E3 is a wonderful time for gaming fans across the globe. We get several new reveals, new demos, and tons of information about games we are craving more information from. It also occasionally comes with new hardware reveals, but also assuredly with tons of interviews for us to salivate over. At the same time, E3 is a time for broken promises. Reveals that never live up the finished product (Watch Dogs taught us that harsh lesson), or outright lies (Alien: Colonial Marines). For all the glamor E3 brings, it is also a world of empty promises and essentially, the master of showing off a game without actually showing off the game.
This was all true again this year... until Nintendo decided enough was enough. Before I get any further into this conversation, I wanted to point out something a fellow journalist had to say on this very topic. Jim Sterling is one of the more respected journalists out there because he doesn't sugarcoat his opinions or buy into corporate bullshit. He calls an uncooked ham an uncooked ham, not making it out like it is the food that, in it's current state, can save the world from hunger. His latest Jimquisition episode really dives deep into the problems E3 presents, problems Nintendo seemed to ignore existed.
A big point Jim Sterling hits on is how E3 is generally a place full of lies. Full of CGI trailer reveals, or showing off what we're supposed to think is gameplay and setting unrealistic expectations. Meanwhile, Nintendo decided to try and win people by actually showing their games, and when they had nothing more to show (Zelda U, as an example), they sort of let it be and tried to avoid talking about it. Why overhype something before you can actually show off proper gameplay? Nintendo seems to understand this concept.
E3 is a really sickening place at times. We get overly hyped on stuff that may not ever truly come to fruition. Everyone I know right now seems to feel that Uncharted 4 snippet we saw is pretty much the closest thing to reality we have ever gotten—and yes I have to admit it looks really good. Naughty Dog's track record for pushing great realistic visuals is on full display. The problem is—we never actually saw any gameplay. It could have easily been a cutscene, or even, dare I say it, complete CGI. We don't know, because we never got to see any actual gameplay. There is a real chance the final game doesn't inherently look that good—let alone consistently look that good everywhere.
Nathan Drake looks fantastic in Uncharted 4. However, do we really know if the game will look this good? No, we don't.
I'm not trying to knock down Sony or any other company, I just feel what Nintendo did at E3 should be the shining example of what E3 should be about. Games should be shown off with gameplay, not snippets where we can only guess if it's actually real or not. That isn't to say there can't be reveals of games that won't be coming out for a year or two—but those game should get minimal screen time and be revealed at least with in-engine stuff—something we can fully believe is from the game. Then they should just stop talking about it, really, if they can't show off the game itself. The Zelda U reveal reminds of this greatly. I can believe what I saw on screen is from the game visually. However, they couldn't show off gameplay, so they stopped talking about it. Is it so hard to not overhype something before you can prove it?
I have been PC gaming a lot lately and it's made me come to a greater appreciation of Indie content. At the end of the day, Nintendo and Indie developers seem to be the only ones hyping their content with gameplay these days. Hopefully, Nintendo can see some sales success from their approach and put the industry on its heels next E3. More studios should be taking notes—Nintendo is getting it right this year.