Seven Dirty Words To Watch For At E3
E3 is one of the most exciting times to be a fan of gaming, but with that much excitement there naturally comes a little skepticism. So many new games and pieces of hardware are shown off during the week of press conferences and livestreams, and every company wants the audience to be enthusiastic about their products. We’ve compiled some of the most common phrases and buzzwords that will be thrown around during this year’s E3 and explain how they can mislead expectations if used poorly.
Cinematic trailers can be some of the biggest teases in gaming. These high quality, fully CG-rendered videos tend to show off little to no gameplay and only discuss the game’s biggest story moments or characters. Cinematic trailers are often shown during E3 in order to make a lasting impression on the audience. For example, fans adored the emotional trailer for Dead Island, but it was a far cry from the finished game’s tone. They sometimes depict scenes that players will experience themselves, but other times they create epic situations that don’t make it into the final product. Halo 5: Guardians was revealed on-stage in 2013 with a teaser that featured Master Chief trekking through the desert in a swirling cloak, and later advertisements showed Chief and Locke facing off in a destroyed city. As players came to learn, neither of these moments happen in the game. Be wary of trailers that don’t feature actual in-game footage, as they may not be indicative of what you’ll end up playing.
This is a more recent addition to the arsenal of E3 hype-building tactics, but it has already earned its fair share of praise and suspicion. The idea is simple: Come on stage and announce the beloved sequel a vocal audience has been waiting years for. Everyone will be so busy losing their minds with excitement that they won’t care when you clarify the game doesn’t exist yet, but they can donate now to get it made! It sounds like a big gamble that could go wrong, but after the astonishing success of Shenmue 3’s Kickstarter last year, we wouldn’t be surprised if more companies try it out this year.
A quick and easy way to drum up excitement is by simply re-releasing a game people already love. The more beloved it is, the more people will talk about it, regardless how much incentive there is to purchase it again. There are both good and bad ways to do a remaster, and we will likely see both demonstrated on stage this year. These editions usually include all of a game’s previous DLC, a better framerate, updated graphics, and occasionally a demo or beta access for the real next game in the series. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Red Dead Redemption are both heavily rumored to be getting the “definitive edition” treatment this year.
This is one of the biggest buzzwords thrown around during E3, and also one of the most deceitful. Exclusivity doesn’t always last, as we’ve learned with Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Rise of the Tomb Raider. A game may be shown off as an exclusive at E3, only to be released on other platforms a few months after launch. “Console exclusives” are also tricky announcements, like with Street Fighter V being shown off as an exclusive during Sony’s 2015 show even though the game was also launching on PC. DLC is another big exclusive to show off these days, so be careful about what console you decide to purchase if you can’t live without a certain weapon skin or map pack.
Aside from video games, E3 is also a great time to try and promote physical merchandise or expensive collector’s editions. Expect phrases like “iconic,” “detailed,” and “awesome” to be used to describe the statues and figures coming with a game’s probably overpriced limited edition. Developers will go out of their way to try and convince fans the characters and worlds in their game will become memorable classics you will want to have on display in your living room for the rest of your life. If you aren’t convinced this phrase is overused, you might be interested in purchasing Aiden Pierce’s “epic” hat from Watch Dogs.
There are many terms that can describe a game without actually telling you much about the game at all. To get players excited about a game in the limited amount of time they have, presenters will talk up the “rich, dynamic, and robust” world, instead of letting a demo do the talking. Before players can get hands-on with a game, the best way to convince them of its potential is by explaining the scope and possibility of the gameplay. With VR’s potential to be big at E3 this year, we will likely hear a lot about the “immersive” experiences the various systems will provide but wouldn’t be possible to show off on a huge screen in front of a live audience.
Memes have no place at a professional business conference, yet they appear in a number of shows every year. In an attempt to entertain and relate to the audience watching at home, a number of in-jokes and references will be spouted in embarrassing fashion. Companies love having fun at their own expense as well, so expect clever nods to past E3 flubs like the Uncharted 4 stage demo failure or teasing a much-demanded next installment from a long-dormant series like Mother (aka EarthBound) or Conker. This is not to say humor can’t be used effectively in these presentations, but referencing outdated internet slang may not be the best way to do it. Also, please no live music performances on stage this year.
With all of these considered, we’re still very excited for E3. It’s important to keep expectations realistic but with plenty of great games being shown off, there is likely going to be something for everyone at this year’s show. Read on to find out what some of our longshot hopes are, as well as our more realistic predictions.