Did You All Forget To Be On Guard Against E3?

Yahtzee Croshaw

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Did You All Forget To Be On Guard Against E3?

I'd like to compile a short list of thinking points that you can occupy your higher brain with next time you see something being hyped, while the rest of you is slapping the backs of your hands together because you saw a slow fade in on a logo you recognized.

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Gethsemani_v1legacy

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Most of all, E3 is a giant gathering of people who all get to over-indulge in their own hobby for several days in a row while getting pampered by people that are very keen on making that hobby seem like the coolest hobby of all time. Hence, people who are normally rational and level headed get super-psyched at relatively modest reveals because they are surrounded by people who are wanting to get super-psyched and are already hyping each other up. It is the same mechanism that tend to make fairly well-adjusted roleplayers become super geeky at convents or that makes drinking at a pub so much more enjoyable than binge drinking home alone. In the right setting, everything becomes much better and E3 is the ultimate setting for gaming hype.

Just like the occasional visit to the pub it is probably harmless. The problem is when you start to keep up the drinking you do at the pub even when you are home alone, or mindlessly buying all the hype all year round.
 

Covarr

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May 29, 2009
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When Sony got to No Man's Sky in their conference, I breathed a sigh of relief. Not because I'd been eagerly anticipating it, or because I was worried they might not show it, but because it was actual gameplay footage. It looked unfinished as hell, and really needed more polish, but I was so glad to see gameplay. The Last Guardian was ostensibly gameplay as well, but it was so excessively cinematic and pretentious I couldn't bring myself to care.

My favorite game this year was Super Mario Maker. Uniquely, what Nintendo showed of it was nothing but gameplay, and I think that's part of why I'm so excited for it. What they showed was already a significant improvement over the game's reveal last year, adding features and props I considered mandatory that hadn't yet been implemented when they first showed it, as well as confirming that the themes will have their own physics to match their source games, but I was also enthralled by what they didn't show. It was plainly visible that there was a whole lot of content, a whole lot of props and features, that were disabled for the E3 build.

It's rather a unique situation. What we saw was only a small chunk of the game, but it was easy to infer what sort of things they weren't showing, even if not the exact content. Enemies, obstacles, maybe some different platform types... the engine itself looked complete and solid, and even what they showed would be a competent release. I think that's key: It never once felt like they were showing the best or most impressive parts and hiding the crap. Instead, it felt like they were showing a small sample, and hiding the rest as a surprise for later.

"Trust your first instincts", you say? This is the only game I saw this year where my initial reaction was "this looks like fun." Not "impressive" or "gonna be popular" or "the graphics are good" or "finally" or "I wonder how they'll pull this off" or "what even is this?". Just pure, unadulterated fun. There were plenty of games announced or shown that I'm hopeful about (Just Cause 3, Final Fantasy VII, but this is the only one I'm legitimately excited for right now, and I entirely attribute that to this being the only game with a proper, honest presence at E3. No fancy cinematic trailers, no carefully-selected setpiece sequences, just the very core of the game itself, presented as we'll experience it at release.

P.S. Thanks

P.P.S. I suppose No Man's Sky was honest also. But seriously, that game needs a lot of work before it'll be ready for primetime. I like the ideas they have for it, and I definitely see potential, but it just couldn't grab me with the clearly very WIP product they have. Actually, I suspect the unenthusiastic response to this is why other studios are so selective of what parts they show us. They make more sales if they're less than honest, unless they've genuinely got a product that can stand on its own (and let's face it, they almost always don't).
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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It did seem like everyone forgot that E3 is linked to the AAA companies this year, didn't it? I mean just all good hype all day long. It was like the water was laced with amnesiac wine and people just forgot how shitty the last...oh...5 years of AAA games have been. No one asked any tough questions or seemed bothered by anything.

I got one that seemed to slip all the journalists this year; if Fallout 4 isn't going to take advantage of the new gen graphics, why isn't it coming to 360 and PS3? And followup to the inevitable bullshit response that graphics aren't everything: Why then did you guys sell the new gen on better graphics? Why are people forced to upgrade to a faster/stronger/more expensive console if devs are actively not using the new hardware? What was the point of all this?!

I mean we are two years into the new gen. Can anyone point to a single game and say A) this is a good game that utilizing the improved graphics of the console, B) this game is worth getting a $400 console for and C) this game couldn't have been made for the 360/PS3 gen.

