It’s the most wonderful time of the year for anyone who calls themselves a gamer. Former Sony bigwig Jack Tretton, compared it to the Super Bowl, and with it comes numerous game announcements, trailers and reveals. However in the past few years, E3 has been met with a harsh amount of negativity and criticism.
The games industry has a lot of problems and for many, E3 just highlights those issues. Like companies releasing dishonest footage of their games, pre-orders being encouraged and hype for games that will ultimately disappoint. Because despite the flashy lights and corporate dudes announcing their love for gamers, E3 is really just one big advertisement. It’s the industry coming out and telling you to buy into a new product or IP, sometimes even years in advance. This results in people becoming disappointed with games after they come out, blaming their feelings on the hype propelled by everyone’s favourite expo.
Watch Dogs is the perfect example of an E3 game not living up to expectations. It was revealed as a true next gen experience, with amazing graphics, innovative gameplay and an awesome concept to boot. Fast forward two years, and the game has a mixed critical response as well as a noticeable visual downgrade. Combine this with several other times the industry has fooled players, and you can see why people would start seeing these types of shows in a negative light. To put it simply, people are sick of the gaming industry’s bullshit. And E3 is a time where all of that is personified into three days and five press conferences.
While some people might look at this attitude towards E3 as wrong or pessimistic, I wholly welcome it. Too many times have I seen the internet get duped by an overhyped game that turned out to be mediocre. Instead of just consuming all of this information without thought, maybe we’ll start to think twice before pre-ordering that game without a release date. If people are able to look at video game trailers and marketing though a cautious eye, perhaps then we’ll all get games that aren’t marred by high expectations. It also means it’ll be harder for companies to advertise falsely, because people will be looking out for that shit. Gone are the days of CGI Killzone 2 gameplay trailers, and Aliens: Colonial Marines trying to look a good game.
But even after all of that — knowing that what I’m seeing up on stage isn’t necessarily representative of the final product and that a game might end up being bad — I still love E3. I love being surprised by new game reveals and watching footage that gets me pumped to play the game. However its always good to keep a wary mindset, because you never know when a game has been victim to overhyping or phoney trailers.