7 games we DON'T want announced at E3 2011

With E3 2011 just over the horizon, we started this week with a list of 7 games we’d absolutely love to see at E3. Today, however, as our desperate planning comes to a close and the show really starts to breathe down our collective necks, our minds are wandering to some pretty dark places.

Yes, E3 is a fantastic showcase for games we can’t wait to see, but that’s not all there is to it. Some of the worst (or at least most memorably awful) experiences we’ve had with the industry have come out of past E3, and a lot of them were games that should never have seen the light of day. With that in mind, here are a few games we really hope don’t make it this year.

1. Uncharted Racing

Unlikely as it is that we’ll see another Uncharted game announced in a year when an already-unveiled sequel is still on the way, we’ll gladly extend this to next year, and the one after that – and, hell, every other E3 down the road. The reason is simple: the day Uncharted Racing is announced is the day developer Naughty Dog decides to abandon the franchise.

Does that sound ridiculous? Those who’ve watched the past 15 years so of the company’s history already know there’s a solid precedent here. Twice now, Naughty Dog’s creations have followed a very specific pattern: First, it creates an amazing, smash-hit platformer franchise. Then it creates two sequels. And then, at the height of each franchise’s popularity, it creates a kart-racing game set in that universe. Everyone naturally assumes this is just a weird spinoff fluke – until the fourth “real” game is cranked out by some other developer, and the once-beloved franchise is pummeled into obscurity by diminishing returns.

It happened to Crash, it happened to Jak, and it’s entirely possible that it could happen to Nathan Drake. For everyone’s sake, though, we hope it never does.

2. Anything packaged with/related to a plastic instrument

We sure had fun with these, didn’t we? A few years ago, few activities seemed as enjoyable as getting together with friends and clacking away to beloved songs on fake guitars. Now, however, the market’s flooded with dozens of increasingly useless sequels, spinoffs and wannabes, and our living rooms and dens are choked with dust-coated plastic bullshit.

Above: The last time we actually cared about an improvement to fake instruments

This development was not lost on the industry, which last year tried to counter our growing disinterest with MORE plastic bullshit. Valiant though the effort was, keyboards and guitar controllers with actual strings turned out not to be the answer, and the plastic-music genre –particularly the grossly diluted “Hero” franchise – suffered enough of a drop in sales that even Activision finally re-evaluated its infamous “milk this shit to death” policy. It’s hard to say whether the genre’s truly “over,” or if we just need a long break from it right now. Unless there’s a drastic, incalculably earth-shattering re-invention of the genre waiting for us at E3, though, we’d like it to be conspicuously absent this year.

3. Mass Effect MMO

Just over a year ago, a job listing appeared for “multiplayer programmer, Mass Effect Franchise.” Since that initial post, however, we’ve heard next to nothing about this supposed position at BioWare. Let’s keep it that way. Yes, the Mass Effect universe is as vast as it is deep, and yes, we’ve said it could support its own weekly TV series for years based solely on content from the first two games, but all the things we love about this series won’t translate into a multiplayer, let alone MMO format.

Dense dialogue trees? Yeah, that sounds like a grand old time, watching someone in your party slowly pick through each conversation topic. It’s immersive and rewarding when done alone, but throw other humans in the mix (who want to play a game, not watch you chit chat) and it becomes tedious. Take it out completely in favor of faster (presumably shooter-y) gameplay and well… now it’s barely Mass Effect at all. Upcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic retains voiced dialog and other traits that make Mass Effect great, but that raises another concern altogether…

Since the first Knights of the Old Republic game, we’ve seen a so-so sequel and then a complete hiatus while BioWare slowly completes a Star Wars MMO in lieu of more KOTOR – which is what everyone wants in the first place. Now it appears Mass Effect, once this trilogy is completed, could also become mired in a never-ending quest to out-WoW World of Warcraft.

