Category: E3 2006

Wii Bags Game Critics "Best of E3" Award

Publications on and off the Internet hand out “Best of E3” awards every year, but the Game Critics award is the definitive one. Comprising journalists from major gaming publications, the Game Critics awards the best playable games on the show floor. This year’s Best of Show award was won by Nintendo’s Wii, which also picked up the Best Hardware award, among others.

Full list after the jump.
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E3 2006 Publishers/Press Frustrations

Conducting meaningful relationships with various publications, including catering to the thousands (if not millions) of games sites out there can be a daunting task for any PR guy. However, that does not necessarily mean they can ignore most publications and get away with it, expecting the ignored ones to offer coverage for their products.

GameMethod’s Managing Editor Tracy Erickson takes a look at all the mismanagement that happened during E3 2006, noting that most companies really don’t seem to care about your average gaming site, or any other publication other than the big three (IGN, Gamespy and Gamespot).

If I was the only editor to have experienced this treatment, I wouldn’t have published this article; unfortunately, my words represent numerous complaints from fellow journalists who are tired of dealing with uncooperative public relations staff. As journalists, we do not have an obligation to cover a company’s games; rather, companies should actively seek coverage, not the other way around. It is the responsibility of public relations staff to disseminate information and work with press to facilitate coverage. Why is it that some companies fail to address these responsibilities?

Before the exposition even starts, evidence of substandard public relations work is evident. Companies like Koei and Capcom provide perfect examples this year of the challenge in setting appointments for E3. Two and a half weeks before the show, I sent e-mails to several companies requesting an appointment to preview their games, Koei and Capcom were included. Two weeks later, both companies replied denying our request for an appointment. Since when has delaying media requests two weeks become an acceptable practice? Perhaps if both companies had responded to our requests in a timely, professional manner, they wouldn’t have denied our request for an appointment. At least these companies replied. Square Enix representatives never responded to our multiple requests to attend their press conference. Similarly, a 2K Games representative was wonderful in connecting us with an outside firm to schedule an appointment; too bad we were never contacted after that.

However, there are always exceptions, and Sony, CDV and Microsoft were all applauded for their great work. I agree with him from personal experience, and believe that publishers should expect the sort of coverage that they can bestow upon us.

Top Xbox Live Content During E3 Week

E3 2006 saw a variety of announcements, one of which was from Microsoft who offered all features of Xbox Live for free during the week of the event. Now that it is done and over with, the company has announced that over 1.5 million gamers connected to the network last week and downloaded exclusive content, including the latest HD trailers of Halo 3, Fable 2 and Gears of War, as well as game add-on content and demos of Lost Planet. Game With Fame multiplayer sessions were also held during the week.

Consuming more than 600 terabytes of data, the traffic on both Xbox Live and double during the week. Microsoft released a list of the most popular content downloaded during the last week, and the results aren’t very surprising:

  1. Halo 3 Game Trailer (Microsoft Game Studios)
  2. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Free Playable Demo (Capcom)
  3. Test Drive® Unlimited Free Playable Demo (Atari)
  4. MotoGP ’06 Free Playable Demo (THQ)
  5. X-MenTM: The Last Stand Pack (20th Century Fox)
  6. Gears of War GameTrailer (Microsoft Game Studios)
  7. Call of Duty ®2: Skirmish Map Pack (Activision)
  8. Spiderman 3 Game Trailer (Activision)
  9. Fable 2 Trailer (Microsoft Game Studios)
  10. Uno® Xbox Live Arcade Game (Microsoft Game Studios)

Missing Games at E3 2006

E3 2006 saw the unveiling of quite a few big titles: Halo 3, GTA 4, Wii games, Assassin’s Creed and many others. But it also saw the absence of many notables of the past year. Gamespot has an article up that details the games absent, including Killzone PS3, Devil May Cry 4 and, most noticeably, Resident Evil 5.

They forgot to include Duke Nukem Forever! Never mind…

E3 Roundup

One post for it all…

I won’t be doing an E3 trailers roundup. There are just too many of them out there, and most of you know where to look.

