I’ve been to E3 before for the games I’ve worked on and have reached the same conclusion as the vast majority of game developers attendees: Going to E3 sucks.
But what I experienced two weeks ago has changed me forever. As it turns out I struck an amazing amount of luck when I was asked to go to E3 this year to help showcase Disney Epic Mickey with Warren Spector and other Junction Point / Disney Interactive peers.
In previous E3 experiences there would generally be something there to get a little jazzed about (like the odd nomination or spurts of increased booth activity) - but in my opinion it wasn’t worth the pain of going unless you’re really into that kind of thing (and most programmers aren’t into being on their feet all day and yelling over the EA booth next door).
This year I went into E3 with Disney Epic Mickey expecting something a little more positive than before, like more buzz for our title and perhaps even a couple of “Best Wii Game” nominations from the larger outlets – but I wouldn’t allow myself to believe much more was feasible – especially once Nintendo announced their upcoming Zelda, Kirby, Kid Icarus (finally!) and Donkey Kong Country titles.
And then the show floor opened – and within the hour I knew we were on to something extra special. The enthusiasm for our game was simply astounding!
And check out the honors and awards!
- 1UP:Top 10 Best Looking Games of E3 2010
- Bitbag:Best of E3
- Boys Life:Best Game of Show
- Electric Playground: Best of E3
- Entertainment Weekly:21 HOT New Videogames (We were in the top 5 in the print edition)
- GamePro:Best of E3
- GameSpy:Wii Game of Show, Platformer Game of Show, and Best Art Direction
- GamesRadar: Reason to Live
- Gaming Excellence:Best Platformer
- IGN:Best Wii Game and Best Platforming Game
- New York Times:Best Games of E3
- Popular Mechanics:Top 5 Video Games for the Coming Year
- Pure Nintendo:Best Adventure Game
- Techland:Simply the Best, or What Thrilled Us at E3
- X-Play/G4TV:Best Wii Game and Best Action/Adventure
Plus the top-dog, big-enchilada, holy grail of Best of E3 nods – the Game Critics Awards – were announced today and Disney Epic Mickey bagged four nominations:
- Best of Show
- Best Original Game
- Best Console Game
- Best Action/Adventure Game
Obviously a win in any category would be cool, but really, Disney Epic Mickey’s performance at E3 has blown away my wildest expectations to such a degree that I’ll be more than satisfied with what we’ve got now.
But don’t tell Warren I said that.
What this means to me
Of course, doing well at E3 – even exceptionally well – is a far cry from actually shipping top quality software, and any experienced game developer knows the challenge that is before us in these final months for a holiday release date. I may be drunk on E3 right now but I’m very much aware of that fact.
And it’s kind of funny how scary this is in a way. If we were under the radar no one would think much if we didn’t succeed in delivering a true triple-A game to retail. It’s a tough business and most will fail. No big deal. It happens to the best of us.
But now we’re in everyone’s face, so to speak, and it’s time to deliver. It’s possible that I’ll never get the opportunity to work on a game of such potential again - so I’m going all in.
But man, am I ever grateful I got to experience the rush and excitement firsthand on the show floor. It will provide exactly the kind of motivation that will help me blast through the coming long hours and headaches that are part and parcel in the march to ship. If only I could bottle that up and share it with the hard-working folks that couldn’t attend.
And to think: I didn’t even want to go to E3! Sometimes I swear the universe is conspiring for me.