Some random thoughts on E3

Good morning.

E3 week is the most frustrating week of the videogame industry’s calendar. It offers nerds worldwide some relief from the pent-up blueball that nerds suffer from when they haven’t seen enough of their game of choice for a given length of time.

I am at this moment perusing the highlights from Sony’s press conference from last night, which looks to have eclipsed everything else on show. Interesting stuff. I especially like the way the sweat glistened on Nathan Drake’s perfectly chiselled torso.

It is particularly noteworthy that the Sony stuff impressed me to this extent, since I’ve never owned any sort of Playstation*, and until now I’ve never really wanted to. But, give them credit, having finally released some new hardware, they are actually doing something with it.

As is typical for Sony, it’s heavy on the bullshit, which was refreshing, actually. This was the opposite of the approach taken by EA, whose goal seemed to be to show gameplay in whatever prototypical, raw and unpolished state it happened to be in, alongside interviews with various game designers. There will be a Mirror’s Edge 2, it’s just that there isn’t much to show off at the moment. Fuck.

Where EA did show gameplay, the improvements were so minor as to be insulting. I’m talking about sports. Why do they even bother showcasing sports games? Each one is exactly like the last. Or so I thought. Then I saw the golf game, in which a battle cruiser shipwrecks midway across the course as you’re about to tee off. Holy fuck! That sure shut me up, though it does strike me as something of a severe measure – though perhaps a required one if the goal is to make golf interesting. In any case, I fear that this set rather a high bar. EA’s football department responded by revealing that in FIFA 15 corner flags will now bend as the ball strikes them. And thus technology marches on.

They did have the new Battlefield game, which involves cops and robbers shooting the crap out of one another. It looked a lot like a more spectacular version of the ‘rush’ mode from the other battlefield games, except with, well, cops and robbers. I don’t know why team-based cops and robbers games are enjoying such a renaissance, but whatever the reason, I welcome the departure from the goddam military. I’ve become quite sick of games involving the army, to be honest – though I understand why the army might feature heavily in games whose raison d’être is to allow you to shoot at things.   This applies even if it’s a sort of science-fiction military with added jetpacks and laser beams, pweeowm, pew pew pew pew. Pew-pew. You’re not fooling me with that shit.

Ubisoft looked to continue this trend with their Big Reveal at the conclusion of their press conference with a game called ‘Rainbow Six: Siege’. This one looked pretty interesting, although it seems to have caught the ire of some feminist types, who bemoan the fact that the game involves rescuing a hostage, and that the hostage is a woman, where by contrast the SWAT team are all men.

Sorry, feminist-types, but you and I must part company on this point. In reality, SWAT teams are all men. And I don’t want to capture a flag. The whole point of having a ‘flag’ in real life ‘capture the flag’ is that it there are a number of practical advantages to doing so – a flag will never turn up late, will never fall ill, and will never form a union. These advantages do not exist in the world of videogames.

In order to avoid this ‘helpless woman’ doomsday scenario, the only real option is for the hostage to be a man. If the hostage were a man (and I can’t see any reason to suppose that the hostage need always be woman. I think I’d eventually tire of rescuing the same doe-eyed blonde), then the trailer would have an inordinate sausage-quotiet, and then this would be complained about. Gender-politics aside, this seems quite an interesting, tactical affair. You can shoot through walls! You can send little scout-robots underneath doors! Oh God, whatever.

Until next week.


PS. Because you’ve all been so good, here is a torrent of an uncompressed version of the Witcher 3 trailer, to which words cannot really do justice. Charles Dance features.


*it has brought to my attention that this is not actually true, I do have a Playstation 3 downstairs.  It served adequately as a blu-ray/FIFA 11 player.


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