The lights are on
For the last fifteen years, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has been the place for gaming's biggest news, reveals, and announcements. With E3 2010 less than a week away, we take a look back at the biggest surprises from years past.
1995: Sega drops a Saturn bombshellFor months, Sega had
touted September 2nd, 1995 as "Saturnday," claiming it would mark the date that
they dropped their newest console on the gaming public. This would give
it a week's head start before Sony launched the Playstation on the 9th . However, it was announced at the first E3 in 1995 that Saturnday
had been a ruse all along. Surprising the press in attendance, Sega
stated that the system would be available for sale immediately.
While the surprise certainly carried some shock value, many games
weren't yet ready for release, meaning its launch lineup was meager at
best.1996: Sony lowers their price, competition followsWhen
it launched in the U.S. in 1995, the original Playstation retailed for
$299 ($100 less than the Saturn's launch). At 1996's E3, Nintendo
announced that the Nintendo 64 would be released at the $249 price
point. However, Sony stole their thunder by announcing that the
Playstation would be dropping to $199. Within two days, both Nintendo
and Sega had announced that they would be following suit by lowering the
prices of their respective systems to compete with the Playstation.
Metal Gear Solid 2 wows the crowdKonami showed off the upcoming
MGS2: Sons of Liberty via a five-minute video clip that played every
hour outside their booth. As the Playstation 2 had not yet launched, it
was one of the first titles to really show off what the console was
capable of. Hundreds gathered to watch this clip, and the crowd was
amazed at the level of visual detail. Snake traversed the tanker in the
rain, shot up watermelons, and held up soldiers in a trailer showcasing
graphics that wouldn't be remotely possible on the previous generation.
Even more impressive was the fact that every second of footage was made
up of in-game graphics.
2004: Twilight Princess brings fans
to tearsIt had been years before Zelda fans saw a
realistically-rendered adult version of Link. Majora's Mask kept Ocarina
of Time's art style, but forced gamers to control a young version of
the protagonist. Wind Waker introduced an entirely new cel-shaded art
style that proved polarizing to fans. With the amount of reverence
and praise given to Ocarina of Time, gamers wanted a look that reminded
them of the N64 classic. At Nintendo's 2004 press conference, they
brought down the house with a trailer showcasing a much more mature
version of Link. Some especially enthusiastic Nintendo faithful were
famously brought to tears by the teaser.[PageBreak]2004: Peter Moore
inks Halo 2's release dateThe huge success of the original Halo
unsurprisingly left fans hungry for more. However, they had to endure a
three-year wait before they'd assume control of Master Chief once again.
Knowing that Xbox owners would want a solid release date, Peter Moore
showed how serious he was about Halo 2's launch by getting a "November
9th" tattoo on his right arm. Sure enough, the game shipped on time.
It's a move Moore would repeat only two years later with...
GTA IV comes to Xbox 360Grand Theft Auto games had historically
launched on Playstation first, with Xbox versions releasing months (and
even years) afterwards. Peter Moore announced the end of that tradition
when he revealed yet another tattoo. Saying he reserved "the big guns
for the big guns," he rolled up his left sleeve to reveal the GTA IV
logo. Not only would it release alongside its Playstation 3 counterpart,
Moore also revealed that it would feature (timed) exclusive DLC.
Microsoft gets its first Final FantasyWhile the GTA series
always appeared on Microsoft systems after their initial release, the
long-running Final Fantasy series had never appeared on one of the
company's consoles (outside of the multiplayer-only FFXI). That changed with the 2008 bombshell that the 360
would be one of the homes of Final Fantasy XIII. Many Sony fans cried
foul, with some (troubled) gamers even making message board posts
featuring subjects like "I'm actually contemplating suicide."
New Metroid developed by...Team Ninja?In an announcement no
one could have seen coming, Nintendo announced during their conference
that Metroid: Other M was being helmed by none other than Team Ninja. No
one expected the team behind the ultra-gory Ninja Gaiden series to take
control of a beloved Nintendo franchise, but the bold move was revealed
last year to the surprise of the gaming industry.
Valve puts out a sequel in record timeValve is known for putting
out fantastic games, but they've never had a reputation for spitting
them out with a speedy frequency. That changed last year when they
announced that Left 4 Dead 2 would be releasing only one year after the
original. Some fans felt betrayed, believing that it would be better
served as DLC. However, those in the "L4D2 Boycott" group were quickly
silenced when the game released to positive reviews and enough content
to justify the sequel.