ZB: They wheeled out the same trailer from a few months back but damn if it still isn’t stylish as hell. One assumes that a new trailer would be too much in its slick, pop art glory. They thought to themselves, “You know, I think people need a little more time to take in that last trailer.” And y’know? They were right. The menu interface alone makes my head spin.
ZK: I’m a simple man, I have simple pleasures. I like iced tea on sunny days. I like winter nights with gentle snowfall. I like phantoms. I like stick-legged noodle men in red gloves, black capes and white masks jumping through ornate sheets of glass. I like them singing about their lovelorn, I like them selling their souls to rock and roll. I like them sabotaging the goings ons of gentile philanthropic elites, a closed ecosystem or rich evil versus manipulative rogue. I’m more than willing to open my heart to you, Shinjuku’s The Shadow. I want to see how you fuck with that crow-man stolen from a napkin Tezuka doodled on. I’m willing to ignore the uncomfortable amount of 2003-cool plaid you have going on.
ZB: Is this tied to that stupid Bryan Cranston movie? That thing was the Godzilla equivalent of edging.
ZK: If I tell you I could have picked this up on the cheap in Japan but bought JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure instead, would you hate me forever?
ZB: That seems like a fair trade. I have no delusions that this is going to light up Metacritic…but I still play that Gamecube Godzilla brawler sometimes, despite the fact that the G-man and frenemies control like barges in a molasses pit, making it impossible to truly judge one monster’s strength versus another! Will this be the game to accurately settle the question of who would emerge victor in a fight between Mechagodzilla and Super-Mechagodzilla? I hope so.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
ZB: Chimes. Byzantine ritual sacrifice. Nothing that resembles normal human behavior. Fatal Frame has returned. Using the Wii U gamepad as the Camera Obscura is so obvious I’m led to believe that this game and this game alone is why the Wii U exists. Swinging the gamepad around as ghosts creep toward you, knocking over floor lamps, twisting wildly on the couch and hitting your dog full in the face–this is the collective vision Nintendo’s board of directors had as they were pitched the Wii U. “Stop,” a man with close-cropped gray hair and thick black glasses says. The development team look to each other, confused. They’re not even halfway through the Powerpoint. The man nods his head slightly, and speaks again. “It will be done.”
ZK: But why aren’t these games more popular? From both the popular films and the popular games, I just assume that ghosts-go-boo horror is exactly what the modern audience craves. How much further do we have to take the concept, are augmented tablet cameras not enough? Does Nintendo have to bundle the game with those ankle strings theme parks put in motion rides to make you think there are rats (it’s always rats) loose in the room? Does the “Collector’s Edition” have to come with an art book and a live actor who will live in your broom closet until you start playing, when they’ll slump out and tickle your shoulders?
ZB: I think the methodical, obtuse nature puts people off pretty quickly. But at this point, I’m certain Wii U beggars aren’t gonna be Wii U choosers. To wit:
Breaking: An update on
the petition to cancel Metroid Prime Federation Force
ZB: People are so mad about this game that they’re showing up to vote against it. Nine thousand strong. Look, guys, this game looks stupid, yeah, but maybe there are other things in this short life to get riled up about! One guy describes himself as “an empty shell” after he was let down by the Nintendo presentation. Sources say they heard a gunshot soon after.
ZK: Maybe I’m ignorant and Canadian, but isn’t lividly protesting something inoffensive in your national anthem?
ZB: It is, actually, right after the verse that goes “America, America, turning a blind eye to entrenched inequality.” I can only assume that this petition is being passed around Nintendo headquarters for giggles. Severe men in suits smile slightly before returning to their reams of graph paper, luxuriating in the rigid logic of it all.
ZK: Alas, I guess I’ll have to rename my sci-fi epic about aliens who are really anal about tea cups on their mahogany furniture.
ZB: That this qualifies as a “reveal” for the PC Game Show probably makes a lot of men with freon-cooled, 55-pound computer towers and professionally-maintained rat tails very sad.
ZK: Most of this presentation felt like it came from the era when PC Gamer had demo disks. We were just missing a Thief, Worms Armageddon and Coconut Monkey calling us a d-bag.
Rising Storm 2: Vietnam
ZK: From the guy who was moments ago really excited about guts physics and has a Living Sacrifice shirt and facial hair manicured to look like a rune comes what I’m sure will be a really nuanced take on an exceptionally-complicated war.
ZB: Wow, dude. Living Sacrifice? I’ll wait for the Mortification tee next year. But you know what’s really fresh and unexpected? They used Creedence to soundtrack this Vietnam game. Videogames don’t usually get one up on film, but in this case, come on guys! I can’t believe nobody’s done this before.
ZK: I’ve always seen the car-modes as a sort of prescribed intrusion on what would otherwise be non-stop robots shooting lasers at each other, but watching Bumblebee, as a compact, slingshot himself into a Decepticon’s chest has kind of redefined what I thought I knew. It can’t possibly be the most effective style of combat, but god it must feel like being shot out of a cannon.
ZB: I am firmly in favor of Platinum turning everything into Bayonetta. Let’s see what Optimus Prime looks like buck-ass naked.
ZK: I don’t think I’ve ever seen the word “AUTUMN” given a more epic presentation.
ZB: I hope you all enjoyed that look into the stupefying superiority of PC gaming!
ZK: I think I’m remembering why everyone kept giving PC gamers shit for most of the decade. This keynote feels like it’s either in denial about the games people are currently playing on PC or was made three years ago and kettled to this day.
ZB: Never stop overclocking, my friends. See you next E3, where we will be delivering takes live from the show floor!*
*Subject to change.