Features// E3 2012 Diary Day 2: Conference Hell Day

Posted 5 Jun 2012 16:32 by
Settling down I prepared to be dazzled by Microsoft. Sadly, I wasn't.
Settling down I prepared to be dazzled by Microsoft. Sadly, I wasn't.
Welcome to Day Two of my E3 2012 diary. Day 2 of E3 is also known by some as 'Conference Hell Day', as no less than 4 press conferences are held on the day before E3 starts proper.

I started the day bright and early and took the shuttle from my hotel to the Galen Center, where Microsoft were to hold their press conference. There is a significant amount of queuing and it's time like these where you're in close proximity to video game fans is you enter into Street Pass Frenzy.

Yes that's right, if you have a 3DS you'd be a fool not to exploit the fact that standing around you are many other 3DS owners all from across the planet. By the time I entered the Galen center I had managed to acquire 500 Mii's and complete all of the 3D puzzles. I also picked up Mii's from all over the world, which was nice.

Don Mattrick in full droning flow.
Don Mattrick in full droning flow.
Everybody knew that Microsoft was not about the reveal any new hardware of any kind during their presentation, so the excitement levels were somewhat muted. Shallow maybe, but we lovers of video games like new and shiny things. Even if they just measure your pulse, eh Nintendo?

After a long wait and the chap next to me thinking I was Australian, a video of Halo 4 was shown. Normally reserved for the 'one more thing' bit at the end of the presentation, this time Master Chief was shown to be kicking Covenant behind and also some robots that the Fore-runners built.

At least that's what I gleaned from video. We got a release date of 6th November and no doubt you'll hear more about the game in the coming months. After the video Don Mattrick walked onto the stage and began to regurgitate what was being displayed onto a massive auto queue.

During this monologue he droned on about the Xbox 360 being the biggest selling console on the planet. This doesn't make a lot of sense considering the dominance of the PS3 in both Europe and Japan, but he seems to be confident about this fact, so he must be right... right?

I'm not going to go into vast detail about the conference itself, for that can be read elsewhere within Spong. Instead I'll just rattle through what I thought were the highlights of them.

For me the concept of Xbox Smart Glass, a cross platform app that is being developed for iOS, Android and Windows 7 devices. It allows content about games, films and music to be fed to a mobile device the end user can access while they consume what ever it is on their Xbox 360. It's an interesting concept and one I hope takes off.

The giant auto queue Mr Mattrick was reading from
The giant auto queue Mr Mattrick was reading from
Other highlights included Tomb Raider, outdoing Splinter Cell: Blacklist in terms of interactive environments and shear sense and immediate danger and the new South Park game, even if it is being developed by Obsidian.

As for low lights, it was probably Don Mattrick's use of the phrase 'stay connected to the pulse'. I actually vomited a bit when he said that.

Orpheum theatre where EA's press conference was being held in all its opulence
Orpheum theatre where EA's press conference was being held in all its opulence
I took a shuttle bus back to my hotel and rested a little before venturing out to get to the EA press conference. This was a much more toned down and simpler affair than Microsoft as 10 games by 10 developers were shown off to great effect. It was held in the Orpheum Theatre on Broadway in downtown LA. It's been held here over the past 3 years if memory serves me correctly and it is quite opulent.

The games that were rattled through in a little over an hour included: Dead Space 3, replete with a brand new co-op mode, a new SimCity game for the PC, which looked amazing and built from SimCity 2000 only brought up to date. Medal of Honour Warfighter looking visually impressive, and had the interesting feature of a lot of fellow soldiers chatting to you during the combat.

The new Need for Speed title, Most Wanted is being developed by Criterion Games and seems to be a spiritual successor to Burnout Paradise thanks to its open world nature.

All in all I don't think EA have much to concern themselves with over the next 12 months, as their line up appears to be very solid. They also didn't seek to wipe out the population of Great Britain, in a virtual sense at least unlike Ubisoft...

Ubisoft decided to pump smoke into the LA Theater for reasons best known to them.
Ubisoft decided to pump smoke into the LA Theater for reasons best known to them.
I trudged across to the LA Theatre, a five minute walk from the Orpheum Theatre where Ubisoft were holding their conference. Every year they pull out the crazy and it rarely results in anything but a significant amount of cringing. This year they had done away with Mr Caffeine, hence it was caffeine free. Yes I went there with that joke. Look it's 6am as I'm typing this, so give me a break OK?

Instead they had some spod back stage haranguing the speakers before they went on stage. What a fantastic idea Ubisoft, really, just freaking genius.

Sony opened up with five people playing five different games on the stage. Rather than piping in bland pop music, which is what Microsoft did, Sony decided the demonstrate the variety of games they offered to the audience. This was a theme that spread throughout the presentation.

The opening game on show was Quantic Dream's new title Beyond: Two Souls. It deals with the question of the afterlife, if indeed there is one, and is an adventure game in a similar vein to Heavy Rain. Visually it's even more impressive than it's spiritual predecessor...oh look, I made a pun... spiritual.... afterlife... no?

Oh come on! Well it looked great but then the fanboys started to yell and whoop at everything. Sony loves it's rabid fanbase to the point where they let some of them into the conference.

This led to every announcement and reveal to be greeted with whoots of exultant joy that it started to grate about 10 minutes in. I know this because I was sitting right next to one. Why do people slavishly follow one company? It's very odd.

That aside the highlights from Sony's effort for me at least included: their promotion of indie games on PSN, Assassin's Creed coming to the PS Vita, and Sony's willingness to open up its Playstation Certified scheme to other mobile hardware manufacturers.

Sony's presser did much for a company that I believe has turned things around
Sony's presser did much for a company that I believe has turned things around
The first being HTC. I seriously doubt they'll engage with Samsung however, for there is no love loss between those two electronic giants.

Day 2 is over and as I'm writing this, Day 3 is about to begin. So far so tired, and I still haven't ventured into the conference center yet!

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