It always seems a bit silly to declare a “winner” of E3. It’s just so juvenile. This is a complex industry that can’t be distilled down to the simple question of “who beat whom.”
But we just can’t help it, can we?
Comparing the three keynotes this year, however, really is a grab-bag of possible outcomes. All three offered something interesting, and picking a single “winner” this year more than ever depends how you define “winning.”
My rundown is after the break.
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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend E3 this year – instead, I’m on vacation in Cape Cod, using awful hotel Wi-Fi to watch streamed press conferences. Not the most glamorous way to take it all in, but exciting announcements, great games and new details are welcome no matter how you hear about them.
Here’s my personal transcription (in very brief form) of all the announcements and showings, along with some reflection on what Microsoft had to show.
We hope you guys are ready, because while E3 may be quite a bit smaller this year, the announcements coming from all the game companies should still prove to be large. The Microsoft briefing is right about to start, and we expect to see and hear some fairly exciting announcements. Halo 3 anyone? Fable 2 FTW? Any unannounced exclusives? Check back here in 30 minutes for the full scoop.
UPDATE: Alright guys, hit the break for the news!
Halo 3 Campaign Screen Emerges; Bound To Be Second Most Viewed Image On Internet Behind Paris Hilton
Luke Smith has posted a drool-worthy Halo 3 screenshot over on Bungie.net, saying only that it is in-game and from the game’s campaign. That’s it. We know nothing more, but at least we can stare to our hearts’ content. Come on, September 25!
Read More | Bungie.net
Apparently this is in-game footage, folks. That’s right – looks like we’ve got an FPS that actually stands a chance during the Halo 3 onslaught later this year. I just can’t figure out if that smoke looks really good, or really out of place…
Oh, Halo 3 beta, how I will miss you. We had such good times together. Whether it was VIP on Snowbound, Territories on Valhalla or 1 Flag CTF on High Ground, you never failed to entertain me. The countless kills with the Spartan Laser were never any less satisfying than my very first one. Headshots, ohhh the headshots; the way you would fling the recipient’s body backwards. The satisfying noise spike grenades would make when sticking to someone. Intense firefights, bubble shields, endless bouts of profanity-filled gaming – you were only a beta, a simple beta, yet few things could measure up to the experience you served up each and every time I played a game.
In fact, you mean so much to me, I’ve written you a Haiku. I hope it has the correct number of syllables, because I’m far too depressed to do the appropriate research.
Oh Halo 3 beta
Man cannons are so so silly
Please don’t change their sweet names
RIP Halo 3 beta. September 25 cannot possibly come soon enough.
The so called “Limited” Edition (limited to the number of them they can sell, no doubt) of Halo 3 has had its case unveiled, and I’ve gotta say – it looks pretty sweet. Sweet to the point where I considered changing my plans to purchase the Legendary Edition. For only $70 – $10 more than the standard edition, and $60 less than the Legendary Edition – you’ll receive a copy of the game, a bonus disc with all sorts of goodies, and a Halo fiction and art book. There was an erroneous picture floating around the internet that showed a second game disc, but this was proven to be a mistake on Microsoft’s end. Bungie.net’s Frankie explains the error:
The Collector’s Edition picture erroneously shows that it ships with a Bonus Content disc and a Game Two disc. Incorrect. It’s a mistake at MS’ end and we’re updating retailers with the correct image. The “Game Disc 2” shown in the art actually refers to an interactive Bonus Content disc. It’s an Xbox “executable” (think of it like a menu-driven disc, similar to the Official Xbox Magazine cover disc) and internally, has always been referred to as “Game Disc 2” because it has to go through the same certification process as Halo 3 itself. That was somehow communicated to MS retail marketing verbatim. Hence the error. No big deal.
It actually is a pretty complicated situation, so check after the break for the full explanation and list of contents for each Halo 3 SKU.
Read More | Bungie.net
The Halo 3 Beta has been available to the public for nearly two weeks, and with well over a hundred games between the two of them, editors Chris Pereira and Kyle Ulrich have a discussion about the experience thus far - what they like, what they don’t, what needs to be changed, and more.
Kyle: First off, the graphics. While the beta looks good, it’s absolutely clear that what is there is merely a foundation for what the finished product will become. A lot of people have been quick to criticize the game for looking too similar to Halo 2, without taking into consideration that the majority of the assets that we’re seeing in this beta - the levels, weapons, and character models - have been finished for months, as early as last October. Particle effects are nonexistent - grenades and muzzle fire lack flourish. From my perspective, we’re going to be looking at almost an entirely different game come September. I’d imagine that there are layers and layers of polish that have yet to be implemented. Believe.
Chris: You’re right. Bungie is the type of developer that waits until the last moment to slap on that extra layer of gloss that makes everything oh-so-pretty. And unlike many games, gimmicky bloom effects aren’t what make Halo look good. And after all, this beta isn’t a tech demo; don’t expect it to wow you with its graphics.
Kyle: The gameplay is an entirely different story, though. Even in this early, unfinished stage, the balance is remarkable. Nothing feels particularly unusable and the power weapons are exactly what they should be: hard to use, one-hit skill kills. Everything from the recoil of the sniper rifle to the shortening of the Shotgun’s ammo chamber make major strides at leveling the playing field. The even smattering of spray and prays and one-shots coalesce and riff off each other beautifully. For my money, an unfinished product has never played so marvelously. Also, the tweaking of the objective game types shakes things up well. Territories is simply awesome.
Like seemingly every other game on the market, Rockstar’s GTA IV will be releasing a special edition of the game, which will retail for $89.99. That’s a whole $30 more than the standard game, so there must be something in there to really make it worthwhile, right?
Well, that all depends on your ability to care about what is, for the most part, some worthless junk. Those three extra Hamiltons will land you a metal case, some special packaging, a soundtrack CD with exclusive tracks, a keychain, a customized Rockstar Games duffle bag, a behind-the-scenes art book and, of course, a copy of GTA IV. No special in-game treatment for you special edition owners out there.
$90 is a whole lot to ask for what boils down to a CD, art book, and metal case. With Halo 3’s Legendary Edition priced at $129.99, just how high can the price go on these special/collector’s editions? And when you factor in the already-promised downloadable content for the game, diehard GTA fans will be forking over quite the load of cash this October.
Read More | 1UP
This week will showcase the first substantial change to Halo 3’s matchmaking playlist. Team Training is going bye-bye in order to be replaced by Big Team Training – 6v6 games of the objective and slayer variety on High Ground and Valhalla. Luke Smith also stated on Bungie.net, “… we’ve made some slight tweaks to the Team Skirmish playlist that should add greater variety in the opponents you’ll face.” If only that meant no slayer games in the skirmish playlist. Slayer is not an objective game! Go play Team Slayer if that’s what tickles your fancy.
In unrelated news, later today (May 23), some sort of proverbial flip will be temporarily switched between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. PST. It supposedly should have no impact, but Frankie warns of what may potentially happen:
Should your game encounter a rare crash, your Xbox 360 will give you an alert screen, explaining that it’s uploading data to Bungie servers. We actually need this data, and we need your cooperation too. Although you probably won’t see that screen, if you do, let it finish uploading the data. It may take some time – upwards of 10-20 seconds and perhaps longer. So we beg your patience. When the process has completed correctly this is the message you’ll see, “File upload complete. Visit http://www.bungie.net/forums/halo3beta for more information (safe to reboot).”
Read More | Bungie.net
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