Going to E3 This Year? Some First Year Advice.

This will be my 12th year going to the legendary video games conference: E3. I’ve learned a lot going through the years and I offer some advice for those going for the first time.

If you can only go one day- 

Go Tuesday. It’s the shortest day but it’s the easiest day to play what you want to play. More on this later.

Take the train if you can. 

Parking in LA is always awful but during an event like E3 it’s worse than usual. The metro will drop you off down the street from the convention center and will only cost you a few bucks per day. Cheaper than paying $20+ for parking.

Bring hand sanitizer. 

Many booths have gotten better at having anti-bac hand sanitizer in recent years for everyone to use but it never hurts to have your own in case you get stuck in an area without (or they run out). Touching controllers that hundreds of other people have touched that day might not seem that bad, but it adds up. Take care of yourself so you don’t wind up with swine flu by Friday.

Wear super comfortable shoes- 

and clothes. This becomes more important the more days you plan to attend. A lot of your time will be spent standing/sitting in line and walking from one area of the massive halls to another. If you have super saiyan feet, more power to ya. If not: don’t wear sandals, don’t wear pumps, don’t wear flats.

destiny cosplay

Bring snacks. 

Preferably ones that don’t require utensils or too much handling (see note #3). Granola bars, bananas, anything on a skewer. The lines for everything you’re gonna want to see could take 5 hours or more and you’re not gonna want to leave the show to eat. Also the offerings in the convention center are the overpriced, not great, junk food you’d expect.

Speaking of line waiting…bring something to do. 

E3 is a great place to get street passes on any iteration of the DS you own or spend some hours with your long neglected PSVita. I’ll also be interested to see how many Mario Kart tournaments break out in line on Switches this year. I’ve also been able to make a few new friends chatting up with fellow gamers to pass the time. You get to meet so many cool people who you know you already have something in common with, a love of video games!

Bring a bag.

You don’t want to get overencumbered with a big bag but bring something to stash your swag and snacks. I used to bring a one shoulder bag and that will wear you down after three full days. There isn’t as much swag as there used to be, but you usually get a shirt and a pin for playing demos for the bigger games. Bring something you wouldn’t mind climbing a mountain with.

Swag-

is earned at the show. You get swag for playing games, dancing in public, taking surveys, entering raffles, completing challenges, winning matches and so on. Not many booths just give out stuff. You gotta work for it gamer.

e3 swag2

Know what your top games are that you want to check out-

and do those on Tuesday. Everyone is still figuring the show out on the first day and the media badges are busy elsewhere, so if you know what you really want to see you’re already ahead of the game. Don’t think “oh I’ll go check that out tomorrow” because most times you’ll have to wait in line for 6 hours to see the big stuff (Destiny 2, COD WWI, Super Mario Odyssey will all probably be big lines). I waited EIGHT HOURS over TWO DAYS to play Halo 5 and experience the hololens.

e3 homefront

Prepare yourself for disappointment.

It’s not likely, because E3 is a total mind blowing blast but sometimes the really cool stuff is behind closed doors that you need a key called a “media badge” to open. That’s fine, there’s lots of stuff to check out. But as an example, last year only 100 people a day could get into the Resident Evil 7 booth to play the demo in VR. The first 100 in line literally got a golden ticket to get in. Everyone else was SOL. That’s cool, go play something else in the next area and don’t let it ruin your day.

RE7

Watch out for “Theater demos”.

I waited in line for an hour to get into a presentation for Watch Dogs 2 only to find out once I was inside that there was no swag, I couldn’t play the game and it was the exact same demo shown during the press conference. A lot of the bigger games do this especially Ubisoft titles. I recommend you watch the press conferences and then watch out for this at the show so you can maximize your time. If you’re not sure, ask one of the staff working the booth before you decide to wait in line.

Be fucking respectful. 

Yes there are celebrities at E3, super star game devs and yes there are booth babes. Don’t harass them or be a dick. They are people too. Say hi, ask for a picture, say something nice then move on. Nine times out of ten you will get a cool memory to take home with a pleasant exchange. Don’t be that douche bag they write articles about the week after the show.

e3 nintendo

GOThere’s a lot to take in- 

take it in on Thursday. There is so much to see and do (and buy this year) but don’t be tempted to review the floors on the first day and play the games on the next two. Plan your priorities and do them as soon as possible so you can relax and bask in the bright lights and glory of E3 on the last day.

HAVE A GREAT DAMN TIME. It’s gonna be totally awesome.
e3 pip

Video Game Auction!

The ESA foundation (that’s entertainment software association to you) is hosting their “Nite to Unite” silent auction to benefit all the cool shit they do and sweet-ass peoples they help get into the best industry in the world.

