There was something different about this year’s E3. Ok, aside from the 30,000 or so extra people and the occasional, chuckle-inducing swine flu masks strapped to the faces of germophobic show-goers. It was something subtle – invisible, even – but it happened with a great deal of frequency.
It was cheering.
Clapping, laughter, excitement. By and large, at this year’s show, people really, really liked what they saw. This should be a good thing, but in my cranky, cantankerous opinion, it’s not. Why? Because every last cheer, whistle, and imitation air horn blast sounded in raucous approval of the status quo. Another FPS. Another God of War clone. “Our game is a lot like Half-Life, but mixed with Halo,” developers would cheerily exclaim, bathing in the glow of audience members’ beaming smiles.
From me, however, E3’s flood of samey shooters and risk-free sequels elicited only one reaction: a quiet cry of “Down with the hardcore.” Allow me to explain.
As I mentioned earlier, most every big ticket title at this year’s E3 was some sort of rehash, sequel, or clone. Here’s a quick list of particularly obvious offenders: Modern Warfare 2, BioShock 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Halo: ODST, Halo: Reach, Dante’s Inferno, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Assassin’s Creed 2, Crysis 2, Mass Effect 2, Alpha Protocol, etc, etc, etc. That’s not to say that my fanboy froth isn’t overflowing for many of those games; it is. I came away from E3 jumpy (though that might’ve been the fault of LA’s less-than-friendly neighborhoods) and excited as could be. However, I’m excited for me. Right now. I’m not, however, excited for the future of the gaming industry.
The original Mass Effect may still be priming the DLC buffet for one or two more bites, but that isn’t stopping BioWare from slipping gamers a small dose of its sequel.
The trailer in question can be seen here, and – for those who are deathly afraid of even the remote possibility of a Rickroll and would rather not click that link – not-so-vaguely suggests that Commander Shepard (your main guy or gal in Mass Effect) suffered a quick and clean off-screen death. And a permanent one at that – not simply due to bad camera angles.
But, to be honest, we’re thinking the rumors of Shepard’s death have been greatly exaggerated, mostly because the only other tidbit BioWare’s dropped concerning 2Mass2Furious involves reusing save files from Mass Effect – probably for stat boosts, character profiles, and other such pieces of space bling. Otherwise, BioWare could’ve tossed in a few “So, how about that one guy who saved the universe that one time?” questions, ala Knights of the Old Republic 2, and called it a day.