E3 2013: Thunderbolt’s ridiculous predictions from around the multiverse
The multiverse. Infinite universes existing all at once with every possible eventuality that could ever occur as a result of the physical laws of nature, occurring in parallel.
It’s the intoxicating scientific theory that formed the basis for Bioshock Infinite’s sci-fi premise earlier this year, but it also presents some interesting possibilities for the biggest videogame expo of the year.
Somewhere, in a universe far away, very close, maybe even in the very same co-ordinates that the atoms constituting your fleshy mass currently reside, the good, the great and the not so great of the videogame industry will gather in the LA convention center, and Geoff Keighley will don his finest blazer-jeans combo for that most glorious of gaming events, E3.
We here at Thunderbolt have ripped a tear in the fabric of space-time to give you a sneak peak at some of the biggest, wildest, and downright absurd announcements soon to happen in a number of universes that you will never exist in. These are our craziest E3 2013 announcements from around the multiverse:
The Sega Starfish announced
Universe: The topsy-turvy universe
Following on from their massive success with the Sega Fruitbat, Sega have unveiled their five pronged next-generation console, the Starfish. Continuing Sega’s animal kingdom console theme, which started with the Silkworm back in 1998, the Starfish is said to possess five times the graphical processing power of the Fruitbat.
The name ‘Starfish’ refers to the five core videogame consumer markets that Sega’s console is aimed at: men, dogs, men who like guns, men who like swords and men who like swords, guns and dogs. The console’s most significant selling point is a tablet-style touchpad, which Sega have admitted does present some significant challenges with regards to developing new gameplay, stating that they “haven’t actually got a clue how to integrate it into gaming experiences as of yet”. The most-successful console manufacturer of all time did, however, stress that their R&D department are working on some exciting HUD migration features, whereby all of the important metrics and statistics gamers have conveniently tracked on the same screen of play in the past will be transferred onto this secondary screen, increasing the time it takes to view them.
Flagship titles for the Starfish include several variations on the Sonic franchise, a revival of James Pond, with Benedict Cumberbatch lending his voice to the underwater agent, and a series of first, second and third person shooters.
The biggest surprise of the conference was an announcement that Sega will be entering into a partnership with one-time rival console manufacturer Nintendo to publish a series of Super Mario ‘Galaxy’ games on the Starfish, styled after Sega’s own successful Sonic Galaxy titles.
Microsoft announce the happy happy controller
Universe: The universe of the malevolent green overlord
More features for the Xbox One controller were officially revealed at Microsoft’s E3 conference, and the initial reception has been one of resounding, chemically induced praise.
Via nodes inserted into the player’s wrist, the Xbox One’s controller will be able to gauge the subject’s level of enjoyment. This is done by measuring the amount of dopamine in the subject’s bloodstream. If levels are found to be too low to adequately enjoy the wonders of Xbox One, a neural gas is released from vents in the console. It works much like marijuana, as it relaxes the subject’s muscles and makes them much more malleable and pleasant to be around. Microsoft hopes that this will improve the quality of the online community, where racial and homophobic slurs have become widespread.
Initial testing, done in conjunction with North Korean bio-chemists and engineers, has been very promising. With a fatality rate of only 2% due to overdose, and a drastically improved gaming environment, Microsoft has already taken steps to include this technology in all of their other devices. Consumer organizations have been voicing their concerns since the announcement, but after leading members were locked inside a soundproof, airtight room alone with the Xbox One for one hour, they instantly changed their minds.
CEO Don Mattrick has declined to comment on rumors, but released this brief statement: “While I cannot comment on specific rumors, rest assured that all will be revealed in time. When you hear the truth, you will embrace it. You will never need to fear reality again. The future is Xbox One.”
Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich
Universe: The John Malkovich universe
In a surprising turn of events, and unbeknown to either of the big console manufacturers, actor John Horatio Malkovich was booked by both Sony and Microsoft to present their press conferences at this year’s E3.
At Sony’s press conference Malkovich revealed the highly-anticipated form-factor of the PS4, which has been modelled on Malkovich’s own head. He also revealed that the PS4’s much rumoured ‘share-button’ is being transformed into a ‘Malkovich button’, allowing players to instantaneously share pictures and video clips of John Malkovich playing your games with all your friends. Many pundits have compared the feature to twitch.tv, although the added Malkovich is a sure to make it infinitely more popular.
At Microsoft’s conference the rumours surrounding the Xbox One’s internet connection requirements were denied by Malkovich, although he did reveale that regular twenty four hour ‘Malkovich certification checks’ will be mandatory, meaning that if Malkovich isn’t in your living room touching your console at least once every day, then you can forget playing games.
Next Gen consoles to feature innovative “no game DRM”
Universe: The universe of all that is good and right
Following months of speculation regarding the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) on next gen consoles, insider reports have finally revealed that they will utilise an innovative “no game DRM.” Details of the DRM’s exact implementation are scarce, but patents indicate that it will work by not including a game with every game sold.
This new form of DRM has reportedly sent “shockwaves” through an industry struggling with piracy, second hand games, let’s plays, watching-neigbours-play-through-binoculars, and the retention of long-term memories of games after having played them.
The idea has not been without its detractors, however, with one analyst expressing scepticism about the DRM’s ability to curb the piracy problem.
