Just a couple trailers I wanted to pass along for those interested in watching. Both the films were big hits at Sundance '09, however they're probably far from the eyes of the greater population. Thanks to Slashfilm for the trailers. I'm not going to spoil anything with long descriptions, so just enjoy.
World's Greatest Dad starring Robin Williams
Cold Souls starring Paul Giamatti
I'm (as always) a little late to the game here, but still, there are a few things I'd like to say about the happenings of E3 2009. I'll say those things in the form of a list of awards and non-awards. Recognition, given be me, which makes it worth -- absolutely nothing. No matter... I'm still giving it.
Best Downloadable Experience - Shadow Complex
Shadow Complex might have been a little glitchy in demo, but something tells me that won't be happening after release. The concept behind the game is enough to sell me, as a game crafted in Unreal Engine 3 that is a side-scrolling Metroidvania is practically erection inducing. The 3D gameplay moments don't look as captivating, but I'm sure they'll ultimately play well enough to not be distracting.
Game to be Most Worried About - Castlevania: Lord of Shadow
On first glance this was without a doubt going to be Metroid: Other M, however after the developers spent some time explaining Team Ninja's role and the atmosphere of the title, I'm a little more cautious about the new Kojima-branded Castlevania. Kojima brings a desire to reinvent the franchise in 3D, perhaps successfully for the first time, and yet, I wonder if he'll remember the parts of Castlevania that actually need to be remembered. I'm afraid for this one.
Most Exciting - Scribblenauts
God fights the Kraken while riding a skateboard blasting away with his shotgun -- Time travel to ride on a dinosaur and return to chomp zombies. Imagination. This is a step in the right direction.
I'm wondering who will win in a fight between Cthulhu and Abraham Lincoln.
Surprisingly I Care About - DJ Hero
I never really jumped on the Guitar Hero/Rock Band-wagon, and still, I found that I devoured E3 media surrounding DJ Hero because of how different the gameplay mechanics actually were. It's not as much the Guitar Hero clone as I thought it was, and it definitely has a control style inspired by actual DJ experiences. Who knows if I'll buy it, but I can say I'm more intrigued by this than I ever was about Guitar Hero -- even if I don't exactly like the music.
Worst Idea Ever - Wii Vitality Sensor
Chance I'll Care About One of the New Racing Games - 100%
I haven't bought a racing game since Gran Turismo 4, and now, with the onslaught of Gran Turismo 5, Gran Turismo PSP, and Forza 3, I can honestly say I'll probably buy a racing game. Who'd have guessed? Surely not me.
Greatest Potential - New Super Mario Bros. Wii
I could award this game Best of the Show, or Best Wii game, or anything else that it probably rightfully deserves, but instead I'll take note that of all the games at E3 2009, New Super Mario Bros. Wii carries with it the greatest potential to be an incredible game. I can't guarantee that it will be incredible though, however I can guarantee that if Nintendo fucks this up I'm walking out on them... and I'm taking my dollars with me. No online play? That was a good start.
Franchise that Suddenly Seems Good - Splinter Cell
It wasn't a particularly shameful thing for me to admit that I never played a Splinter Cell game. I didn't care much about them, Sam Fisher seemed like an uninteresting hero, and I could get similar enough gameplay from Metal Gear Solid. Then I saw the walkthrough of Splinter Cell: Conviction, and I realized that maybe I had given this series an unfair judgment. I can't say I'll go back and play previous entries, but Splinter Cell: Conviction will be high on the list of my Fall 2009 purchases.
Words, on buildings. Why has no one else thought of this?
Biggest Waste of Time - Motion Control Prototypes
I'm actually a fan of Project Natal, and Sony's Motion Control Phallus was... ok. However, the way in which these tools are shown to the public in their prepubescent stages of infancy and glitches is... pathetic. If it's not ready, leave it in the bag. And even more so, if you're promising some of the outlandish things seen in the Project Natal sizzler reel, you'd better prove they actually work. The day Project Natal can scan a skateboard like it did for that kid, I'll eat my shorts. My. Shorts.
Thing I Missed the Most - Trailer Montages
They used to be so fun. Now everyone is stuffy and trying to show these epic walkthroughs of epic games for epic applause. I miss the two minute montage that showed 30 games with a surprise or two thrown in for good measure.
Where was It? - Xbox Live - Bringing it Home
Maybe even more than Half-Life: Episode 3 or Zelda Wii, what I thought was missing from E3 2009 was Bringing It Home. Where were the demos? There were a few trailers and stage videos present on Xbox Live, but not a single demo or surprise Arcade release makes me wonder if Xbox is forgetting the power and usefulness of their service. I guess they thought knowing that I'll soon be able to tweet from my dashboard was enough.
