E3: Ghosts of expos past

James Batchelor
E3: Ghosts of expos past

What happens at E3 and what happens afterwards are two completely different things.

No, we're not talking about your marital loyalties after a trip to the Saddle Ranch – it's the announcements made during The Big Three's press conferences, plus the news that emerges from the show floor, that can transform over time.

We have absolutely no idea what will be announced next week (well, we have a few shrewd ideas and no small amount of items on our optimistic wishlist), and we have even less idea if any of it will pan out. Yes, we'll be just as excited as you but we'll have copious pinches of salt at the ready.

Not sure what we mean? Perhaps a demonstration is in order, then. Below, we've looked back through five different issues of MCV from E3s past and mulled over what became of the big revelations that stoked our fires over the years. Enjoy.

 

TEN YEARS AGO: Friday, May 23th 2003

What happened What happened next

 

Microsoft announces Halo 2, a ton of new features for Xbox Live, and a karaoke and music programme Music Mixer. Xbox European director Michele Cassius tells MCV that Sony will now have to pay catch-up.

 

The multiplayer introduced in Halo 2 made it one of the titles that set a trend for online gaming, although god knows what happened to Music Mixer. And Sony did indeed catch up, though not until the PS3 launched.

 

Sony declares war on Nintendo when it offers initial details about the PSP, its first foray into handhelds. It also unveils the Network adaptor for PS2, which enables online gaming.

 

The PSP turned up the following year and sold well in Japan, but never managed to toppled Nintendo DS in the West. A handful of titles used the Network Adapter, but it couldn't rival Xbox Live.

 

Nintendo reveals its plan to gain "industry leadership": new outings for Mario Kart, F-Zero, Kirby, 1080 snowboarding and other classic IP for GameCube. Plus, a GameCube-exclusive version of the first Metal Gear Solid.

 

While all of the new titles proved to be popular with the established Nintendo fanbase, they couldn't elevate GameCube to the best-selling levels of PS2. Still, the fanboys were happy.

 

Nokia confirms a launch date and pricing for the N-Gage gaming taco (sorry, phone) with Tomb Raider, Tony Hawk's and Splinter Cell due to launch alongside the phone in October.

 

Well, it did launch. Did any of you buy it?

 

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Friday, May 27th 2005

What happened What happened next

 

Jaws drop as Sony reveals the PlayStation 3 with a rubber duck tech demo. PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi promises a Spring 2006 release for Japan, and hopefully September 2006 for Europe.

 

The ducks are still fondly remembered as one of the weirdest E3 demos of all time, but Ken's optimism proved to be unfounded. Europe had to wait until March 2007 – a whole year – for PS3.

 

Microsoft unveils the Xbox 360 during its press conference – having already shown it off on MTV – with promising horror game Alan Wake among the initial line-up.

 

The Xbox 360 made it to shelves before either of its rivals, but Alan seemed to get a little lost. Mr Wake didn't make his debut until 2010.

 

Nintendo shows off its next generation console... which is to say Iwata takes to the stage and waves a box around that would eventually be known as the Wii. He promises it'll be "a revolution".

 

The Big N delivered. A few months later it showed off the innovative Wii Remote at Tokyo Games Show and the following Christmas, Wii's unique motion control offering takes the world by storm.

 

Capcom shows off the open-world zombie fest Dead Rising for Xbox 360, which wows crowds with its hordes of walking cadavers and brutal combat system.

 

Dead Rising may have skulked back into the shadows, but it was one of the titles that nurtured gamers' obsession with zombies. Today, everything has friggin' zombies. Enough, we say!

 

 

FIVE YEARS AGO: Friday, July 18th 2008

What happened What happened next

 

Microsoft promises a major overhaul of Xbox Live, hoping it'll help the 360 appeal to casual gamers as much as core ones. Chief among the announcements are entertainment deals with Netflix, Universal and NBC.

 

The Xbox One unveiling made it pretty clear that Microsoft is still gunning for that wider entertainment market. Every E3 since 2008 has heralded new deals with more broadcasters - it all started here, folks.

