An Alternative Opinion is a weekly feature where Alt:Mag writers are given a question or topic, and submit their thoughts and opinions. Today's topic of discussion is a recap of E3: the consoles, the games, what did we like the look of?
Aaron: After last year's dull E3 showing, we knew that this year E3 was going to be massive, and it didn't fail to deliver. While Microsoft's press conference was not exactly bad, and they did show plenty of games as they promised to do, Sony shut down the show with their consumer-friendly approach, announcing that they support used games, allow you to sell or lend the games to your hearts content, and telling the world that they don't require you to go online in order to use the console; effectively all the worst things about Microsoft's upcoming console.
In terms of the games, for me personally the majority of the titles on show didn't incredibly surprise me, because as usual the games that come out at a console's launch were all "AAA blockbuster titles", ie either shooters, racing games or sport sims. However, Kingdom Hearts 3 was announced which I'm incredibly excited for and can't wait for the release. There was also a lot of fantastic-looking indie titles that I'm really looking forward to playing, such as Transistor and Jonathan Blow's mysterious The Witness. All in all, time to start saving up.
Peter: The best thing about E3 2013? All the jokes on the internet. Specifically the Microsoft ‘apply cold water to burn’ ones. Go check them out if you haven’t already. After Microsoft revealed the Xbox One lots of fans were unhappy at the lack of games shown. Microsoft had promised to reveal more games at E3 and Sony were set to be showing off more of the PS4 (what it actually looked like for one, which is also joked about on the internet as an eraser). The stage was set. Microsoft surely wanted to reassure their disappointed fans and it’s now clear Sony wanted to capture the same fans and convert them. Microsoft went first, revealing a new Halo-surprise!- though it wasn’t called Halo 5 and won’t be shipping with the Xbox One. Which is understandable with Halo 4 not that long ago released, though you would have thought someone at Microsoft would have realised a new Halo and a new Xbox were being released within a year of each other and done something about it. Developers Crytek announced the Xbox-exclusive Ryse: Son of Rome, proving that just because they’re German they think they can get away with replacing the letter ‘i’ with a ‘y’. Come on now, Crysis was cool, Ryse just looks stupid and like you can’t spell. Anyway, back to the game. It looks like a Kinect-centred 300-style hack ‘n’ slash with some philosophical sounding mumblings over the trailer. (I think I’m getting more and more cynical as I age, and I’m not even 19 yet!) Alan Wake/Max Payne creators Remedy showed some more of Quantum Break, but still only really teasing as to what it actually is and still not showing any proper gameplay. Dead Rising 3 was announced, and looks a lot more serious than the first two. Someone must have seen the success of The Walking Dead series and thought that, whilst there are two games of it, already one was a disaster and the other, though amazing, doesn't fulfill the zombie killing urge that some gamer fans of the show feel.
Some other games were announced and then Microsoft talked some about supporting indie developers, before off one indie game and Minecraft. (I’d just like to point out here I am a fan of Minecraft on Xbox.) I have two things to say about that: 1. Minecraft may have initially been an indie game but you can’t really class it as that anymore given it’s huge popularity. The 2nd point is that in the short video of Minecraft Xbox One Edition nothing new was shown, no new items or materials, devices. Just the same old graphics with Steve wondering around with a pickaxe. Oh, they did say worlds would be bigger.
Now onto Sony who, punching directly at Microsoft, revealed that the PS4 will support used games, even going so far as to release a video showing how easy it was for players to share games. Then they revealed it doesn't need to be always online, another direct jibe at Microsoft. Another point for Sony was that the PS4 will be cheaper than the Xbox One at retail by £80 ($100) The biggest story out of E3 this year was that Sony were the clear winners, leaving Microsoft to apply a cold press to their burn wounds and (hopefully) re-think some things for the future. Poor Microsoft.
Lewis: Well, what can I say. Sony absolutely dominated E3 this year, and I'm not even a Sony fan boy. They just did everything right on the business front. They saw the Xbox One's downfalls and went the opposite way with the PS4. People just want the freedom to play their games offline, and to be able to trade-in games and buy games pre-owned. We take these sorts of things for granted as they have been so deeply rooted in gaming culture since gaming started, so it's interesting to see PS4 winning on such things while the Xbox One is losing support despite being more ambitious and 'futuristic'. But I think seeing Microsoft getting owned by Sony will continue to be remembered in years to come, it was ever so satisfying to know that gaming hasn't flopped in my eyes, at least for one more generation. Everything about Sony's conference was just so much more impressive, they announced more highly anticipated games (such as the new Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts III) although there wasn't as many incredible exclusives shown, and I feel this is were the PS3 failed slightly the generation before. I'm sure that the PS4 will be the place to play my obscure Japanese titles though. The timing was perfect too, Sony's conference was actually well scripted and the timing was perfect, leaving the 'why you need to buy our system over the Xbox One' section until the end. Oh, also the new Pokémon type is Fairy... I kind of saw it coming but at the same time I didn't. Not sure how I feel about new types really, guess I'm too used to the ones I've known for years. The new Pokémon X and Y looks great though, perhaps a return to form and looks very fun. I may actually buy a 3DS.