Heat Announced

Through this Gamespot article comes word of a videogame adaptation of Heat, the cult-favorite movie by Michael Mann released back in 1995. It featured Al Pacino, Val Kilmer and Robert de Niro in a “hardcore” bank heist.

Announced by Titan, Heat will be a prequel or sequel to the movie and will be released on next-gen platforms sometime next year. Titan has reached a deal with Regency Entertainment, which holds the rights to the movie, for the game that will reportedly feature the voices and likenesses of the aforementioned actors.

Also, according to the announcement, Mann is in talks with Gearbox to oversee the game’s development. The studio is well known for its PC port of Halo and its Brothers in Arms franchise.

Further details are expected soon.

Heavy Rain on PS3

Quantic Dream, the studio behind the awesomely-excellent Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, has revealed its next-gen project through private viewings at E3. Dubbed “Heavy Rain,” the video shown was a tech demo run on the PS3 which showed off “The Casting” of a young actress for the lead role of the game. It features the virtual actor expressing emotions and crying in real-time 3D; Aurelie Brancilhon was the chosen actress.

“Our objective was to recreate not only the likeness of a living actor, but its complete acting performance, in particular in its emotional dimension” says David Cage, the founder of Quantic Dream and director of Heavy Rain. “At Quantic Dream, we believe that emotion will be a key component of Next Gen games and we are heavily investing in technologies to create Virtual Actors since several years. By expanding the range of emotions video games have to offer, they will be able to reach a far wider audience. This demo is just the beginning of what can be achieved, but I hope it already shows the fascinating new possibilities this media will offer in the coming years”.

“The Casting” featured full body and facial motion capture, including eyes, pupils, fingers and tongue; real-time tears, wrinkles on the face; advanced skin shades; and advanced rendering features.

Heavy Rain is being developed as a new franchise for the PC and next-gen consoles, and will make use of emotion and innovative gameplay mechanics.

The tech demo shown at the event was created in collaboration with AGEIA (physics engine), VICON PEAK (motion capture) and with the support of SCE. A high-resolution 720p video can be downloaded here (direct link).

Company Fined at E3 for Making too Much Noise

E3 is unforgivably a loud, noisy affair. But what is this? NCSoft, creator of Auto Assault, Lineage and Tabula Rasa, has been fined $5,000 for making too much noise by the organizers!

As Mutaytor finished its set with fire-swallowing and dragon dancing, the audience was implored to get as loud as it could, and the booth shook with reverberations from the music.

Once the band wrapped up, NCsoft vice president of strategic development Fred Schmidt took the stage and addressed the fine. He blasted Sega (which inhabited a neighboring booth during the show), saying they had three people with decibel readers monitoring NCsoft’s booth for the slightest infractions. Schmidt said the company made every effort to keep the noise within five decibels of the restricted limit, and for the most part did that successfully.

Schmidt then turned his attention to the ESA, essentially saying this whole experience has the company reconsidering its annual E3 presence.

“We’re not sure we’re on the same plane with this organization… We have been harassed for three days straight, and I’m not sure we’re coming back here, but we are going to have a party next year–real near here–and we hope you all will come.”

How can one company be harassed like this when all of them are making so much noise? And what’s with NCSoft’s hatred against Sega?

Hellgate: London Goes DXX

During E3 NVidia announced that Hellgate: London, Flagship Studios’ debut title, will include support for Havok FX physics and Microsoft’s ShaderModel 3.0, making it one of the industry’s first DirectX 10 games.

Hellgate: London combines the action of FPS games with the infinite replayability of dynamically generated levels, items, enemies and events. Players create a heroic character, completes quests and battles through hordes of demons (gates to hell have been opened… again) to advanced through experience levels and branching skill paths.

Namco Bandai will be publishing the game when it’s done.

Frame City Killer Cancelled

Shown last year in video form and absent at this year’s E3, Namco Bandai has quietly announced that Frame City Killer has been cancelled.

The Unreal Engine-powered game was looking very lackluster when compared to other titles using the same engine – that could’ve been the reason behind the cancellation, but none was provided. Frame City Killer, an Xbox 360-exclusive, was destined for release this Spring.

Namco’s announcement indicated that new titles for the console are in development, replacing Frame City Killer. Further information is likely to be released soon.