'cause I'm really struggling...
 

Areloch

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Dec 10, 2012
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Well, I can totally get hyped up about stuff that looks interesting while simultaneously being ready when they actually come out for them to be total disappointments.

Being a skeptical consumer doesn't mean I can't enjoy the show.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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Sep 8, 2011
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I hated this year's E3 precisely because of past experience with it. The only things that I didn't hate were some indie announcements and AAA announcements that I knew were coming anyway. But I wouldn't say that I'm hyped for anything. Not even Fallout 4. Sure, I'll probably get it. But I don't feel the hype and I sure as hell won't pre-order it or anything else. With every cool announcement my brain immediately went "I wonder what type of greedy thing they're going to do to fuck this up".
 

Ishal

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I understand the hate for E3, or at least the caution of it. And Yahtzee does have a certain perspective that not a lot of us can truly understand without walking in his shoes.

But... as a newly transformed PC gamer. I just can't hate E3. I think there is a difference between hype and excitement. I'm excited for quite a few things that I saw at E3. But that doesn't mean I pre-ordered anything. I'll wait, because that's what you do as a PC gamer. At least that's what I've found.

The newest game I bought recently was The Witcher 3, and mostly just because I felt like it would be good, and I trusted CDPR's reputation. Sure enough their were some bugs, but otherwise it's been a smooth experience. But, it seems they are the exception rather than the rule.

This Steam sale the big AAA game I bought was Wolfenstein TNO. A game which is a year old at least. The rest were games that were older than that. I'm not taken in by the new because I'm very likely not going to buy it until much later. So I just can't hate it. Sure there are all the sketchy business practices that go on there. Sure they shouldn't happen, but they do. If you're aware of them then they shouldn't hurt you.
 

Casual Shinji

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Well, you can still get excited about something knowing full well it might not turn out that great. You do know that, right? Because this is a song and dance I see from you every year E3 rolls around, and it's just starting to come across a bit whiney. 'Don't get hyped about anything because it'll likely not live up to it!' Yes, we know, we're not idiots -- We've been gaming for many years now, you don't have to tell us a lot of E3 is smoke and mirrors. We're just having fun with the announcements and the what-might-be.
 

Xman490

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May 29, 2010
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Covarr said:
My favorite game this year was Super Mario Maker. Uniquely, what Nintendo showed of it was nothing but gameplay, and I think that's part of why I'm so excited for it. What they showed was already a significant improvement over the game's reveal last year, adding features and props I considered mandatory that hadn't yet been implemented when they first showed it, as well as confirming that the themes will have their own physics to match their source games, but I was also enthralled by what they didn't show. It was plainly visible that there was a whole lot of content, a whole lot of props and features, that were disabled for the E3 build.
And with that significant improvement, it passes my single test to determine whether a game is worth getting excited for:

IS THE GAME MUCH DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER OF ITS QUALITY, AND IS THAT DIFFERENCE VALUABLE?
Now, Super Mario Maker may seem to not pass this test, but one must consider that it has at least 4 "themes", large enemies stacked atop each other, new spins on old stuff (The Goomba Wears Prada), and eventually-numerous user-created levels.

Meanwhile, Star Fox Zero will have seamless land combat on a mech, and Fallout 4 will have base building and defense, but it's questionable whether those advancements and HD are worth $60.

And then there's Just Cause 3, with aspirations of a grapple hook capable of connecting and pulling anything. If that is for real, then I will do what Yahtzee said he did at the end of the ZP of the past week.
 

Azhrarn-101

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I remain sceptical about all games I've seen at E3 this year.

There are some that interest me, and I will follow, but I've had good experiences with not pre-ordering for a while now. :D
Looking forward to learning more about XCOM 2, Dishonored 2 and No Man's Sky, but they're not getting a sale until after release. ;)
 

Nazulu

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Jun 5, 2008
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Casual Shinji said:
Well, you can still get excited about something knowing full well it might not turn out that great. You do know that, right? Because this is a song and dance I see from you every year E3 rolls around, and it's just starting to come across a bit whiney. 'Don't get hyped about anything because it'll likely not live up to it!' Yes, we know, we're not idiots -- We've been gaming for many years now, you don't have to tell us a lot of E3 is smoke and mirrors. We're just having fun with the announcements and the what-might-be.
No he's right. From the little I've seen many people are full hyped and have considered this year and next year to be the best years of gaming just because of the names mentioned. Forgetting all the bad, saying everything's fixed just because of some fucking names!

