E3 2014: Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

In the era of the yearly release cycle, it’s rarely the Halos, the Calls of Duty, or the Maddens that get remembered come E3. Fortunately, gaming’s week in the sun still has plenty of offbeat moments that keep the show fresh. Weird doesn’t always mean good (usually does, though), but hey, it’s a lot more fun to talk about than what minor tweaks EA has made to PGA Tour to excuse another iteration.



Code Name: Steam

Who better to get us started on weird than Nintendo? A lot of words have been used to describe Nintendo over the years, but predictable doesn’t tend to be one that sticks. Code Name: Steam is an upcoming 3DS game developed by Intelligent Systems, makers of Advance Wars. Like Advance Wars, this will be a strategy game.

Unlike Advance Wars, this will be set in steampunk London, where a secret order founded by Abraham Lincoln will fight aliens inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s stories. For all I know, the final boss fight is going to be between Abraham Lincoln and Cthulu. Oh, and it’ll be done in the style of American comic books. Why not? Anyway, who knows how the finished product will look, but those ingredients look pretty tasty.




Want to get people to come to your booth? Well, Batman’s probably enough. But, Warner Bros. wanted to go the extra mile for the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight. So, they brought the Batmobile. The tank-style Batmobile (with mounted turret!) didn’t cruise around the show floor and destroy rival superhero booths or anything, but it did look awfully cool. I don’t know if anyone remembered to actually check out the game (which looks excellent!) afterwards, but hey, everyone definitely checked this Batmobile out.



Project: Guard

Nintendo again! This time, it’s something straight from the man who has perfected fun, Shigeru Miyamoto. Now, he’s bringing your dreams of being a late-night security guard to life on the Wii U. Unlike most camera-watching security guards in video games, you won’t be found dead at the hands of a double agent/zombie/self-aware AI/you get the picture.

Instead, Project: Guard is a twist on tower defense – enemies will flow into your complex, and you’ll need to spot them on your security feeds, swap to that camera, and fire away with your turret. There will be power-ups and a wide variety of enemies, so it’s not exactly reinventing the wheel when it comes to tower defense. That said, it’s from Miyamoto – the man understands fun.



Ubisoft and Women

Remember when we said weird didn’t always mean good? Yeah. This is what we meant. Apparently, two separate Ubisoft development teams couldn’t find the time or resources to fit female characters into Far Cry 4 or Assassin’s Creed: Unity. The issue around Far Cry 4 was the scrapping of a planned option for a female co-op character.

That’s dwarfed by Assassin’s Creed: Unity – in the game, there will be a multiplayer co-op mode where you can use customized assassins – just not female assassins. When it comes to custom characters, being able to make your character male or female has been more or less a standard fixture in video games, so it’s a bit odd to hear of this. What makes it stranger is that Assassin’s Creed has had playable female characters in the past. Given how powerful the next-gen systems are, and how much can be packed into games now, the decision is a head-scratcher.


Nintendo Exec Fight

That last one was a downer. So, here’s Nintendo president Satoru Iwata and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime fighting each other. Thanks Nintendo! The duo’s epic clash was Nintendo’s lovably weird way of announcing that customizable Mii characters (male or female!) will be joining the roster of the new Super Smash Bros. games for the Wii U and 3DS, as shown off by Iwata and Fils-Aime picking up their battle using Mii versions of themselves onscreen.


Shape Up

There weren’t many Kinect announcements this year, probably because the Kinect has been hit by a torrent of bad press in the last year. That’s what happens when you tie a console to a camera that is purportedly always watching you. That’s kind of a shame, because the weirdest of E3 usually comes out of something ridiculous someone is doing in front of a Kinect. Fortunately, there was still Shape Up, from Ubisoft. It’s pretty much DDR without the arrow pads. It’s being pushed as a fitness game, which I guess is technically true. Really, you’re just jumping and running in place along to music, or maybe doing some push-ups. You can also compete head-to-head, so you can find out which of your friends is best at competitive running in place, which I know you’ve always wanted to settle.

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