The announcement by Satoru Iwata, president and CEO of Nintendo and Nintendo of America (NOA), that the company was not going to have a keynote event at this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) was met with confusion, derision, and a sense that Nintendo was making yet another PR misstep.
Having launched the Wii U last fall and with reports that new third-party titles are coming out soon, it didn’t seem like Nintendo would have any major announcements to highlight their keynote. Sony and Microsoft are expected to dominate the E3 landscape with their next-gen press conferences so this move by Nintendo may be more of a breather maneuver than miscalculation.
This isn’t to say that Nintendo is not going to be at E3 completely. A statement from Charlie Scibetta, senior director of corporate communications for NOA, released early Thursday indicated the company plans on hosting two smaller events on Tuesday morning, June 11. They also plan on having a booth inside the Los Angeles Convention Center, home of the E3 event.
The statement in full from Scibetta:
“As you’ve already seen, a lot of news about Nintendo games and services that traditionally would be held until E3 is being delivered this year through Nintendo Directs, and various press events. This approach will continue between now and E3. No matter where you are in the world, you’ll be fully informed. We look forward to continuing to provide you with Nintendo news and content in ways you haven’t before experienced.
Beyond the news that will be communicated through Nintendo Direct videos in the run up to E3, at the show itself we’re hosting two smaller events on Tuesday morning before the LACC opens instead of just our traditional one event. A media event and a partner presentation will both occur that morning. While the audiences will be different between the two events, both will occur on the Tuesday morning of E3 (June 11) which is the date and time period the public has come to expect for Nintendo to deliver E3 news.
At the Nokia Theater, we’ll meet with business partners (retailers, publishers, analysts, etc.) from the NOA territory and discuss our plans for driving the business and providing tailored information that this group finds useful to their operations. Nintendo has done these same types of business meetings at past E3 shows, but has not in the past few years. This year we are returning to that business partner meeting format.
New this year at our booth in the LACC, prior to the show opening, we’ll invite a small group of media to play our games. We will have a strong line-up of beloved franchise experiences available for immediate hands-on play.
We are continuing to consider exciting new ways to bring the news of our games and information directly to the players at home during the E3 timeframe, and will have more to say about that at a later date.”
Personally, I think this is a smart move given where the company is right now and what E3 is going to be about this year. Nintendo saves a lot of money by not doing a big presentation, but still has the mechanisms in place to get their good word out to the press.
With the next-gen consoles and titles likely to garner the lion’s share of the attention, it makes sense for Nintendo to do a little stealth marketing at this point. Well, as stealthy as Nintendo could possibly be.
This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles was a fantastic mix of great games, exciting innovation and a blend of sights and sounds to tempt the senses.
The annual trade show brought together game designers and publishers as well as gaming tech companies to show off what they hoped to bring to consumers for the next six to 12 months.
In case you missed it, here is a list of the stories produced for CNN.com/Tech while at E3.
Wii U, ‘Halo 4′ boost anticipation for E3
As gaming grows more casual and mobile, developers scramble to adapt
Microsoft hopes to enhance games, TV with Xbox SmartGlass (co-written with Doug Gross)
Sony highlights mature games, cross-play at E3
With new titles, Nintendo works to explain Wii U (co-written with Doug Gross)
Our hands-on demo with the Wii U
Sneak peek: The evolving universe of ‘Halo 4′
My 5 favorite highlights from E3
Over the next few days, I will share with you more stories that didn’t make it to CNN.com, but that are interesting and informative. Some will be interviews while others will be impressions on games I got to see and play.
Truly, it is an exciting time to be a gamer.
“Bioshock Infinite,” winners of 39 Game of Show Award at E3 2011, continues to wow people with innovative gameplay and what promises to be an exciting story line.
Creative director Ken Levine spoke about how Elizabeth, the game’s female protagonist, is a byproduct of scientific achievements that were going on in the world during the game’s time frame. Levine said the powers she exhibits are extensions of what the great scientists of the world were hypothesizing.
Elizabeth is able to see into alternative timelines, called tears. These tears in the fabric of time/space allow her to bring in items or people to help during combat.
Levine said this was a natural extension of the scientific work in the field of DNA manipulation done in previous “Bioshock” titles and adds a new element for the player to consider. He said this mechanic lets the game experience be different for everyone.
Irrational Games and 2K Games also released the first 2 minutes of its E3 demo that excited the audience. They plan on showing the entire demo, plus discuss elements about how the “Bioshock Infinite” was created, during a show on Spike TV on July 7.
The player assumes the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to Columbia to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned there since childhood. He will develop a relationship with Elizabeth, augmenting his abilities with hers so the pair may escape from a city that is literally falling from the sky.
DeWitt will learn to fight foes in high-speed Sky-Line battles, engage in combat both indoors and amongst the clouds, and harness the power of dozens of new weapons and abilities.
“Bioshock Infinite” is targeted for a 2012 release.
Electronic Arts stepped up in a big way at the E3 Convention in Los Angeles by unveiling looks at their upcoming first-person shooter, “Battlefield 3.”
The game is expected to feature single-player, co-op and multiplayer modes. Character animation is going to get a boost to make a more realistic soldier.
Combat is expected to take place in cities as well as open landscapes. It is in those open areas that will be well suited for vehicle combat.
To show off that combat, Executive Producer Patrick Bach ran through a demo of one of the mission, Thunder Run. Bach takes on the role of new character Marine Sgt. Miller as he takes part in a large-scale tank assault on the outskirts of Tehran.
The gameplay footage is from pre-alpha software, but it looks very polished at this stage. Watch the full demo.
“Battlefield 3” is expected to be released in North America on October 25 and in Europe on October 28. It will be available on PC, PlayStation3 and Xbox 360.
Electronic Arts revealed new trailers and dates for some of their best known and highly anticipated titles at E3 2011.
EA kicked off their press conference in Los Angeles with a video showing an attack on Earth. A galactic battle is the new storyline presented for “Mass Effect 3.”
Familiar characters will return, both friends and enemies. The release date will be March 6, 2012.
“Need For Speed: The Run” wants to put players behind the wheel for a cross-country race. Drivers will head from San Francisco to New York City in a series of battles.
Autolog is back and will be part of the story instead of just tracking your accomplishments. There is also action outside of the car.
A live demo shows a driver getting into a crash, then fleeing on foot across rooftops and building. After a battle with police, you take over their car and the chase resumes. It is full on action in every sense of the word.
“Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” is one of those long awaited titles that gets everyone excited. The demo is outstanding with battles on planets and in space.
The battle between the Sith and the Jedi is going to be awesome. Check out this newly released intro cinematic.
“SSX” puts you on the snowboard and pits you against competition from around the world. Satellite data was used to provide the canvas as players race, trick and survive against some of the harshest conditions found anywhere.
The game is due out in January 2012.
“FIFA 12” wants to raise the bar on authenticity with enhanced tactical defense and more precision dribbling. Players are on a video talking about how it helps improve their real world gameplay. Also, the EA Sports Football Club is announced where players can connect and compete, helps keep track of your favorite team, and offers challenges taken from real world games.
Best of all, it is free.
“Madden 12” is up next with Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hills, and Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Mathews. And the Lombardi Trophy!
Each player talks about specific improvements on the game and announce it will be available at the end of August 2011.
“The Sims Social” puts EA deep into connecting with fans, specifically Facebook fans.
EA partner Respawn Studios is up next to demo “Reckoning.” It is an epic war in an open world environment filled with mystical creatures, fantasy settings and magic. Oh, and swords too.
Insomniac Games shows off their new title, Overstrike. It puts team based combat (looks like a 4 person co-op game) in covert situations. There are some funny moments as well in the trailer, which gets the audience laughing.
Probably one of the biggest cheers rises as the “Battlefield 3” trailer starts to play. Demo of the game engine shows a smooth and great looking and sounding game.
“We are proud to finally open the curtains and reveal ‘Battlefield 3.’ The core development team has been together since 2005. We’ve grown together, taken some knocks together and now, we’re ready to take first person shooters to a whole new level, together,” said Patrick Bach, Executive Producer. “Like so many gamers out there, we’ve had some pretty wild ideas about what we’d want to see in a shooter. Until now, it was all just fantasy. But with Frostbite 2, even our most far-reaching ideas are becoming a reality. This is the game we’ve always wanted to create.”
And there is a multiplayer demo! Battle Log is announced as a place for players to connect and track stats. Multiplayer open beta starts in September.
A live demo shows off many of the features available. The action is intense and fast-paced.
Release is due October 25.
Microsoft’s big announcements at E3 were slightly blunted by a web error that inadvertently tipped off what was going to happen at their press conference.
Xbox.com had a graphic earlier in the day that headlined news about 2 new Halo games (“Halo 4” and “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary), a Kinect Star Wars game, and a Dance Central 2 game.
There was also a graphic about Voice Searching coming to Xbox Live as well as the promise of a new look and new features.
Now onto the highlights from the actual E3 press conference!
Right out of the gate, a live demo of an underwater scene gets a “disconnected controller” icon. So you know it is happening in real time.
The game footage has a strike team going after a Russian sub in what appears to be a flooded out city. Still no title yet.
