The E3 event horizon

An overhead map of the South Hall of the E3 Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center

E3 has it’s own gravity-well, an “event” horizon (no pun intended) that pulls in game-development, and mangles development, PR and marketing schedules in its fierce, distorting grip.

Hastily cobbled together demonstrations, unrepresentative footage and more, all of which contrive to steal as much as a full quarter’s development time away from actually working on making genuine progress on the game. Perhaps the worst place to get news about games is E3 and the E3 floor. Better, more reliable, news and media mostly happen after E3 is done.

Even the trailers get tainted by E3’s peculiar distortions and gravitic homogeneity.

E3 trailers almost always differ from the trailers you get at other times of the year. They usually focus more heavily on action, speed, spectacle, and heavy thumping bass. Even the most sedate and measured titles can wind up with trailers looking like the trailer for the next Michael Bay film.

Later in the year, you see very different and more representative styles of trailer for these games.

Here’s the new E3 trailer for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, currently known as “The Last Stand” trailer.

I must admit, I very nearly fell off my chair laughing at the voice-work starting in at 0:31.

The very presentation is like the parody of a parody of a B-grade melodrama. That’s generally the sort of thing that appears for E3, then vanishes again and is replaced with more professional polish later on. I can’t imagine that that is something that they would like to keep.

If nothing else, the trailer doesn’t exactly scream “turn-based tactical”, does it?

2 thoughts on “The E3 event horizon”

  1. The flip-side of those over the top trailers is that you also get an opportunity to see real gameplay footage for upcoming titles instead of just cinemtaic trailers (or worse yet, trailers with live actors) letting you get a better idea of just what your $60+ will buy you.

    When it comes to E3, I tend to mostly watch the console press conferences at some point, and then look for trailers for not-yet released titles I’ve an interest in. I watched Sony’s conference last night. I watch that one first, as that’s the console I own. I’ve yet to go looking for a video of Microsoft’s, and of course Nintendo’s will happen just a hour or so after I’ve written this.

    They showed some actual game play footage for The Last of Us last night… and I was simply blown away. It was gorgeous for starters, and the action has a realistic fluidity that was just incredibly well done. Beyond: Two Souls also has my attention, as I enjoyed Heavy Rain and I like a game that does it’s best to provide dramatic realism. No mention of The Last Guardian yet, but it is early in E3. I’m also hoping for some hint that there will be an Infamous 3.

    Wasn’t honestly sure what the heck to make of the Wonderbook, honestly. Makes me wonder how many kids are going to wind up holding up suitable bits of cardboard in front of their televisions to attend Hogwarts, rather than their parents shelling out 30 dollars or more for an empty book. And the presentation of the thing dragged out f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

    Cross controller Vita/PS3 seemed to me like a direct dismissal of the Wii U’s new controller, as if to say, “We got that too, and ours can do more.”

    The rest was the usual hype, half-truths, number juggling, and awkward jokes. There really oughta be a prize for the all the console press conferences given to the presenter with the biggest humor flop.

    1. Aside from tracking and analysing console sales numbers (everyone needs a hobby right?), I don’t get too involved in the console games market. The console and games are mostly out of my reach. I have a Playstation 2, but I don’t think it’s likely that I will end up with another games console.

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