E3 13: Ethan’s Obligatory E3 Observation Post

People like cats, right?

People like cats, right?

E3 is over and while it’s been nice to get back to the normalcy of video game coverage, I was surprisingly excited by the bevy of information tidbits that came out of the show. Because I respect you all, I’ll keep the E3 saturation to a minimum…starting next week that is. For now, I figured I’d debrief a bit and speak very generally about how my body, mind and soul feel about a variety of random topics in regard to this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (while I can’t imagine I’ll be saying anything that anyone else hasn’t, I’ll do my best to be somewhat entertaining).

I’m Sorry

Before last week, I was pretty indifferent, if not skeptical of the industry’s ability to reignite my heart fire in references to the next generation. I wasn’t really sure what to expect and I assumed graphics related loads would be blown more so than gameplay related loads. While I’m not a snob about graphics loads (I love crisp pics), I was more interested in what a level up in regards to console power was going to do for games outside of the graphics. I’m happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised and I am more than happy to eat all the words that came out of my original skepticism.

I said the word “scope” about a million times on last week’s E3 wrap-up podcast, but it’s the best way to describe a majority of what I saw. Games are getting big and not just from a level design perspective. While there are plenty of games that have allowed us to roam around in a large open world and do as we please, games like The Division, The Witcher 3 and Destiny showed worlds that were large but also full of purpose. That’s important and is the number 1 way to keep players invested.

Attention to Detail

Speaking of graphics, was it me or did a majority of video game developers get super anal in regards to attention to detail? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated it along with the scope I alluded to above, the focus on realism will only ramp up the atmosphere. I’m curious, however, whether or not many people will actually notice these little touches while playing? I’m thinking that while me may not notice it at first, we’ll definitely notice it when it’s gone, not unlike shadows and shaders in the past.

I've never been more impressed with door closing physics.

I’ve never been more impressed with door closing physics.

This Stuff Looks Expensive

The past few years have been tough for many studios and it looks like the culprit was production costs in regards AAA titles. Looking at some of the games coming out in the next generation, I wonder if that problem has been figured out? In my opinion, I don’t think that’s the case. Obviously, the studios behind most of the bigger titles announced are capable of making more mistakes than smaller ones, but what’s it going to take for a game to be considered successful in the future? From what I saw, development costs have to be considerably higher, especially if there are guys animating things like sweat and heart palpitations. Not to mention that a variety of these games are going to be “massively multiplayer” titles, which require network infrastructure that’s more intensive than what online death match would require. I guess that’s what the cloud is for. I’m not complaining, but I’m just curious what’s going to happen when one of these games can’t sell 10 million copies.

Microsoft Will Be Fine

I ragged on Microsoft and the Xbox One as much as the next guy, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. Regardless of how much of its core customer base they alienated, everyone is going to forget about all of the bad stuff as soon as a shiny exclusive comes along. I hate to say it, but gamers have yet to enact change in the way in which they’ve said they want to, and the Xbox One will be no different.

No Fallout 4 is OK

While I was a bit disappointed that the next Fallout wasn’t announced, my brain was already in overload and I’m not sure if it would be as meaningful. I actually think it was a really good move on the part of Bethesda as they had plenty to show off and a game like Fallout 4 would have overshadowed the likes of Wolfenstein and The Evil Within. That being said, I better hear something by fall or I’ll cry and continue trying to make Fallout: New Vegas next-gen (which up until this point hasn’t been working).

I’m Excited

I’ve sort of hit a lull in terms of gaming and I really needed something to get excited. E3 2013 gave me more than enough to rekindle my affinity for gaming but it also made me wonder what things would look like later in the generation. It looks like we have quite a bit to look forward to and I think I’m officially ready to kiss last generation gently on the forehead as it drifts off into the nether realm.