Well, another May draws to a close and another E3 passes with much fanfare, fuss and nonsense. The industry is currently nursing its hangover and trying to assess what the whole thing means and what actually happened. These things are always such a whirlwind of information and sensory overload that you can end up feeling drained, tired and emotional.
Alas and alack, being the European Correspondent does have its downside. Yet again I missed out on a trip to LA. But have no fear, I've been absorbing all the news and announcements as they came in and here are my top 10 things E3 2006 will be remembered for:
Ten – Booth babes in clothing shock!
Yes, as always, E3's booth babes are a memorable part of the whole shebang, but in 2006 they'll be remembered for a very different reason. This year's booth babes were forced to wear clothes! Yes, in a shock announcement earlier in the year the ESA said the games industry continues to sell games to minors using sex and it will no longer be tolerated. Guns and violence fine, but just say no to boobs. I guess the people enforcing this don't comprehend just how old and cynical the average games journo is.
Nine – Metal Gear Solid
In at number nine is Solid Snake because what would E3 be without fanatical weirdoes sobbing at the sight of some fancy Dan graphics courtesy of Kojima-san.
Ooh he gave us a real treat this year with the extended trailer for MGS4. It all looked very lovely, but as usual the dialogue was a complete load of old flange with Snake droning on and on about war and humanity and humanity and war and on and on. At one point somebody actually said, "he will fan the flames of war" and something about being "released from the bonds of fate" – I mean holy crap what does that mean? And just when you think things can't get any worse, Snake now sports a stash!
Eight – PS3 controller goes back to the future
Anyone who was worried about the state of the PS3 controller need worry no more. It has been unveiled and it looks like er"well kind of like the old one. But wait, there's more. It will no longer have a rumble feature, but in return we get a motion-sensor. Hmmm" now where have we seen that before?
Seven – Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar
LOTR online is still one of those hotly anticipated MMOGs Hargosh so fears, as his MMOG-phobia takes a firm hold. The good news is it's going into beta this summer and signing people up already. Let's just hope they get the character gen right and it's not to much of a geek fest – who am I trying to kid?
Six – NCsoft fined
It sounds like E3 is getting tough these days and not just on booth babe flesh. Publisher NCsoft suffered at the hands of the authorities when it was fined $5,000 for making too much noise. A rightfully disgruntled NCsoft has hinted that it might not be showing its face next year, instead throwing a big press bash not to far away. Meanwhile, E3 says fingers on lips and pull your socks up.
Five – Heavens to Betsy!
Heavenly Sword is one of the standout titles of this year's E3, which bodes well for PS3, as looks set to be the flagship title for the new console. The game looks amazing and is also blessed with an attractive leading lady complete with swooshy hair and badass loveliness.
Four – Age of Conan goodness
Far be it for me to inflict more MMOG glorification upon Hargosh, but it has to be said Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventure looks absolutely amazing. And a little investigation reveals that this RPG from the makers of Anarchy Online is sounding very promising. The character gen sounds detailed, right down to the point of being able to choose crooked noses, which is a very good start. In addition some innovation has been thrown in, as major character decisions aren't forced upon the player in character gen, instead you choose your direction at level 20 once you're familiar with the game. Now, that's the kind of MMOG development I like.
Three – GTA defects
Another shock announcement rocked our world when the new Grand Theft Auto was announced for 360 as well as PlayStation on release. Well, this is a turn up for the books, especially when the 360 is set to gain exclusive episodic content. It looks like Sony's lost its hold on this most lucrative of titles, which was probably going to be a safe bet for PS3's launch line-up.
Two – Ha-lo, Ha-lo, Ha-lo!
The Halo 3 trailer must have been the most anticipated bit of big screen action to hit the show floor and Bungie didn't disappoint. Well, they disappointed a little when it was announced that Halo 3 isn't coming until 2007, missing its chance to scupper the PS3 launch.
I must say, the Halo 3 trailer is the most exciting thing I've managed to glean from E3. Big sweeping cinematic shots, a rousing orchestral score and the Chief is looking shinier and more kick-asser than ever. Cortana plays a big role in the footage, which bodes well for her uncovering more plot twists in the third episode in the series. Earth is overrun with covenant and there's only one person who put things right. At the end of the trailer there's a call to action with the message ‘finish the fight.'
One – Sony are you taking the p***!?
Sony managed to pip Microsoft to the most memorable spot, but I'm not sure that's something to be proud of in this instance. The announcement of the price of PlayStation 3 sent shockwaves through the industry and not for the right reasons. People were reconsidering their children's college funds when this little beauty was unveiled. The PS3 is demanding $499 – $599 for the privilege of its next-gen glory.
It's still quite shocking see that on paper and earlier this week it was announced that the UK is getting one price of Â£425. Meanwhile, pundits are expecting the Wii to come in at around Â£150. Now if I had to choose"
Most played: Tomb Raider: Legend
Most wanted: Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventure