Thursday, June 18, 2015

Some E3 Optimism

It's so easy to be cynical about E3, so this year I tried to show a little optimism.

I really was stunned when Sony revealed The Last Guardian. It is hard for me to overstate how important Ico was when I first played it. The game released during a tumultuous period for me and I found it quiet mystery immensely enthralling. It was a safe space to escape, but more than that it filled me with a wonder. Many of the games I enjoy today remind me of that first experience when I felt games could create such a dramatic sense of awe.

One of my favorite experiences at E3 this year was Beyond Eyes. Created by Sherida Halatoe and a team of developers from Team 17, Beyond Eyes follows a young blind girl who's past experiences define how she interprets the world with her new limited senses. It's an absolutely gorgeous watercolor world, and the way it colors itself into being is reminiscent of The Unfinished Swan. The way Rae, the young protagonist, colors in her surroundings based on earlier encounters makes for some interesting moments where sound triggers emotion. Thinking she hears, say, a flock of crows, Rae can move on, avoiding the creatures, or confront her fears and reveal, say, a harmless group of chickens. I could see a compelling coming-of-age story in this charming indie game.

A larger title than Beyond Eyes for sure; Gigantic also makes my list for most interesting games from E3. I mention it briefly in the PopMatters article, but I find the diversity of the characters fantastic. From old women to weird monsters, the game sets itself apart from many of the other third-person competitive action games coming out as well as other MOBAs on the scene. While it might not be enough to draw me away from League of Legends, it certainly has my attention. When so many games can start bleeding into each other at a huge trade show like E3, it's rejuvenating to see something stand out with its own aesthetic.

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