Those new games will sell well just because of the amazing hype it's built. I bet you, with a lot of the sales from pre-orders.
 

Hoplon

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Mar 31, 2010
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Yahtzee Croshaw said:
A phrase to watch out for is "We don't want to spoil it." For example, if coverage of a game like Fallout 4 were to consist mostly of showing off new gameplay mechanics and the intro sequence, with very little being even hinted at regarding the game's larger plot and central narrative thread, then you might want to lower expectations in that area.
Bethesda can't do story, it's like asking EA to do a small personal game about a yarn figure... right.
 

President Bagel

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We live in a world of many, many silent intelligent people and many, many talkative fuckwits.
I agree with this part, but largely disagree with the rest of the article. Favouring optimism over cynicism doesn't necessarily inhibit one's ability to think analytically. If that makes me a trained seal then so be it. Arf arf.
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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So far Nintendo is the only one who passed the test of trade shows with their Treehouse Live coverage because they did nothing but stream HOURS of footage of not only gameplay, but did get into story for the more narrative-heavy games like Yo-kai Watch, Fire Emblem, and Genei Ibun Roku without spoiling anything important. I just don't understand bringing something to a trade show if it's not going to be able to be played by the press or at least not in a playable form. Save that for internet dev walkthroughs, not trade shows.
 

Casual Shinji

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Nazulu said:
Casual Shinji said:
Well, you can still get excited about something knowing full well it might not turn out that great. You do know that, right? Because this is a song and dance I see from you every year E3 rolls around, and it's just starting to come across a bit whiney. 'Don't get hyped about anything because it'll likely not live up to it!' Yes, we know, we're not idiots -- We've been gaming for many years now, you don't have to tell us a lot of E3 is smoke and mirrors. We're just having fun with the announcements and the what-might-be.
No he's right. From the little I've seen many people are full hyped and have considered this year and next year to be the best years of gaming just because of the names mentioned. Forgetting all the bad, saying everything's fixed just because of some fucking names!

Those new games will sell well just because of the amazing hype it's built. I bet you, with a lot of the sales from pre-orders.
The only full-hype I've seen from this year's E3 was the Final Fantasy 7 remake, and that was all due to the fact that it even exists. Followed maybe by Fallout 4, but that has less to do with E3 and more with whatever weird hold Bethesda has on people. People get ludicrously hyped for Blizzard, too, which I really can't understand.

The notion that everyone just gets blinded by E3 hype is false as there's been plenty of criticism. Everyone gets star struck initially by whatever announcement, but that fades quickly enough, especially once the game steps out from behind its pre-rendered teaser trailer. Sure, there's people that rush out to pre-order the next big thing two years before it's even released, but this idea of avoiding excitement or positive expectations at all costs just makes me think of a whiney teenager. You can strike a balance. You can be really hyped for something and cautiously wait and see whether it justifies it.

Disappointment is a fact of life and it's no reason not to get excited about anything. I'd rather get extremely excited followed by crushing disappointment, than not get excited about anything ever for fear of being let down.
 

Mugiwara

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Dam, so glad you said something. I watched E3 live, probably as some form of torture I am sure. I found many of the interviews and hype to be commercial and fake, mainly descriptive fan service such as "the internet blew up for fallout 4". I think I heard the word " Awesome" and "Really excited about 3 times every 5 minutes. Some of the hosts I found obnoxious and very amateurish. Such as the one lady playing Fire Emblem.

Twat convention was probably the most accurate way to describe it. I couldn't agree more with the 3rd person VR. I saw a clip of some game on a show here called Electric Playground for the Oculus. I was baffled and completely speechless at the choice of making a 3rd person platformer (like mario 3d world) on a VR system.

When you said silent intelligence VS. The talkative fuckwit. I thought to myself I always wait to hear more information or learn from myself. I never really feel like I know enough to say my opinion, seriously , this last year I just started commenting on things on the internet and I am 25.
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

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Dec 11, 2009
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Yeah no, I found e3 appalling from start to finish.

The "games journalists" in the audience, the "open world crafting elements huge immersive next gen"-mass that touched most of the new IPs and the realisation that all of these games will be underwhelming no matter what.

