E3 2012 in review

E3 2012 in review

E3 2012 in review

Monday

Microsoft kicked off this year's E3 with what turned out to be a lacklustre conference. That wasn't for lack of big name games, though, as Halo 4, Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Gears Of War: Judgment did their best to make up for a lack of any new hardware while simultaneously highlighting the diminishing returns current generation consoles can offer.

Microsoft looked instead to the convergence of its current hardware by introducing Xbox SmartGlass, its cloud-based content sharing technology. The company also revealed Xbox Music, the music service the company has "always dreamed of building".

Electronic Arts' conference came next, which opened with Dead Space 3 gameplay and the confirmation that Visceral's sequel will feature drop-in, drop-out co-op. Maxis lined up its sights on Zynga after that, announcing SimCity Social for Facebook.

Criterion contributed Need For Speed: Most Wanted, which further spliced Burnout's DNA with the EA series by offering an open world and plenty of bent fenders.

Ubisoft offered an hour of awkward tittilation and uncomfortable voyeurism as it filled the stage with half-dressed women as often as possible. But despite the poorly judged tone of the show, the French company's conference proved to be, in many ways, the saviour of an otherwise uneventful E3 thanks to its stunning Watch Dogs demo, and the promising-looking ZombiU.

Sony's conference was characterised by overlong gameplay demos and a disappointing lack of Vita news. Even so, the games on show had visual flair at the very least.

Quantic Dream's Beyond demo starred Ellen Page in the lead role, but gave nothing away in terms of how the game might play. An extended gameplay demo of The Last Of Us, meanwhile, showed an Uncharted-style hub-and-corridor linear approach and elicited worrying cheers from the crowd as its skull-splitting violence unfolded on screen.

Wonderbook showed some spark (literally, in fact) during a demonstration of JK Rowling's Book Of Spells, a product clearly aimed at children but with much of the easy charm demonstrated by Double Fine's Happy Action Theatre.

Tuesday

Nintendo's conference led with Pikmin 3, which looked lovely, if not quite revolutionary, while the Travellers Tales' Lego City Undercover was revealed to be a Wii U exclusive.

A more unlikely alliance, between Bayonetta developer Platinum Games and Nintendo, produced P-100.

Nintendo revealed its Wii U Pro controller ahead of the main conferences, along with its social network Miiverse, and also announced during the show that Wii U now supports two GamePads.

Nintendo's virtual "theme park" Nintendo Land took up a significant portion of the company's conference, and was clearly designed to showcase the GamePad's abilities. Nintendo also unveiled its answer to Singstar and Lips, Sing.

Tuesday also saw gameplay footage of LucasArts' hugely handsome Star Wars 1313, offering a tantalising, premature glimpse of the next generation.

Wednesday

We got our hands on the Wii U and sampled Nintendo Land, Arkham City: Armoured Edition, Ninja Gaiden 3 and the controller itself. John Carmack demoed the VR headset he's been working on, while Hideo Kojima revealed that the new series he's working on will focus on "love, or rearing a family". CCP Games also announced a Vita app for Dust 514.

Thursday

While there was little said about the 3DS during Nintendo's main conference, it held a separate one for 3DS which included Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and Paper Mario: Sticker Star. We spent some more time with Wii U, too, sampling Pikmin 3, Mario, Rayman Legends, P-100, ZombiU and Lego City Undercover. Burned by the lack of attention paid to Vita during Sony's conference on Monday, we set about hunting down 25 Vita games that could have been shown on stage.