E3 is gaming’s biggest stage and brightest spotlight – with the right reveal, a publisher can ensure that its title is talked about and drooled over for months to come. Unfortunately, the reverse is true as well. Flub that first appearance and, well, you’ll be mocked for months to come. These nominees may not be bad, but the attention they received during and after E3 definitely was.
Kinect Disneyland Adventures
Excuse our cynicism. We love Disney and we like the idea of a virtual Disneyland for kids who can’t always visit Orlando or Anaheim (but who can afford a Kinect?)… it’s just, after the horrifying kiddie circus that was last year’s Kinect reveal, we hoped Microsoft would focus their conference on more mature gamers. That hope died as soon as Mickey Mouse motion-control high-fived a child actor, and we fear it will never return.
Fable: The Journey
Kids only represent half the fear we feel with Kinect – the other half was quickly realized, however, when Peter Molyneux took the stage at Microsoft’s press conference to debut his latest chapter of Fable. Gone was the vast fantasy world and open-ended adventures we’ve come to expect, replaced by what looked every bit like a linear “on rails” wagon ride with occasional stops for linear “on rails” magic combat. If Kinect could reduce Fable to this kind of hand-holding casual fare, what could it do to the rest of our favorite 360 franchises?
Need for Speed: The Run
You know what racing fans absolutely love? Not racing. Or driving. Or even being near a car. Yes, what racing fans are after in their racing games these days is less racing and more… walking. And running. And jumping. And overly complicated quicktime events that involve walking, running and jumping. Plus, helicopters.
Which is why the reveal of Need for Speed: The Run’s on-foot gameplay was met with such joy and enthusiasm. Except it wasn’t. Because everything we just wrote is a lie. Later, the developers assured us that these controversial sections would only account for 10% of the overall game, but the initial damage was done.
Fable: The Journey
Just how botched was Fable: The Journey’s announcement? Enough that, by the very next day, Peter Molyneux was admitting the reveal could have gone much better and using his time with journalists behind closed doors to convince them that the game was, despite first impressions, not on rails. You control the speed and direction of the wagon. You can choose different paths to drive down. You can get off the wagon and explore the surrounding area (to a limited degree). You can customize your own form of magical combat when fighting monsters. But could you tell any of that from Microsoft’s press conference? No.
Most graphics | Coolest character reinvention
Best response to fan feedback
Best trailer | Most satisfying gore | Guiltiest pleasure
Most shameless rip-off
Best new game we know nothing about
Worst first impression | Best game for masochists
Most likely to consume our lives | Artsiest-fartsiest
Might not actually suck | Proof that 2D isn't dead | BEST OF SHOW