The first day of E3 was a blur of pixels, PR, and people. There were a ton of games that were playable on the show floor. I looked around, and was more impressed with some of the lesser known games than the parade of sequels and reimagining of existing IPs, but since there were so many, I’m going to cover those first.
Skylanders: Swap Force is a new game in the Skylanders series. If you aren’t familiar with the series, there are toys that you place on a portal. This portal reads the information on the toy, and shows a virtual version of the character in the game that you can then play as. With Swap Force, you can take the characters apart at the waist, via two magnets. You can then combine the top of one character with the bottom of another, thus creating an all new character. It looks like it is going to be even more popular than the existing games. I asked, and all figures from all previous games will work with this new game. You can’t take the old characters apart though!
Not to be outdone, Disney is releasing their own toy based game, called Infinity. In this game, you collect toy figures that you place on a portal, giving you a video game version of that character which you can play as. One of the things they did with this title was to redesign all the characters so they match art styles. Some characters made the jump successfully, while others don’t look as good. They had some characters from the upcoming Lone Ranger film that looked great. Sully from Monsters Inc doesn’t look as good. He went from a huge fluffy monster to a solid looking blue block. I really wish they had the figures be on model to the way they looked in their respective films. I’m sure you would get people collecting them even if they didn’t play the game. As it is, it kind of works, but it feels like it could have been visually stronger. While in the booth, waiting for a figure, I also heard some rumors of both Marvel and Muppet characters being added to the game. Who knows how big the game could get? Maybe we’ll see some Apple Dumpling Gang figures?
Nintendo had a lot of games based on existing characters. I didn’t really see anything with new characters in their area. Pikmin, the Mario Brothers, and Donkey Kong were all prominent features at Nintendo this year. Nintendo also skipped having an E3 press conference this year, which is the first time I can ever remember them not having an E3 press conference.
Disney characters were all over E3 this year. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix looks to be an HD version of the existing game. The graphics have improved, but the camera still has some of the same issues that were in other versions of the game. When you are in an enclosed or tight area, the camera tends to freak out, whipping around to try and get a good shot of your character. The result is kind of unsettling, and hard to watch if you aren’t the one playing the game. If you get motion sickness, this may be something to keep in mind.
Remakes and updates seem to be something that Disney is sticking with, as they also showed off Castle of Illusion with Mickey Mouse. This game easily had the best animation of any of the Disney games I saw. Mickey looked, moved, and sounded great. The original game released 16 years ago on the Sega Genesis, and was a favorite for many. This new version will allow gamers who may not have even been alive then to experience the game, though with a much better look and polished controls.
Day one of the show was busy, and there is a lot to see. Look for more E3 updates on Animation Scoop throughout the week.