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Roundtable: EA & Ubisoft E3 2011

EA and Ubisoft  filled in between Microsoft and Sony. They showed off a few new titles, quite a few sequels, and brought back some old friends from last year’s E3. Follow along with our round table discussion.

EA showed quite a few of their biggest franchises’ upcoming sequels, including Mass Effect 3, Madden 2012, Fifa 2012, a long-awaited SSX entry, and a brand new Need for Speed title, now with 100% more running and quick time events. We also saw The Sims Social, a Farmville-ish take on bringing the Sims to Facebook, Star Wars: The Old Republic in trailer form, and the much-hyped Battlefield 3. Ubisoft, not to be outdone, trotted out some old favorites in the form of 2D platformer Rayman Origins, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Online, and Far Cry 3. In addition, we watched the affectionately named Mr. Caffeine introduce Trackmania 2, Your Shape Fitness, an all new Raving Rabbids for Kinect, The Adventures of Tintin: The Official Game of The Movie of the Comic Book: Electric Boogaloo, and a surprising reveal of Brothers in Arms: Furious 4. Ubi closed with the much salivated-over Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

Dean: So let’s start with EA. Their first game was Mass Effect 3, which up to now had only had a teaser trailer and a show of the voice commands in Microsoft’s conference. They’ve now given the game a date of 6th March and they showed off some footage of the reaper attack on earth. I’m quite anticipating this game, and while we had known it would be due next year I had hoped for a january or february release. The footage on earth with Anderson was pretty cool, he’s kind of been your anchor throughout the series so good to see he can now be in your squad.

Jon: I’m still yet to play any of the Mass Effect games, but Mass Effect 3 did look really quite good, so it’s something I plan on doing in the future. I’m sure, given the track record of the first two, the third will be just as good.

Johnny: I am liking what I saw of the straight-up shooting mechanics. It looks like Mass Effect 2, only a bit tighter, which as far as I’m concerned is the right direction for the series. I’m honestly not afraid of the streamlining efforts BioWare seem to be making recently; I loved Mass Effect 2 but couldn’t stand the first one. In the end, Mass Effect 3 will largely live and die on it’s writing, which is really hard to get any grips on from small segments.

Declan: I’ve never been a huge Mass Effect fan but I’ve always been able to get some amount of fun from them. Mass Effect 3 certainly looks like it’s going to be fun to play and hopefully, they’ve upped the ante yet again on how the story plays out and how the characters interact with one another. From what I saw, it seemed as if they were abandoning the RPG aspects for the most part in favour of a more traditional action game. Is that the right thing to do with the series at this point?

Kyle: That on-rails vehicle shooter section had me kind of worried, but I think we can assume that’s the exception rather than the norm. It’s almost as if they felt they had to have something “cinematic” to show during the presentation, one reason I hate these pressers actually.

Johnny: I agree, that on-rails section looked like ass. But it also looked like the kind of set-piece that one would like to show off at E3 to the large audience, and is hopefully not something that will be prominent in the full game.

James: I have to agree with Declan. At the point in the series where there’s going to be much more emphasis on an action-packed final showdown with the Reapers, I think taking a more action approach might pay off. It’d seem a bit of a waste to spend most of it lost in conversation with your team and then be blamed for ruining a great story by getting the balance wrong. Don’t get me wrong, even if they did still have lots of conversation options, I’d expect them to maintain that BioWare quality we’ve all grown accustomed to, but sacrificing the amount of it for action at this point would seem like a good move.

Dean: Peter Moore was on stage next to show EA Sports offerings, along with (despite promises at the start) some celebrity football players. I’m not much of a sports guy so wasn’t following too much, but I was listening in on the FIFA Football Club. A kind of cross-platform score board/social networking tool for all of the FIFA games across the many platforms it now appears on. This kind of cross platform connectivity would be cool to see more of in the future.

Kyle: Yeah, the whole juxtaposition of calling out Microsoft for using celebs, then pulling up US football players to show off Madden was hilarious. I’m not much of a sports game guy either, Dean, but I did play SSX Blur on the Wii, and it was okay. I’ll follow the development of that one for sure.

Jon: I am a big fan of FIFA, so cross-platform connectivity is something which interests me. Obviously, it’s still not as good as being able to play FIFA with people on different consoles, but the ability to keep up with your friends who have other consoles will be quite interesting and probably fairly fun. However, my main issue with yearly updates of sports games is that they don’t really offer anything new, and they are continually charging more each year, so it’s getting more and more difficult to get excited by new itinerations.

James: As a FIFA fan I don’t know what to make of the gameplay changes, aside from the new physics in the tackling side of things, some of them seem pretty insignificant and will probably not be seen very often. The “EA Sports Football Club” thing just looks like a re-hash of the Interactive Leagues brought back from previous titles, but it’s good to see that stat-tracking won’t be limited to a single console. I zoned out a bit during the Madden stuff as American Football isn’t my cup of tea to be honest, but the new SSX game looks the business. I’ll be looking forward to that immensely.

Johnny: I really couldn’t be very bothered by any of the changes they make to their sports game experiences. The football club thing I guess would be cool for their target audience? I’m not sure, I don’t know too many people in that audience.

Declan: I kind of glazed over during this section of the conference. I was disappointed to hear nothing about an EA Sports Rugby game. At least there are some Rugby games actually coming out this year.

Kyle: And why don’t we have an EA cricket game this year? Come on!

Jon: Maybe they don’t think there’s enough demand? Last year with the World Cup and the Ashes would’ve been a better bet to make some money out of it.

Kyle: The Indians in my community were going nuts over that thing.

Jon: I’m surprised there hasn’t been an Indian Premier League game though, actually, given the amount of revenue that it’s generating for the sport as a whole.

Declan: This year is a great year for a Rugby game though. 2011 and 2012 are big years in the sport, what with the World Cup this year and Rugby League next.

Dean: I think with EA if there’s a sport, then they’ve made a game for it.

Johnny: Anyone getting Bowling Championship 2011?

Dean: They then showed off their umpteenth Need for Speed game, NFS: The Run. This one seemed a bit weird as it had quite a bit of on-foot sections and moves. I’ve not played NFS for a while so maybe this is common now? It did seem to be having it’s hand at a bit of GTA. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just with NFS becoming a bit of a milked franchise I think it might have just being better to come out with a standalone game entitled “The Run”.

Johnny: This just looked very strange to me. They are trying to relaunch Need For Speed and seem to be experimenting in a bunch of different directions; some work, some do not. Criterion’s Hot Pursuit and Need For Speed Shift both clicked well with their target audiences, but World couldn’t have failed more if it tried to. If RUN is as it seems, just racing with QTE’s, I’m placing my bets on it landing in the “failed” pile.

Kyle: Gonna be frank, it looked like trash. And for the love of Pete, the QTE’s… Just give me Porsche Unleashed-style gameplay and I’ll pick up my first Need for Speed in a decade.

Jon: I don’t think I’ve played a good NFS game, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. They keep trying new things with NFS, and they keep failing, but it’s a cash cow-people buy it anyway, so it doesn’t matter if their innovations work or not.

Declan: I’ve bought so many NFS games now that I haven’t really liked at this stage that NFS: The Run was going to have to try very hard to win me over. Mixing in the running parts is a nice idea but keeping it confined to QTE’s? I’m not sure how many people will like that. I can’t see myself getting it, but maybe I’ll grab during a sale.

James: I’ve heard from various places that the QTE/foot sections of The Run make up less than 10% of the game overall, so that’s pretty thankful to hear, but other than that, I’ll re-iterate what I said on Twitter: unless your main character’s going to be Usain Bolt, let’s keep the titular speed where it belongs – in the car.

Kyle: 10% for a, let’s assume, 20 hour game is still 2 hours of on-foot sections in a racing game. It’s just weird.

James: I get what you mean, yes, but it’s still good to know that we’re not going to be alienated by a metric tonne of on-foot sections while EA plays sleight of hand, says “Surprise! It’s not a driving game any more!”

Dean: Insomniac were on stage next to show off their new, and for the first time in the companies history, multi-platform game. A 4-player co-op FPS called “Overstrike”. They’ve only shown a trailer up to now, so no opinions on the gameplay, but it looked to be Insomniacs usual humour. So it’s definitely on my radar.

Jon: Overstrike looks a lot of fun. Any co-op shooting game is often a lot of fun, and with the Insomniac humour, it makes this game look very promising.

Johnny: I’m waiting for gameplay on this one. I find it wise to not get too excited over CG trailers. Anything with co-op makes a blip on my radar though.

Declan: The trailer was well done. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see it in action. The market is starting to get a bit crowded for this type of game. It’ll have to be pretty good to stay relevant.

Kyle: I’ve noticed that too, Declan. Tons of four player co-op games coming out it seems. It’s the new World War II shooter. I don’t think a PC version appeared to be in the works for this one, so I can’t get too excited. Trailer was nice though. I’m (almost) always positive about developers taking risks with new IPs.

James: Overstrike really hit me as one of those fun 4-player co-op games, only set in, what looks like a sort of Vanquish-ish environment. As the others said before me, a CG trailer isn’t much to go on, but it’s refreshing to see new IPs at these conferences, not to mention seeing something multi-platform from a former first-party developer for the first time ever.

Dean: So, Sims Social. EA have finally put Sims on Facebook, which kind of seemed  the place it would pop up. I thought the trailer was very fake, and not at all thrilling but I’m sure there’s plenty of people on Facebook wanting to gobble it up. Especially given that the Sims is not only EA’s best selling franchise but I’d say one of the de facto casual games out there.

Johnny: A big part of the appeal of Sims for me was always building shit and integrating mod content into my house. Unless Facebook suddenly has mod support… Not one for me.

Kyle: Johnny likes a franchise? And The Sims no less? Someone take a screenshot, quick!

Johnny: Yep. It’s on the internet.

Declan: It was inevitable that it would eventually end up on Facebook but man, that’s facebook for some people? Those were some very enthusiastic facebook gamers. Ah well, it’ll be nice to see something else dominate Facebook apart from Farmville.

Kyle: “Your neighbor wants to make woohoo with you! Do you want to accept this invitation?”

Dean: Star Wars: The Old Republic had its third year at E3. I was kind of stoked for this, but the more I’ve seen and heard of the game since it’s first announce in 09 I’ve kind of waned on it. Blur Studios CGI trailers still continue to amaze me though. A shame that the game will be nowhere near on par with what the trailers promise.

Johnny: To me at this point it feels like they are covering the actual game up with CG because the gameplay isn’t managing to get people hyped on it’s own. I don’t see anything good about the actual game. CG trailers are still pretty.

Kyle: Someday soon, full games are going to just be 8 hour long CGI trailers. That’s basically the Call of Duty series already, I guess.

Declan: These days, MMO’s really have to have something great to survive. This has the pedigree of Bioware and Star Wars, a duo that have worked well together in the past. I’m really questioning how well they’ll be able to make this game. CGI trailers are all well and good but if it’s just some sort of WoW clone underneath then what’s the point really?

Kyle: BioWare or not, Star Wars or not, I just cannot get into MMO’s. This is going to be a paid subscription setup, right?

Declan: Yup.

Johnny: To game developers: unless you’re Blizzard, do yourself a favor or either go with a freemium or Guild Wars-style model. So many people like me are not willing to commit unless your MMO looks great.

Jon: I agree with Johnny. I mean, I’m very tempted by the Old Republic, but the whole idea of paying to play a game really winds me up. Maybe when it’s released and it dazzles me, I’ll change my mind, but currently I won’t want to play it because of the subscription.

James: It does kinda seem odd that they’d release more CGI than a bit of gameplay, especially when they’ve confirmed the game will be playable on the show floor at EuroGamer Expo in London in September. By the sounds of things, the game’s probably still a long way away yet and maybe it might have been a better idea to just not show anything rather than just show a trailer.

Dean: Before the final point for EA I thought I’d bring up Origin. While it never had much of a spot in the show it was announced just before E3 started and they did continually reference it with “Check back to Origin for exclusive trailers”. Given that they seemed all happy about it and sent out press releases and timed it all with E3 I expected them to say more on it. While it is essentially a re-brand of their EA Store I had thought they might try to big it up as something new and exciting.

Declan: It’s just a rebranded store at the heart of it, isn’t it? I wonder if this is their attempt to get more people using their digital download service?

Johnny: The question here is really if they are willing to compete with Steam’s prices. My bets are that they won’t.

Kyle: Johnny wins the thread. It’s going to come down to price and service, and I don’t think EA has the cajones to take on the mighty Valve on either front.

Declan: Steam has some awesome sales but over here in Ireland, we’re often paying more on release day to get a game from Steam than we are from a brick and mortor store. That said, I haven’t seen EA offer any great offers on their service.

Dean: And last but not least EA’s crown jewel of their gaming line up: Battlefield 3. I believe this was the first showing of some actual gameplay, though still nothing on consoles shown yet. It all looked very pretty, but I felt that tank section dragged on way too long. I’ll certainly be eyeing it up for release. 4-player co-op campaign is also a pretty nice announcement.

Declan: I can’t wait for BF3. Prone, big maps, no more heavy medics, and even better graphics and audio than the last game? It’s hard to hide my excitement. That said, it’s Dice and I’m not expecting to fall in love at first sight. This was the part of the conference I was waiting for and it didn’t disappoint.

Johnny: I was never that big a Battlefield fan. They are fun but they just don’t do it for me in the long-term. That said, I thought the trailer they showed was largely a waste of time. It was long and I found myself asking why he was still in the same vehicle.

Kyle: This wasn’t the first gameplay footage we’ve seen, but it was extensive and featured a lot of tank warfare. I’m still pumped for the game, but it could have been presented to be more exciting. Oh, the graphics were gorgeous by the way.

Dean: Also apart from being long it looked like he had god mode on which limited the appeal a bit. Would have been nice to seem a mix of vehicles n footwork.

Kyle: Also, to be more representative of the Battlefield series, we needed to see more noobs spawn, beat everybody else to the jets, and crash in flames 100 feet off the runway.

James: Hah! I think that’s a given for any shooter though, but yeah, some of that would have been welcome. The tank combat looked amazing though, I have to say. Definitely got me excited.

Dean: So before moving on to Ubisoft, what were our highs and lows? My high would be Overstrike. It looked like it could be a nice game and I’m confident in Insomniac. As for my low it would be NFS: The Run. It looked like it wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to be and seemed to be more a case of wanting to have something to pump out for a yearly NFS title.

Declan: The high point for me was the BF3 footage. Being honest, it was the only reason I was watching the EA conference. My low point would probably be when they were showing off NFS: The Run. I just thought “More? Really?”. I don’t think this is the reboot they’re looking for.

Kyle: High: Battlefield 3. Low: The Sims Social

Johnny: With the risk of sounding like a broken record, there really wasn’t much here to interest me at all. If I had to choose it would be Battlefield 3. My low point was Need For Speed: The Run, because while I think everything else will succeed with their target audience, The Run just looked like shit and I don’t even think my friends who loved NFS: Underground would play this.

Jon: Yeah, high point is Battlefield 3. Low point is also the Sims. I don’t care about either the Sims or Facebook.

James: High point for me was Battlefield 3. It was great to see vehicular combat in action and there’s no way I’m going to miss getting this at launch. Low point was probably The Run. We’ve had 2 Need for Speed titles within a year already (even if they took the branding off Shift 2 Unleashed, it’s still an NFS game), and another so soon is going to kill the franchise before you can say Guitar Hero.

Dean: The Ubisoft conference was themed a bit around the fact that this year is Ubisofts 25th anniversary, so congrats to Ubisoft for that. I did like their little “25 years ago” clips to the point where I would love an Assassins Creed game in the style they showed off for those segments. They opened up with Rayman Origins, a 2D platformer for the main 3 consoles. I’ve never really played Rayman games and the recent Raving Rabbids spin-offs certainly weren’t going to make me  hop in on the franchise. It looked quite nice, and the Tetris spot brought out a giggle, but news that they plan to release it as a full title did greatly sour much of my interest.

Declan: As a fan of the original Rayman games, I was pleased to see Origins. It seems they’re doing something that’s gotten more popular lately – making games like they used to. I never saw the need to abandon 2D scrollers, especially when we can make them look so good these days. It looks like Ubisoft are really embracing the return to the series’ roots so I’m gonna be keeping a close eye on this.

Johnny: Rayman Origins looks like a decent platformer, but decent platformers are very common. To attract my attention as a full-priced game it’s gonna have to be a bit more than decent.

Kyle: Johnny, I feel that’s kind of a result of all the amazing $10 indie games on PC and other download services. They’re really raising the bar for value; Capsized is one of the better PC games I’ve played this year and it’s only $10, and Rayman will be $50 or $60? That said, I am very hopeful for the game. I’ve never really played a full Rayman game, but it looked awesome, and my wife and I go bananas for 4-player co-op. Hopefully it’s as challenging as Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Johnny: Oh, I agree. The indies are doing a great job in the 2D platform market, and the AAA guys need to step it up to keep getting my money. I honestly don’t see how I could choose Rayman Origins over, say, Trine 2, when Trine 2 will cost a fraction.

Jon: Rayman Origins looks gorgeous, and it looks like the first Rayman, which appeals to me. I’m buying it as soon as it comes out for the PS3, even if it’s utter rubbish, as long as it looks nice, I will buy it.

James: Rayman looked fantastic, and it’s been a long time coming. I was pretty stoked last year when they announced they were going to make a proper “pure” Rayman game, without the Raving Rabbids involved, and it looked amazing, fun, and I’m definitely looking forward to trying it.

Dean: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Ghost Recon: Online got a spot next. We’d previously seen the Kinect functionality of Future Soldier in Microsoft’s keynote, so this was more of a chance to look at the main part of the game. I can’t remember too much on it. Looked nice, but I’ve never really played the Tom Clancy titles much before. GR:Online however piqued my interest, as all Free2Play titles do. Quite a thing to announce something like this at their main conference and probably;y a sign of future direction of games.

Declan: I enjoyed the Ghost Recon footage. It looked like it could be a decent third-person shooter. Hopefully this time around they don’t make the mistake the made with Advanced Warfighter on the PC and make a terrible port. GR: Online looks interesting but like all free2play games from big companies, I question what the in-game cost is going to be.

Johnny: I recall thinking that I’d want to play the “20 years ago” mock-up more than the actual game. It reminded me of Frozen Synapse. Looks good, but just not my cup of tea.

Kyle: Johnny, those were exactly my thoughts when they showed that retro footage. Not the effect they were going for I don’t think. As for Ghost Recon, it looked like trash to me. I mean, sure, maybe it could be a good action game, but man, I weep when I think of how amazing the first game and expansions were compared to the stuff they put out under the label now. The guy in the gameplay demo was running all over the map like a headless chicken, and not dying? He took 3-4 seconds out of cover to take out his targets, and he was still alive? That, my friends, is not the Ghost Recon I remember. I lost interest when I saw it was third-person, to be honest. Just create a new franchise if you want gameplay so far removed from the original vision for the series.

James: Ghost Recon looked very good, and it makes a difference for a military shooter to be third-person instead of first. I enjoyed it last year when I saw it, and this year, I’m just a bit afraid that Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 will take out its share of the market in military shooters, and its sales could really suffer badly if Ubisoft decide to play hardball and go for the same release window. Their free-to-play game could be interesting to keep track of, considering how many players the likes of Quake Live and Battlefield Play4Free get.

Dean: Far Cry 3 popped up as just a trailer, no sign of what game it was but I think most of us had a good idea. It looked very fun, though I’m unsure if the trailer was pre-rendered or actually in-game.It looked great, I liked the antagonist they had in the trailer too. I look forward to this. Far Cry 2 had been an interesting title but I felt it’s flaws really let it down. So let’s hope Far Cry 3 makes up for the past mistakes.

Declan: I skipped out on Far Cry 2. I don’t know why, I heard it wasn’t a bad game. Far Cry 3 looks like it might be a lot of fun to play. I liked the set-pieces presented in the demo but I couldn’t help thinking they should have chosen something other than a tropical/jungle environment for the backdrop.

Johnny: Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. Far Cry 2 was a mess. Some found it an enjoyable one, but it was just broken in many ways. That Far Cry 3 footage looked incredibly fake, with all the perfectly timed camera movements and stuff. Either that or a very, VERY well-rehearsed demo.

Kyle: I rolled my eyes through the whole Far Cry 3 demo. It was so scripted that we still have little knowledge of what the actual game will be like.

James: FarCry 3 looked like the demo was on-rails. There was no clear indication that any of what was shown was gameplay, aside from the hit indicators (which may have been added in afterwards), but it was great to have the game return to a similar setting as the first in the series.

Kyle: True, James. I’m glad we’re back on a jungle island this time.

Dean: They showed off a handful of new games in the form of Trackmania 2, Your Shape Fitness sequel, a new Raving Rabbids and the move game for Adventures of Tintin. As mentioned before I don’t care much for Raving Rabbids, and movie games don’t really make me hyped either. However my time with the free Trackmania has made me a bit of a fan of the series, so nice to see some more of the sequel. Not sure if I’ll be picking it up though.

Jon: I have no interest in the Raving Rabbids, in fact, they make me irrationally angry. Tintin, however, will be good, hopefully. The movie looks nice, so hopefully the game will follow suit. Your Shape Fitness..nah, not interested.

Declan: Trackmania 2 could be a lot of fun to play and the brief mention of Mania Planet with two new games; Shootmania and Questmania, has me wanting to hear more. Raving Rabbids actually didn’t look all that bad either. It should work well as a tool for parents to tire out their children and if there’s ever a party happening, it might be a bit of fun with a few drinks. Tintin looks like it could be a reason to use motion controls but there’s a lot that remains to be seen.

Johnny: Raving Rabbids looked awful. Possibly the worst-looking Kinect game so far. I don’t know what they were thinking. TinTin looked like a decent game… I hope it’s a downloadable, because I wouldn’t pay full price for it. I was excited to learn more about Trackmania 2, but I really didn’t glean much of information from that short trailer. I love Trackmania Nations/United and I hope the sequel lives up.

Kyle: I assume Rabbids is intended for kids, but then again they had full-grown adults making fools of themselves on stage (and posting it to Facebook no less!) Johnny recently turned me on to Trackmania on Steam, so I’m pretty interested in following TM2.

James: Raving Rabbids just looked like Raving Rabbids to me. Their guy doing the presentation looked a little bit wired, I don’t know if that’s just from the sheer enthusiasm of playing what’s essentially Whack-A-Mole on Kinect, but hey, it’s got its market I suppose. TrackMania looked good, I have to say, but no news on their other genre spin-offs. TinTin looked incredibly good though, especially as an XBLA/PSN title. Its reduced price and size could see it doing really well, depending on whether it’s executed well and has a good demo.

Dean: Ubisoft didn’t seem to get the memo from Activision and next showed their new guitar game; Rocksmith. The new twist here being that it can use any electric or electric acoustic guitar and teach you how to play. Given that guitars aren’t very cheap I’m not seeing how useful this will be or how many people it might inspire to learn guitar. Seems to be another of Ubisofts odd ball “let’s bring the real world and gaming world together” schemes that brought us Battle Tag last year.

Declan: Rocksmith might be a decent tool for learning guitar but I think it’s going to have a very hard time selling in any great volume. We’ll see though, there are a lot of people that own guitars.

Johnny: This idea is by no means unique to Ubisoft. There’s been a few projects of this kind announced, and I really think they are more aimed towards the “has a guitar but never bothered learning how to play” crowd. There are more of those than one would think; many of them inspired by Guitar Hero and Rock Band in the first place.

James: I think Rocksmith will fall into the same trap that Power Gig did beforehand: trying to do too much at once. I can’t see it doing well, especially if you need to buy yet another separate guitar (or other accessories) for it. No thanks though, I don’t really trust the game to pick up the sound and tunings properly, and I think that it’s a doomed project.

Dean: A new Gearbox title, Brothers in Arms: Furious 4, was shown off next. Had a very Inglorious Basterds vibe and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that was a large inspiration. It seemed to be fairly light hearted, but given it’s subject matter I reckon it’ll get a bit of controversy in mainstream press. It was another 4-player co-op game which seems to becoming a bit of a theme with E3 this year, and a theme I’m a fan of despite the fact most of these are probably online co-op only.

Declan: I thought of Inglorious Basterds watching the trailer for Furious 4 too. It could be fun but I don’t know, I think it might have an easier time getting some TV time on Fox News.

Jon: Yawn. Another World War 2 game, and one that looks like a rip off of a movie. I’m sure it’ll sell well, because the game buying public like that sort of thing, but it’s not really something which appeals to me.

