Friday, 12 June 2009

E3 2009 Wrap-Up

E3 was last week and through that week and this one I've been busy collecting all the interesting links (interesting to me at least), including a lot of Star Wars: The Old Republic links. And though I'm sure that later today BioWare will post their list today as well (together with the expected official Smuggler class reveal) I thought I'd post mine first.

Most of them I've already posted in previous blog entries, but it might be nice to get them all in one place and neatly sorted (I hope).

  • Start of E3

    At the start of E3 EA had its own press conference, showing SW:TOR at the end as well. And at the same time a couple of other bits were released as well.

  • E3 Demo Impressions

    The press conference was before E3 started, but during E3 itself BioWare showed a SW:TOR gameplay demo to a lot of journalists behind closed doors. Though we unfortunately didn't get to see any of that gameplay footage, we did get a lot of impression articles from all those journalists talking about the demo.

  • E3 Interviews

    Next to the demo impression articles a number of journalists also got to interview the BioWare guys about Star Wars: The Old Republic. Most of them are video interviews, but there's a couple of text interviews as well. None of the video interviews have any gameplay.

  • E3 2009 Awards

    A number of news sites also like to give out awards after E3 to indicate which games they feel had the best showing in which categories. Here are links to awards in which Star Wars: The Old Republic did well.

    • BigDownload - E3 2009 (Different) Awards
      • Best Behind Closed Doors Booth
      • Best Developer Award
      • Best Cinematic Trailer
    • Crispy Gamer - The Crispy Awards: E3 2009 Edition
      • Best Overall Game of E3
    • CVG - The PC Games Of E3: Hit and misses from the show floor
      • Hit
      • One of "the two best games at the show"
    • G4TV - X-Play's Best of E3 2009
      • Best Trailer
    • Game Critics Awards (Nominations)
      • Best PC Game
      • (Nominated for Best Role Playing Game)
      • (Nominated for Best Online Multiplayer Game)
    • GamePro - E3 2009 Awards: The 27 Best Games
      • Gold Medal
    • GameSpot - E3 09 Editors' Choice Awards (Video)
      • Best MMO
      • Best PC
    • GameSpy - Best of E3 2009 Awards
      • PC Game of Show
      • MMO Game of Show
      • Best Trailer
      • Best Use of a License
    • GameTrailers - Best of E3 2009 Awards
      • Best Online Game
    • IGN - Best of PC E3 2009
      • Best Persistent Online Game
      • Special Achievement for technical Excellence
      • PC Game Of The Show
    • Joystiq - Joystiq's Best of E3 2009
      • Elizabeth Haroer's pick
      • Krystalle Voecks's pick
    • MMORPG - Jess Lebow's MMO Story Hour: Top 5 Exciting Things From E3
      • Jess Lebow's #1 pick
    • Rock, Paper, Shotgun - E3 09 Diary: Award Show!
      • Smelliest T-Shirt
      • Best Private Booth Design
      • Favourite Game
    • TenTonHammer - E3 2009 Awards
      • Best of Show
    • Voodoo Extreme - Reader's Choice Awards (votes)
      • Best PC RPG Award
      • Biggest "Holy Shit! Moment Award
      • Best Trailer Award
      • The Big Kahuna Award - Game of Show

  • Other Links

    Not all links fit into one of the above categories, so I'll list those here.

    • Edge Magazine - Massively Multisaber (scanned pre-E3 article: page 1, page 2)
    • Gamasutra - Q&A: BioWare Plays It Cool With Star Wars: The Old Republic
    • IGN - Command Prompt Podcast, Episode 48 (only the start is about SWTOR)
    • Kotaku - The Old Republic Wordier Than Entire Run of The Sopranos
    • Massively - The Ditital Continuum: SWTOR turns up the heat
    • MTV - Sex In ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’? (video seems broken)
    • Time - A Disturbance in the Force
    • YouTube - Video of Republic Guards (these 'guards' where stationed outside the closed doors where BioWare was showing SW:TOR to keep people out)

My take on things?

As you can read I followed the EA press conference with a lot of excitement. But when BioWare came and went without showing Star Wars: The Old Republic and the conference going into a deluge of boring sports games I got kind of bummed… until Star Wars music started blaring, lost of Jedi came on stage and they showed one massively impressive cinematic trailer for The Old Republic. That, for me, was definitely the highlight of the press conferences, if not the entirety of E3 2009.

Afterwards we were all anxiously awaiting to finally see some real gameplay footage. Before E3 the developers had teased a fair bit about how great their E3 gameplay demo was and thus a lot of people were expecting to see it. This came to a head when on Wednesday we followed the Live ‘Demo’ coverage by IGN (which turned out to just be an interview) and the Stage ‘Demo’ at GameSpot (which again turned out to just be an interview). Getting somewhat upset Sean Dahlberg finally came out and explained that we weren’t going to see any demo footage, not yet anyway.

Even so, there were a massive number of articles by people who had seen the demo behind closed doors, and they were pretty much unanimously impressed. And from their descriptions we too started to get a good feel for the direction that BioWare is taking their story-based MMO. And a number of interviews and other articles too all helped to increase our understanding of what this game is going to be.

Overall we learned a lot of new things. We learned that the game is entirely voiced (including the player characters), we learned about group dialog, we learned about the Smuggler class, we learned about how massive the scope of the game is (hundreds of hours of unique content per class), we learned how choices can affect missions, we learned about dual wielding, and probably a number of other things that escape me at the moment.

This seems to be reflected in the various rewards SW:TOR seems to keep getting all over the net, including some “game of show” awards. Though obviously people’s tastes differ and there’s obviously a clear difference between those (journalists) who have seen the behind closed doors demo and those of us just watching from a distance. But overall I think it’s safe to say that Star Wars: The Old Republic was one of the top games at this year’s E3.

Now if only we would get that gameplay demo footage.

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