Games Inbox: Will E3 2020 be cancelled?

The Monday Inbox is impressed by the Baldur’s Gate 3 reveal, as one reader is already sick of hearing about ray-tracing.

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Change of plans
So, things are getting pretty bad with the coronavirus and considering what’s happened with GDC I’m thinking there’s now a good chance that E3 will be cancelled. It was already a risk prospect given Sony aren’t going anyway but with so many other companies backing out of public events I don’t know how much that’s likely to change in three months. They can’t cancel it suddenly, with just a few week’s notice, so really they’ve got to make a decision this month.

And what about Sony’s plans for ‘hundreds’ of consumer events of the PlayStation 5? They never did explain how that was going to work and now suddenly consumer events sound like the last thing people are going to want to go to. And Sony won’t want footage of their events where nobody turns up.

Clearly there are more important things to worry about when it comes to the coronavirus but it looks like it is really going to do a number on video games companies’ plans for this year. Maybe it’s a good idea then that those plans involved doing absolutely nothing for the first three months!


True power
Audio ray-tracing is such a made-up phrase I can’t help but just laugh at it. I mean really. Is everything going to be compared to ray-tracing now? Open world ray-tracing? Multiplayer ray-tracing? Artificial intelligence ray-tracing? It’s already become a meaningless buzzword, especially as there’s a million ways to implement the real thing and it’s impossible to tell just by looking at it how much it is ‘real’ real ray-tracing.

It’s always like this with a new generation, I know, but at least they’re pushing frame rating as being important, at last, so we get at least some benefit out of it all. But I just want to see the games. That reader is right, tech specs are meaningless other than a general indication. The best way to tell how powerful a console is, is to play its games.

After all, what does it matter if it’s super powerful if that power is never used? Power is only real if it’s used. Which makes me sound like some tinpot supervillain but when it comes to video games its true.


Story pass
That was a pretty weak Pokémon Day but I imagine they’re holding everything back for next year’s 25th anniversary, so that’s fine by me. The plan is to release a new Pokémon game of some sort every year, although I think this year they’re counting that as the expansion pass and the Mystery Dungeon remake – like two half games count as one.

So the obvious question is why they’re going to do next year? Obviously not another generation but I assume the two main choices are a second expansion or a new remake. It’s the turn of Diamond and Peral next, which was a particularly good one, and I seem to remember last year there were rumours that it was underway.

I’d be fine with it, and would probably get it if it had open world areas, but I do wish they’d do a Pokémon game with a decent story. Diamond and Peral’s was rubbish just like all the others, so if they’ve got the tech and gameplay squared already with Sword/Shield why not do a second expansion pass that’s much more story-focused, like a full role-playing game? I’d love to see that, although I can’t imagine it really happening.


Not a sci-fi fan
I agree with the Reader’s Feature at the weekend, I hope Rockstar are doing a sci-fi game or something outside their usual two franchises. That artwork teaser doesn’t seem to hint at anything GTA to me (or Red Dead, obviously) so I hope it’s something new and unexpected. I also wonder whether that might be why Dan Houser left when he did. He’s always seemed to take himself pretty seriously so I could easily imagine him being one of the ones that held back from doing anything too fantastical.

He leaves on 11 March (next Wednesday) so perhaps we’ll see an announcement shortly after that? Bit of a stretch really but I can’t see them just releasing a bunch of random bit of artworks for month’s on end without some clue as to what they’re about. People would soon get sick of that.

Who knows but a major Rockstar announcement in March would certainly help to make up for the last three months of nothing at all.


One obvious, two not
I’m not really into multiplayer games but there have been three I’ve spent more time in than most others. One obvious one that everyone played is Call Of Duty 4, but there are two underrated ones I wanted to highlight. The first was Killzone 2 on PlayStation 3. The maps and classes were great and the graphics were brilliant at the time. Just a good visceral shooter, even if it didn’t do anything particularly innovative.

The second was Red Faction: Guerrilla which I loved due to how the destruction physics came into play. It was great fun to take down opponents through toppling a roof onto their head rather than just shooting them.
Angry_Kurt (Twitter)
Now playing: Judgment (PS4), Lara Croft Go (PC) and Super Mario World (Switch)


Auto runner
I was just wondering the most stupid someone’s felt when getting stuck in a game, then realising you had just overlooked something simple. I only ask as I was playing A Plague Tale: Innocence yesterday, I’m very early on. You have to run past a group of one-shot kill demonic rats to get to a boat by igniting some windmill sails. The rats hate the light.

Anyway, I died about 12 times and was getting very frustrated. I got into my head you had to be super accurate with timing your run with the position of the sails and tried many configurations. Before the door, after the door and then the apex of the first sail. No? Then maybe the second sail, nope. Anyway, I then remembered you could run with the right trigger button, worked an absolute treat.

The game has a habit of automatically taking control of your character’s speed, mainly to slow down to tell Hugo to start taking this whole, family being murdered, apocalyptic plague thing seriously, so I just had in mind the game made your character auto run before I remembered you could do it yourself. So far, I’ve done a lot of fleeing/running. Not my greatest hour for sure. Great game so far, thank you very much Game Pass.


Rebellious suggestion
In response to the Reader’s Feature, I’m secretly hoping Rockstar have got the rights to the 200 0AD universe.

An open world game set in the 2000 AD universe, developed by Rockstar, would possibly be the greatest thing since Turner the Worm being sick.

And stay away from my bins!
Mr T

GC: Sniper Elite makers Rebellion own the 2000 AD comics, so there’s almost zero chance of that happening.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Same old story
I’d just like to clarify to everyone writing in, saying I was disrespecting them because of their interest in the innards of a console. That was not my intention. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough at what exactly bores me about all the spec talk. The thing is, I get as excited as anyone about with a new generation of consoles. It brings out the kid in me and I can’t wait to get my hands on the new PlayStation.

My issue is that whatever ends up inside the Xbox and PlayStation they’ll be pretty much the same, bar a few small differences. The games will look and run the same to 99% of the population. I’m a busted 36-year-old. I’ve been hearing these arguments every generation since the Super Nintendo. They just don’t matter.

The only thing that does is the games. Which is why I fully expect PlayStation to kick Xbox’s buns. They just make better games. As always, I’m loving the conversation on the Inbox and respect people’s opinions, who clearly know and care much more about what makes a console work.


Inbox also-rans
That Baldur’s Gate 3 does actually look really good. Yet another example of a relatively small developer making games that look and play better than companies with hundreds more people working on them. Look at you Ubisoft and EA.

Not really video game related but has GameCentral seen the new trailer for the Netflix Transformers animation?
Andrew J.

GC: We’re not impressed. The animation, script, and voiceovers all seem very low quality.


This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks what’s the most infamous let-down you’ve had with video games?

The obvious choice is a game or console you were really looking forward to but it can also include preview events, or shows like E3, that ended up being a disappointment. Do you think the let-down was the company’s fault or would you admit to having unreasonable expectations?

Did the disappointment cause you to readjust how you look forward to new games and announcements? Are you often disappointed by games or events or have you since learnt to keep expectations in check?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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