“These companies are failing to address the biggest area of concern right now, which is manual piracy” opined Jon Boomer, known for his ability to predict within one gram the weight of a console’s controller. “Even with this DRM in place, anyone can still take a game’s manual and just photocopy it. By failing to address this, these companies should expect to see a fifty, perhaps sixty, percent decline these next few years.”
Early indications are that the DRM has been positively received within the industry, however, with one CEO reportedly offering to buy “everyone in this room an aquatic creature of their choice” upon hearing of it.
The Last Guardian revived as a MOBA
Universe: The Universe of rat-dog-bird creatures
Team Ico’s troubled Playstation 3 development, The Last Guardian, made a surprise appearance at Sony’s press conference this year, and not in the form that many were expecting. What was once a third-person adventure game in which players took on the role of a lost young boy and interacted with a bird-dog-cat like creature, now plays like a typical Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA).
The game was demonstrated on stage by the show’s host, John Malkovich. Players now assume the role of a variant on the mouse-bird-badgerfrog of the game’s previous E3 reveal trailers, or one of the many Colossi from Team Ico’s Playstation 2 hit, Shadow of the Colossus, as a powerful hero character.
This radical departure in style and tone from what has previously been shown was brought about by project Director, Fumito Ueda’s obsession with the popular MOBA, League of Legends.
Ueda cleared up some of the rumours surrounding his departure from Sony in 2011, citing disagreements with Sony producers over The Last Guardian, who wanted Ueda to create a game in the vein of his previous successes, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, as the reason for his departure. Speaking with Thunderboltgames’ Nick Vracar, Ueda claims to have made such radical changes to the game because of stylistic fatigue, stating: “I’m so sick of Sony forcing me to make these ‘emotional’ games bro. I just wanted to do a MOBA.”
The Wii U party game of the century
Universe: The Shuffleverse
With every game released for the Wii U developers are tested to utilize the GamePad. Some have used it as an accessory to better access a map or inventory, while others simply had the game displayed on both screens. Sega is going back in time to bring their second exclusive Sonic game to the Wii U: Sonic Shuffle U. The legacy of Shuffle was one that could not be effectively resurrected on last and current generation systems due to its unique interface.
What made Shuffle the tactical party game was how the player moved about the board. Every player was dealt a hand of movement cards. The Dreamcast, with its Visual Memory Units attached to each controller, was able to display a persons hand privately to them. Much like poker, you weren’t really playing to board as much as you were playing person sitting next to you. With a limited selection of cards on the field it was possible to know what was still available to use, but not who had the cards.
But now the time has come for Sonic to reshuffle his deck onto Nintendo’s latest system. The cards have been played in such a manner, since the Dreamcast hit, that not only does it make sense for Sega to release a game on a Nintendo platform, it makes sense that it’s only on Nintendo. With no Mario Party sequel announced, it’s clear that Sonic Shuffle U will be able to freely occupy the gap. Only time will tell if the latest iteration expands on the strategic model that the Dreamcast version had built.
Nintendo’s live action Mario Kart U reveal goes horribly wrong
Universe: The universe where Nintendo actually held a press conference
In what was perhaps the most outlandish videogame announcement ever conceived, Reggie Fils-Aime, Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata drove onto the stage at Nintendo’s press conference in a real life set of ‘Mario Karts’ to announce the upcoming Wii U title, Mario Kart U. The trio of Nintendo senior executive’s proceeded to race around the figure of eight shaped auditorium aisles, throwing imitation Mario Kart projectile’s at each other as a trailer for new game played out on stage.
This bizarre spectacle took a turn for the worse when a number of badly aimed weapons caught journalists in the crowd unaware. Thunderboltgames’ staff writer Nick Vracar is being treated for a broken rib after an errant Red Shell veered off into the audience, and Fils-Aime’s chain chomp is believed to have viciously mauled this website’s founding editor, Philip Morton.
Nintendo have apologised for the incident, and subsequently decided to cancel their live-action demonstrations of F-Zero U and Super Smash Bros. U, due to take place later in the conference.
Wonder no more, Square Enix set to return to handheld arena
Universe: The universe of baffling corporate decisions
Hot on the heels of the announcement of the highly anticipated, and most definitely asked for, mobile title Deus Ex: The Fall, Square Enix is set to return to handhelds with the Wonderswan Duodecum 02. Unlike the original Wonderswan, which you most definitely remember and almost certainly played and loved, the Duodecum will be a full service handset, allowing you to call friends while waiting for A Realm Reborn: Final Fantasy XIV‘s servers refresh.
If playing new Square Enix properties isn’t your thing, Square has promised to bring a plethora of classic franchises and IP to the device, starting with an ad-hoc multiplayer version of their iconic fighter, Ehrgeiz. Following that release, Wonderswan Duodecum 02 owners will be treated to a steady stream of games they’ve played before, now with less desirable touch controls and an unreasonably high price tag; personally, I think a mobile version of Brave Fencer Musashi is worth all my moneys.
At this point Square Enix remains tight lipped about 3rd party support for the system, or even classic Enix franchises. Though I don’t speak a lick of Japanese, the Square Enix CEO seemed to intimate that Squaresoft games, and Eidos franchises, would be all you need, making the Wonderswam Duodecum 02 the final fantasy all handheld gamers have been waiting for.