I’ve never been to an event like this before, and I must say it was a pretty good one. The strangest part about it was seeing faces I recognised off of the internet in person. I did approach a few of them and they were pretty cool people. But anyway, onto an important aspect of this. The videogames.
Here are some I played at the event:
The new game from Thomas Was Alone creator which unlike his last game stars a cast of people that look like humans instead of squares. What we have here is a stealth game that plays much like Metal Gear Solid 1 and 2, except without the hand-cramp inducing controls.
It was pretty easy to get my head around, and fairly fast moving for a stealth game. Getting spotted and attacked meant instant restarts from pretty generous checkpoints, so there was nothing incredibly frustrating about it, no need to shout expletives at the top of my voice like I do when I’m spotted in Metal Gear.
This truly harkens back to the days of early 3D stealth games, and manages to steer clear of the most frustrating aspects of them. I must say I’m eagerly anticipating the release of this game.
Galak-Z: The Dimensional
Now I think this game looks really nice, they’ve nailed a 70/80s anime art style, looking a lot like Robotech or early Gundam. The problem is that it really takes some getting used to controlling it, and I don’t think a crowded show floor is necessarily the best place to get to grips with it.
With a top down presentation like Asteroids you think it would control that way, but it doesn’t quite. There are some really cool ideas in there, like how different factions of enemies will fight each other, and some super nice aesthetic touches, like an in-cockpit view for enemies. But seeing those systems in action is a bit hard when the game is difficult enough to control that you die fairly quickly.
I love Dark Souls, so this game from the same team has me incredibly excited. I spent 5 minutes on Bloodborne. The demo ended when I died, and there’s a lot there that can kill you fast. It’s probably gonna be good but I didn’t get to play much of it.
Maia, Taphobos and Beyond eyes were some other interesting games, but I feel there’s enough there to write full pieces on with those, so be on the lookout for those! I spoke with Simon Roth, the person behind Maia for over half an hour and I felt the interview could have gone on for much longer.
It was a ton of fun, and while this year I was only able to manage the one day, next time I hope to make all three. I’m definitely going to this one again next year, and it’s gotten me hungry to find similar kinds of events as well.
It’s unusual to say you get excited for big 1-2 hour compilations of adverts, but E3 gets people hyped, myself included. This time of year is an indication of whether we should be caring about what the big companies have to offer, and I’m currently looking forward to playing a lot of video games shown at the event.
If any were a bit lacklustre, it would be Microsoft and EA. Microsoft put together a confident showing, with detailing what exclusives they’ve got that do look fairly cool. However a lot of what they showed were things that could potentially be a game. There were a few too many CG trailers, as opposed to real footage of the game. Real games they did show were Call of Duty, Halo, Fable and Assassin’s Creed. All games that I’ve seen before and don’t really show much that’s new and exciting. I was happy to see more of The Witcher 3 though.
EA was the same, at least they showed early in-game footage, but what they had was a ways off. It’s difficult to muster up excitement for ‘conceptual prototypes’ when others are showing the real games that are coming out. Mass Effect and Star Wars Battlefront are both games I’ll be happy to see more of though. We did see some good footage of Dragon Age: Inquisition, which is out in October (I suppose I’m certainly looking forward to dark fantasy video games). I did get into the Battlefield Hardline beta, and it honestly does not feel significantly different enough from a standard Battlefield.
Aisha Tyler keeps getting better as a host for Ubisoft, but I can never get excited for Ubisoft video games, their games tend to blend together as they share a lot of gameplay systems. There was a bit too much fake-sounding “voice chat” over certain games.
Sony had a mostly great showing, though they spent a little too much time on dull TV and hardware talk. NOBODY EXPECTED GRIM FANDANGO! It’s something I’ve never had a chance to play, and I’ll be glad to pick it up on Vita. No Man’s Sky, Mortal Kombat X, Batman: Arkham Knight, Destiny are some of the games that actually had in-game footage, and I want to play them.
