A couple of weeks ago, Corey, Michael, and I went to E3, the annual video game conference in Los Angeles, to make some contacts and speak with people. (And a chance to grab some free t-shirts…) E3 is a huge three-ring circus designed to promote and advertise the latest and greatest new stuff from game companies and game technology. It’s all about the hype and the whiz-bang of game companies trying to outdo their rivals on the show floor.
We’ve been to E3 in the past to make contacts and meet with people. E3 draws game companies and marketers from around the world. Sierra showed Quest for Glory 5: Dragonfire twice when E3 was in Atlanta, although it wasn’t the major push either time. The first time, we had to compete with a King’s Quest. The next year, Sierra pushed their Babylon 5 game heavily, inviting many of the original actors from the television series to E3. Alas, Babylon Five never shipped and Sierra stopped making adventure games not long after QG5 was released.
This year, there were fewer small companies than when we were last there. There was a tiny ghetto for Indie Games and a few computers showing off the talents from college Game Development programs. The rest of the show was all big screens and Big Game Companies.
E3 used to be about computer games. Now, it’s all about console games. There was no sign of World of Warcraft or Star Wars.
There was also very little originality in video games to be seen at the show. Pretty much everything shown at E3 was a sequel to something else. Innovation seemed dead… or Undead.
The only really interesting thing to me was the new Disney mash-up “Infinity” which lets you play characters from the Disney movies. It’s Lone Ranger and Jack Sparrow meet Mr. Incredible in a toy box with collectable plastic figures of all the characters. You can play cartoon versions of Johnny Depp as Tonto or as a pirate – woo-hoo! (Personally, I want to see the plastic collectable cartoon figures of all of Depp’s greatest characters – Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd, Hunter S. Thompson, not to mention Ed Wood – but it somehow seems unlikely Disney will feature them in Infinity add-on packs.)
For us, this trip to E3 was a lot like stepping back into the past. Same Big Game Companies (Nintendo, Sega, Microsoft) pushing the same big games. Games like ‘Castlevania,’ “Kingdom Hearts,” even “Wolfenstein” were being pushed on huge screens and multiple computer screens. It’s obvious that the Game Industry is mired in the ‘more of the same’ mode.
So don’t expect to see anything new or different from the major players of the game industry anytime soon.
New and Improved
As you might have noticed, I recently updated the visuals on most of the pages of the Hero-U web site to reflect our current art style. We’ve been working hard to create a beautiful and innovative game.
This isn’t a Quest for Glory game. We’re taking everything we learned from making Quest for Glory and from playing games and then using that knowledge to create something that goes beyond anything we have done before.
The reason the Big Game Companies make the same games over and over again is because they will sell. People who liked the games in the past assume they will like the game in the future. But the same-old, same-old stuff gets boring.
Hero-U takes the best parts of all we’ve done and learned over the years and puts it together in new ways. Everyone on our team is putting their art and their heart into making this game great. We’re not some committee-designed, risk-averse Big Game Company… we’re your company. We wouldn’t be here without you.
The Last Kickstarter Premiums
At the end of this month, we will remove the Kickstarter page from this website. From that point onward, you won’t be able to upgrade your pledge to get in the Hero-U yearbook or to have your portrait in the game. For one thing, we already have over 40 portraits and statues in the game. Our yearbook is going to be stuffed full of supporters and students. We can’t thank you enough for all your love, faith, and support for this Hero-U campaign.
You are the ones who made Hero-U possible. You are the few, the proud, the true Heroes of Hero-U. Thank you.