Volition’s Jim Boone Asks Daily Reaction: What Was the Most Intriguing Game of E3?

After having my interview with Jim Boone, Senior Producer behind the upcoming Saints Row IV game, he decided to ask the Daily Reaction crew of Seb and Dan a question that really made us stop and think.

Jim Boone:

What game at the show has you the most intrigued? Not necessarily the one that is game of the show, but one that you look at and think, ‘wow, that’s really different, that could either be amazing or maybe disastrous.’

Dan: Well, I think it is difficult to pick a particular title that I saw and could say that this will either be amazing or disastrous, as I was only able to check out more of the mainstream titles this year. Last year, I was able to see Johann Sebastian Joust (no relation to Seb, thankfully) at IndieCade 2012, but sadly I was not able to make it over there again. This year’s E3, I know that Joust once again made an appearance, as well as another game that seems to be taking the concept of how we use the Move controller and turn it on its head.

Apparently, there was a game called Quickdraw/Glow Tag by Greenfly Studios on display there that had players use the wand to reenact a Western styled shootout – as seen below:

This concept of using gaming devices in real world styled activities, I think could be a great introduction for non-gamers to understand the hobby a bit more. I just do not know if this concept is something that will actually find much of a home with the gaming demographic. Given that Sportsfriends Starring Johann Sebastian Joust earned their Kickstarter goal of $150k, there does seem to be an audience out there, and it does show that people are at the very least intrigued.

The success of the Nintendo Wii’s launch forced their competition to try and embrace motion gaming, but soon, all three platform holders realized that they could not sustain an active community with the new technology. Nintendo sold consumers on the idea and potential of the Wiimote, Microsoft advertised the crap out of Kinect and Sony failed to even comprehend what to do with the Move. Now we are seeing a movement of developers designing applications for motion gaming that take the technology away from being bullet points on a game’s box and give it a real world application.

The only problem is that the concept of moving away from screens seems to be a fear for platform holders, as the further players are away from isolated experiences, the less grasp they feel they have on the market. Sadly, motion gaming seems to benefit the most from creatively stepping away from gaming as we have come to know it, and by bringing it back to the social aspects of just playing.

There seems to be something so simple and elegant about these products that they no longer become games, they become physical activities and that is something I feel we are losing the more we embrace virtual hobbies.

Seb: This is a great question, because ‘something different’ is what I always crave. As a games journalist, it’s my job to live and breathe games every day, so it’s easy to become tired of all the sameness that proliferates the industry. And sameness was the order of the day at E3.

We were treated to a whole host of AAA titles at the show, many of which were new IPs, but none of which looked to be truly different. Shooters were all bigger and prettier, racers were all more connected and had more realistic crash physics, while post apocalyptic games were more post apocalyptical. But it all felt the same… except for the fact that you can connect your iPad as an expensive replacement for the select button.

The Crew and The Division are set to be always online experiences, but how does that actually change things other than mean they don’t have to program AI? They have yet to show us any of the benefits of the online only world, which is a shame, because it could be an area for real innovation in the next generation.

The only big title that seems to be trying anything different is Remedy’s Quantum Break for Xbox One, where they’re doing some kind of synergy between a TV show and the game, which hasn’t been done before. I Defy you to tell me of a similar business model.

Sony has a solid track record of innovating in the AAA space, with the upcoming Beyond being just one example, so that’s why I was disappointed by the lack of difference from their line-up at E3 (and for that matter, lack of new games). Everyone keeps talking about how awesome the PS4’s RAM is for games, but I want to see what can be made that completely changes things up.

Luckily, the PS4 allows for self publishing, and Sony has been aggressively pursuing indie titles, as we talked about before on DR. That should allow for some intriguing games, certainly, with the most obvious choice from Sony’s show being Octodad.

Octodad looks… different. And that’s awesome. I’m not the only one tired of all the identical games out there, which is why the internet was drawn to Octodad, even if it turns out terrible (luckily it sounds like it won’t).

Most of all, I’m intrigued to see how the average console gamer will react to a title about an octopus pretending to be a human. I’m fascinated to see how that pans out, and whether gamers will embrace it. If they do, it’ll hopefully further encourage games to be different, so that maybe, just maybe, next E3 will be a little more interesting.

Do you think that motion gaming can be saved by indie developers? Are you tired of AAA development and need something new? Would you play Joust versus an octopus in a suit? Let us know in the comments below, email us at DailyReaction@PlayStationLifeStyle.net or tweet us who you think would win, JohannSeb or OctoDan.