had a rocky start but won the crowd over. Battlefield 3 looked incredible and Fox News has actually done a news report talking about how amazing it looks. No-one’s going to do a news story on Fox News actually praising a game though, are they? Actually, I might do one right now, for NowGamer. Be right back.

So anyway! EA bigwig John Riccitiello kicked off the press conference with a cheeky swipe at Activision, noting that EA doesn’t throw money at big name celebs to create hype. Less than an hour after he said this, they then wheel out NFL players to promote Madden. Hmmm.

Game of the year was also unveiled during their press conference. Behold.

Battlefield 3 was positioned as EA’s big game this year and the crowd reaction showed as much, with the only other game to get a similar reaction being Mass Effect 3 (slightly ruined by Executive Producer Casey Hudson fluffing his script more than once).

And yet, the unifying thing that had everyone talking was how EA’s Wi-Fi refused to work. It would connect, then disconnect. Then it would connect, then disconnect. Then it would connect and… wait… it’s working! Disconnect. Some people spent longer playing with their MacBook Air and clicking their ‘connect’ button than they were watching the conference.

After  that, everyone walked the mammoth distance of three blocks to the Ubisoft conference. It was weird enough that they had their conferences so close to each other but the similarities didn’t end there. Both companies held their conference on the same street. Both companies held their conference in a theatre. Both companies had a free goodie bag barely worth the effort of picking up (EA – free notepad, Ubisoft – free cupcake). Both companies had 4-player co-op titles on show (EA – Overstrike, Ubisoft – Ghost Recon). Both companies… ahhhh you get the point.

Though again, Wi-Fi didn’t work and again, a lot of people were spending more time getting frustrated at that than they were watching the actual games. Ubisoft set up three separate open Wi-Fi spots and none of them worked. Not one! Fair play to the guy who created his open Wi-Fi spot called youvebeenhacked. Shame he had to quickly close it again when over 1,000 media suddenly jumped on his Wi-Fi.

The crowd was much livelier for the Ubisoft conference than they were for the EA one, which is weird given they were exactly the same crowd for both, having just walked all of 300 metres.

Still, there was something that Ubisoft was doing which tickled them the right way. When Assassin’s Creed: Revelations was mentioned by Ubisoft’s Aaron ‘Mr Caffeine’ Priceman, the guy sat to my left jumped out of his chair, screamed YEEEEEEEAH and punched the air. Maybe the free cupcakes were a bigger deal than I thought.

To summarise Ubi’s conference in a paragraph: Far Cry 3 and Brothers In Arms: Furious 4 looked amazing. I never thought I’d say that about a Brothers In Arms game but there you go. Ghost Recon has a heavy Splinter Cell: Conviction influence in how it’s been styled up and looks intriguing but far from a slam-dunk cert at this point, though going by the crowd reaction, I might be alone in thinking that. Assassin’s Creed Revelation? Well, we have the super-mega-not-even-at-E3 exclusive on that, which will be in the issue of Play going on sale this week. YEEEEEEEAH.

Finally, there was Sony and… well. NowGamer is swamped with news stories plucked from the Sony conference and some of the chat afterwards, the main point being Vita’s pricepoint of $249. Mix Master Mike was the special performance, with Jane’s Addiction after and then there was another band but I did the rock and roll thing of going back to the hotel room to do work. Which is where I am now. Writing this. FOR YOU.

So tomorrow, E3 begins. The highlight of tomorrow will be Uncharted 3, which I’m seeing behind closed doors at around 9pm UK time, so keep an eye out for quick thoughts on our Facebook page (facebook.com/PlayMagUK) and Twitter (twitter.com/PlayMag_UK). If the Wi-Fi works, that is…

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