Mass Effect director Casey Hudson recently said an MMO would “make sense” in this universe, and while we agree there’s enough juice to power one, we desperately want this series to stay true to character development, gripping plot points and game-changing choices instead of disappearing into the ether while BioWare makes a PC-only MMO. Who would favor party squabbling and loot quests over the kind of storytelling and intensely personal conversations that have made Mass Effect our favorite new franchise?

4. More Atari remakes

Years before Nintendo was a player, the Atari 2600 was what all the cool kids needed sitting under the TV. Flash forward to a year or two ago, when someone at Atari said, “You know all those awesome old Atari games people love? We should revive those franchises and cash in on that nostalgia!” Now cut to us today, alternating between pure rage and utter heartbreak every time a new one of these misshapen miscarriages of design prison-rapes another treasured childhood memory.

Above: Three of these were great games. Three are garbage. That is a freaking travesty 

Haunted House somehow turned out less spooky and unnerving than the original, which looked like a preschooler made it out of construction paper. Star Raiders is a soulless husk of a space shooter, crippled by boring mission design, hopelessly convoluted controls, and an annoyingly stereotypical cast. And Yars’ Revenge actually managed to make the 2600’s most unique game boring and typical. Before, you played as a badass fly-guy who could eat your enemy’s shield, fly in space and spit fireballs. Now you’re yet another stoic anime chick with molded armor and a big gun (though you do have four arms) and you’re gliding through a by-the-numbers rail shooter with terrible enemy placement, lame weapons and an awful camera. And Warlords? Not out yet, but it doesn’t look good.

See, Atari,if you’re going to give a damn and reintroduce these franchises with full-budget, AAA titles that look and feel like they come from the same place as the original, great. But you’re giving us D-grade DLC crapware that could be any generic game and slapping a treasured name on it – and that’s legitimately insulting those of us who have beloved memories of the originals and completely uninteresting to those who don’t. Just stop.

Above: Keep your hands off of these, Atari. We mean it 

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  • CRUNKMUFFIN - June 6, 2011 11:52 p.m.

    Damnit I love Rockband 2 has wireless instruments! BEST GR VIDEO EVER.
  • presc1ence - June 6, 2011 7:18 p.m.

    um but carsh alwasy sucked balls! It was crap from game 1, the kart game was a natural evoltion of its crappness.
  • Tate_Steinlage - June 6, 2011 4:31 a.m.

    Pretty good list. The Mass Effect MMO would be interesting, but I can definitely see why you wouldn't want it. I think we will probably see some music game announced, especially on the heals of Guitar Hero being "dead." We will see.
  • symphonicdeathpop - June 5, 2011 11:49 p.m.

    I definitely want an Uncharted Racing. But not right now, let U3 come out first.
  • d0x - June 5, 2011 5:18 p.m.

    I was a HUGE fan of Gran Turismo. The Sim genre of racing games is by far my favorite. I had massive high hopes for GT5 and even though I knew I was an idiot for doing so I also bought Gran Turismo: Prologue. My interest in GT started to wane when Forza came out on the Xbox. At the time I was also playing GT4 but with its first entry Turn10 showed they had something great starting. The physics (not only handling but crashing) in Forza and the AI was a step ahead of GT4 but the series wasnt quite there. Then Forza 2 came out and it was amazing...then Forza 3 and it was even better. When GT5 came out I figured id put Forza away since it was already over a year old at that point. After playing about 15 hours of GT5 I went right back to Forza 3 and started dreaming of Forza 4. The series is just years ahead of Gran Turismo in every way possible. Yea GT has more cars but not more quality. Forza 4 is I think going to be mind blowing. I cant wait till we see it at the MS press conference.
  • Asloveszuko - June 5, 2011 3:53 p.m.

    CTR is deffinatly a good game, I can't tell you how many hours my friends and I spent racing and battling! Ahh, good times
  • Darkwun - June 5, 2011 3:10 p.m.

