What are you looking forward to seeing at E3? Any games you are dying to get your hands on?
Kalvin Martinez: The next-gen is exciting and obviously is the biggest intrigue for this year’s E3, I am interested to see how realized some of the ideas for these next-gen titles will be. It will be weird to see the PS4 system and what it looks like. We can all stop using images of the DualShock4 finally. I am excited to checking out Square Enix’s line-up and try out the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD remasters. Ubisoft has Watch_Dogs this year, which in a year full of mind blowing games that out already, it could be a huge contender for Game of the Year. The Konami booth will have Lords of Shadow 2, which looks surprisingly great and whatever Metal Gear Solid 5 related stuff will be fascinating. Saints Row 4 is huge on my list of games I want to get some time into because everything Volition has done to hype the game has worked. Keith David is the only logical running mate for a game firing on all cylinders of lunacy. I want to check out some of the smaller indie titles because those tend to be the games that continually blow me away with their originality and style. There is going to be a ton to see and play and I am just super thrilled for it all.
Ryan Bloom: Next-gen consoles will clearly be the focus of this year’s E3 and they are very exciting. Microsoft has handled Xbox One public relations horribly thus far. If they are smart, they will clear things up during E3. As for Sony, the actual box that is the PlayStation 4 will finally be shown. South Park: The Stick of Truth was announced at last year’s E3 but was somewhat in limbo after THQ went under. I’m really excited to experience some gameplay and find out more about the game. Ubisoft is positioned well to have a solid E3 with Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and Watch Dogs on display. I’m expecting big things from those games so it’ll be interesting to see what they deliver at this point.
Ben Sheene: I just can’t get The Witcher 3 out of my head. Geralt’s very adult fantasy world has always been captivating and early shots look stunning. More significant, perhaps, is the developer CD Projekt RED. Their stance on DRM seems to be in the minority and, keeping Microsoft’s recent bombshell in mind, might be a rallying cry for gamers in the next gen push. Though it may be jumping the gun, Lords of the Fallen could be a dark horse. I don’t remember the last time a game hooked me based on a single piece of concept art. Saying the combat is similar to Dark Souls instantly makes Lords have a big selling point. Add skill trees and fighting against a fallen god in a third-person RPG and you’ve sold me. And of course, who can forget the fact that the next generation is looming. We want to see consoles, we want to see prices and release dates, but more than anything we come for the games. Exclusives or not, if they don’t deliver then what would be the point of going to E3 in the first place. As a first timer this is a strange, scary and exciting time to attend gaming’s biggest event.
Chance Asue: I really want to play some next generation titles. I want to see exactly how developers are using the expanded resources that the new consoles offer them. Graphics are always great to win over the soccer moms and casual gamers, but I want to see better AI, more intricate and subtle routines, more elaborate and fluid animations and the like. I think out of everything that has been announced, Watch Dogs is the closest thing to what I’m looking for, so that is a must see, but I really want one of these big developers to knock me off my feet with a surprise announcement.
Out of all the appointments, etc. what do you hope to get out of attending the event for the full three days?
Sean Gibson: I want to get a firm sense of who will be launching the best new console. At this point we have no idea how well games are going to perform and react. We really have no idea how far developers are pushing these systems past the previous generations. I want to know what the new games in 2013 and 2014 have in store for us on the two new consoles AND PC as opposed to what we saw a year ago, because I think at this point we’re all expecting that generational leap ahead. I have more appointments set this time around than I did the last three years combined, so I imagine it’ll be a whirlwind for me, but I can’t wait. At the same time, I want to establish even better relationships with people in the industry. To say that Gaming Illustrated is radically different from where it was a year ago would be slight understatement because we’ve grown a ridiculous amount and our content is as good as any in the industry at this point. I know we’ve shown up on the radar for a lot of different people and at this point, I want them to know the faces behind the amazing work that shows up on the site to create better content opportunities down the road.
Kalvin Martinez: I would love to see how these developers are going to push the limits of gameplay on the next-gen is huge for me. The graphics are going to look great (for a slightly outdated gaming PC), but I want them to push the systems more. Playing through the greatest games of this generation again shows how some of those systems and mechanics are limited by the tech. So with a leap forward, I hope we can see deeper, more meaningful gameplay that will aid in telling better stories. We have a bunch of really great appointments and it is going to lead to some excellent content for the site. Personally, I just want to meet the people responsible for the games I enjoy (and the ones I don’t) because in my head that seems like a cool prospect.
Ryan Bloom: The main thing I hope to get out of E3 is some idea of the power of next-gen consoles. Specs are one thing but I want to see how the games play better. For instance, EA Sports has the new Ignite Engine for next-gen games. I want to see how new capabilities can affect games and move them forward. On a more personal level, I hope to develop good relationships with people in the industry. Being a news hound, I hope I can earn some solid sources so Gaming Illustrated can get some exclusive breaking news in the future.
Ben Sheene: Above everything I am looking forward to developing and strengthening relationships with the people behind the industry I live for. To speak with those voices who have a hand in creating and promoting video games is an honor. Hopefully I will get a peek into what is driving developers in the next generation. What do they hope to accomplish with the new technology? Where do they want to go? What ultimately inspires them? Or maybe just figure who their favorite Mario brother is. Team Luigi.
Chance Asue: I want to understand each company’s plan on how they stay relevant as more people shift towards PC gaming and mobile gaming. It is all about what technology they already own and these companies ask a lot of consumers, in initial investment, subscription fees, and software cost, to keep them in the console game. All three major companies need to show they have varied software lineups that will satisfy those loyal enough or foolish enough to buy one of their consoles at launch.