Nintendo’s was just the most fun to watch, especially with a cringe-worthy fight between Reggie and Iwata being hilarious. And again they showed games I want to play. Mario Maker seems like it could be a really fun thing if it gets a good community behind it, and Splatoon looks like Nintendo’s take on a competitive shooter, complete with their standard of charm and fun new mechanics on top. It’s nice to see a third-person shooter where the goal isn’t kill everyone.
All things considered it’s been a pretty good E3 so far, and I look forward to seeing some of these games in action, and can’t wait to get them in my hands.
Microsoft have revealed their new console, the Xbox One.
It is going to have more emphasis on content that isn’t games, such as TV and films.
Games shown at the conference were Forza 5, multiple EA sports games, and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
The system will also have a new Kinect bundled with the system.
Microsoft did not give any indication of how much the system will cost, used games will also require a “preowned fee” to be paid.
Xbox 360 games will also not be backwards compatible with the system.
It’ll be launching in time for Christmas, is anyone intending to get one? I’m not quite sold on it myself, but we’ll see what they have to show at E3.
The previous wednesday, I had atttended an awards ceremony for my university course, and I ended up being one of the award winners.
I’ve won blogger of the year for this website in particular.
I’d like to thank all of the readers, all of the people who gave their time for me to interview them for features, all the people that allowed me to join in with gaming events. It’s been fantastic working on this, and I hope to do a lot more with it.
Also, I will be live-streaming more Dragon Quest VIII at 7pm GMT. Check it out right here.
Tonight at 6pm GMT I will be attempting the first proper PixPen livestream.
I will be playing Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. Hopefully you guys will enjoy watching it, and I’ll enjoy playing it.
This is a first time effort so I hope you can excuse any hiccups that occur, be sure to point any out.
Check out the livestream here at the right time.
Ken Wong got his first videogame job from a piece of fan-art he did on the internet.
He created a piece of fan-art for American McGee’s Alice, and got noticed by the game designer who asked him for if he wanted a job. Eventually that led to him being the art-director of the sequel, Alice: Madness Returns.
Most recently, Ken has been working on his own iOS game, Hackycat, which is a game of Hacky Sack except you kick cats in the air.
Hackycat is the first game that Ken Wong has worked on as an independent, solo developer.
He told me: “I have always been more interested in smaller more expressive games, and so when iOS came along, especially the iPad I got into these smaller tightly designed games, so that’s what I was interested in when I started Hackycat
“The barriers for entry are much lower for IOS, you can make a game with just a laptop and with some free software, and with an apple developer account, and that’s a lot easier than making a console game.”
Moving from a big project with a team, to a small indie title working by yourself can be challenging.
“you have to become very self reliant because you’re the only person there, you can’t turn to the programmer and say ‘hey can you fix this, can you work on this for the next couple of days?’ so I had to get used to not having anyone else and that often means taking on the role of producer, QA and handling marketing and all that kind of stuff.
“I was working from home at the same time, so it was really easy to get stuck in your own head. You’re working on the game design and you think it’s fun, but you’re not sure cause you know only you’re playing it yourself, so you need to get out there and have a few people play it and really listen to their feedback.
“It’s kinda hard when you know what you want and they’re just not getting it, they don’t think it’s fun, and that was challenging for me because I think I know what I want but you have to listen to the audience and analyse their feedback.”
Wong also warned those who wish to immediately want to go into indie development: “I do think that I can only do what I’m doing right now as an Indie because I spent many years working with a team of fantastic talented people who I learnt a lot from.
“I think it would be quite hard to do this without my prior experience, so I would say, if you can, work with people more experienced so you can learn for a few years.
“If you’re determined to embark on this indie adventure, listen and learn to the people around you, read as much as you can from people who have done indie games, listen to their advice, learn from their mistakes.
“I think there’s this idea of ‘I’m a game designer and I’m gonna make a game and people will like it’, it’s a more organic process than that, people will give you feedback and you have to respond to that.”
It’s too early for him to tell if it’s a big financial success, but in some ways, he’s already succeeded: “I think for me what I wanted to achieve with this game was complete the project, to make a game by myself and put it out, so I’ve done that and I’m really happy about it, so the next thing is just to see how well it does financially.”