Some Thoughts On E3 From Far, Far Away

By Jim Rossignol on July 16th, 2008 at 7:06 pm.


I am unwise. Instead of being attentively merged with my desk during one of the busiest times of year for us gaming news types, I instead found myself deep in some far off wilderness. It’s nice up there. And I needed a couple of hours not spent looking at a glowing screen or sleeping.

Now however I have returned to the bleeping folds of technopolis, and I am mesmerised in some kind of info-tunnel of game news. Can this really be healthy? All the games news at once? Are you sure? Well then, I suppose we’d better try to spend a few moments digesting what we’ve seen.

The hype drip-feed becoming a free flow has left me with a kind of aching pre-release tension. I was feeling unusually uptight and irritable anyway, but the forward-looking wash of coverage from the E3 massive is making me yearn for hours of gaming escapism that I know await me in the coming months. I know it’s a horrible kind of electronic-high addiction-anticipation, and I simply don’t care: I want to be engorged with imagination-meats. Feed me, entertainment industry! Feed me!

The richest sustenance in the months ahead probably lies in what Maxis are conjuring with Spore, but it’s nevertheless the candy-rush of action games that really has trying to fast-forward time. The Mirror’s Edge trailers are making me feel quite giddy, even though I suspect it’ll be brutally short and possibly even a minor disappointment. I say this simply to guard against that horrible possibility: the demonstrations and footage of the game promise so much… What if they deliver too little? It /does/ have that weird quality of being just alien enough that we simply can’t know how good it’ll be. It could be a singular piece of excellent game design that does nothing to change the course of gaming, it could be a brave failure, or it could be one of those massive shake ups that acts like an Earthquake across many game genres. I hope it’s the latter.

I’ve talked already about how much I’m awaiting Far Cry 2 and Clear Sky, so let’s skip them and move on to Fallout 3. I think it looks fucking splendid.

I suspect that it will be an uncomfortable hybrid of action game and RPG, and I predict I’ll get bored before the last third of the game, never completing it and always meaning to go back and play it “one day”. The RPG aspect will have a couple of moments of absolute genius, and then ham along as best it can for the rest of the game: but it will be enough. Fallout 3 is still clearly going to be one of the finer places to take a excursion to via your PC. The naysayers can say nay all the way but I say hurray. Okay?

Wolfenstein on the other hand does not look like it remembered to check what year it was. The visuals do seem to be trundling along in 2008, but the rest of the game really makes me think back to the grim, far off days of my full-time employment on PC Gamer, just after the turn of the millennium. Maybe it’ll be fun, but I suspect it will underwhelm like pre-packed sandwich. Perhaps Singularity will be better. There’s a video over here.

Speaking of underwhelming: That Rage trailer left me gazing out of the window… look at those lovely trees. So, Id Tech 5 is texture-breathing wonder, but there was almost nothing in that trailer of any interest or value for us, the gamers, to get excited about. Hype-gold of a very poor carat indeed.

Finally: I’m feeling like I might actually sit down and play The Witcher when the enhanced edition arrives… And I’m really not sure about the Left 4 Dead character changes. The original four we sitting in my imagination just fine. Seems like change for its own sake, really.

All in all it’s looking like a glittering final third of the year, and I’m really excited for what RPS is going to be able to write about between now and Christmas. Will it beat 2007 for incredible gaming experiences? You know, it just might.

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29 Comments »

  1. Frank says:

    Regarding Fallout 3: Nay.

  2. Turin Turambar says:

    This E3 is being a bitzzzz zzzz zzz….

    There aren’t new games. E3 was great in 2003-2006 for the dozens of new games and new exclusive information. Now we are just having a bit more info of the already known AAA games: Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, DoW2, Empire TW, Dead Space, BiA Hellway, Spore, Crysis Warhead, etc.

    We only have the new PoP, the new Wolfenstein, and little more.

  3. Requiem says:

    I think you’ve got Fallout 3 and Rage mixed up there mate. Easy enough to do since they are both PA, Fallout 3 certainly left me feeling underwhelmed. Rage definately looks splendid.

  4. cyrenic says:

    Feelings like change for its own sake, really.

    HOW DARE YOU DOUBT THE POWER OF READ HIERARCHY.

  5. caramelcarrot says:

    If you go into the Valve offices you’ll find that everyone is dressed according to the read heirarchy. On a basic level, the colours darken towards the feet – so everyone wears dark or black trousers. Colours are then used to identify different roles: artists, programmers, sales, support and so on. Shape is then used to distinguish between individuals within these roles.

  6. Sax says:

    That are exactly my thoughts and hopes for Mirror’s Edge.
    Its looks so fantastic (gameplay), it can’t be that good.

  7. SwiftRanger says:

    There’s certainly enough to look forward to, even Fallout 3 (with a modded interface that is and by not expecting too much of it ;) ).