After placing an explosive on the sub and surfacing with it, the scene shows a bombed out city. The strike team moves into place to take over the sub.
Breaking into the control room in slow motion, the team takes the access key to the weapons and gets set to launch missiles. Then the team makes their way out of the war zone.
And with that, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” kicks off the Microsoft press conference. The game is announced to be available on November 8.
Don Mattrick takes the stage. Talks about biggest year in Xbox history and an innovative time of growth for games and entertainment.
Coming up, more Kinect experiences, entertainment choices, and games.
“Tomb Raider” is next. They are showing the demo, which explains how Laura Kroft becomes the famed archeologist we all know.
The demo shows Laura in some sort of webbing. She escapes and nearly kills herself on bones from the fall.
A human tries to grab her before she flees into a tiny cavern. Puzzle time now as she looks for a way out.
And finally, she’s free. Out of the caves, she discovers a ship graveyard. The game will be out in Fall 2012.
Now we move on to EA Sports. Four EA Sports titles (Tiger Woods, Madden, FIFA, and one more to be announced later) will have Kinect support. Voice control is talked about for Sims and Madden.
Bioware steps out and announced Mass Effect 3, with a brand new adventure. A galactic battle with plantary consequences, but it still has all the choices and karma effects.
The game also will support Kinect Voice Control. A demo shows Voice Control taking over for the controller when it comes to choosing dialog.
Combat with Voice Control allows players to direct troops to location and tell them what powers to use. More to show at the EA briefing.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier now playing. Cinematic trailer only.
Ubisoft touts their Kinect connection to the beginning. They want to enhance their core games with Kinect and show a demo using Kinect and Ghost Recon gun modification program, Gun Smith.
All future titles with Tom Clancy franchise will be Kinect ready.
Marc Whitten from Xbox Live takes the stage.
Introducing a new way to be interactive with your entertainment, Xbox LIVE will allow your voice to control your music (11m songs), television, games, video. Plus YouTube will be coming to Xbox LIVE.
How will you find the entertainment you want? Whitten announces Bing is coming to Xbox and will help you find your entertainment choices – games, movies, songs.
“You say it. Xbox finds it.”
New partnerships to be announced in the future. Xbox also will have live television with partnerships around the world this Fall.
UFC is up next.
The ability to watch live fights, compete with friends are all available on Xbox.
Phil Spencer, from Microsoft Studios, comes out.
He talks about the interactivity of UFC and ESPN, but at their core, they are all about games.
All the exclusive titles are coming out, starting now.
“Gears of War 3” is first. Called the best, most polished game in the series.
Ice-T takes the stage to help demo the game. He is also part of the game, which is pretty darn cool (pun intended).
A cinematic trailer shows off “Ryse”, using the Kinect as the game controller.
The Halo franchise is front and center.
“Halo CE Anniversay” will be remade and remastered, to make it look up to date. Fully remastered campaign, 7 multiplayer maps, and will be out on November 15.
“Forza Motorsports 4” is the next to be shown. The promise is of a new and best car simulation game ever. Not just for the gearhead, but for the casual racer as well.
Kinect headtracking and voice control will be available during races.
“Fable: Journey” wants to connect you to the world like never before. Cinematic trailer shows a darker world devoid of heroes. Demo uses Kinect to steer a horse-drawn carriage, battle goblins using magic. Different hand movements cast different spells.
Phil Spencer is back.
Minecraft is coming to the Xbox and Kinect. It will be exclusive to the Xbox this winter.
“Disneyland Adventures” has recreated the park to allow people to visit without actually being there. Disney rides are reimagined to allow actual play during the “ride.” It will be available this holiday season.
Star Wars comes to the screen amid a roar of cheers from the crowd.
“Star Wars Kinect” is indeed a reality, allowing players to take be immersed in the Star Wars universe in a variety of ways – lightsaber battles, TIE fights, or just visiting the different worlds.
The live gameplay demo puts the player in the role of a Jedi against battledroids. And the Sith show up. End demo.
Double Fine is ready to show off their latest title, “Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster.” The live demo includes Elmo and the Cookie Monster mimicking the movements of a different monster. It will be out this fall exclusively for the Xbox.
“Kinect Fun Labs” will give people the chance to play with the next developments to the innovations and features available using the Kinect. Kinect Me lets people make an avatar that looks more like the player. The demo is pretty impressive.
Kinect Finger Tracking is the next innovation to be revealed. It allows people to draw in 3-D around objects and shows in 3-D.
Object Capture lets you scan in items and bring them to life. This will let players customize games and make it unique.
“Kinect Fun Labs” goes live today and available to Xbox LIVE members.
