Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Road to E3: Denouements and Foreshadowings

‘Twas the night before Christmas…

With such a high-profile E3 this year – a return to glories past, without other international game conventions overshadowing it – all three of the console manufacturers have remained incredibly, almost unprecedentedly tight-lipped. Each hopes to “win” the show by having the biggest amount of game announcements, trailer debuts, and hands-on demos of the widest and most diverse pantheon of titles, and each has learned (some, like Nintendo, painfully so) that to ensure that each reveal holds the maximum amount of impact, the utmost of secrecy must be maintained right up until the time the curtains go up.

But the games industry is large and raucous; keeping anything quiet for long is something of a miracle (save for Blizzard, who can keep the likes of Starcraft II top-secret for years at a stretch) – and, sure enough, even with as momentous an E3 as is before us, there are more than a few loose lips willing to sink their fair share of battleships. Let’s just hope that they don’t fully derail all of the magic tricks each of the Big Three has up its sleeves.

Forthwith, a short litany:

Microsoft: the “transformative” announcement to be had at its press conference tomorrow will be a 3D motion-sensitive camera, which it acquired from 3DV Systems, a technology startup, last February. The software giant hopes that such a (supposedly) mainstream-friendly controller will be more than enough to take Nintendo directly on.

Nintendo: sequels, sequels, sequels are, indeed, what the big N will unleash to satiate its ravenous hardcore audience – and its newfound casual following, as well. Both Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Wii Fit Plus (complete with online play!) will bow on Tuesday, and will apparently be followed by even more core-franchise-friendly debuts.

Sony: in what is the most blatant and irrefutable leak of them all, Sony’s would-be dramatic unveiling of the PSP Go has been undermined by an online video journal’s premature posting – replete with the announcement that Grant Turismo Portable, which has been promised for the past four years but never delivered upon, and another Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (which just might end up being the heavily teased project that Kojima-san is next working on).

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