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E3 Episodes

Season 16, Episode 20

Too much is not enough…

I remember when I was younger I had it in my mind that more was better. If the movie trailer was longer it was great cause you saw more of the movie you wanted to see. If the TV program was longer you got more of the show you wanted to see. If this company’s E3 presentation was scheduled for 2 hours instead of 90 minutes then you got more games to see.

What I didn’t notice then but do now, is that the longer your show is, and we’re strictly speaking of video game reveals and stuff here, the more I’m going to forget than remember. There’s probably some study about memory retention and how it all works in the process of marketing but the more they showed this past week, the more I forgot.

And to be clear, you can have a 90 minute presentation and show a good chunk of maybe 7 games or so, and I’d be fine with that. I can probably hold onto about 7 titles. But as it stands with Microsoft, I can tell you maybe 3. Possibly 4, I guess, but the shows of other studios and publishers start to mix in and I can’t remember what I saw where. Devolver Digital was, I think, maybe 45 minutes. I can tell you almost ALL of their reveals.

This isn’t an argument for or against the old E3 to come back or to keep it the way it was this year. Nothing like that. E3 or not, I like the idea of companies doing their own presentations and scattering them across the months. The State Of Plays that Sony does is a good example of this. As are the Nintendo Directs. They usually have a focus and they keep it concise with usually about a 30 minute runtime and you see maybe 5 to 7 titles. It works, and I’m usually pretty good at remembering what was shown.

Like that one time Ubisoft showed off Splinter Cell Blacklist. Yeah, it’s been 3,224 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).

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E3 Episodes

Season 16, Episode 19

Life moves pretty fast…

This whole Summer Games Fest and Not-E3 thing has kind of surprised me. Well, it’s mostly me, I think. It seems to have come and gone with very little fanfare that I can tell. But, again, maybe that’s me just not paying attention. But it feels like the hype train was little more than a hype trolley, I suppose. I’m not sure, but it feels like there was very little leading up to this (it came kind of out of the blue for me thinking it would be later in the summer or AFTER the Microsoft thing), and there was also very little to come after it.

This isn’t a call for E3 to return, even though I know it will. Just…something felt off about it this year. Lack of leaks, lack of big reveals and more just giving us extra information of things we already knew were coming. It’s not a disappointment, really, because I had no expectations, but what we got seems…slim. Small. Nothing has built up hype.

That isn’t to say we didn’t get some looks at some interesting titles. There were a ton of games thrown at us over the course of a few days with more to come, and what I’ve seen so far is some great stuff. Most of that comes from the indie side of things with the smaller games showing off some big swing for the fences type of innovation or creativity. I’ve seen quite a large number of puzzle games and platformers along with a whole slew of life sims (Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing type games) that have all caught my eye. Not so much with the AAA titles. Yes, they look good and are sparking my interests but you’re not showing me much of the game it seems, and by that I mean actual gameplay.

We’ll likely be back here again next weekend saying more of the same depending on how next week (and specifically today, Sunday, goes with the Microsoft presentation). I guess the good thing about not having an E3 means it doesn’t contain itself within a few days of one single week in June. Now, we have all summer for ANYTHING to pop up. Companies can do their own thing whenever they want.

In that way, it’s almost always E3.

E3 or not, we’ll still be disappointed because…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,217 days since the last Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).

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E3 Episodes

Season 15, Episode 21

Just a head’s up that there will be no show for next weekend. We’ll see you back on Saturday the 10th.

Thinking back on this episode, I mentioned why we weren’t talking about Activision and all the money they are giving to ol’ Bobby. I’d said it was because it always happens, each year, without fail. Doesn’t matter how much they made or how many they laid off, Bobby gotta eat.

So, after saying why we wouldn’t talk about that, I go on to do the exact same thing but with E3. It’s sort of the same cycle. Year after year, the same complaints and praises roll around. The companies those are directed at may change, but it’s the same thing. And then, after it’s all over, the same discussion always takes place about the need or needlessness of E3.

So, we’ve had it a bit of both ways. Last year there was no E3 and it felt strange. This year was a sort of digital E3 kind of thing and it also felt a bit strange. I can’t really tell what I like better. Sporadic E3 where over the course of some months we get a presentation here and there or the buffet E3 where it all happens over the course of a few days.

Either way, I think these companies are going to make their own decisions. They’ve had it both ways as well, and I’d suspect the future will show us exactly what they prefer of the two.

In the meantime, Ubisoft, it’s been 2,867 days since the last Splinter Cell release (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise or VR exclusive).

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E3 Episodes

Season 15, Episode 20

We’re a week out from E3 at this point and we barely break the bubble of discussion on it. I’m saving a lot of articles I had for this episode and bringing them over for the next episode just to discuss more of E3.

Especially the analytics of it. All the analysis of everything that happened after it was over. Some of these are the most interesting to read and they make cases for and against the whole thing. I used to boil this stuff down in my head and would always come to the core of it – and that’s money, usually. Profitability. And, indeed, that’s still there, but it doesn’t seem to take an “E3” to get us there.

