10 things I'm tired of seeing, but will be big at E3 2012 anyway
By: Jeff Rivera
E3 2012 is next week. I don't mean to sound like I'm down on the show, because I do think it will be a great year overall. I may be wrong about some of these predictions, but the way things are trending, I don't think I'm too far off base here.
If you have fears of your own, feel free to join us in the forums and discuss them with our staff and readers. Otherwise, stay tuned to Gamer Theory for reports from the show floor, daily wrap ups, and tons of hands-on previews.
Dubstep in video game trailers
I've never been a fan of dubstep in the first place, but its rampant usage in video game trailers these days is becoming tiresome. It seems that 4 out of 5 video game trailers is all wubbly dubbly and I'd be happy to a return of some nice, well composed music in trailers. However, I think this year will probably be the peak of dubstep in trailers, so I might as well hope for a change in 2013.
Horde modes in games that don't need them
I love Horde mode in Gears of War. I think Firefight is great in Halo. Most of the time these modes prove to be pretty fun, but they're becoming far too common. These modes are kind of becoming a bit of a lazy inclusion to add value to a game, and I think it's time developers find more ways of adding content to a game rather than using an aging template.
DLC that should have been on the disc
DLC was a great concept in the early going this generation. Seeing developers add in some more content into our favorite games was great, but lately DLC is becoming something where developers look at what they can omit from the final product to hold back for sale at a later date. Stuff that used to be unlockable content or part of the original package is often sold to us in $5 increments. Games that used to be $60 and fairly robust are now costing $80 for equivalent content.
More remakes/reboots/HD collections
I've purchased a few HD remakes, and some reboots look interesting, but lately they've been coming out as some sort of weird stop gap between big releases. I'd much rather see developers put out some smaller games or support XBLA/PSN instead of continually taking old games and giving them some new polish and flair.
Morality systems that are still basically A/B choices
I love games that offer increased choice, but far too often these choices don't change the game enough or there's no good shades of gray in between the good and evil choices. If you're asking me if I want to toss disabled children off of a peir or not, this is essentially nothing more than just asking, "would you rather have us add points to your good or bad alignment?" Give me some choices to actually think about, and make those choices have actual impact on the story.
Lazy integration with mobile or browser apps
I have nothing against integration with mobile, Facebook, or browser-based applications in theory, but in practice they usually end up not being anything I care to spend my time playing. Grinding on a mobile device to add a few experience points to my character on a console or PC game is actually pretty lame. If you want to sell mobile apps or get people to play on on their browsers, give us a good reason to do so. Publishers love the extra free marketing that they get from Facebook/mobile/browser integration, however, so developers are going to keep pushing it.
Services being highlighted instead of games
In the last few years, there's been a trend where Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have spent a good amount of time talking about service integration with their consoles and handhelds. This includes video streaming services, sports streaming, Internet radio, social network integration, and other non-gaming related functionality. While these services add a lot of value to your console purchase, they're not all that exciting when the vast majority of attendees want to see the upcoming games. I'm sure that despite games asking for more game coverage at E3 that the big 3 will have plenty of service-orientated stuff to talk about.
Season passes for DLC content
Preordering games has become less about securing a copy of a game these days rather than being able to get some freebie bonus or exclusive content. It used to be that you would preorder to avoid stock shortages. Well, developers are now finding that they can possibly capture additional sales if they can convince gamers to commit to buying all of the game's planned DLC upfront for a small discount. The problem is, not all of the DLC tends to be of equal quality, and often times one or two of the releases would have been something I would have otherwise passed on. The season pass isn't going away, so I guess I can only hope that quality stabilizes between rollouts. And quality aside, sometimes these passes are being sold even before gamers have a clear understanding of how much content the developer is going to deliver.
New services being announced and placed behind the pay wall
To go along with those services being highlighted over games, well, I don't think those services will be free. Microsoft already makes you have an Xbox Live Gold account to use Netflix (among other services), and Sony has put a few things being the PSN+ pay wall, but E3 2012 will probably the year when most newly announced services will be part of premium tier services.
Exclusive content on multiplatform games
This isn't a new concept, but it's something that has become more impactful this generation. In order to make their console's version of a game the more attractive option for gamers, console makers are striking up deals with publishers to either secure timed exclusive content, outright exclusive content, or early delivery on DLC. As a consumer, it's frustrating that you might want the game for either PS3 or 360, only to find that the other version has the perks you'd rather have. I personally have far more friends that play online games on the 360, so any time the PS3 version has the better exclusive content, I cringe a little. I'm sure the same is true for people in the reverse situation. I understand why these deals happen, but it's bad for consumers.