The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 as us lazy people who prefer shorter names call it, is less than a month away. With Nintendo skipping out on E3 this year and Microsoft announcing the next Xbox beforehand and Sony already months out from their announcement, it seems that there is nothing really left to be excited about at E3. Even those who want to be seem only excitedly apathetic at best. But that’s what we’re here to correct, there is still plenty left to be excited about at E3 2013.
(5) – The Unknown
Sure, technically this should be the #1 spot of the list and technically, even including it at all is a huge cop-out, but the unknown is what makes big trade shows like this exciting. We have a brand new console generation on the horizon and a plethora of developers who haven’t announced what their next projects are. Who knows what we’re going to see. Personally, I want another Alan Wake, but maybe we’ll finally get some details about Beyond Good and Evil 2.
That’s the great thing about unknown announcements, even if we have inklings that these projects are coming, we can still be surprised and that’s all we really want. E3 isn’t about learning of the next great thing, it’s about being caught up in the spectacle of video game’s last great event. Even when consoles were announced at E3, we knew they were coming, what was exciting was hearing what we didn’t know.
(4) -The Crowdfunding, Indie Reaction from Publishers
There are two entries on this list that may be a bit too businessy for the casual observer, but allow me to explain why this is actually exciting. We are now a little over a year out from the Kickstarter explosion. Not only do we have projects like Broken Age, the Ouya, the Homestuck game, the Oculus Rift and many others, but we haven’t seen the publisher reaction to these yet. Kickstart has proven that people want projects that publishers would have never supported.
Last year everyone was shocked at these Kickstarter successes, this year we have stories about the actual costs of developing games and have yet to see the publisher reaction. Sony may be opening up to the indies, but what about the EA’s and Ubisoft’s of the world? These indie games are making millions of dollars and games like FTL were successful before they even launched. There is no way publishers don’t want to get their grubby little fingers all over that sweet, sweet dough. If they are ever going to react, this is the time.
(3) – Star Wars
Let me go ahead and put this out there, I’m not expecting anything incredible about Star Wars from E3. Last year we got 1313 and I’m not expecting anything to that extent, but EA has the Star Wars license now, at the very least I expect something. As soon as Disney bought LucasFilm they immediately announced Star Wars Episode VII. EA has the license to one of the biggest franchises ever, not announcing something would be idiotic.
We have decades of bad Star Wars games and disappointingly cancelled titles, there is nothing EA could to to besmirch the name of Star Wars games after what has already happened. Any sort of announcement would be great. This is Star Wars we’re talking about, there are still people who convince themselves that the prequels are good, there will be excitement for anything.
(2) – The Business Shock of Expectations
Over the past year we have seen possibly the death of one franchise and the severe crippling of two others after new releases failed to meet ‘expectations.’ We saw companies absolutely fail to understand the games they were developing and the market they were releasing them into and their stock took a hit because of it. It was the death of THQ that should have sent the shockwave, but of course no one reacted until their games didn’t perform as expected.
This is our first chance to see public announcements after this news. Are we going to see new franchise additions that are smaller in scale? Are these companies going to just keep charging ahead with unrealistic expectations? As much as we don’t want to think about it, this is a business industry and the products we are given from a retail stand point’s whole purpose in the eyes of those distributing them is to make money. These reactions will be fascinating to watch and will shape the future of the industry.
(1) – Real, Concrete Experiences with the PS4 and Next Xbox
Yes, we know that they are coming and there specs. We know features of the PS4 and, by E3, the next Xbox. What we don’t know is how it actually feels to play them. The WiiU sounded like a brilliant idea until people actually got their hands on them and were unsatisfied with the actual product. As excited as we can be from PR speak, until we, the enthusiast press and general public, actually get to test them out, we have no credible opinions.
While this may be words of unenthusiasm, we should be excited for that. This is the next generation, whether you want it or not, and all we have at the moment is speculation. Sure, hands-off demos look great, until someone that is unbiased actually plays them we can’t know if the product is good or not and that’s what we need right now.
I hope that I can instill some excitement for E3 in you. This is the first E3 I’m covering on location and the fact we all seem so excitedly apathetic about it is disappointing. Working on this article has made me realize that this year’s excitement is not from new games, but the direction of the industry. This is going to be a fascinating fiscal year and I hope it goes better for the industry from here on out.
A special thank you to contributors and friends Curtis Stone, Trav Foster and Jake Petersen for their input.