e3 2011

E3 2011 Day 4 Recap

by Matt Miller on Jun 09, 2011 at 04:59 PM

The big show is over. We've got over 30 new trailers, previews, and impressions from the final day. In addition, our editors share their thoughts on the trends that will shape video games in the coming months and years.

E3 2011 is over. And we're tired. Over 225 stories have come and gone across our website since Monday morning, including everything from new console announcements to blockbuster game reveals. You can catch up on all the action by checking out our Day One, Day Two, and Day Three recaps.

How about the end of the show? Our editors encountered plenty of intriguing titles even three days after the show floor opened. A picture is beginning to form about what this E3 says about the current state of the video game industry, and what the game scene will look like in the coming year.

Several years into the current-gen life cycle (the 360 launched in 2005) more and more games are zeroing in on ideas that have succeeded in the past. Games like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Assassin's Creed Revelations are evolving their genres without fundamentally changing. "The big games are well refined and have hit their strides, in terms of running on the current hardware," said senior associate editor Joe Juba. "Developers are iterating on concepts that have already been introduced, rather than people trying to change the way you play – at least with the current gen."

A big part of that strategy is a continuing trend of developers and publishers going multiplatform. "More developers are embracing the multiplatform strategy," Juba continued. "Everything is coming out on everything. Single platform is just no longer viable." Even extremely high-profile games that might have previously targeted an exclusive release are now moving to multiple systems in order to remain financially viable, like Final Fantasy XIII-2 and BioShock Infinite

The increasing relevance of movement peripherals has publishers trying their hand at multiple strategies. For the first time, this year saw a number of games trying to integrate Kinect and Move functionality as side features in more traditional core games, like Forza 4's head turning tech, or Mass Effect 3's voice controls. Even so, most publishers still seem to be shying away form attempts to make full-fledged, core-targeted games in that arena. "It still feels like they're dividing their efforts – focusing the motion stuff towards the casual crowd, while still keeping a portfolio of quality hardcore games," Juba said.

Numerous games are embracing the user-created content option, from familiar franchises in that field like Little Big Planet for Vita and Neverwinter to surprises like Ridge Racer Unbounded.

And while retail games like Devil May Cry, Resident Evil: Revelations, Soul Calibur V, and Lord of the Rings: War In the North got the lion's share of attention during the show, we're also starting to get a picture of a robust and thriving independent and downloadable scene for the coming months. Games like Bastion, Journey, Awesomenauts, Crimson Alliance, Bloodforge, Evil Dead, and Warlords HD point to just a few of the small, creative teams that are doing remarkable work to stand out from the bigger, more heavily marketed retail games.

[Next up: What were the best games at this year's show?]

So what is the game industry forecast? Without exception, our editors came out of the show excited by what they'd seen. Though many of the best games on display had been previously announced, many of the features on display were astounding. "Even if they are sequels, the ones that I've seen haven't been by the numbers," said editor Jeff Cork. "The developers aren't just phoning it in."

As for the show itself, our editors report the Electronic Entertainment Expo looking to be in good health this year. Each passing season brings fewer big publishers, but there seem to be just as many if not more games on display. "The number of publishers is getting smaller, but the booths are getting bigger so there's more spectacle," explains Cork. There also appears to be a continued move away from some of the practices that characterized the show only a few years ago. "If you notice a booth babe doing something, then chances are the game's not worth  looking at," Cork advised. "Any of the games that are respectable – none of them have booth babes. If you see someone in a short skirt, walk away, man. It's not worth it," he joked.

So what are the games of the show? Long discussions lie ahead for the Game Informer staff as we nail down the very best games on display from among the dozens we've seen. But an informal poll of several of our editors found ringing endorsements for BioShock Infinite, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Mass Effect 3, Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Assassin's Creed Revelations, Batman: Arkham City, and Tomb Raider. And though many of the best games at E3 2011 were expected, our editors were pleasantly surprised by titles like Brothers In Arms: Furious Four, Hitman Absolution, Far Cry 3, Asura's Wrath, and Bastion.

Tomorrow, we'll begin our post-E3 coverage, and continue to introduce updated impressions from the show itself. In the meantime, once again, you can get a complete picture of E3 2011 by exploring our Day One, Day Two, and Day Three recaps.

Thanks for joining us on this crazy ride through the busiest gaming week of the year. Drop us a line in the comments below and tell us about what games you'd like to learn more about, and we'll do our best to fill in whatever gaps we may have missed.

[Next Up: Don't miss out on more news, trailers, and impressions from the last day of E3!]

More E3 stuff to dig into

Darkness II (preview)

Killer Freaks From Outer Space (Wii U) (preview)

XCOM (shown above) (preview)

Report: Wii U To Ditch Friend Codes

Silent Hill: Downpour (hands-on preview)

Defiance (preview)

Tim & Joe Talk About Sony

Ben & Annette Talk About Microsoft

Sony Answers Your Questions About The PlayStation Vita

Deus Ex (preview)

Special Edition E3 Podcast

Thanks for stopping by and enjoying E3 with us, we hope you had a good time!