E3, you disappointed me. You truly disappointed me this year, in a way I never, ever thought you would be able to. I am officially covering my 7th E3, and I looked forward to this week every single year for nothing if not for this article you’re reading now. My “Do Want” of the show was the one new IP making its E3 debut (and in many cases its actual debut) at the show either in a conference or in an announcement or a gameplay demo later in the week, that straight up blew my mind. The kind of game that looked like it could change everything we knew and loved about games. The kind of game that you could obsess over while you waited for it to come out. It made you want to harass the development teams for leaks and details not yet revealed so you could know as much as possible about that game. Finally, and more importantly, it was the kind of game that made you want to throw your money at the developer and play it right now, forget waiting for the release.
Alpha Protocol. The Agency. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Overstrike (which then became Fuse). Watch Dogs. The Division. What do all of these games have in common? They are the games to “win” the prestigious honor of being all of my previous Do Wants. This year? This year! This, E3, is why you’ve disappointed me. I’ve looked far and wide this week, and I don’t have a single selection for this title. Not a single one. Over the course of the week, all of us have looked at hundreds of games, and out of all the new IP that made its first showing here this week, there is not a single standout, I am sad to say, nothing blew my mind this year. It’s borderline depressing, I mean, what do I have to look forward to now? What’s the point of doing this anymore if nothing out there has any wow factor?
What makes a Do Want? It needs to be a new IP, and it needs to be new at E3 this year. How is it even possible that nothing made the grade? Were developers and publishers not willing to take a chance or innovate this year? That can’t be true, can it? Certainly something has to be worthy of this title…
Maybe I should break my rules, allow a game we saw first last year make the grade. The Order 1886 and The Crew certainly fall into that category, and both make for a hell of a case, but so does my Do Want of last year, The Division, and that is why I can’t allow this, I can’t water-down my opinions just because there’s a less phenomenal group to choose from this year.
What about sequels? Do I allow that this year? There were a lot of great looking sequels, Rise of The Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Uncharted 4 (which just might be the best in show, if not the very best looking game at the show), and Mass Effect 4 (which only gave us some conceptual art and hope for the future). Sequels just don’t fit the nature, or the feeling of my Do Want, which is a brand new IP, because while sequels are the money makers, we don’t want the industry to just be a giant sequel factory, we want to promote new, innovative, interesting, and most importantly, different games.
Speaking of Bioware, do I give them the nod for their new un-named IP that was announced as being developed out of Bioware Edmonton simply because it’s being developed out of Bioware Edmonton? We haven’t seen a single piece of artwork or even a concept on what it’s about at all, so it hardly seems fair to just give a game the title due to its maker’s pedigree.
I came close to running into this same issue in 2010, but that Scott Pilgrim game was so much fun, it blew away all other smaller, digitally based titles, as well as the major Triple A blockbusters. Perhaps I could look at the indie scene for something here to save us. Not a Hero, Knight Squad, Mighty No. 9, Cuphead all look good. Hell, Cuphead LOOKS great, like an old-timey Looney Tunes cartoon come to life, but we’ve seen so very little on it, I’m not sure I could call it truly worthy of my Do Want, especially since it’s only going to be available on the Xbox One (paging Adam Boyes, PS4, make this happen).
So where do I go from here? Repeat performances are out, sequels are definitely out, and there’s nothing making me run to the hills and scream at the top of my lungs in the indies. Sad days ahead? Is this the end of the Do Want? It is, but only for this year. The amazing things we HAVE seen at E3 this year give me hope that next year innovators will innovate, and new IP will be back in full force, with a vengeance, and next year who knows, maybe, just maybe more than one title will be worthy of my Do Want, so that’s what we’re going to do this year, we’re going to send the trophy for 2014 back to the smelters and make the 2015 trophy even more grand, because this year’s Do Want is To Wait Until Next Year.