E3 is very quickly becoming a shadow of its former self. A few years ago E3 was looked upon as the one industry event everyone involved in games wanted to attend - for many people who grew up playing games it was something to strive towards. But now things have changed. Where we once had grandeur we now have the mundane. Giant statues have been replaced with private meeting rooms and the endless techno beats have been muted. In keeping with the air of unhappiness surrounding this year's E3, read on to discover our Top 10: E3 2008 Disappointments.
10. Bringing one demo home
Do you remember the Lost Planet demo we got at E3 2006? That was part of Microsoft's E3 Bringing it Home campaign on Xbox LIVE. It was just one of many demos Xbox 360 owners were given access to and it made E3 all the more exciting. Since then we've expected MS and others to do the same, but this year it seems the whole Bringing it Home campaign and ethos has all but been forgotten. We did get a demo of Microsoft's Too Human, but that was it. No demos for Gears 2, Fable 2, Resistance 2, Killzone 2. Nothing. Perhaps Capcom spoiled us with Lost Planet two years ago, but we just wanted more of the same.
9. Where are the handheld games?
It can't just be us who've noticed a severe lack of new announcements for handheld games. We're not talking about yet another licensed money maker targeting kids, but full-on triple-A brilliance. At E3 2008 the only handheld games of note we remember seeing were Sony's Resistance Retribution, Konami's Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia and SEGA's Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. Considering E3 has become almost entirely about showcasing the games due out before the end of the year the lack of exciting handheld games is somewhat worrying. Where are the new DS titles from Nintendo and Sony's blockbusters for PSP?
8. We mostly wanted Aliens, mostly
We love Aliens. A lot. It's without doubt our most watched film. When SEGA announced that Gearbox was developing an FPS based on the franchise there was a collective gasp for air in VideoGamer.com HQ (which wasn't a nice experience, since James hadn't taken out the bins). Our next-gen gaming dream seemed to be coming true. So, when we received a call the morning of our E3 appointment with SEGA to see the game, when our friendly SEGA rep informed us that it was no longer on show at E3, tears started to well in the corners of our eyes. Not normal tears either. These were acid tears. Tom's face is now permanently scarred and he has bad dreams. They mostly happen at night, mostly. At least Randy Pitchford was nice enough to explain the game's absence to us later in the day.
7. Where were the new game announcements?
We're still recovering from working 18 hour days last week, but how many new games were announced at E3? Off the top of our heads we can name M.A.G., Resistance Retribution, You're in the Movies, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Alive, Wii Sports Resort, Singularity... there weren't that many. If you include downloadable titles like Fat Princess and Geometry Wars 2 the list gets bigger, but it's hardly in keeping with the event's history. The lack of genuine new announcements added to the all-round feeling that E3 2008 was a big disappointment.
6. God of War 3 CG teaser
For us, God of War is now one of Sony's most important franchises. Although it arrived fairly late on the PlayStation 2 it wowed gamers with its sublime visuals and action packed gameplay. The thought of what Sony's Santa Monica studio can do with Kratos on the PS3 is more than a little exciting. So, we sat through Sony's E3 press conference, knowing too well that any such reveal would be right at the end, and sure enough it arrived. It wasn't really what we wanted though. A brief CG trailer did little more than re-affirm what we already knew: God of War is coming to PS3. As far as we're concerned Sony might as well have not bothered.
5. No Gears of War 2 four-player campaign co-op
Somehow this was sneaked under the radar, but one of our biggest disappointments of E3 2008 was the confirmation that Gears of War 2 won't have four-player campaign co-op, something all Gears fans had been hoping for in the run up to the show. For us, the five-player co-op Horde mode, which sees you and your mates battle increasingly difficult waves of Horde in multiplayer maps, doesn't make up for what would have made Gears 2 a massive step up from the first game. Don't get us wrong, the two player coop game demo shown during Microsoft's conference showed that Gears 2's campaign looks stunning, but we're saddened that one of our great gaming hopes for this year has been dashed. Oh well, there's always Gears of War 3.
4. No Wii Remote copy from Microsoft
This is a case of rumours spiralling out of control. We weren't keen on the idea of a motion controller for the Xbox 360, but we've been worn down by months of rumour and speculation. By the time Microsoft's E3 conference came along we 100% expected it to be announced in some shape or form. Other things that had been rumoured and leaked (such as the new Xbox 360 interface and Lips Karaoke game) had come true, so the motion controller seemed increasingly likely to happen. When it didn't and the conference ended there was a certain air of disbelief. While we'd all been shocked by Square-Enix's Final Fantasy XIII Xbox 360 announcement, where was the waggle?
3. Will we ever make it Home?
We really want to get excited about Home on the PS3, but it's turning into somewhat of a joke. We can't remember when we were first told about Sony's virtual community that would be given to PlayStation 3 owners for free, but it was a long time ago. Since then we've had rumours of a release date and talk of betas, but no firm details from Sony on when everyone will be able to load up Home on their PS3. We thought E3 2008 would be the time for the big announcement, but it wasn't. In the grand scheme of the PlayStation 3's supposed 10-year life span Home will surely arrive relatively early on, but for existing PS3 owners the wait is becoming unbearable.
2. Nintendo's lack of core gamer titles
While sat in the audience for Nintendo's E3 conference we could feel the anticipation. For whatever reason everyone believed Nintendo was going to show that it hadn't completely forgotten about core gamers. We sat through the painful Shaun White Snowboarding demo and the less than spectacular Animal Crossing: City Folk reveal, always believing that the big news was still to come. It wasn't. When legendary video game creator Shigeru Miyamoto took to the stage playing a saxophone using a Wii Remote in order to demonstrate Wii Music, with Robbie Drums (apparently that's his real name) appearing to be mimicking Animal, the drummer from the Muppets, our Nintendo E3 dream was over.
1. Bungie and Microsoft's countdown conundrum
Have you ever seen more hype over a non-event? Rumours over Bungie's next project and when it would be revealed had dominated message boards for months prior to E3, so when Bungie.net turned into a countdown pointing towards a big reveal during E3 the internet exploded with excitement. Who could have predicted the PR nightmare that was about to unfold? With 12 hours left on the countdown it stopped and a message appeared explaining that the announcement had been cancelled. It also pointed towards Microsoft as the reason for the cancellation. For many Bungie's big announcement was seen as a potential saviour of a very poor E3, and it was snatched away at nearly the last moment. We're not sure countdowns will ever be the same again.
What disappointed you the most about E3 2008? Let us know in the comments section below.