All Silent Auction items will be available for bidding until 8:30 p.m. PST on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 and include items such as tickets to a live taping of Conan, a pip-boy signed by the fallout team and some crazy cool rare Capcom collectibles.

This is the first time in the nineteen  year history of the association that the auction will accept bids from the world wide interwebs. So if you got money to burn for a great cause, I’d really like that Lego Batman Ultimate Fan pack.

Thanks!

Check out what’s for sale here.

Irrational Games Gives Up the Ghost

Way back in 2013 after Bioshock Infinite was released the lead designer and studio head of Irrational Games, Ken Levine, announced that he was closing the doors of the studio and would be investigating a “more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two.” He took fifteen out the one hundred employees with him to focus on a new goal, “To make narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable…we will focus exclusively on content delivered digitally.”

Today Irrational Games, the company co-founded by Levine and then abandoned like a used condom out the window of a car in a shady side street, announced via Twitter their new name: Ghost Story.

 

ghoststory

They say to click to learn what that means for their fans. So I clicked and you can too here.

There are lots of different links to click on the site like one that says {View} over their new logo which as far as I can tell just refreshes the page. There’s another one that says “The studio formerly known as Irrational Games is now called “Ghost Story”. Come learn what that means for our fans!https://t.co/lyimVt22hc” which also just refreshes the same page (and has a pop up that begs you to sign up for their newsletter which I WONT because that’s what Twitter is for.)

The useful bits are hidden in the secret clicky that reads “WELCOME TO GHOST STORY” as shown below.

CHALLENGING STORIES, CHALLENGING GAMEPLAY

Ghost Story was founded by twelve former Irrational Games developers and our mission is simple: to create immersive, story-driven games for people who love games that ask something of them. While we believe our new games will have strong appeal to fans of BioShock, our new focus allows us to craft experiences where the gameplay is as challenging as the stories.

We are not yet ready to share any more on our new game, but we invite you to join us and take part in our community, Sign up here.

More with the newsletter ads…

Then there’s a list of the cool kids leading the boat rocking party which you can check out if you are so inclined.

No mention if Ken Levine is involved in any capacity, though the copyright at the bottom of every page says:

© 2002-2017 Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Developed by Ghost Story Games. BioShock, BioShock Infinite, Irrational Games, Ghost Story Games and their respective logos are trademarks of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.

After drudging through the pretty empty site there’s not much to go on as far as the studio’s focus, but I’m still looking forward to seeing what the scorned, defiant group of the boldest Bioshock rejected team will have to offer like an ex who gets super mega foxy awesome hot after a bad breakup and posts their beachy pics on Instagram.

You show that Ken Levine you don’t need him, he never deserved you!

Switchmas is Shaping Up to be Just That.

IT’S ABOUT F*%@ING TIME.

screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-6-28-24-pmOur purchases are now tied to our account and not the console. So I can stop buying the original Zelda for the 100000000th time.

Obvious move is obvious. But still appreciated.

Better late than never?

Childhood Game Comes Back to Burn You Alive

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING.

Someone made a real “The Floor is Lava” game and it looks awesome.

From bedrooms, to living rooms to class rooms, this first person action platformer from Klei Entertainment has brought our collective childhood game to annoy our parents to glorious digital life.

floor-is-lava-2

Created with Unity and releasing on Steam (soon?!)

I can’t wait to climb all over everything. Check out the trailer here.

Nintendo Jumps on DLC Bandwagon

Okay, you got me. This isn’t the first time Nintendo has released DLC for their game.

They did it for Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros and Splatoon on the Wii U. Though Splatoon’s was all free unless you count the amiibo content, which was just fancy armor wrapped up in timed challenges wrapped up in an enigma. Or… whatever.

DLC makes sense when it expands a portion of the game or fixes story issues noticed after release (I’m looking at you FFXV). But the content listed in the Breath of the Wild expansion pass, which Nintendo is asking $20 for, is well, awful.

zeldadlc-1000x554

Soooooo we get a new shirt? What’s a “map feature”? How did “contains useful items” make it past the PR department for a bullet point spot in this officially released image?! And they are already looking at adding a new story when the game hasn’t come out yet?

I’m not knocking story DLC. Hell, the DLC for the Witcher 3 won game of the year awards. But I get the feeling this extra Zelda story will be about as deep as Tingle’s mental capacity.

Everything listed is too vague for me to cough up $20 for, where’s the horse armor AMIRITE?! Also, I’ve already committed close to $700 to play the new Zelda (Switch console, Master Edition, all five new amiibo, First Four Figures Statue, pro controller) and while I know I don’t need to buy these things to play the new game…it’s too late Best Buy already took all my money.

And can we all agree that the top tier package for any game should just INCLUDE the season pass/expansion pack/DLC?!?!?!

wth.

