Tag Archives: Volition

What to Expect from E3 2013

What to Expect from E3 2013

I’m filled with dread. And excitement. I’m anxious and paranoid. I’m filled with a glut of emotions that I reserve for times when I’m under prolonged duress, and in this case, it’s because I’ll be in Los Angeles for a week for E3. I feel like a hot little turnip of feelings because for six solid days, I’ll be surrounded by tens of thousands of other people in downtown LA (probably more due to the Kings playoff series once again looks to ravage the bustling, hotel-filled area) and set to meet dozens and dozens of them as I talk about and play almost as many games. And for some reason I do this voluntarily.

And that’s because there will be just so much to see. Outside of the tremendous networking opportunities, there’s just a lot of games to get my hands on and share with all of you. If there’s something in particular you want me to investigate or check out, just let me know in the comments or tweet at me and I’ll do my best. Last year, I tracked down Tokyo Jungle for some folks, an adventure that led me to faking a British accent and landed me square in a room full of European press I didn’t recognize. This year, well, who knows.

But here is what I’m looking forward to most.

Xbox One/PlayStation 4 Drama

PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One

Word on the street is that the Microsoft press event is going to be…aggressive, which makes sense; they were the last next-gen console to be revealed and now they’re going to be the first out of the gate at E3. By all counts, the initial announcement seemed more aimed to appease partners and shareholders, so let’s so what happens when they have the opportunity to set the tone for an entire week of video game coverage. I’m expecting more games (probably some actual gameplay from Call of Duty: Ghosts this time) and “surprises,” as Geoff Keighley put it. Microsoft did, however, cancel the post-conference press Q&A, so who knows what that means.

As for Sony, well, a lot has happened since the Xbox One announcement. They’ve since been able to cultivate a strategic response to the kerfuffle surrounding used games, always-online requirements, and all that goodness, but they will also have to follow Microsoft (and everyone else seeing as how they’re the last presser to take place) next week. How well will they be able to execute a proper PR message turnaround if something unexpected happens? We’ll probably even see the actual hardware this time, too. This will, undoubtedly, be the most exciting pre-E3 press conferences in recent memory.

Saints Row IV

Deep Silver will be there repping Volition’s Saints Row IV and I have two hours set aside to bask in its glory. I don’t know if I need to say anymore. Just look at that trailer!

Nintendo’s Unusual Tact

Nintendo E3 2012 press conference

Nintendo won’t have their usual press event and is instead opting for a Nintendo Direct streaming thing. This isn’t unusual (big news dropped last year in the following online videos while their event skimped on the goods), but it does beg a lot of questions. Has Nintendo given up on mainstream marketing for the Wii U? Do they have latent plans for taking up the E3 news cycle that no one knows about? Last year they had one of the biggest booths with an entire second floor dedicated to appointments and private demos. The Nintendo Direct is also at the same time as a Square Enix Final Fantasy thing, so, um, yeah.

Plus they’ll have all those games demoed at 100 Best Buy stores across the country, saying they’re “making an E3 for the people.” That’s a smart ploy to put games in more gamers’ hands that won’t be at E3 (which is to say the vast majority of people), but it also feels like a concession in the console battle at a pivotal point where giving an inch anywhere is costly.

Franchises, Franchises

We’ll see more of Call of Duty: Ghosts, for sure, along with Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. There won’t be any sign of Grand Theft Auto V at the show, but there will be Super Smash Bros. Wii U, which obviously has a lot of people excited. Rumors have hit an all-time high for Mirror’s Edge 2 and Rare has been teasing a revival of a “historic” franchise (I’m hoping Viva Piñata, but I’m expecting Perfect Dark or Killer Instinct). We’ll see how Batman: Arkham Origins is shaping up and if Bayonetta 2 is just as ridiculous as the first.

Fresh-Baked Games

And then there’s the new IPs that we hopefully get to learn more about. Watch Dogs will be Ubisoft’s ace, probably, as it will likely take over its mantle for new annual franchise. Harmonix recently dropped the news that they are working on Fantasia and Double Fine will be talking about its latest Kickstarter endeavor Massive Chalice (and might show off Broken Age). Sony will also be showing off Puppeteer, one of the most exciting things I’ve seen in a long time, and we’ll finally see some of Bungie’s Destiny. Of course, there’s much more to E3 than that, but you’ll read about it all next week.

