E3 2011 round-up
For all of our coverage from the event, visit the E3 topic page.
Nintendo's new console, Wii U, dominated E3 – well, its controller, anyway. But, failing to convey the technical capabilities of the full console – which, like Wii, again diverges from traditional gaming form and control factors – Nintendo found its shares taking a tumble. Onlooker opinion was also dented by the news that the Wii U controller will not be available to buy separately and that footage of thirdparty demos for the machine were taken from 360 and PS3 versions.
Nintendo rolled out plenty of firstparty games for 3DS, most of which are happily destined for release this year, but each was already announced other than Luigi's Mansion 2.
DSi and Wii owners will have to make do with final hurrahs in the shape of Zelda – a free DSiWare download of Four Swords Adventures and Wii’s Skyward Sword.
A last-minute trademark confirmed NGP will be called Vita before Sony itself could. Vita’s startling power, demonstrated by Uncharted: Golden Abyss, LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers, will also be available at the same price as 3DS in the US and Japan, kicking off another handheld war that will be interesting to watch.
Action RPG Ruin, meanwhile, roused interest by allowing players to cloud-save their Vita game and pick it up exactly where they left off on the PS3.
Sony's continued drive to push 3D gaming into the homes of the masses was underscored by its announcement of a low-price PlayStation branded 24-inch 3D HDTV capable of displaying separate, full-screen images to each player.
CCP’s Dust 514 will be a Sony exclusive, making appearances on both PS3 and Vita and demonstrating the fruits of Sony’s policy to be more flexible with thirdparty use of PSN than Microsoft is with Xbox Live.
Microsoft’s conference had steely focus on Kinect, with the promise, for better or worse, of greater use of motion tracking for hardcore games and greater voice control support. The highlight, though, was Kinect Fun Labs, which purports to bring hacker creativity to the platform. Another new dashboard update will introduce new partnerships with media brands like YouTube as well as Microsoft's own search engine, Bing.
Though Microsoft presumably wanted to leave the best until last, the brevity of Halo 4’s trailer wasn’t enough to make its conference remembered for revelations.
For sheer, eye-searing spectacle, DICE's Battlefield 3 stole the show. New footage of a large scale tank battle taking place in an expansive desert environment made liberal use of Frostbite 2’s new army of audio and visual effects.
Irrational's BioShock Infinite trailer showcased vertigo-inducing falls and more of its American Gothic meets Bespin’s Cloud City universe.
Ubisoft Montreal made a colourful return to tropical jungles in Far Cry 3 with a demo which included a chilling lecture on the nature of insanity and a sickening fall down a natural sinkhole. Hooray!
Naughty Dog's Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception demo was set onboard a dilapidated cruise ship on stormy seas, which pitched Nathan Drake around with magnificent abandon.
Other notable new announcements included Forza 4, Fable: The Journey, Crytek's Ryse, WipeOut 2048, a Vita version of Street Fighter X Tekken and the inevitable Modern Warfare 3.
For our detailed breakdowns of the big three's conferences, here's Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.
Tags: 3DS, Battlefield 3, DSi, E3, Far Cry 3, Kinect, LittleBigPlanet, Microsoft, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Move, PSN, Ruined, Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception, Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox Live