    Although I think the biggest ‘great news’ that’s coming from this E3 (and a bit before) is the fact that we will also be assured of a great first half of 2009 on the PC: StarCraft II, Borderlands, Dawn of War II, Empire: Total War, Dragon Age, Demigod… even if just a few of those titles live up to expectations (and actually get released at that time) then we can all forget the disappointing first part of 2008 on PC.

  8. Arnulf says:

    Mirror’s Edge is really something. I hope there are not invisible walls…

  9. Kast says:

    Completely agree with Mirror’s Edge. Also, should imagine there are invisible walls. The impassable gaps between buildings outside and the locked doors inside should be enough.

  10. Cigol says:

    Why did you mention Fallout 3 you horrible, horrible man. RPS comments section to self destruct in a fit of YAY and NAY in approximately t-minus ten seconds.

  11. Zarniwoop says:

    Fallout 3 to me looked a bit rubbish. For one there’s far too much action, and for two it simply doesn’t nail that post-apocalyptic atmosphere which STALKER does so well. Dawn of War 2 will hopefully be fecking sweet though. As will be Dragon Age.

  12. MetalCircus says:

    I get warm feelings in my belly about this years e3. Gaming is in a very special place right now… ¬_¬

  13. Larington says:

    When I saw those new L4D characters I naturally assumed they were adding to the cast, not replacing it, missed opportunity I say if that is the case.

  14. RichPowers says:

    L4D is my only must play PC game. I can wait for everything else to hit the bargain bin.

  15. Riotpoll says:

    I thought the Fallout 3 trailer looked like Oblivion, but minus the pretty bits (trees and greenery), doesn’t look that great to be honest. I’m annoyed they killed the bearded characters in L4D though…

  16. andy says:

    i’ve been ignoring most of the E3 news, which basically means i’ve been ignoring most of the gaming sites the last few days.

    just too much hype to waste time with, i suppose i’ll be ‘excited’ when the games i care about are on the shelves, until then, i’ve got too much backlog anyway.

    good thing i’m busy at work i suppose.

  17. Cunningbeef says:

    I’m most upset that in your E3 rush you have totally neglected to mention the new release of Dwarf Fortress. Which, incidentally, is fucking fantastic and you should all grab it now.

  18. Jim Rossignol says:

    I believe Kieron is working on a new Dwarf Fortress article at the moment.

  19. Deuteronomy says:

    Clear Sky is must-play, Far Cry 2 is looking damn good (have some doubts still tho), Rage looks interesting, Fallout 3 perhaps least so.

    I need a good new SP experience. I’m pretty much through my backlog after I finish Penumbra: Black Plague over the weekend.

    I wish they would release Clear Sky a couple weeks earlier.

  20. mandrill says:

    with regard to the invisible walls in Mirror’s Edge. They’re not ivisble walls as I understand them. An Invisble wall as I understand it is like the fences in Stalker, a 3 or 4 foot high obstacle that your character can’t jump over, when in reall life they could, or reall invisible walls which are just bits of game you can’t get to because there literally is an invisible wall in the way.

    Unjumpable gaps and locked doors are okay in my book, as long as they don’t destroy the immersion like the above examples and fit into the world naturally and believably then they don’t bother me.

  21. Dolphan says:

    PC Zone has a very praiseful preview of Fallout 3 based on actually playing it, though that doesn’t make it gospel.

  22. Cunningbeef says:

    Then I spoke too soon.

    I love you guys.

  23. RichPowers says:

    The Read Hierarchy: videogame design principle, or insidious alien race bent on galactic domination?

  24. mister slim says:

    Aren’t The Read Hierarchy the villains in that game Bungie weren’t allowed to announce?

    That does kind of sound like a controlling PR company actually.

  25. DSX says:

    FO3 = Yay.

    Since RPS and slashdot/games is the only video game stuff I usually read many of the E3 titles were new and shiny. Perhaps in the minority there, but the coverage is much appreciated.
    DeadSpace = game I’d never heard of, shows excellent potential.
    I am Alive = Best trailer that makes me want to know more.
    DAO = The screenshots sell that game.. not the trailers. Looks awesome.
    Mirrors Edge = A whole game of running and jumping through superb scenery with a few kung fu moves. Could be superb. Nagging doubts.
    Clear Sky = 100% will be standing in line to buy.

  26. bonuswavepilot says:

    Obligatory grammar nitpicking comment for deletion:
    In the 3rd-last para, I think you mean “…look *at* those lovely trees”.
    Speaking of which, why don’t we have a word for 3rd last? We’ve got ‘penultimate’ for 2nd last… I nominate ‘trinultimate’.

  27. Jim Rossignol says:

    Ah yes, corrected.

  28. Sam says:

    @bonuswavepilot:

    We do have a word for 3rd last: ‘antepenultimate’.

    And, before you ask, the word for 4th last is ‘preantepenultimate’. I don’t think there’s anything official beyond that case, though.

  29. bonuswavepilot says:

    @Sam:

    I stand corrected.