E3 2019 happened less than 20 days ago but has already been forgotten. It was overlooked by the gaming world and proved to be a disaster. Not only did PlayStation dodge the whole event out of embarrassment for their lack of offerings, but Microsoft may as well have done the same. It was the worst E3 ever, and it’s especially grim when we see it as a forecast of what’s to come: that is to say, services and mediocrity.Continue reading
Despite putting up my E3 2018 podcast just two days ago, I decided that I wanted to do another one to talk about the Steam Link App, my next-gen industry analysis article, and the hilarious ways that VR is trying to create a killer app. As you’ll hear when you listen to it, I go further into the reason why I predicted that the next generation of consoles were going to use streaming game services as their big selling point. However, I could never have predicted that this morning — right as I was preparing to upload the episode and publish this article — news broke that PlayStation Now is gearing up for a major rehaul.
Listen to the E3 podcast now (Episode 004)
Listen to the streaming/VR podcast now (Episode 005)
Read on for more discussion and proof that my prediction was dead-on correct…
This year’s E3 has me convinced that Xbox and PlayStation are in deep trouble, and that the de facto winners of this decline are the PC and Nintendo Switch. Xbox tried to advertise “exclusives” that were all going to be available on PC as well, while Sony kept talking about VR. The 4K revolution is dead in the water. Nobody cares about 4K, even though we recognize that it’s an improvement.
VR and 4K are things that would’ve been nice to have if they were fully-functional and properly showcased three years ago. But by now we’re so starved for quality games that we just want to have things to play on our existing machines. I’ve seen people argue that they’re totally satisfied with their PS4 and even their Xbox, and that they look forward to the release of the titles in development, but the overall excitement for this generation of machines is lower than I’ve ever seen with previous generations. The logic of a console cycle is that you’ll be given a front-row seat to the cutting edge of gaming for the duration of the console’s lifetime, building up a library that will some day stand as a distinct epoch of gaming innovations. Each console has its own gimmicks, branding, and eccentricities that you can incorporate into your identity, and the rituals you learn on that machine become part of the shared identity you have with your fellow gamers. But now there’s nothing special about consoles, since they all share the same controller layouts, hardware is always just a mid-tier PC, and the distribution models and features are homogenized. PC has never had the epoch-ritual-identity quality that consoles offered; they were generic machines that did a lot of stuff, and also gaming. Consoles are now in the same boat, and without that strange generational epoch psychology, they just become worse PCs with a smaller library and less features. This E3 proved that Sony and Microsoft have absolutely nothing interesting to offer.
Nintendo Switch stands apart from all of that, and is winning as a result. This E3 was a huge success for the Switch because they are creating an epoch-ritual-identity framework that people can become invested in. The games, tone, and features of the Switch are distinct and flavorful, and you can be guaranteed that you’ll be able to build a library that will some day stand as an epoch of gaming.
The “AAA” games shown at E3 were boring and mediocre. The indie games looked interesting, but we’ve learned by now that indie games usually fail to follow through on their enticing designs and premises, so we have to take them with a grain of salt. VR and 4K editions of exiting games are not even close to worth the cost, and only push us further into the outdated living room as the hub of entertainment. I suspect many gamers will look at this E3 and decide that traditional consoles are enjoying their final twilight days.
I’ll be discussing the games, hardware, and announcements themselves in future posts. This was more of a broad evaluation.
I’ve been thinking more about the celebrity praise page for the E3 2014 MGSV trailer, and it’s becoming funnier and funnier to me.
I just finished writing about how disappointing and fumbled the storytelling of Ground Zeroes itself was. It’s strange how none of these great celebrities are discussing how good of a job he did with that, considering it’s THE ACTUAL PROLOGUE OF THE GAME.
Why would Konami seek out reactions of celebrities on a mere trailer, when the prologue is already available for the world? Did they even ask them about Ground Zeroes, or do they already know that no intelligent person would praise it as a masterpiece or a work of art? Call me crazy, but I think the prologue should be considered a better test of Kojima’s storytelling ability than a carefully edited trailer with a licensed song. I mean, isn’t that what a prologue is for?
The trailer praise page serves as a reminder of how lame Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is. It already injected cash into Kojima Productions and served as a beta test for the Fox Engine, so now nobody needs to be reminded of its supposedly crucial role and its groundbreaking mature themes, artistic depth, or genius creative vision. That honor belongs to a damn trailer.
Real information and insight coming from Eurogamer (and probably others) about Phantom Pain, including a lot about Mother Base.
You manage your resources as you see fit and you choose how to expand Mother Base’s capabilities. Do you spend GMP, the in-game currency, on upgrading your defences with more UAVs, or invest in research and development? Either way, most of the time you’ll have a new platform construction somewhere in the distance – a future wing of your hexagonal home.
Then watch the 60fps video — which makes a world of difference if you’ve only seen the YouTube stuff or live streams from E3 — on this page.
I’m terrible at covering news, but I will say I am very happy with everything I’ve seen from The Phantom Pain so far. Fulton Recovery, Mother Base, and all of that “metagame” goodness is going to give the game some extreme longevity. Very cool, and the new trailer is a great blend of emotion and story teasing.
Go here for the up-to-date information:
Here’s an exciting update from the master of social media marketing, Hideo Kojima:
“As got feedback from people played GZ that they wanna revenge in TPP, I’m adding hints of what happens to Snake & his team in E3 trailer.”
They wanna revenge, huh? So you’re going to give them hints? Clever guy!
Considering you released a $40 multiplatform prologue game that has a cliffhanger ending, I have to say it’s pretty brilliant to use the world’s biggest videogame presentation stage to make some follow up hints! Much better than simply showing a blank screen for 8 minutes.
Once again we can see Kojima “reacting” to “feedback”, but this feels like a hollow marketing campaign to me, at least compared to past Metal Gear announcements which had genuine hype. Sure, we always want to know more information about the next Metal Gear game, but shoehorning in this rhetoric about fans wanting “revenge” (HINT: That’s the theme of MGSV) is a little bit contrived. Lying about being involved with The Phantom Pain, creating Moby Dick Studios, and releasing Ground Zeroes as a separate game have all generated more confusion and resentment than true hype.
This E3 trailer has a lot riding on it. It needs to finally get the average gamer to understand what the hell is supposed to be happening, both in terms of the story and the product itself. If it’s more chopped up cassette tape recordings, I’m going to roll my eyes so hard.
Kiefer Sutherland is the new voice of Big Boss.
This announcement comes from the pre-E3 Konami online press event which has just finished streaming a few hours ago. Kojima said that the choice of Sutherland came from a friend of his, and it appears that Kiefer was happy to oblige. This means David Hayter wasn’t lying about not being contacted by Konami (and negates the clever theory that it was “Moby Dick Studios” that contacted him instead) and that Kojima really is using Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain as a fresh start for the franchise.
With the utmost respect to David Hayter, I love this. I’ve always been a fan of Kiefer Sutherland from back in Young Guns, and there are a few things I expect to see different thanks to the new voice for Snake: