E3 2012 would prove to be solid and depressing, with Crystal Dynamics dropping itself into the year’s greatest PR disaster with some grandiose misinformationing related to Tomb Raider.
Nintendo started E3’s second day. The press conference was a bizarre melange of Nintendo Land, Batman, Mario and Pikmin 3. We already knew there’d be no date or price for Wii U, so the entire shebang fell weirdly flat.
For every month in our 2012 retrospective, hit this.
June’s start was blanketed, predictably, with E3 preoccupation. A new Prince of Persia was rumoured (but didn’t materialise), while EA confirmed Dead Space 3 and Konami got in early with Castlevania and MGS teases. Dishonored, PES 13, Papa & Yo and Hawken all got pre-show trailers.
The news got heavier as we approached the show. Square confirmed Tomb Raider for March 5, 2013 and Konami went on the record with an extra-year date for Rising. Smartglass leaked. Sony said it was to show the “future of PlayStation Plus” in LA.
E3 itself was a measured affair with a short tail. Microsoft’s press conference came first, with Black Ops 2, Halo 4, Tomb Raider and Splinter Cell book-ending a good Smartglass demo and little else. Gears of War: Judgment was trailered, Forza Horizon was dated and Xbox Music got its first airing. Kinect barely featured. Speaking after the event, Xbox Europe boss Chris Lewis reaffirmed commitment to Kinect’s future and said he was “very happy” with Microsoft’s E3. It was good enough.
Ubisoft and EA followed. The publisher stood out with its Watch Dogs announcement and a fantastic Far Cry 3 demo, while EA used the show to announce Battlefield Premium, confirm Star Wars was going semi-free-to-play, date Dead Space 3 and Sim City, and confirm a new UFC deal. Brenna warned, however, that EA’s overall roster was well down on the previous year.
Sony’s press conference rounded off E3’s first day. Beyond: Two Souls, The Last of Us and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale were the big hits. There was remarkably little mention of Vita and The Last Guardian was a no-show. PlayStation studios boss Shuhei Yoshida admitted Vita was “totally under-represented” in our post-conference interview.
It also became clear that Sony would have no big-hitting core title for Christmas 2012 other than Battle Royale. Beyond and The Last of Us looked spectacular, but of the question of Vita’s chances Sony had no answer. Rob Fahey picked the conference apart for us.
Nintendo started E3’s second day. The press conference was a bizarre melange of Nintendo Land, Batman, Mario and Pikmin 3. We already knew there’d be no date or price for Wii U, so the entire shebang fell weirdly flat. Alex Donaldson wasn’t impressed in his post-show Wii U play sessions
. Johnny Minkley was less than kind in his analysis.
And that was E3. Peter Molyneux took the opportunity to announce Curiosity and its £50,000 DLC, and next-gen showings only got as far as an Unreal Engine 4 demo and a beautiful Luminous tech unveil from Square.
The “r” word
News normality returned as the show ended, but some badly chosen words from a Tomb Raider developer at E3 kept us busy for weeks. In a Kotaku interview, Crystal Dynamics executive producer Ron Rosenberg described a “gang rape” as playing a part in Lara’s latest transformation, to which the feminist lobby reacted with brutality. Crystal retreated from the mushrooming argument with a vim normally reserved for nuclear weapons testers. Here’s what I thought.
Aside from E3, June was a general busy news month. We saw the first hint at PS3’s super-slim form factor, and Diablo III’s real money auction house released in both the US and Europe. The Walking Dead started its viral march to glory with strong PSN sales, and Nintendo UK boss David Yarnton left the building after 20 years of service. Kaz Hirai left the PlayStation business for a higher role within Sony.