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E3 2012 Conferences: Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft

E3 2012 Conferences: Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft

E3 hasn’t quite kicked off good and proper yet but as is annual tradition, there are plenty of press conferences that take place just before the actual event opens its doors to the press. And so, here’s a quick round-up on what you may have missed.

Microsoft

Boo, hiss, etc.

You may question why we’re questioning why we’re covering Microsoft’s conference but as Sony’s nearest rival, you have to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Fortunately for Sony, Microsoft dropped the ball with its E3 conference, pushing the Xbox brand over showcasing new games.

In terms of big exclusive games, they showed Halo 4 (fairly impressive), Forza: Horizon (CG trailer that told us nothing), Gears of War: Justice (CG trailer that told us nothing) and Fable: The Journey (CG trailer that… yeah).

Microsoft seems to be focusing on timed exclusive DLC, which it has in the bag for Black Ops II and Resident Evil 6 among others.

The vast majority of their conference was spent on further building out Xbox 360 as an entertainment hub, with Xbox Music and sports channels dominating the presentation. A lot time spent explaining interactive app SmartGlass, which lets you connect your phone to Xbox 360 and your tablet and… something.

You probably shouldn’t have South Park creators Matt and Trey on right after announcing something like that, because this is what happens.

EA

A fairly safe, bland, corporate press conference. Battlefield 3: Premium was announced, as was SimCity Social for Facebook, as was a new Madden social game, and Medal of Honor: Warfighter and Crysis 3 were demoed. All of them came and went without much impact.

FIFA 13 registered higher on the interest scale but it’s FIFA – hardly the series that’s about to announce a team deathmatch mode or DLC maps.

So interesting stuff then: first was a gameplay demo of Dead Space 3, which looks like a good game but will leave some arguing over whether it’s a good Dead Space game or not. It’s definitely left behind its purist survival horror leanings to embrace the cover-shooter trend and looks an awful lot like Gears of War (big bulky men cover shooting at weird looking monsters – not a huge stretch). Isaac is also far chattier now, which is bad news for those who didn’t like that he broke his silence in Dead Space 2. Even so, it was polished, it was slick, it looks like a good action game. But is that what we want?

EA broke it’s bigger surprise by sending out the press release five minutes before it happened (doh) but the publisher has snapped up the UFC license from rivals THQ. Dana White was onstage to say that ‘finally’ he’s joined the world’s biggest publisher. It’ll be interesting to see how this partnership plays out and whether it takes its cues from EA MMA or UFC Undisputed but just as interesting will be seeing how Dana White reacts when someone inevitably brings up comments he’s made in previous interviews about how “EA doesn’t give a shit” about MMA.

Finally, Need For Speed: Most Wanted by Criterion, announced via a Prodigy soundtrack. Not much more to be added, as it tickes all the necessary boxes. Have a look see:

Ubisoft

Pretty damn impressive stuff from Ubisoft, ignoring the painful ‘banter’ between Aisha Taylor and backstage host Tobocus/Tobacco/Tabasco/whatever.

The highlights:

Rayman Legends was shown off for Wii-U but given Ubisoft’s tendency to release their games for every format under the sun – PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, PC, Wii-U, mobile phone, calculator, watch, etc – that’s not a real concern. The takeaway here is that Rayman Legends looks gaaaawjus and ended with a cutesy rhythm-action game that was weirdly uplifting. Even this bitter, depressed scowl couldn’t help but grinning at Ubisoft’s effortless charmer. Oh you.

Far Cry 3 could be a fairly ho-hum FPS game in a show that seems to be drowning with them but the insanity angle has allowed Ubisoft to cook up some pretty inventive visuals. We’ll have to wait and see how this changes the gameplay but it’s definitely going to grab your attention. And even if the weird visuals didn’t, the boobs and the violence would have done. Far Cry 3 is about making a statement.

Assassin’s Creed III… well, just watch this. It’s late, I’m tired but Ubisoft showed off so much in its Assassin’s Creed III demo, it wouldn’t do it justice to relay the action in a summary paragraph. Most importantly though – what about that mercury shipment?

Watch Dog – read the first details on Watch Dog and watch it in action. Ubi had a few duds on display – mostly that painful banter and also an awkward presentation of ShootMania – but if Watch Dog doesn’t emerge as game of the show when all is said and done, we’ll be very, very surprised…



  • Sid

    Dead Space 3 couldn’t stop but make me feel that I was watching Lost Planet 3 footage. I mean, Ice and Snow… Giant Monsters… Co-Op… it’s all taking cues from the Lost Planet franchise! However, I am still very interested in what the final game would be, as it could be one heck of a scary “lost planet” co-op game which would be really fun.

  • Joey

    What’s wrong with horror games these days? Do we all have such bad ADD that we need tits and explosions and co-op thrown in? Dead Space 1 was great, 2 lost some of the scare factor but made up for it in brilliance. 3 looks like it could turn out like Res5. Can’t ever get a decent horror/survival without it being Bigger and Bolder and Ground Breaking. All I want is a scary polished horror game not a wannabe Hollywood blockbuster. Kids these days!