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E3 2011 – Dispatches from the Front

Buy Some Zines!

Exalted Funeral

In which Team Unwinnable takes in the announcements from the day’s slate of videogame press conferences, digests the highlights and determines who won out in the end – the companies that held them or the journalists that had to endure them.


Microsoft Press Conference – watched via live stream while getting ready for the day.

At the very start, the words “Call of Duty” and “world’s greatest storytellers” were used in the same sentence. That isn’t true.

The new Tomb Raider has a lot of heavy breathing in it but it looks pretty badass. Satisfying jump puzzles and believable action make it a contender. EA Sports announces that at least three titles will have Kinect support: Tiger Woods, Madden and FIFA. “Imagine calling an audible yourself.” Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose? Wouldn’t my friend on the couch or the person I am playing online with know that I have changed the play?

Meanwhile, Mass Effect 3 will also support Kinect. You can talk to it. “Epic, awesome, fun.” Those  were three words they used to describe it. The last thing I want to do it to say the line of dialogue and then hear it again from Captain Shepard. Ghost Recon: you are a warrior, you are the controller, you look silly. Gears of War 3 with Ice-T – apparently Body Count is getting back together and going to make a song about Horde mode. Way to be relevant. If they did “Cop Killer” with modified lyrics about killing off Locusts, it would be incredible. Oh, and Peter Molyneux is making the best horse and buggy simulator on the market with Fable: The Journey.

Shut up now, Tim Schafer is on…

Winner: Team Unwinnable. We got all of the content and none of the boredom


EA Press Conference – skipped in favor of a hearty breakfast at The Original Pantry.

Winner: Team Unwinnable


Ubisoft Press Conference – skipped in favor of the hotel bar, where Tim Schafer and Goichi Suda were both encountered. FarCry 3 was finally announced and generally well-received, much to Stu’s surprise. However, the hotel bar had Johnny Cash on the radio.

Winner: Draw


Sony Press Conference – A food truck smorgasbord and free afternoon alcohol for something like 6,000 people is a great start to a very public crow-eating. However, the apology that did come from Jack Tretton was brief, didn’t adequately address the largest digital security breach in the history of the U.S. and sounded more like advertising copy read out loud rather than a heartfelt mea culpa. Things didn’t really get better from there.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception looked amazing (naturally), Resistance 3 looks as generic as ever (that’s the one with the Helghast, right?), the 3D World Domination Plan looks largely the same and Kobe Bryant got a large paycheck to play five minutes of NBA 2K11 poorly. Starhawk looked cool, as did the new Sly Cooper, but the interconnectivity between the exclusive PS3 shooter Dust 514 and its parent MMO Eve Online was probably the most technologically intriguing title shown, if only for an fairly niche audience.

Ken Levine ate a little crow himself over the PlayStation Move and showed a bit more of BioShock Infinite, which looked like any other SomethingShock game (way to innovate!). We saw a bit of the new Mass Effect Star Trek game and a handful of other not-earth-shattering titles. Oh, and the AT&T-powered PlayStation Vita handheld (for those watching at home, yes, that was actually laughter coming from the crowd).

Winner: Sony. That shit was long. Team Unwinnable cries ‘Uncle.’