“Kinect Sports: Season 2” brings 6 new sports, in-game voice and new full-body gestures. Football, golf, darts, baseball, and two others will be ready this holiday season.
“Dance Central 2” takes the stage. They’ll use all the songs from “Dance Central” as well as 2 player simultaneous dancing.
Wrapping up, Don Mattick touts the all new features for Kinect with search, voice control, new content partnerships and blockbuster game exclusives. They are aiming to step up from #1 in North America to #1 globally.
One final video showing to close out the press conference.
While there have been leaks and clips leading up to E3, fans of all gaming genres will be getting all they can handle as new, highly-anticipated titles will be showing off their stuff.
If action adventure is your style, “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception,” “Batman: Arkham City,” and “Bioshock Infinite” are ready to fill your need.
“Uncharted 3” marks the return of Nathan Drake as he battles thieves and treasure seekers in new locations across Europe and the Arabian Desert. “Batman: Arkham City” pits the Dark Knight against new foes and also gets some playable new help from a certain feline character.
“Bioshock Infinite” reveals the next chapter in a utopian future gone wrong story. The game has moved from under the oceans to high in the sky with new weapons, tonics and, apparently, no Big Daddy.
If first-person shooters are more your style, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” and “Battlefield 3” should offer plenty of bang for those who like the military setting.
“COD: MW3” follows up on the Russian invasion from “COD: MW2”, and will also mark the first game in the new “Call of Duty Elite” service. This brand new online community will allow “COD” players to compare stats, track missions, and access premium content.
“Battlefield 3” will feature a new game engine that will reportedly offer better sound and graphics than previous versions. The developers have publicly stated they are going after the “COD” series, so it will be interesting to see the reactions to the two games at E3.
If military style games aren’t what you are looking for, maybe “The Darkness II” will help satisfy your first-person shooter need. The game is inspired by a horror comic book series and features a visual style that will mimic hand-drawn pages from those same issues. Gameplay is also expected to be unique with a Quad-Wielding system allowing players to fire two weapons and also grab, slash and throw with two other demon arms.
Maybe role-playing games are more your style. “Star Wars: The Old Republic” is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that should be coming out very soon. The battle of the Sith and the Galactic Republic is likely to get one more push at E3 before its project release in the 2nd half of 2011.
“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” is also diving into E3 with more RPG gameplay demos in their new open world adventure. The game, set 120 years after “Oblivion,” will allow players to fight an ancient evil and save the world from chaos and destruction (like we haven’t done that before).
Classic characters are also going to be featured heavily at this year’s E3. Mario makes his return in a new game for the Nintendo 3DS, “Super Mario 3DS.” A logo for the game shows a tail, and Nintendo has said its purpose will be revealed at E3.
Plenty of other popular titles, like “Duke Nukem Forever, “Deus Ex: Human Revolution”, “Gears of War 3,” and “Resistance 3,” will be getting the E3 treatment as well. Some are expected to hit the shelves later this year while others won’t be seen until 2012.
We get our first look at a new sci-fi thriller from 2KGames called “XCOM.”
“XCOM” puts the player in charge of an elite team of specialized agents and thrusts them into battle against an alien menace bent on taking over Earth.
A new trailer to be shown at E3 2011 shows Somewhere, USA, in what appears to be the 1940s or 1950s. Unexplained deaths are on the rise and the XCOM team is called in to find out what’s going on and how to stop it.
It looks like a first-person shooter game, with the idea of upgrading your weapons by stealing the alien technology and using it against them. Maybe this is the beginning of the Men In Black squad.
The game isn’t due until March 2012 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
Check out the trailer and decide for yourself.
Just in time for E3, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment announced that Catwoman will be a fully playable character in “Batman: Arkham City.”
A new trailer highlights some of the moves and abilities the feline femme fatale will be able to pull off. The Catwoman PC will have her own storyline in the main game and the adventures are woven in to the main story.
She will also be playable in the challenge maps.
The trailer also shows off a hideous Joker (it is quick, so pay attention) and Two-Face in all his split personality glory.
The follow up to the highly successful “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” “Batman: Arkham City” will be available on the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3 later in 2011.
The latest addition to the franchise is set, not underwater as in previous incarnations, but in the skies. You will be playing as Booker DeWitt, a Pinkerton agent turned private investigator, as you track down a woman named Elizabeth.
The time is the late 19th century, but nothing like what you’ve read about in the history books. Steampunk is king and industry is everywhere.
The art work and propaganda, created by Irrational Games artists Mike Swiderek and Jorge Lacera, reflects the time period and the uncertain mood of the country as it moves out of the Civil War era and tries to find its place in the New World.
“BioShock Infinite” is due out in 2012.