E3 is a bit like a tornado. It destroys lives, wrecks homes, and there’s a cacophony of information passing by at all times that you can’t possibly soak it all in. You just stick your head in the center of it, look for as long as you can and take in whatever info flew by your eyes in the last five seconds. Due to the chaos, many things happen that can’t be covered in time. You probably heard about Wii U, BioShock Infinite, and PS Vita, but missed some of the little things. Think of this feature as a chance to catch up, to stop and smell the videogame news roses. Take a whiff…
After a shaky launch, it looks like the 3DS library is starting to get good. Ocarina 3D is out next week, Star Fox 64 3D in September, and Super Mario 3D for the holidays. Surprisingly, we found out that two of the strongest looking 3DS titles are being made with help outside of the Nintendo’s strong first party development workshops. Mario Kart 3D is getting design help from Retro Studios and Luigi’s Mansion 2 is being made by Canadian developer Next Level.
Retro’s involvement with Mario Kart sounds pretty simple, as the team is apparently just helping with the Donkey Kong-themed stages, something Retro is an expert in after making last year’s hit Donkey Kong Country Returns. Conversely, Next Level is much more involved in Mansion 2. The same company behind Punch-Out!! For Wii and two Mario soccer games, Next Level began with creating an internal demo of Luigi’s Mansion for the 3DS just to test the system. Nintendo was so impressed with the results that Next Level got the go ahead to make a full game that’s scheduled for early next year. All you Luigi fans out there should thank those Canadians for convincing the big N to resurrect the ghostly franchise.
For Sonic fans, the Sonic Generations E3 party was a huge enough deal because Sega was giving out free hats. It was a well attended event with Sonic developers old and new present, and at one point during the evening the Sonic equivalent of a Beatles reunion happened on the main stage. It was the first time in years as far as we know that the core of the original Sonic Team was seen together in public.
Yuji Naka, Naoto Oshima, and Hirokazu Yasuhara appeared on stage together to celebrate two decades of their creation. Naka gets most of the credit for running the original Sonic Team, and he left Sega to form his own company a few years ago. Oshima is credited with designing Sonic and worked with the team until Sonic Adventure before forming Artoon, makers of the regrettable Blinx. Yasuhara is the unsung hero of the three, as he did the lion's share of the gameplay and stage design in Sonic 1-3 and Knuckles, and has since worked for Naughty Dog and Namco. Despite their separate paths, it was sweet to see them get back together for the fans, even if it was only for one night.
It must really suck to be Michel Ancel sometimes. Here you are, working hard on Rayman: Origins, a vibrant platformer that’s looking great as you show it off at E3, and all people want to talk about is the sequel to one of the worst-selling games of your career. As with every Ancel public appearances, he got loads of questions about the long-awaited Beyond Good & Evil 2, and he once more reconfirmed the title’s existence and that it’s not coming any time soon.
The most unfortunate quote was the one he gave GameIndustry.biz, saying BG&E2 “will not be released on the current generation of consoles.” At best we can hope he’s referring to Wii U and perhaps late 2012, but it’s just as possible he means the future consoles from Microsoft and Sony. And then maybe it at least will be a launch game for those systems in possibly late 2013 if we're lucky. At this point we’re so tired of being jerked around by Ubisoft about this game that we’d rather they just cancel it instead of stringing us along with occasional quotes like this one.
Nintendo accidentally mislead a good chunk of its audience into one of the biggest letdowns of E3. When Reggie started listing Nintendo franchises on the 3DS, he brought up Pokemon, which left many watching the press conference thinking a new game was being announced, when Reggie just meant it as a preamble to talking about the free 3D Pokedex on the eShop. Meanwhile, in Japan your wishes were being granted, as a new Pokemon game was announced for the 3DS, though you may want to lower your expectations.
A follow-up to the WiiWare game Pokemon Rumble, Super Pokemon Scramble looks like a fairly simple fighting game where wind-up toy versions of famous Pokemon battle against one another. The most interesting improvement over the original is it features Pokemon from the fifth generation this time around, meaning you can at last have the cutesy toy battle between Darumaka and Victini you’ve longed for. Super Scramble hits the 3DS store in Japan late July, and we’d wager we’ll get it pretty soon after that.
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