Various online game sites are coming out with their Best of E3 round-ups, and I just finished reading IGN's, where Prey was nominated in two categories, Best FPS and Most Innovative Design (rightfully losing to the Wiimote). Not bad, especially since we only showed the weakest facet of the game, multiplayer. But, this is not to point of this little rant.
One thing I noticed -- it was hard not to! -- is that practically every category winner was an original IP. Not including sports categories, there was just one licensed game that won a major category: Age of Conan won "Best Persistent World Game" (with the other nominations being original titles). Real quick, a clarification on what I mean by "original game": A game representation an IP (or brand) that was first developed for the video game market.
Looking at the other major categories, we see that IGN gave "Best Action Game" to Assassin's Creed (both runner-ups were also originals). In the "Best FPS" category, all nominations, and of course the winner therefore, were originals. Same for these categories: "Best Adventure Game," "Best Platformer," and "Best Puzzle Game." "Best Multiplayer Game" went to Gears of War, an original IP (although indistinguishable from Unreal universe, but hey, we can ignore this as Unreal is also original). "Best RPG" is owned by Bioshock (original) and the runner-up went to another original IP, Mass Effect. "Technical Excellence" meet Spore. "Best Music Game," hello Guitar Hero 2. And whaddaya know, "Game of the Show," say hello, Bioshock. Oh, with the three runner-ups all being original too, Mass Effect, Super Mario Galaxy, and Spore.
Gee, where's all the licensed games that are suppose to "rock our world" like an Infogrames promotional song? Whomever signed the go ahead for Lord of the Rings Online surely thought they had signed pure gold, no? I mean, those movies were bigger than big, and so just Like The Matrix Online, LOTR Online is a sure bet. Right?
And then the most read book since the Bible, the Da Vinci Code, with its own movie timed perfectly with the game's release, and yet the game is no where to be seen. What's up with that?
Star Trek Legacy anyone? Anywhere? Scotty, can you hear me? Oh, and what about Scarface, with one of the most elaborate theater set-ups at E3. Seriously. They made you climb stairs to see the demo, just like the stairs in the film. How cool is that! Not cool enough to get anyone to care about this game, apparently.
Nope, at E3, the buzz was always about original games, like Supreme Commander, Stranglehold, Lost Planet, Crysis, Redsteel, Company of Heroes, Splinter Cell, Dead Rising, Zelda, the WoW expansion, Quake Wars, and all of those IGN award winners and nominees.
Is it any wonder that publishers are all making announcements that they're shifting focus a little more toward original IPs. Sure, they're a little slow at catching on to trends that have been stunningly obvious for 10+ years, but I still give them a little credit...better later than never. The problem now is that they won't shift enough in the direction of original IP -- their mix should never be more than 20% licenses (not including sports and kids licenses). But, I get the impression they will still rely far too much on Hollywood to supply them with ideas because, let's face it, it's easier to license ideas than to spawn a creative thought on your own.