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Eyes-On With Saints Row IV: Aye, There’s The Wub

Saints Row IV

I guess I’m not surprised. Saints Row: The Third was a popular game and media passes are becoming increasingly easier to come across, but come on. Why is there a cosplayer in the room? Why is there someone here who is clapping and Jerry Springer whooping at everything producer Jim Boone says? And why am I repressing the joyful glee within me that makes me want to join them?

Because yes.

Saints Row IV, in a word, is appropriate. It’s logical. It is, from what I can surmise after a seven-minute hands-off gameplay demo video, totally what you would expect from a followup to a game that features exploding pedicabs powered by BDSM gimps. In it, we are shown what Boone calls “the virtual world,” which is explained by the fact that this all takes places in the mind of the head Saint.

Which might also explain why there are aliens and you are the President of the United States and Steelport has become a weird, topsy-turvy, DmC Devil May Cry Limbo-esque version of the one you know and love from SR3. Boone explained that while yes, some of that is taken from the canceled and reappropriated SR3 DLC Enter the Dominatrix (namely the aliens, which are now called the Zen), but he also says that Saints Row IV is still very much a new game. The DLC only helped to facilitate ideas and not necessarily content or mechanics.

Saints Row IV

That may or may not be true, but I can say with absolute certainty that I like what I saw. Coming back are several smaller bits and pieces from past Saints Row games such as deftly executed melee takedowns (like sliding crotch punches), XP bonuses for driving recklessly (which still manifest in that purple circle that fills up and flares up), and, from what I remember, chunks of Steelport. But that’s all old. You’re here for the new.

And boy howdy is there some new stuff. We are shown two new weapons right off the bat, showcased with the same irreverence with a side of appreciation as Insomniac would show off new Ratchet & Clank guns. The first is something called the Inflate-o-ray which, well, you know how when you over-inflate a balloon, it pops? Yeah, that. Then there was the dubstep gun which fired off these beautiful arcing light beams that of course caused the entire world to stutter, the game to play the wubs, and cars to bounce up and down to the broken electro beat. It is pretty fantastic.

There are some actual changes to what the player can do, too, seeing as how it’s all in his head. Volition thought it would be appropriate to give your character super powers, and I would have to agree. You get super speed, super jumps, super strength, telekinesis, and the ability to glide à la Cole from Infamous. In fact, as I watched several minutes of super powered wreckage being produced, my first thought was this was what I wanted Infamous, Prototype, and Crackdown to play like.

Saints Row IV

The world has similarly changed to accommodate your powers, too. Boone said that Steelport had been redesigned to allow for the increased verticality in gameplay (just as the video showed him dashing through a street, jumping six stories in the air, and landing on a rooftop) and is comparatively “massively larger.” This includes the landscape (which has been torn asunder and is shown, um, floating in parts), architecture, collectibles, and the enemies. The Zen will be your primary foe in Saints Row IV, replacing the gangs from SR3. Boone points out, though, that the total variety of Zen definitely outnumbers that of previous games, so don’t worry about having to fight the same thing over and over again.

Of course, new throwaway things are also packed in there like a rocket launcher mod called the Soopa Six that looks an awful lot like the Super Scope 6 and a guitar case called the El Fugitivo as a shoutout to Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi. And new perfunctory missions have been added like mech suit mayhem in which the celebration screen shows you doing the robot in said mech suit. Those side bits will also earn you different rewards based on bronze, silver, or gold rankings.

Some inconsistencies with SR3 have also been addressed. Now that the Zen is there, Saints Row IV will have a much more consistent antagonist and less of a meandering narrative as with the multitude of gangs of old. However, if you think that you still won’t get to do a bunch of weird side stuff, then you’re wrong because Saints Row IV gets a little Psychonauts-y in that you will get to explore the psyches of other Saints and see what it’s like in their minds.

Saints Row IV

Going into the presentation, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew from other press people that it was still Saints Row, but little else came out of their mouths except maniacal laughter and Skrillex sounds. And after half an hour of videos and Qs being A’d, I still don’t know what to expect except maybe more Saints Row.

Expected release date is August 20, 2013.

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