This week, Zero Punctuation reviews E3 2015.
It's that magical time of year when marketing professionals throughout the games industry load up their shotguns and shoot a massive, bleeding fake smile onto their faces to misrepresent a whole load of wank until we want to buy it and then tell us we can't have it until quarter four next year. Yes, the E3 hype train has pulled into the station another year to unload a few tons of liquid shit onto the platform and then speed off cackling into the night. But as I write this introduction before the first press conference begins, I don't mind admitting to acquired hope that things may be a little different this year. Perhaps they might even announce some things that haven't already been leaked?
Also VR tech may finally be making its move. The claim that motion controls would enhance immersion, that was always about as believable as the claim that a sledgehammer can enhance a Fabergé egg. But I genuinely believe that VR represents the way forward for immersive gaming, if they can iron out that whole "playing it for more than an hour makes my stomach want to crawl up my throat and file divorce proceedings against my inner ear" problem. But of course Oculus already did its pre-E3 announcement that it was jumping into bed with Microsoft. Yowser, could have broken that more gently, Oculus. You don't come out to your parents in a Christmas card. An Xbox One controller will ship with it like a rich snot buying his way into the popular kids club. And you can stream Xbox One games onto it - there was a video of some playing a third-person game on a screen in a virtual living room, which I'm guessing is their entry for the Piers-Morgan-for-president-total-pointlessness-award.
And also there's going to be a special two-handed controller that incorporates -
- that incorporates motion s-
Oh god no!
- that incorporates motion sensor tech -
NO NO NO, WE WERE SO CLOSE! WE WERE ALMOST FREE! Why must we forever carry our failures around with us like a scrotum full of horseshoes? Oh, you could pick up a virtual gun with your actual hand and fire it, cause that's what I want added to the process of shooting an enemy, isn't it? My noodly wrist groping for something that isn't there, like a castrated wanker. Hey, Captain Scott, how about we make sure we can actually get to the South Pole before we start making plans to erect the Statue of Liberty there?
Bethesda's entire press conference was apparently being run by Captain Obvious. In it we learned that Doom is gory and that Fallout 4, which was already available for preorder to people with some kind of pathological hatred of their own money, is a Fallout game, but if there's been too much action, narrative and exploration in Fallout games for your taste, so you'd rather have spent your time messing around the Sims building editor, then Fallout 4's got you covered. For everyone else, Fallout 4 talks up the illusory Holy Grail of total freedom, but a game where the player can do anything is a game that focuses on nothing. Also there was Dishonored 2, whoops, butterfingers, dropped my honour again. But perhaps it would be quicker to skip prerendered trailers as they tell us nothing except "Hey, this is a thing that may someday exist, and we will literally promise anything if it makes one person in the audience go 'Whooo!'."
Of course, the line between prerendered and gameplay trailers grew rather thin during the Microsoft show, awkward segue, where Rise of the Tomb Raider, Halo 5 and a new Gears of War joined forces to become the "back to formula gang". You think you've been thinking you've been dragged a linear sequence of set pieces before, but you've never been dragged along a linear sequence of set pieces like this, except you have. In all the other games with the same name as us, but shut up and look at the skyboxes.
The shocking Microsoft announcement was that backwards compatibility is coming to the Xbox One! Before we can even start undoing our trousers, however, the great big asterisk came like a shuriken to the eye socket. It's just for a limited range of 360 games. It's like pirates kidnapped our wife and now expect a round of applause, 'cause they brought her back after two years and only cut off most of her arms and legs.
Let's skip ahead a bit to the recipient of Microsoft's wildest fantasy hatefucks, Sony. And nuzzle my hairy crevices if they didn't actually announce The Last Guardian, again. The logical successor to its two predecessors, in that it just looks like ICO, except with a colossus instead of the flaky bitch. Not until next year though, they must be programming this game by carving ones and zeroes into stone tablets. Otherwise, if Microsoft had the back to formula gang, Sony's theme was "get in that nostalgia comfort zone and start digging, bitch." Rest assured, Uncharted 4 looks exactly the same as all the other ones. Here's a remake of Final Fantasy 7 we'll tell you fuck-all about, because you already busted a nut before we reached the fourth syllable of the title, didn't you? And last but not least, Shenmue III...'s Kickstarter? That's fucking weak! That's about ten levels below a prerendered trailer. Maybe next year you could just have someone come on and go "I'm thrilled to announce that I'm now going to stand here and imagine a game in my head. Give us cash."
Alright, what else? We knew about Assassin's Creed Syndicate of course, but even if we didn't, it hardly seems worth mentioning. It's like announcing that the tide will continue to go in and out. I don't see much to indicate that Syndicate is adding much to the formula, but we do know that its idea of a 'relatable protagonist' is someone who beats people up until they join his street gang, leads them into a big fight, then fucks off. Maybe he's auditioning for the all-hunky-blokes production of A Clockwork Orange.
Later we poked our head around old man Nintendo's door for a bit and I'm thinking the Nintendo's 3DS should be renamed the 'Nintendo Psych'. Hey, we're totally announcing a new Zelda, a new Mario and a new Metroid Prime. Oh, they're all on the 3DS? Psych! (sigh) I say Metroid Prime, there's no sign of Samus Aran and it looks like an N64 threw up on a Star Wars prequel. This is like when your Nan buys you Christmas presents. [high voice] "This is what you wanted, isn't it, dear?" Almost nan, I actually wanted you to jam it between your crusty folds and hammer it home with a wire brush. Star Fox was about as good as it got, and that looked like a Star Wars prequel threw up on an N64. Just a little bit of time left now for some quick fire snarks:
- Hitman: Square Enix must be confident in it, because they are doing the reboot-with-the-same-name thing and they won't be able to play that card again for at least nine minutes.
- Mass Effect Andromeda: a.k.a Mass Effect: escape from the corner we wrote ourselves into. Nice picture-postcard landscapes, I look forward to next year's teaser when you think of something to put in them.
- Horizon Zero Dawn: [pause] Nope, I have no earthly clue what that title means, I suspect you came up with it by throwing a set of refrigerator poetry magnets at the side of a speeding car.
- E3 Kings of Orient are: Ben "Yahtzee Croshaw"
- Feel free to create elaborate dioramas in Fallout 4 expressing your disagreement with this video
- You can't spell pessimist without piss
+ Open world
+ Still looks clean
- I remain unsold on first person parkour
- So why do we hate the government again
+ Maybe it will distract the survivalist nutters
- Dropping promised features like flakes of dandruff
- Wait isn't Tom Clancy dead
- Not doing the Guitar Hero live streaming thing
- Freestyle solos sound like absolute ass
- I wasn't aware the rhythm game bubble had somehow un-burst
+ It's Mario I guess
- Why are we having to do your job for you, Nintendo
- I mean besides the obvious reasons
+ I just
+ in my pants