    @berttheturtle thats one thing i don't get... i mean, thats your opinion which your entitled to so definitely not saying you're wrong, so bear with me... but like i said, im speaking objectively, im a singleplayer person, and havent been a multiplayer since goldeneye/perfect dark/turok rage wars at lunchtimes in high school on the N64, so im speaking on behalf of my friends who are avid multiplayers, and behalf of the games industry as a whole... surely anything that would bring in extra people is a boon-AS LONG AS the single player remains untouched? it makes no difference to us when we're playing, so it seems fickle to exclude it from the game when it would bring in developers more money to make even better games in the future? most of us here are passionate about our games, and can be more rigid than any art critic when it comes to a franchise, but theres a difference between protection and exclusion
  • BertTheTurtle - June 5, 2011 3:52 a.m.

    I don't think I want to see Mass Effect multiplayer-anything. There are too many single-player-centered games trying to fit multiplayer in where it doesn't belong, I think.
  • blocpartier - June 5, 2011 2:31 a.m.

    If I went to E3 and saw a plastic instrument I would lose my shit and try my best to break it all.
  • Heyexclamationpoint - June 5, 2011 2:18 a.m.

    Wii Music 2.
  • AuthorityFigure - June 5, 2011 1:45 a.m.

    "...our living rooms and dens are choked with dust-coated plastic bullshit." Not mine - I bought instruments that actually make sound with my money.
  • LordZarlon - June 5, 2011 12:50 a.m.

    I'm a little confused. I never was a big Crash fan but if I remember correctly, Crash Team Racing was very well received and beloved. I don't want to see another Online only FPS announced this year either.
  • Shforteenteen14 - June 5, 2011 12:48 a.m.

    Ha, that Journey video never gets old.
  • Darkwun - June 4, 2011 11:22 p.m.

    yeah i totally agree. im protective when multiplayer is shoehorned into games as a whole if it ruins the single player (please... do not get me startyed on resi 5... as a MASSIVE resi fan i will rant for days about it!), as, like i said im generally a 1 player person (have all the modern warfares but yet to play any online despite being nagged to death) but the idea of a mass effect MMo intrigues me... thats not to say i buy into the idea straight away, but if done well, i could possibly see myself stepping into the mmo world for the first time (having deftly avoided WoW, despite more peer protests), but shit, if they wanted to crank out something in the same style i wouldnt complain as long as there was some kinda big new gameplay element in there (as its the end of shepards story, unless theyre gonna set up another trilogy etc, if its a standalone game of the same nature, there would have to be SOMETHING different about it, and not as GR has said, just the usual mass effect but have them tack on a multiplayer into the fray. that reaaaally would be lame beyond belief!
  • N0NEoftheAB0VE - June 4, 2011 11:18 p.m.

    I don't think anyone questions how good CTR was (probably the only thing to come close to Mario Kart since is that Sega All-Stars game) But what it signified was the end of good Crash Bandicoot Games. I can't think of any Crash games since Crash Team Racing which were any good. Oh which BTW if any series needs a HD remake its the three original Crash Bandicoot games!
  • SausageLozenge - June 4, 2011 9:49 p.m.

    I wouldn't mind Atari remakes if they were actually good.
  • BigWillis - June 4, 2011 9:26 p.m.

    A good MMO takes years of development and the competition isn't the same as other types of games. the majority of MMO players don't switch over to different MMO's all the time, it's not like an FPS or racing game where you can play different titles in that genre at any time. You have to put a huge amount of time in to an MMO to play it properly, plus there's the barrier of constant payment too.
  • Antistaenemyofthedaleks - June 4, 2011 8:03 p.m.

    lets face it, Nintendo is obviously gonna do some crap with the vitality sensor
  • Paynekiller87 - June 4, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    oops, forgot to mention which game... Pole Position. Don't buy it.
  • Paynekiller87 - June 4, 2011 7:44 p.m.

    With regards to the Atari remakes thingy, they've already done a semi-remake on iOS. It was bad. Very bad. reCaptcha - entieng friend. Aliens are coming it seems...