This week saw one of the biggest weeks in gaming, with E3 taking place.
For the uninitiated, or those living in a gaming haze, E3 is the E3 Media and Business Summit, formerly known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo. E3 is when all the big names in video gaming get together in a huge hall and pat one another on the back, flirt with the press and show off some of their upcoming wares. In a word or two, it’s a big deal.
What better week to start your AfterEllen.com video gaming blog, eh? We’ve got the low-down on all the big news from E3 and why you should care. If you’re not a gamer, perhaps it’s time to consider this a viable hobby? You know gaming makes more in a year than the film industry, shocking, but true. Why not give it a try. Here are some reasons why it’s good to be a gamer or why you should give it a try according to announcements from E3.
Allegedly there was a gasp in the auditorium when Microsoft announced the release of the upcoming Square Enix game at their media event (because it’s generally thought of as Sony’s baby). The game will release simultaneously on the Xbox 360 and PS3, though no release date was given.
New WiiMote add on for Wii
Nintendo were flouting the new Wii MotionPlus at E3. The small device slots into the bottom of your present WiiMote (that’s the remote control for the Wii) and gives it more accuracy than the WiiMote alone. The Wii MotionPlus sensor is said to give true 1:1 movement, meaning when you move even a little in the real world, it’s transferred almost perfectly to the on-screen action. Wii MotionPlus will come bundled with the new Wii Sports title Wii Sports Resort, also unveiled at E3 2008. It will release some time next year.
New Xbox 360 Dashboard shown
When it’s time for the Fall Update (this is a major Xbox software update that happens every year in the US Fall — thus the name) your Xbox dashboard is going to look very different. The blade system it presently uses will be replaced by a new UI (User Interface) that looks more akin to the iPod Touch, with scrolling artwork.
One of the coolest additions coming with the new UI is the inclusion of Avatars. Anyone with a Wii will know what a Mii is and this is essentially Microsoft’s take on that idea. Gamers will be able to make their own personal avatar that will be connected to their Xbox Live gamertag. Additionally these avatars will be used in some games, including in the new Primetime channel on Xbox Live which will allow gamers to play in live game shows, like 1 vs 100. Very cool stuff.
Animal Crossing: City Folk announced
Animal Crossing is a game for the original GameCube by Nintendo and the Nintendo DS handheld. It’s cute and allows gamers to take on the role of a newcomer to a town populated by bipedal animals. Animal Crossing: City Folk is the upcoming iteration on the Nintendo Wii and it looks great
City Folk adds more to the Animal Crossing franchise, including the ability to talk to people visiting your town (or you theirs) via the also announced WiiSpeak, a microphone that sits atop the Wii Sensor Bar and allows anyone in the room to speak to people playing in world. The game will also make use of WiiConnect24, thus allowing gamers to visit friends towns and leave messages. You’ll also be able to use your Mii (personal avatar) in game if you wish.
Rock Band 2 and GH: World Tour info
Rock Band gamers who don’t want to clutter their house with the new Guitar Hero: World Tour instruments fear not! Apparently the Xbox 360 Rock Band instruments will be compatible with Guitar Hero: World Tour as well as the upcoming Rock Band 2. We have to say though, the Guitar Hero: World Tour instruments look sweet, with cool new guitar and drum kit.
Rock Band 2 will feature cross compatible songs with Rock Band, meaning a playlist of hundreds of songs — including downloads — as well as new ways to sort them (decade, album, artist). Harmonix has also added a No Fail option, so if you’re really bad, you’ll never fail regardless of how many notes you miss.
God of War III announced for PS3
This was probably one of the less surprising announcements, but a great coup for fans of the series. God of War III for the PS3 was shown via a pre-rendered trailer of the title that looked fantastic. Needless to say Kratos is back and things don’t look good. No word on a release date, but it’s in the pipe 5 by 5 (that’s just geek talk for saying they’re working on it at the moment).
Other News in short!
Here’s some tidbits of information coming out of E3 for you all.
Guitar Hero On Tour Decades is in the works. Hardly surprising other than the swiftness with which this was announced. Guitar Hero On Tour only just released recently, but already the next title is in the works. No song list has been released, but it was said you’ll be able to song share with this, meaning we assume if a friend has the first game, they’ll be able to download songs wirelessly from you if you have the second, then it’s game on!
The GTA franchise on DS was revealed and is named Grand Theft Auto: China Town Wars. It will be based in Liberty City and according to the press release will be “a game that will deliver a rich, fast-paced and intense Grand Theft Auto experience that will be truly unique to Nintendo’s handheld platform.”
Wii Music will have no instruments like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, but will still be heaps of fun apparently. It’s an odd thing and we’re not sure what to make of it, but Wii Music will feature an estimated 50 instruments, all played using the WiiMote, Nunchuk and in some cases the Wii Balance Board (as a drum pedal for example).
Various PSP titles announced including: LocoRoco 2 (the first title was great), Resistance: Retribution (handheld Resistance Fall of Man), Patapon 2 (odd music rhythm title), Super Stardust Portable (er, it’s Super Stardust, but its portable), Buzz! Quiz Master (trivia game) and Midnight Club: LA Remix (cars driving fast).
An 80GB PS3 for $400 was announced by Sony for a September release. The 80GB model “will retail for $399, and will offer all of the features and functionality of the 40GB model with double the storage to accommodate more movies, graphics, music, photos and other entertainment content — all for the same price.” (Note this is the US release info.)
The new Halo game that was supposed to be announced didn’t get announced and Bungie (game developer) posted an apology on their website saying the publisher pulled the announcement. Then someone from Microsoft (the publisher) went and blabbed elsewhere and it all turned into a bit of a PR gaff. Now they’re saying there is a new Halo game, but it will get its own dedicated event to announce it, but now everyone knows about it. Go figure.
There we have it, a foray into some of the events of E3 2008, I hope you’ve found it informative. I’ll be back next time with more gaming news, thoughts and general gossip, just because I can and gaming rules. Now, where’s that Xbox controller?
Get more video game news and reviews at lesbiangamers.com.