E3 2008: The developer's view from Team 17

Nintendo doesn't rock

Expectations, among gamers, are always incredibly high when it comes down to what we expect (want) from Nintendo at E3.

Brown admits, like many of us, he " perhaps expected too much" and "was quite underwhelmed by the Nintendo conference."

"As ever, there is a very strong first party title line-up, it's clear that they have the mass market pretty much nailed and eating out of their hands, although I just didn't get Wii Music and was embarrassed just watching the 'performance' – and I'm one who'll happily plays Rock Band in public!"

So what was the issue with Wii Music?

"Perhaps it was the Nintendo ditties, I dunno, but it just seemed way too detached to be immersive."

Nintendo's biggest announcements at E3 were the WiiSpeak community microphone (shipping with Animal Crossing) and the new, improved motion-sensing control add-on, Wii MotionPlus (demoed with Wii Sports Resort), but Brown remains staunchly on the fence regarding both.

"I'm not sure if the new 'high res' motion add-on is a good thing since it'll fracture the market a little bit (as any improved-add-on tends to do) and it backs up the claims by a number of developers for a while that the original controller, whilst great for 'loose, repetitive gestures' was by no means particularly accurate or fast – which was kind of opposite of the users expectations.

"For WiiSpeak, I imagine this will be shackled by the Nintendo family-feel online, which has thus far mostly knocked the social out of social-online-gaming with the over-protective online systems prohibiting conversation, even by text (largely speaking).

"I guess if it's used in the spirit of the Wii, WiiSpeak will be good for families, but I shudder at the thought of randomly joining a game of Mario Kart with a young American to be told to go do untold bad things with my mother, as is the norm in other voice-activated online titles it seems – unless it's just me!"

Industry in good shape

So, overall Martyn's view seems to echo the consensus at TechRadar that E3 2008 will be remembered for a "good showing from Microsoft and solid if underwhelming ones by Sony and Nintendo."

"I still think the Wii and DS are going to shift more numbers, the 360 and PS3 will continue to slug it out (the 360 now having competition, which is something that couldn't really be said 18 months ago)," adds Brown.

"The industry looks in good shape and as a developer that's a reasonably good thing, as long as the publishers continue to look to the UK for quality titles!"

Adam Hartley