We speak a bit on Microsoft and their performance for E3 – winners all around, I think. As much as I’ve railed in years past (and this year as well, before Microsoft last Sunday) about too much talk and not enough show – Microsoft listened. I was more than impressed by not what they had to offer (some of it was great), but how they offered it. It felt a bit like Sony in some years previous, although it lacked a few “wow” factors. Still, I can’t really knock that since it was just game after game after game with very little talk in between.

Do more of this.

In the meantime, Ubisoft, it’s been 2,860 days since the last Splinter Cell release (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise or VR exclusive).

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E3 Episodes

Season 15, Episode 19

Happy E3! This past week had new reveals as did this past weekend, and we’ve got more as of today’s posting here and more to come in the days ahead. So there’s still plenty of time to recover and redeem the fact that Ubisoft dropped the ball on Splinter Cell, yet again.

It’s unlikely, however, to redeem itself on presentation. But this horse has been beaten beyond death at this point. I’ll just give my usual summation: Less talky talky and more showy showy.

But I don’t know how much that even matters anymore. E3 isn’t like what it used to be in the sense that you would watch it live because you might miss out on something cool. Now, within minutes of a presentation the highlights are ready for you in YouTube form for whatever it was you missed. And it cuts out all the talky talky.

Anyway, E3 is here and regardless of no Splinter Cell, I’m still enjoying it (thanks Devolver). And we’ll be back next week to talk about what we see today and the days to come.

In the meantime, Ubisoft, it’s been 2,854 days since the last Splinter Cell release (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise or VR exclusive).

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E3 Episodes

Season 13, Episode 22

And now we’re on the other side of E3 with…well, not much to show for it. At least not until Spring of next year it seems. We open the show talking about this, but there was VERY little shown of gameplay or games that are coming out this actual year. Thankfully Nintendo was there at the end of the press conferences to just have a knock out performance of a presentation.

I’m curious of some alternate universe where Sony was at E3 this year and what, if anything, would have changed. Probably nothing, if I think about it. Just more footage of games coming out next year, but Sony’s usually way more involved in showing actual gameplay – pre-recorded if not live even.

We don’t get around to nearly everything we’d planned to talk about coming out of the week that was, but we’ll carry it over to next week. Can’t pass up talking about that whole Shenmue 3 exclusivity situation, now can we?

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E3 Episodes

Season 13, Episode 21

As it is every year at this time: Happy E3!

The conferences start today, Sunday, and will continue on into Tuesday when E3 starts proper. Though who cares about that? We want our press conferences and our game trailers. What we REALLY want is gameplay and dates and prices. What we’ll get are teases, CG trailers, recorded demos that are “played live”, and tons of cringe. Don’t forget the cringe.

That’s maybe a jaded way of looking at it, and an exaggeration as well, but it happens. Things feel a bit different this year without Sony. Not that it makes it any less exciting, but there’s a gap to be sure.

We’ll see you next Saturday on the other side of E3.

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E3 Episodes

Season 12, Episode 22

We’ve got a line on a great deal on ribs at the following link.

E3 is over. What did you think?

Sony was a surprise for me and not really in any sort of a good way. I recognize their idea to do something different, but I don’t think it played to their favor. As much as I can’t stand someone on stage talking on end from a PR checklist of things to say about a game, it goes the same for me watching someone play music from the game (and, as much as I love him, that goes for AWK as well). That isn’t to say I don’t appreciate it, but I’m really here to see the game they’re promoting. A compromise maybe would be to show some parts of the game intercut with the live performance. Same with someone on stage talking about the game, come to think of it.

Microsoft was a surprise for me in that they showed off A LOT of games. Not too many exclusives, however, but that segment where they rattled off all the new companies they bought may change that in the next few years. Plus, we got the very first mention of a new console, ever so small as it was. Then again, I’m not so sure some of the games we saw we’ll actually be playing on our current systems anyway.

That was the other thing about this E3. A lot of publishers were short on dates. Very few games got them and those that did were either just “2019”, February of 2019 – have you looked at what we’re getting in the span of 31 days starting on January 29th?

Seriously, check it out, we’re all going to be VERY busy right after the new year if those dates hold.

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E3 Episodes

Season 12, Episode 21

Our cynical sense is tingling at the following link.

E3 is upon us. EA’s announcements are already off the table and that wasn’t all too fulfilling for us so we’re hoping the next few days have a little more meat on the bones. We have a bit of a recap for EA’s event here but there just wasn’t that much to bite into. Even with Anthem being less than a year away they gave us very little on that game. The gameplay shown was edited video. How do you form a team? How do you find other players? Can we fast travel to locations on a map? Movement is flying, it seems, but are there vehicles that can also get us around? How’s the in-game economy work? What do we get when we defeat enemies? How do we obtain new weapons or armor? They answered a lot of questions but very little of those questions had to do with how the gameplay works but more how the game works. There’s no PVP, there’s no lootboxes, it’s always online, there can be a team of four, you can go underwater, etc. They didn’t sell me on the game and they’ve got less than a year to do that.