Kyle: To be fair, Jon, we’ve moved from a ton of WW2 games to a ton of steampunk/off-beat humor franchises now (Brink, Borderlands, etc.), but I can see where the WW2 burnout comes from.

Johnny: My problem with it wasn’t that it was a World War 2 game, but rather that the humour felt like they had a 12-year-old rewrite Inglorious Basterds. Aside from that there weren’t any actual game footage and I’m not a huge fan of Gearbox’s previous efforts.

Kyle: They did Opposing Force, so I always retain some hope for their titles. But Halo: CE for PC and Borderlands were both compellingly average. As for this new game, it’s just that there’s too much of a  “me-too” feel to it. I hope it’s good.

James: I also figured it to be a 4-player co-op Inglourious Basterds game. Looks like every character will have their own weapon speciality (did they have Miniguns in WW2?) – so we could be looking at a World War 2 Borderlands-type game.

Dean: Assassins Creed: Revelations, the main reason I tuned in for the Ubisoft conference, was their final game. Starting with a pretty nice CGI trailer showing a nicely aged Ezio they then moved on to some gameplay in a burning boat. Visually it looked on par with the previous games, but that’s not the element they tend to upgrade. The main changes here are the grappling hook and new bomb types. This is the final game in the Ezio arc and I shall definitely be picking this up when it hits the shops. The AC series is one of my top franchises of this gen and each new game has consistently improved on it’s predecessor. Can’t wait.

Declan: Assassins Creed is a series that I never got mad into. Granted, I have yet to play Brotherhood but the first two games of the series only held my attention for so long before I got bored with the formula. Revelations looked very exciting to play, more so than the previous games and I think that if they can keep that pace and quality throughout, it’ll be a fantastic game.

Jon: I need to play the latest Assassin’s Creed, but sequels to successful, decent games are always welcome. I will look forward to it.

Johnny: I loved the CGI trailer and the gameplay looked good. I am however feeling like Assassin’s Creed is starting to wear off it’s welcome. I loved Assassin’s Creed 2 but by the end of Brotherhood I was more pissed off than hyped for the next entry. I feel it’s time to mix up the gameplay.

Kyle: Never got into the series, and the trailer/gameplay suffered from cinematic-itis. And seriously, they have a franchise whose primary story vehicle allows for gameplay in any setting and time in the world’s entire history, and they do a similar (the same?) place? Time for this series to innovate or die.

James: I’ll be honest, I tuned out after the repetitive gameplay of the first game, and I sort of regret doing so, given how often people rave about the sequels. The Revelations *ahem* reveal and gameplay has definitely made me think twice about it, and I think it’s about time I caught up, because this could be a great send-off for Ezio.

Dean: My highs and lows here would be the fact most of their games didn’t really interest me in any way shape or form. The host was pretty crappy too. My high would be the (kind of) surprise announcement of Far Cry 3. It looked great, looked like it could be a ton of fun to play. I’m just hoping they take the issues of Far Cry 2 into mind when making it.

Johnny: My high would be the Assassin’s Creed Revelations CGI trailer. None of the gameplay really intrigued me that much. My low would definitely be everything about the announcer. Even the name, “Mr. Caffeine”, is cringe-worthy.

Declan: The high for me was probably seeing Rayman: Origins in action. It’s going to have to try hard before I decide to buy it but what I saw during the conference really had me hopeful. The low point for me was probably that Mr. Caffiene guy too. It was just awkward. I wonder what this roundtable would have been like 25 years ago…

Jon: My high would be how good Rayman looked. I had been saying to James before the conference started that I hoped there’d be a pretty new 2D Rayman, and I wasn’t disappointed. The colours looked nice, and everything else looked good. My low point would be either Brothers in Arms, because I’m bored of WW2 games, or the host. He was pretty terrible.

Kyle: High: Rayman Origins. Low: Gears of Ghost Recon.

James: My low point was definitely the presenter. He tried to be funny way too hard and 11 out of 10 times his humour fell flat on its face. Awful showing compared to Joel McHale from the last 2 years. My high point was definitely Rayman. It looks like it’s going to be a blast to play and I’m definitely going to be giving that a go when it gets out.

Well, that wraps things up for our E3 Round Tables. Hope you have had as much fun following them as we have had doing them. Look out for any more we will be doing in the future.

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