Nintendo Switch May Have Various Console Offerings

An excerpt from an interview with Nintendo Director Takahashi-san:

Whereas people who have been traditionally Nintendo handheld gamers, they may buy Nintendo Switch and then for example, if a new version were to come out later, then maybe they would decide to upgrade to that. Or, for example, because you can take the Joy-Con off the system, then I guess that leaves open the possibility of something else that might get attached. There’s obviously a lot of different developments that we could look at from that perspective as well.

(emphasis added by me)

May I please have a moment to react? Ah hem.

rage-face

 

 

So it seems I will need to become independently wealthy. And quick.

I can see Nintendo releasing new colors and themed Switch consoles as they have done in the past, and special joy-cons I can get on board with but if they treat the Switch like they did the 3DS with multiple versions that didn’t just upgrade battery life but actually limited the games you could play on them… that’s a recipe for WiiU-like disaster. Even with how closely some follow the industry there was still confusion by all the new iterations of the 3DS and new 3DS and new 3DS+ and NEWnew 3DSi-Platinum Gold Sticker Model 2.0.

I hope they stick to one Switch and promote it like hell so it sells like hot cakes and every third party developer would feel stupid to not make games for it.

If they do decide to release upgraded versions of the Switch ala Xbox Scorpio and PS4 Pro I know what I’m gonna do…

…probably buy one anyway.

angry-you-win-this-time-l

 

You can read the full interview with Takahashi-san from Time here.

The Fan Fueled Journey of FFXV

FFXV is out today. A game we first heard about 10 years ago. We got our first glimpse in 2006, we saw gameplay trailers in 2011, tidbits of story were dropped every few years and while we waited, we got FFXIII, Versus XIII (which was cancelled and reworked into XV), XIII-2 and Lightning Returns. We met Ignis, Prompto and Gladiolus 5 years ago and watched them fight with a battle system a decade out of date.

And we waited.

We read articles about delays and problems, spin off games and new directors and started to give up hope.

But then we read about voice actors,concept art and heard the music…it was starting to feel real again.

The first time we saw Noctis he looked like a boy who strolled out of Kingdom Hearts and into a real RPG (so much shade), much different from the older although just as brooding young prince we now know as the protagonist in FFXV.

Few franchises command the power and bloodline that Final Fantasy does. Die hard fans that spread across generations each with their own idea of the best game in the series, sentimental attachments to characters, tattoos of the symbols, faces and items that have become synonymous with the biggest, baddest JRPG series in video game history. So when rumors of a modern twist on our favorite classic started to circle XV after a line of disappointing entries, the hype got real in a behemoth way.

There was days worth of twitch streams, 15 hour gameplay videos, reviews written up by every commenter under the internet umbrella and months worth of footage uploaded to youtube on every major game channel.

We’ve been drowning in FFXV coverage all year but the real treat has been the Japanese developer’s titan approach to marketing and immersive events for the fans who have waited a decade to find out just what the hell is wrong with the moody, spoiled, Prince Noctis and why do his chocobros bother to stick around?

Let’s go through the list. Just doing a list because there’s a lot and I’m lazy.

March 2015: Episode Duscae demo released with Final Fantasy Type-0, to remind everyone that this game is still a thing and it is actually happening and probably to encourage gamers to get a feel for the FFXV’s new director, Hajime Tabata, who directed Type-0.

March 31st 2016: FFXV Uncovered Event. This was a no holds bar, it’s really happening, pull out all the stops, make it rain gil, bring out the chocobos event for fans held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, a place that has been known to host a little soiree called The Oscars. It was free for fans, live streamed around the world and featured cosplay, youtube stars, and Final Fantasy royalty with more surprises and fan service than you could shake a stick at. (Fifteen, actually. There were fifteen surprises. Because, of course.)

These bomb drops included:

The free Platinum Demo

Epic 3D art collage by Yoshitaka Amano

Free tie-in six episode anime: Brotherhood

Kingsglaive prequal movie reveal.

Free Justice Monsters Five mobile game

Reveal of the one of a kind Audi R8 promo car made irl based on the royal carriage in the game.

Florence and the Machine collab album and new trailer featuring her cover of Stand By Me.

The reveal of the collector’s edition, only 30,000 available through the Square Enix store (and the pre-orders sold out that night.)

And the release date (which was spoiled online earlier that day by some douche at Gamespot.) Thanks, jerk. But you didn’t ruin the epic downpour of confetti, hype, screams and tears that rained down on the crowd when it was OFFICIALLY announced.

After the Uncovered event came all the appearances at the worldwide game conventions where for the first time fans got a chance to play a snippet of the real game. Demos were available at E3, SDCC, NYCC, Gamescon, PAX, Pax East, TGS and Paris Games Week.

August 19th 2016: Limited Screenings of Kingsglaive across the US including at the beautiful Ahrya Fine Arts Laemmle in Beverly Hills.

