As E3 starts to become a distant memory and we can all get on with counting down the days until GTA V comes out and wondering what the hell is going on with Half-Life 3, I’ve decided to take a step back and reflect on what was, what could have been and what is to come following on from E3 2012.
I’ll start with the obvious blockbuster titles that everyone expected to make an appearance at some point during the gaming worlds highly anticipated expo, franchise instalments like Gears of War: Judgement, FIFA 13 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The latter of which is attempting to take Infinity Ward’s crown as the lead developer in the Call of Duty franchise once and for all after impressing with the first incarnation of their new IP. They now ambitiously look to take the cold war classic to new heights, boasting ‘storyline outcomes that depend on the users actual skill level’. With Gears of War it’s a case of do not fix what isn’t broken and EA’s FIFA 13 looks set to be what FIFA 12 should have been – the complete definitive football experience.
So what was missing from E3 2012? Well that’s not rocket science really as the main culprit was the same title that’s been missing from the last 5 consecutive shows. The developer, Valve, usually throws us a curve ball full of zombies whenever we do expect to hear something so it’s no surprise that yet again, the extremely elusive Half-Life 3, or Valve for that matter, was nowhere to be seen. It’s almost ridiculous to think that Black Mesa – the re-imagination of the original Half-Life from a group of very talented mod developers looks set to come out before any mention of Half-Life 3, and that’s been in development for 8 years, yeah, that’s going to happen. Also, I think most people knew it was extremely unlikely, but everyone held a candle of hope that Rockstar may appear and steal the entire week’s events with some more news on GTA V, unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. It certainly was wishful thinking considering they are still heavily marketing Max Payne 3 and his rather unique ability of downing painkillers and copious amounts of alcohol whilst still being sober enough to jump across rooftops of South American favelas – must be the new haircut.
As for the future, and this brings me onto the headline of the article, from what we have been shown, Ubisoft appear to have 2013 pretty much sewn up. I don’t think anyone could of predicted the level of immersion and detail showcased in Watch Dogs, even Sam and Dan Houser were probably raising an eyebrow as to the uncanny similarities to their flagship product, whilst the game itself certainly played out more like an elaborate and ambitious inception of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. If that wasn’t enough, Ubisoft raised the bar once more with an extremely intensive gameplay walkthrough of Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Now, when it was revealed that the iconic voice of Michael Ironside was being dropped due to the fact he basically was ‘too old’ for ‘Sam Fishers physique’ fans of the series were quick to jump on the hate bandwagon. This was quickly forgotten though once the walkthrough was well underway as Blacklist looks absolutely gorgeous; the conviction style execution feature has been tweaked to allow Sam Fisher to now seamlessly glide throw areas, taking out enemies in an almost balletic type fashion.
With Rockstar launching their big guns this year and Valve once again cowering in the depths of the Black Mesa research facility refusing to shed any light on the next instalment of arguably the best first person shooter of all time, Ubisoft have definitely made a bold move and have impressively claimed a stake for 2013’s prevalent titles. It remains to be seen what the guys over at Infinity Ward have up their sleeve for Modern Warfare’s continuation, but as far as new IP’s go, it might take something very special to beat Watch Dogs.