No Man's Sky will be empty and shallow as hell, Fallout 4 will be an insubstantial RPG, Rise of The Tomb Raider is just more of the same(ditto for GoW 4 and Halo 5), Doom 4 looks like Wolfenstein TNO except in hell with a worse story and no stealth, that Pirates thing Rare is doing is basically a Guns of Icarus clone, Mankind Divided will run out of steam quickly because it looks to play exactly like Human Revolution(and I always abandon that game due to repetition, story isn't interesting enough), Hitman will probably be Absolution but with more of an MP focus and more shiny, KH3 is stuck in development hell...

And I could go on.

Cuphead looks like fun, but most likely a 2D brawler, and I don't like any 2D brawler. Art style is neat though. Just Cause 3 doesn't look too bad, but again, it's just more of the same, just like Dishonored 2(though I retain hope that they can yet have bigger levels and a longer story. Writing will probably still be meh, as will be the characters but the gameplay would be hard to fuck up).

Only The Last Guardian made me pause for breath, and that's because it is a relic from a better, more simpler time, without the shit of the current industry like DLC, tacked-on multiplayer, pre-order bonuses, "immersive open world next gen crafting elements survival" which infected almost everything else.

Battlefront looks insubstantial as well. Only jollies to be had from that game would be playing as either Luke or Vader, but at that point, it's basically like a heavily cut down mod/port with better graphics a la Command and Conquer: Renegade.

This is the first e3 I actively followed as well.
 

Jburton9

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Thanks for the post Yahtzee. Hmm, well lots of grooming and schmoozy talk gushing with oh how exciting. The pitch of well it is not VR but this is really cool anyway felt out of place. Corps did not want to invest into VR so they go with augmented reality instead?

Also lots of iteration games of already existing franchises, all nice safe choices.

The most interesting one for me was No Mans Sky and the design discussion. Finally a dev is pushing math that puts the hardware to work vs just more of the same 4x bloated textures which requires another video card upgrade so it can push... well more bloated textures through as many pipes it can.

Bethesda put on a nice show but also suffered from metooitus - a moba and an ecard game. Fallout 4 looks solid but as one poster put it, just for once how about when I build something it does not look blown out and broken heh.

Well as they say it could be worse so at least there are a few interesting things on the horizon. Thankfully we also have indie channels for direct to players game releases in case E3 suddenly has a day where everyone wakes up from the hype haze : )
 
Jan 12, 2012
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A phrase to watch out for is "We don't want to spoil it." For example, if coverage of a game like Fallout 4 were to consist mostly of showing off new gameplay mechanics and the intro sequence, with very little being even hinted at regarding the game's larger plot and central narrative thread, then you might want to lower expectations in that area.
I would start throwing things at Yahtzee and telling him to stop ruining my dreams, but I just heard that Emil Pagliarulo is the senior writer for FO4. Any chance they could bring in Josh Sawyer or Avellone to head him off?

Silentpony said:
I mean we are two years into the new gen. Can anyone point to a single game and say A) this is a good game that utilizing the improved graphics of the console, B) this game is worth getting a $400 console for and C) this game couldn't have been made for the 360/PS3 gen.

'cause I'm really struggling...
The Witcher is probably the big contender at the moment. The last one is kind of difficult because consoles tend to have a long tail on them (people were still making versions of games for the PS2 6 freaking years after the PS3 came out) but there are strong arguments that games like Far Cry 4, Last of Us Remastered and Destiny [footnote]People say they don't like it, but there are literally millions of gamers playing it, so clearly someone does[/footnote] are games best enjoyed on the current generation of consoles.

On a side note, people keep saying that everyone was star-struck by everything and stopped thinking, but they really didn't. I saw some of the YouTube coverage (run by Rooster Teeth, who are some of the most fervent fans of anything gaming relating and very strongly placing themselves on the "enthusiast" side of "enthusiast vs. reporter") where they were critiquing and downplaying some of the games they didn't think looked good. There's a difference between spending a few days enjoying all the exciting promises while still pointing out that they might not pan out, and buying into everything whole-heartedly and forever.
 

Darth_Payn

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Why does Yahtzee do an E3 special every year, for its warts and all? Because they provide his funniest work, and we enjoy it! Simple as that!