September 7th, 2016: FFXV live in London at Abbey Road Studios with Yoko Shimomura performed by the London Philharmonic. Tickets were free but extremely limited and the legendary studio was packed full of fans who were able to ask the composer questions. The whole event was live streamed for the peasants left outside the doors.

finalfantasy-abbeyroad

Japanese Fashion Designer Roen (who designed the costumes for the game) released a real life line of clothes based on the outfits worn by the chocobros so you too can look like an emo, boy band prince. Noctis’ backstreet boy shirt can be yours for $1442, his fancy pants are only $817 and his gloves are a steal for $192. Somehow, these all sold out (WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!?! And do you need a best friend?)

November 22nd, 2016: IGN UK Launch Event. Open to fans who were quick enough to grab some free tickets. The development team was on hand to answer questions in a little tent dressed up like Eos and everyone got a chance to play the new game and score some FF themed cheesy poof snacks. This event was also live streamed around the world so everyone can think about how much they hate where they live.

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For a week the upscale restaurant owned by Jamie Oliver, Fifteen (they’ve never been subtle, why start now?) hosted a special menu designed around the game as food will play an important part in boosting stats and recovering after a long day of beating things with your sword with your bros.

final-fantasy-xv-inspired-menu

November 28th 2016: Japan Launch Event  – with a  “mystery disc” created for the event that included a battle with the Square Enix CEO against Noctis (watch it here ), countdown animated with the characters, a dropping of banners and a storm of silver confetti. A complete and true celebration because we never thought we’d get here, yet here we are, in the year of impossible failures and defeats we have a victory of brotherhood, friends who stand together and travel across vast lands to fight the great fight in the final battle.

You can rejoice and check out the countdown video here

And then THIS fucking trailer drops and it brought down all the feels and I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING.

Big shout out to all the teams that never gave up on this game and everyone who put together the free fan events throughout the year. Let’s dive in and no matter how you feel about FFXV be excellent to each other. There’s enough bad guys in the world, we don’t need you to be a douche. Chill out and ride a chocobo.

Square Enix creates most expensive DLC

Final Fantasy fans can feel the HYPE surrounding the most anticipated game in the series since X. The game many people are saying will give the drying up franchise a much needed status boost.

The company hosted a spectacular free event for fans at The Shrine in Los Angeles titled “FFXV Uncovered” where many hype inducing announcements were made with celebrity appearances and a full party of Final Fantasy royalty.

Among the things uncovered that night was for the Ultimate Collector’s Edition that has become a stable of AAA game releases. This one was the grand daddy summon  of collector’s edition at a whopping $270. Over $100 more than what ultimate editions typically go for, packed with physical and digital goodies alike.

High price for sure, but look at all the cool shit you get!

FFXVdlc

Wait, what was that?

ffxv dlc2

Yeah, no not the figure with exclusive fancy plastic weapon sword…

ffxv dlc3

THAT shit. The part about the five episode anime releasing on YouTube that was stressed was “FREE” to all but with a tiny caveat of a sixth episode they locked up in a $270 package that sold out to 30,000 people in one night. (Fortunately, this edition that was once exclusively available through the Square Enix Store is now exclusively available through eBay for triple the price 😀 )

This was conveniently left out of the announcement at Uncovered.

At these times it’s important to remember that the good things in life aren’t free, especially for Final Fantasy fans. This is what credit cards are for right?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Gamestop Strips Amazon, Best Buy of Pre-Order Bonus. Also Requests to Bend over and Cough.

Gamestop reportedly spent millions of rupees embezzled from hardworking gamers on locking up the Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Soundtrack pre-order bonus for themselves, after everyone had already pre-ordered it from Best Buy and Amazon (retailers we hate much less) who also advertised the soundtrack gift with purchase.

According to the Nintendo Direct that announced the special edition Twilight Princess HD set complete with a new Wolfy Link Amiibo, early pre-orders would come complete with the game’s soundtrack through Best Buy and Amazon, no mention of the sneaky hate troll Gamestop who’s akin to the kid that smells awful and no one can stand sitting next to because they make weird bodily sounds and seem to emit a constant gas from their anus.

A typical Gamestop representative (picture below) had this to say:

GS

“Bwarhahahaha we can do whatever we want and you poor bastards will like it. Power to Glork! You wanna sign up for a membership?”

Sorry suckers who put down their money at an honest retailer that doesn’t make them hate themselves every time they do business.

Though this only applies to the poor bastards in North America. If you’re in Europe the special edition will come with the soundtrack regardless if you purchase it from Amazon, Gameseek, Best Buy, Wal-Mart or that weird homeless guy on the corner. It will also include a gold Amiibo, hookshot replica and voucher for a real pony.

Gamestop: hates the players, loves the game.

Gamestop