The Devil’s Advocate- E3: Overpriced, Overhyped, and Over There
E3 is right around the corner, and like every year, people are eagerly waiting in anticipation for all the big announcements and trailers and who knows what that will come from the event that has gained an almost legendary status in the world of games. From an outsider’s perspective, it must look like the gaming equivalent of the Oscars with all the cameras, flashy appearances, and crowds of people. For a press event, it is certainly one of the more well known ones, and for a good reason. But when it comes down to it, perhaps E3 is like an old man past his prime, eager to steal the spotlight once more by throwing the biggest party on the block.
Take last year’s lineup of notable games that were shown off. All respectable presentations to be sure, demonstrating the pinnacle of gaming at the time. But there were so many that were delayed, or better yet, games that would come out within a year or two. Now of course, developing games is hard work and sometimes things happen that force a change in release date, a perfectly acceptable practice for the sake of quality. But when games that are slated to come out are teased this far in advance, it does defeat the purpose of hype, does it not? Why tease Mass Effect 4, or Dead Island 2, or Rise of the Tomb Raider, or Rainbow 6: Siege when they come out years from the event, unless of course it is merely a move to gain attention from the financial world.
And even if the game comes out relatively close to the event, so much can change. Master Chief Collection and Assassins Creed Unity are now one of the most often touted examples of games that simply do not work (an exaggeration of course, but lets be honest, when something breaks everyone hears about it but when something works no one says anything). Meanwhile Destiny is not quite as many of us probably anticipated, given how the trailers and demos never implied that the story simply doesnt exist or how much repetition is involved. And who can forget how Battlefield Hardline (and other military themed shooters) are always shown off with the most well coordinated, well equipped, teams fighting each other in very obviously scripted scenarios when actual gameplay often involves your team’s helicopter flying into the ground when a random teammate takes it and realizes that they dont know the controls.
Of course, there are games that have been shown off and live up to the expectations that we get and come out when the presentations are still things we can remember. Realistically though, even without E3, there would have been “leaks”, trailers, TV or internet advertisements, and coverage of all kinds that will let the world know that a game is coming. And even then, we have to keep in mind that things may not perform as they appear, and special scrutiny should probably be directed towards games that have terrific trailers with lifelike character models and whatnot…but are essentially pre-rendered cutscenes that dont show off gameplay.