Let’s hope the longer times we get from the other companies press conferences this week can show off a bit more about how a game plays and less about how a game works.

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E3 Episodes

Season 11, Episode 23

We’re not buying the hype at the following link.

I’ve had about a week to think on it. By it I mean E3. There are so very few silver linings from this year, it’s hard to be hopeful. About the only two things I can get excited for is New Colossus and Super Mario Odyssey.

Microsoft is just blowing it with a $500 console. Sony’s lineup looked nice but outside of Uncharted in August, everything else is sometime next year. Seriously…go back and watch and see what of their exclusives gets released this year. Ubisoft has Assassin’s Creed Origins – I’m not sold on them turning a new leaf with this franchise until it actually happens. Mario & Rabbids looked WAY better than I expected as far as gameplay is concerned. Then their big moment was Beyond Good & Evil 2 only to find out it’s at day 0 of development. So square one, essentially, from the last time they showed us that game.

EA had nothing. Yes, Battlefront 2 is still nothing. Need For Speed just might hook me with their Burnout style takedowns, but I’m going to need to see more before I get even halfway excited for that title. The PC Gaming show was completely horrible compared to years past. Massive let down there. Bethesda had nothing but the New Colossus game as I mentioned and whatever that Dishonored thing was – whenever that gets released.

Then there’s Destiny 2. We’re saving that one for next week.

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E3 Episodes

Season 11, Episode 22

We’re excited and cringing simultaneously at the following link.

This is being written on a Saturday night. Just after this episode, actually. So I can’t tell you about whatever Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Ubisoft, or Bethesda has shown off – even though you’ll know by the time this show is posted.

What I can say is that we were all very unimpressed with EA’s offerings. Personally, for me, the most bittersweet of it all is that Need For Speed game. Just….just call it Burnout Payback. The name even fits the series more than it does for NFS. It is TOTALLY a Burnout game – just look at those takedowns!

The reason I am writing this now, by the way, is because tomorrow will be very busy when I normally sit down and write these things. Microsoft is in the afternoon and Bethesda is….really really late at night for a guy who gets up really really early in the morning during the week. I may plan to watch it anyway. Somehow. Naps are involved, I think.

As I wrap this up without knowing anything of what’s to come, I just hope all your E3 dreams came true by the time you read this. So far, the lack of seeing more of whatever Amy Hennig is working on and that damn Need For Speed But Should Be Called Burnout game means mine hasn’t started off so well. We’ll see how this turns out on the next episode.

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E3 Episodes

Season 10, Episode 25

Our opening video shows more games than EA did at the following link.

If we’re picking winners of E3 based on the conferences alone, Sony wins in our book. We easily tell you why in this episode and while we’re likely to find disagreement on our selection, this is strictly based on just our opinions. They way we felt collectively during Sony’s press conference was, somehow, greater than how I collectively felt during their conference last year. We’re not sure how they did it, but they did it. Actually, we are kinda sure and, again, we tell you why in the episode.

If we’re picking losers for E3 based on conferences alone, EA failed miserably. Although Ubisoft is a VERY close second and likely would have tied for the honor were it not for South Park.

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E3 Episodes

Season 9, Episode 25

We’re as surprised as you at the following link.

We’re back from E3 and we’re not sure what to think of everything. Microsoft, we felt, had a very decent showing and Sony was more than we ever expected as far as the megaton’s were concerned. While we do hit each and every showing at E3, it’s the remake of Final Fantasy 7 that gives us the most conversation. It’s a nostalgia I am not familiar with, but one I wish I was after listening to James talk about it and reading the chat room.

For some things, you just had to be there.

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E3 Episodes

Season 8, Episode 24

We’re all dressed up with nothing to play at the following link.

E3’s annual blitz of showmanship and overpromises has come and gone and left a whole lot of nothing in its wake.  2015 will evidently be a good year for those of us with disposable income and a strong yen for gaming, but the outlook for this year remains tame.  There’s still a few things to look forward to, no doubt, and there’s always that backlog we’d like to address.  And, of course, it turns out that Bungie and Activision’s Destiny is turning our heads in a way we hadn’t expected.  The surprise alpha access was maybe the best thing on offer last week, and it looks like it will fill the sadly empty bill nicely this fall.

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E3 Episodes

Season 7, Episode 19

We’ve been ridden hard and put up wet at the following link.

I dearly love E3.  It is dramatic and excessive and extraordinary in a way the other fifty one weeks of the year could never be.  I also deeply despise the aftermath, and the obligatory post-E3 discussion.  Anyone who has attended the show is afflicted with shell shock, and those who’ve followed closely from home are lost somewhere between the signal and the noise.  But we’ve got to get it done with, yes?  One great, giant heave of fact and opinion, spun nearly out of control.  I honestly can’t wait to spend an hour again covering a solitary PR fuckup from EA.