This is going to be a decided un-MMO centric List this week. In honor of the closing of the biggest show in gaming, we thought we’d go through a few of our biggest surprises from the show, and that includes games and devices from just about every corner of the industry. We saw a ton of games, gizmos, and other odds and ends from Tuesday through Thursday, and just about all of them had something to offer. But these are just a few of all the things we experienced which really jumped out of nowhere and made us smile. Did you see something on the show floor or in the coverage that we missed? Tell us about it below!
7.) Hulk Hogan is Big
Probably the world’s most famous wrestler, we probably shouldn’t have been shocked to see him stalking the halls of the industry’s tradeshow. But you tend to take notice when the entire place comes to a halt as he makes his way through the south hall entrance surrounded by a posse of dozens of reporters, bodyguards (he needs them?), and so forth. Apparently Hulk has his own game coming out for the Kinect and was on hand to see how it was faring and in general see what the show is all about. You know how people always say that celebrities look smaller in person? Well Terry “Hulk” Hogan does not fall under this same law. He’s as big as a barn and made the Orc at the THQ boot look puny.
6.) World of Tanks’ Presence
Last year the World of Tanks guys came to E3 with a lap-top and a dream. This year they came with actual tanks, actors, booth-babes, banners in every hall and a major presence on the show floor. To say that Wargaming.net has seen an upswing in their success-o-meter is probably an understatement. And with the announcement of the sister-game: World of War Planes I suspect the future is bright for this studio. Say what you will about it being an MMO, but World of Tanks has certainly captured people’s attention.
There were a lot of games that surprised us at E3, but one of them that bears mentioning here is SOE’s PayDay. Developed by Overkill Software and published by SOE this one had people gathering around in droves, and a few of our guys got to try it out as well. If you combine the thrill of Left 4 Dead with persistent character progression and the action of GTA4’s much-loved bank robbery mission you have a pretty good idea what Payday: The Heist is about. And unless you don’t have a soul, you understand its appeal.
4.) Prime World from Nival
Carolyn Koh visited Prime World from Nival during this year’s show, but pretty much everyone wanted to stop by and snag a Fox Tail for their swag bags. In doing so we were treated to one of the coolest genre mash-ups in development today. With all sorts of mini-games wrapped into a city-building dream and a competitively based RTS experience, you have to play Prime World to get it. Once you do, chances are you’ll be hooked. We were.
3.) Dead Island is Good
There has been an awful lot of hype leading up to Dead Island, and when the game was on-hand for all to see and play, it actually lived up to its expectations. It’s more of an adventure story with FPS action than other undead killers like Left 4 Dead, but then they also throw a distinct sense of RPG into the mix and suddenly they have a bonafide sleeper hit on their hands. Drew Wood and Richard Cox had some hands-on time with the game, and you’ll be seeing their previews later on.
2.) The Lines
Here was something new for E3: lines that didn’t take forever to wait through. I mean, as long as you didn’t want to play the Wii U that is. In general E3 felt like its population was a bit more controlled. Don’t get me wrong, there were still armies of gamers, retailers, and press but it all felt somehow calmer, safer, and less smelly. Often times these trade-shows become almost unbearable with everyone packed in like sardines, but at E3 2011 it was kind of refreshing to be able to actually move your arms a bit.
1.) The Wii U
Words can’t really do it justice. Sure the system is just now catching up to current gen tech, and sure they were running presentation demos on Xbox 360 hardware, and sure the name is kind of terrible. But come on… in Aliens: Colonial Marines you get to use the tablet-like controller like a map display a la Private Hudson from the movie. It just does not get any better than that. Add to that the fact that your wife and family can switch back to watching TV while you keep playing on the controller and you have the makings of a dream console. Let’s just hope the internet service is up to snuff.