Are you expecting any surprises (outside of the next-gen line-up being less nebulous)?
Sean Gibson: Unfortunately after attending this show for the past 11 years, I can honestly say I have no sense of surprise left. There might be some eyebrows raised, or something cool that a big publisher managed to keep under wraps until E3 but for the most part… overall no, I expect zero surprises. Maybe the types of food trucks offered this year will be better? Maybe someone will finally take my suggestion to give away pants or shorts instead of t-shirts. It’s even possible I’ll have another run-in with a Los Angeles Laker or two (looking at YOU, Robert Horry). In all honesty, I’m not expecting any surprises but that’s fine because it’s going to be a hell of an E3!
Kalvin Martinez: I mean there will be some surprises with next-gen as the full line-ups and pipeline stuff is still nebulous from Sony and Microsoft, but I don’t think there will be anything particularly mind blowing. EA will likely announce the next Mass Effect game and another military shooter. What I am going to be surprised by is if The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy Versus 13 actually get dated and if they will remain PS3 games. We are going to see what the futures of these games with interminably long developments will be by the end of E3.
Ryan Bloom: Shenmue 3! Not really though. It seems like rumors are much more persistent these days so it is tough to keep surprises a secret. If Mirror’s Edge 2 can be considered a surprise, that is the only one I’m expecting. Sony and Microsoft probably have exclusives lined up but new console launches are a good time to introduce new franchises as well.
Ben Sheene: The Last Guardian? Agent? Final Fantasy Versus 13? Let’s get back to reality here. Not to sound mean but my “Biggest E3 2013 Surprise” would be to see Microsoft push all the rubble away from this Xbox One saga and rise from the ashes as a company who is going to put out some good games. I would be pleasantly surprised by a relatively cheap console price for the PS4 and Xbox One or if console games were actually going to get a little cheaper. A boy can dream.
Chance Asue: I want to go in expecting nothing from anyone. Not looking for anything and allowing yourself to be surprised is part of the magic. I just hope that all the surprises are good, and that Microsoft and Sony don’t do anything stupid with DRM.
For Ben, Ryan, Kalvin and Chance, what do you expect from your first E3? How does it feel to be able to attend?
Ryan Bloom: I hate to get sentimental but this is an amazing experience to be a part of for me. When I first started writing for Gaming Illustrated a year ago, I was only looking to add some experience to my resume. Now, I’m attending a major event that I’ve read about and watched for so many years. I remember waiting every month for my copy of GamePro magazine to arrive and thinking I want to do this when I grow up. Attending this event makes me feel like I’ve reached that goal. I am expecting everything to go by in a whirlwind and having tons of fun making new content.
Ben Sheene: Amazing. A dream come true. Until I actually walk through the doors of the LA Convention Center, it won’t seem real. Writing about games has always been a passion of mine and attending E3 feels like not only a natural progression, but one of the loftiest goals to achieve for gaming journalists. I expect E3 to be hard work and lots of walking but I also expect to meet people that want to show off their games; to put a controller in your hands so you can see for yourself what it’s like.
Kalvin Martinez: As a kid, I used to read Electronic Gaming Monthly obsessively (back when print media was a viable thing and it was the only possible way to get game information [that is a combination of being an old person and growing up as the internet became a thing]). I think I was 9 when I first learned about E3, it ***ed me up for a long time because it became a dream of mine to go to E3. That **** was like a fantasy, E3 to a kid is like the place where video games live. When you are at an age when you think that Mario might be a real person, E3 is naturally where he finally reveals himself in all his portly Italian American, monosyllabic glory. Disneyland always bored me, but if I could go somewhere that they’d let me see new games before anyone else and met Mario and Sonic. What could be cooler when you’re 9?
Now I dreamed of doing a ton of dumb things when I was younger like I wanted to be an astronaut. It is hard to remember exactly when I learned that E3 was a trade show and what that meant. Learning that it was closed to the public was heartbreaking. How could I ever make that dream come true? Learning that meant that attending E3 and walking on the moon were as equally possible and equally impossible. No matter how much I love games and ate gross freeze dried ice cream.
Yet here I am on the cusp of being at the show. It is weird that a random gig writing about video games would lead me to fulfill a childhood dream. But it is happening. My childhood dream, my dumb ****ing dream is coming true. ****, I am an adult now. A professional. With a business card and everything. And I am going to E3. I wonder what the moon will be like.
Chance Asue: I have been waiting a long time to go. I used to glue myself to a computer screen to read updates from all the major sites and record footage on tv and watch it three or four times over. I have been counting down the days until the event and scheduling meetings nonstop, trying to figure out how much time I can go check my favorite companies’ booths between meetings, trying to curtail my excitement and biases to experience all that is being shown. I know I’m in for a lot, and that I have an obligation to report what I see to our readers, but that still doesn’t take away from the grandiose nature of the whole thing.
For Ben and Ryan, what are your expectations for the press conferences?
Ben Sheene: Sony and Microsoft will be pulling out every trick in the book to convince gamers to buy into their vision of the next generation. Flashing lights, loud montages and toothy grins from executives will be commonplace, along with a hefty dose of awkward and eye-roll worthy moments. I honestly feel that with the PS4 and Xbox One being formally announced it will lend more time to actually talking about games. I don’t mind a little bit of tech speak to go along but not too much. But it all makes you wonder what that “one more thing…” moment will be.
Ryan Bloom: After seeing the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One announcements, it is impossible to expect much from the press conferences. A new console generation means the two major companies will try to swing gamers to buy their console with exclusive games. However, finally announcing a firm release date and pricing details will be the most important aspect for both presentations.