BEYOND THE MARQUE-E3, A Look Back at This Years Expo

E3's 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo

In a year that was especially quiet for such a huge trade show, there was an interesting but subtle trend that emerged if you looked closely enough: the line between movies and games is being blurred.

There were several movie tie-ins on the show floor, which is never a surprise. The surprise that came from this year was how many of them didn’t have a corresponding film release. Aliens, Star Trek, Harry Potter, as well as a few games that take place in movie universes, are all getting releases scheduled within the next year.





Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: Colonial Marines is probably one of the most surprising games of the show. The gameplay is first-person shooter style with an emphasis on “last stand” moments where characters will have to defend one spot by setting up defenses and welding doors. The classic xenomorphs are back (everything from the facehugger to the Queen) as well as a few new ones made for the game. The amazing part of all of this is that 20 Century Fox is considering the game an official part of Alien canon and is being called a true sequel to James Cameron’s film, with the events taking place after Alien 3.


Star Trek

In a move that is more expected, a Star Trek game was being shown. The game, based on the film and upcoming sequel by J. J. Abrams, reunites the cast of voices from the movies to tell a story that will bridge the gap between the two movies. Classic villains, the Gorn, return as the game’s enemy, while you play as Kirk, but the game really shines when you bring in a friend to play as Spock, who can assist you by scanning for enemies, using the Vulcan nerve pinch, and mind-melding to gain information. The current time frame for Star Trek is quarter one of 2013, putting it near to the release date for the currently untitled film sequel.


Harry Potter for Kinect

When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 came out for the Xbox it had Kinect support, however Part 2 did not. We now know that they were putting that effort toward a whole game based in the Harry Potter universe that uses the Kinect. As well as casting spells with specific hand gestures and incantations, you will also be able to fly on a broom to play Quidditch, all while playing as yourself thanks to facial capturing technology. Not a lot was shown, little more than a few technical demonstrations, but it is clear that the game will cover content from all eight films and is currently slated to come out this year.



There were a few movie games that were to be expected. The Amazing Spider-Man, a game based on the upcoming movie, was shown and looks to be pretty great. Some games based on film universes included Lego games for both Batman and Lord of the Rings. Disney had a BRAVE video game to show with stunning visuals (it really won’t be long before Pixar movies look identical to the video game counterparts) and fun gameplay. The Brave video game is due out in less than a week on the 19th.


Disney's; Wreck-it-Ralph

But one huge piece of content in the Disney booth wasn’t a game at all, but was instead a movie based on a fictional video game. Wreck-it Ralph is a movie coming out from Disney about a video game bad guy who wants to be a good guy. The connection to a video game trade show is obvious, but I was a little disappointed there wasn’t a video game announced to coincide. The premise seems well suited to it. Here’s hoping for at least a Fix-it Felix game.

More than just making games based on movies however, a number of developers were showing off games that seemed specifically intended to pull as many strengths from films as they could into gaming.



Warner Bros. was showing off a game called Injustice, which features characters from the DC universe. Only six characters were shown (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Harley Quinn, and Solomon Grundy) although the final number should be much higher. The game is being developed by NetherRealm, the developer behind Mortal Kombat, and it plays fairly similarly, but a huge emphasis was put on the style in which the fight was presented and the degree to which the environments factor in. When fighting in the Batcave, equipment gets destroyed. When fighting in Metropolis, cars become weapons and you move throughout the city. Victories are rewarded with something that looks like the closing shot to a movie. When navigating your way through the menus in the game it feels more like a DVD than video game.


1313 by LucasArts

LucasArts was showing a game based in the Star Wars universe called Star Wars 1313. The title refers to the 5000 levels of Coruscant. Behind closed doors LucasArts revealed that every company under the Lucas umbrella was helping out. Skywalker Sound is doing the audio, and even Industrial Light and Magic have modified their tools so that all of their expertise in making movie special effects come to life can be done in real-time while you’re playing in the world they’ve presented. As far as technical demonstrations go, it was by far the most impressive in the show.



The game that I believe will do the most to make you believe the world around you is filled with people is Watch Dogs. This is a game that had been kept completely secret and left everybody stunned. While everybody else’s approach to making games more cinematic involves taking the language of film and applying it to videogames, Watch Dogs is the first game to go after the concept of immersion. You play a man who has the ability to hack into any connected device, and because that includes every cellphone, the game has a cellphone, and therefore a story, for every person living in that city. This game is also especially noteworthy in that it is the only game on this list that is not a pre-existing intellectual property.

The trend towards cinematic presentations in video games has been around for a while, but has never been more apparent as it is now.  And who knows? As gaming hardware gets more powerful, the tools to make games get more sophisticated, the people who play them get more demanding, and the people who make them get more creative, we may even find ideas converging to create storytelling experiences that movies can never achieve. As a gamer, the most exciting days are definitely ahead of us.

by Jeremy Seeliger (BTM Gaming Reporter & Marquee’ologist)








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2 Responses to “BEYOND THE MARQUE-E3, A Look Back at This Years Expo”

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