 

Sony also details updates to PSN, which will include a new video download service and something called Life With PlayStation. Other highlights include Resistance 2 and a downloadable Ratchet & Clank.

 

While the video service is still there, but Life With PlayStation was discontinued back in November 2012 – and we're still not sure what it was. Still, Ratchet & Clank was great.

 

Eyes roll as Shigeru Miyamoto and various Nintendo execs gyrate awkwardly in a Wii Music demo. Nintendo also shows off the Wii MotionPlus for the first time, and chat-enabling peripheral Wii Speak.

 

MotionPlus may not have had many compatible games, but it is now built into all Wii Remotes. The Wii Music demo still makes YouTube users cringe, and few people ever saw the Wii Speak again.

 

Electronic Arts reveals Battlefield creator DICE is working on a more athletic FPS named Mirror's Edge. The game is set on the rooftops of a gleaming city and sees players parkour their way through missions.

 

Gamers loved Mirror's Edge and are still clamouring for a sequel. If reports are to be believed, we may well see one next week. Come on, EA – you know it makes sense.

 

TWO YEARS AGO: Friday, June 17th 2011

What happened What happened next

 

Nintendo unveils the Wii U, the long-awaited successor to the Wii, with its unique tablet-style controller plenty of support promised from third parties such as Ubisoft and EA.

 

It's still early(ish) days yet, but Wii U hasn't had a massive amount of third-party hits. In fact, EA has recently said it has no Wii U titles in development. Still, who knows what E3 will bring right?

 

Sony names its Next Generation Portable as PlayStation Vita, due for release by Christmas 2011. Titles will include LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted, Modnation Racers and more.

 

While Vita made it to shelves in Japan in time, Europe had to wait a couple of months to get its hands on the new device. Vita has sold slowly, but steadily, since.

 

Kinect is the main focus of Microsoft's press conference with titles like Dance Central 2 and Kinect Disneyland Adventures. A new Halo trilogy is the big surprise.

 

Again, the Xbox One shows that Microsoft has no plans to ditch Kinect anytime soon, and if today's announcement of Fantasia is anything to go by, we can expect more casual titles in future.

 

Three is the magic number with third outings showcased for Mass Effect, Far Cry, BioShock, Modern Warfare, Uncharted, Battlefield, Gears of War, Saints Row and BioShock. And they all look pretty damned good.

 

Publishers aren't quite as keen to push for the fourquels (we'll never use that word again, we promise). While fourth outings are in the works for Mass Effect, Saints Row and Battlefield, Gears opted for a prequel with this year's Judgment and Modern Warfare has been dropped in favour of ghosts.

 

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Friday, June 8th 2012

What happened What happened next

 

The industry is surprised to see no sign of a new Xbox or PlayStation, with Microsoft and Sony instead focusing on the wealth of core games and new IP heading to their consoles.

 

The speculation came to an end this year, with Sony announcing PlayStation 4 back in February and Microsoft unveiling the Xbox One last month. E3 2013 will tell us more.

 

Nintendo holds three – yes, three – press events to show off Wii U's line-up ahead of launch. The final hardware is revealed, along with launch titles NintendoLand and ZombiU.

 

It's indicative of how quickly a company's modus operandi can change. Nintendo has since decided to ditch its traditional press conference in favour of its Nintendo Direct and show floor activity.

 

Ubisoft stuns the crowds with new IP Watch Dogs, an impressive-looking open-world sci-fi game, plus eight launch games for Wii U, including Rayman Legends.

 

Watch Dogs still looks great – particularly as it is now heading to Xbox One and PS4 – but sadly we're still waiting for Rayman Legends, which is now multi-format.

 

In fact, new IP turns out to be a running theme for E3 with Sony announcing Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls, starring Ellen Page, and new peripheral Wonderbook.

 

Beyond is one of this year's most anticipated titles, due in October, although Wonderbook hasn't quite taken off as well as expected, despite the use of J.K. Rowling's fiction for Book of Spells.

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