I think that's enough for today. I've waded through my post E3 depression of no good news and started mild anticipation for events like Blizzcon and PAX. Hell, even Comic-con is just around the corner and I can feel my interest bubbling up for that. I've made my list of must-buy Fall releases, and I've decided that I can't, of course, afford anything close to what I need.
Well, with the big three conferences here and gone, E3 this year may not be quite over yet, but in terms of announcements that tremble the hearts of nerds and leave jaws agape, I think it's safe to say Goodnight. The announcements that did come? Some amazing -- some not quite -- some veer towards the thin line that separates plain stupid from mental retardation. Regardless, predictions were made, so let's discover how well I can estimate the future of the games industry.
1. Colored Wiis - Maybe not "colored" but a black Wii was announced for Japan. Whatever, I'm counting it.
2. New Super Mario Bros. 2 - I said that this could happen on the Wii. It might not be called a direct sequel, but even still, this is close enough to what I imagined. Actually, it's even better -- props Nintendo, props.
3. Downloadable Virtual Console for DSi - I don't understand why this is so hard for Nintendo to commit to. Not a mention at all of this, what could be a killer service.
4. Pikmin - It exists. Did Nintendo remind everyone of that? No.
5. No New Accessories - If I believed in God, I'd curse him at this point. Damn Vitality Sensor. I'll let my treadmill measure my pulse (If I had one), thank you very much.
Predicted Grade: C-
Actual Grade: C+ - Don't worry, I'm still not in love with the backwards direction Nintendo is heading in terms of many things I love, but a new Galaxy, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and even Team Ninja's Metroid: Other M deserve some praise. The more I look into this Metroid they're making, the more I think it might not be bad.
1. The Motion Camera - Project Natal, eh? It has potential to be unique and interesting. I don't ever see it lending itself to hardcore games, but I won't write it off before it is fully realized.
2. New Halo - Halo: Reach. I hit the nail on the head (the rumors helped). Still, I'd rather it be a third-person shooter in the Halo-verse. That needs to be done.
3. Metal Gear Solid - Victory!
4. XBLA Gets Serious & 5. "New Game" from... hmm, I'll say Epic Games - I got them both right, I just didn't know they'd be the same game. Shadow Complex looks great, and I'm always for another Metroidvania.
6. Special Extra Prediction - New game from Rare - Wrong.
7. Special Extra Prediction 2 - Project Offset - So wrong.
Predicted Grade: A-
Actual Grade: B - That was unexpected. Perhaps the mystery hype behind Microsoft's announcements actually hurt them here and resulted in a backlash. What they actually did reveal was in many places awesome, however in others it was actually tame and expected. Who didn't know Crackdown 2 was coming? Great conference, but not earth shattering.
1. PSP Go! - It didn't really count that I knew this one -- but whatever, I'm a cheater. What I couldn't have guessed was the price-point. $250.00? Come on Sony, what the hell are you thinking?
2. Metal Gear Solid - I should have guessed two Metal Gear's for Sony. That would have been a little more impressive.
3. Price-Cut then PS3 Slim - I'm not sure how Sony plans to sell systems this fall without making either of these announcements. Rest assured, I'd bet a lot that they're both coming, although, who knows when?
4. Gran Turismo 5 - Maybe Gran Turismo PSP was the GT darling with a serious focus, but we did see Gran Turismo 5 on stage... and guess what? The cars? YOU CAN DAMAGE THEM! Way to go Polyphony! That only took you 10 years or so to deliver.
5. New Syphon Filter - This was an absolute guess on my part. Shows what I get for making absolute guesses.
Predicted Grade - B
Actual Grade - B - I think Sony's conference was actually right around the B range. With some serious announcements lacking -- particularly the ones that would help them get console sales, they otherwise performed well in terms of surprises and interesting game announcements. I, for one, will admit to being hyped by ModNation Racers. Then there's always that Final Fantasy XIV...
Third Party -
1. Valve - Half-Life Episode 3 - Wrong.
2. Capcom - Viewtiful Joe on Wii - Wrong-er.
3. Konami - WiiWare Castlevania - Wrong-est.
4. Square Enix - Kingdom Hearts Wii - Super Wrong.
5. Ubisoft - Prince of Persia - I'm not very good at this.
I think I'll leave third party guesses for someone else next year.
THE GRAND TALLY: 10 correct predictions out of 22
Nintendo Percentage Correct: 40%
Microsoft Percentage Correct: 71%
Sony Percentage Correct: 60%
Third Party Percentage Correct: 0%
That's that for the E3 crystal ball this year. Next post will be best of show awards.