The Lashing Tongues of E3 Can’t Be Stopped
E3 2018 is finally upon us. All of our favorite developers will be there showing off their shiny new games (except for Rockstar who’s too good for fun events, apparently) and all the journalists will be running around doing interviews and squeezing details out of said developers (except for me who’s not good enough for fun events, yet *wink*). But whether you’re at the show in LA or watching from home, one group of people we’ll all be seeing a lot of is the executive-types. The older men and women (if the developer/publisher has employed any) who come out on stage and throw buzzwords around in a transparent attempt to build hype for a game in hopes that they’ll convince you to spend your hard earned dollars on the title they’re pumping up.
To people close to the industry, these words and phrases have become like nails on a chalkboard, turning time that should be spent showing off new games and admiring the hard work of the people who create the worlds we escape to, into a disingenuous sounding, half-hearted sales pitch reminiscent of Noah Vanderhoff, the crooked arcade empire owner from the first Wayne’s World movie.
So let’s take a look at which of these phrases are most likely to pop up during a game “reveal” (if there actually is anything left to reveal considering lips have been as tight as a BP oil tanker this year), and feel free to take a shot or stuff a huge marshmallow in your mouth every time you hear one flutter from the lips of a bean counter in a suit.
1 – Oh and One More Thing…
A classic staple in conference culture popularized by Steve Jobs at the end of Apple keynotes, suits like to use this phrase to generate hype before anything of substance has actually been said regarding a game or product. In all honesty, it’s one of the more tolerable phrases, as it indicates that something they know will be a crowd pleaser is on the way. Sony usually uses it to announce a sequel to a beloved franchise, though it’s been co-opted by Microsoft in the past couple years before revealing Xbox One’s backward compatibility. At it’s best, the phrase can build up to a huge, exciting payoff, and at it’s worst, the phrase is misused to lead into details regarding pre-order bonuses, which are often met with a resounding “k.”
2 – Like Never Before…
According to the people tasked with scripting game reveals, nobody has ever played any video games or experienced anything in their life, as every announcement comes with this phrase tacked on to the end of a sentence. In an industry that’s had some pretty immense technological strides over the past few years including the normalization of virtual reality, it’s getting more and more far-fetched that a game will be an experience “like never before.” Especially if that game is a sequel because then it’s basically inherently “like at least one time before.”
3 – The Future of Gaming
This phrase is like the evolved form of “Like Never Before.” The future of gaming is just, and will always be, more games. Every now and then it’ll be a somewhat different way to play it, but that way usually involves motion controls, companion apps or social media integration, all of which large portions of the gaming community is eager to leave in the past. “The Future of Gaming” is really just more of the same, sitting (or standing) with a controller in hand, ya know, playing games and most gamers are happy with that. “Future” implies change, and I don’t see anyone announcing a singularity that’ll change the way people enjoy games, like stopping children from saying the N-word while banging my mom over Call of Duty.
4 – Graphical Fidelity
This is basically a term that means “a clear, stable, good-looking image,” usually surrounded by terms like “4K” and “HDR” in the modern day. The less snarky definition is “the combination of any amount of the three things that make up virtual beauty.” Regardless, what they’re really saying when they use this term at E3 is “this game meets modern technological standards” in regards to visual presentation. But that doesn’t sound anywhere near as flashy as using a term that makes some people rush to Google in an attempt to not feel uneducated. It’s okay, I had to look it up the first time I heard it too, and had to double check in the middle of writing this article.
5 – The Best Place to Play
Stop this, we all know the best place to play is a PC setup that costs almost as much as a down payment on a house. And that’s considered “average” by PC elitists. The number one best place to play would be on a computer designed by NASA projected in 20K UHDR resolution onto an Imax screen big enough to blot out the sun. The only thing the phrase “best place to play” brings into my mind is, “You know what would make that place better? Graphical Fidelity. Also more games.”
6 – Our Best Lineup Ever
Every year, every developer has their best lineup ever. Ironically, people may feel more compelled to agree with that statement if the developers didn’t open with it, especially since every single year they do, the phrase loses meaning. Why buy games from this year’s lineup if I know next years will be even best-er? Especially since next year, the full game with all of its post-release content will be available at a discounted price? Isn’t that right Capcom/Guerilla Games/From Software/Square Enix/And the rest?
Look, I get that E3 is a trade show and press conference, and professionalism is key, but in an industry revolving around escaping the mundanity of day to day life, the looming hand of corporate over everything that happens there can be overwhelming and frustrating. It feels bad watching the trailer for something outrageous like Rage 2 and immediately being reminded that it exists to spin the wheels of capitalism while evoking mental images of developers slaving away during crunch time. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, like regular Ubisoft host Aisha Tyler and the infamous Jamie Kennedy Experiment with Activision in 2007, but even they give off a feeling of corporate executives trying to bridge a gap between themselves and the community they sell to, whose attitudes and sense of humor they’re almost desperately out of touch with. Aisha is a great comedian in her own right and hosts “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, perhaps she could sit down with the likes of Phil Spencer, Shawn Layden, and Reggie Fils Aimee, and encourage them to bring a more laid-back everyman atmosphere to gaming’s biggest event. At least we can count on Devolver Digital’s Big Fancy Press Conference to shirk the white collar attitudes and get real weird with it.
What E3 phrase are you already sick of hearing? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to follow all of our E3 coverage over the next few days, starting with our E3 schedule of all the conference times, the best E3 video game deals, and what to expect from Bethesda, Konami, and Sega!