It's a safe bet that developers are never going to take my advice and spend their money on making better games instead of blowing it all at the industry-wide wank known as E3. For this I am grateful. As a semi-pro videogame doomsayer, under-funded and over-hyped titles are there to play Costello to my Abbot. Without a steady stream of ill-conceived disappointments filling the shelves at Gamestop and begging for a verbal flogging, I'm not sure I could find the strength to get out of bed in the morning. With that in mind, let me engage in a little preemptive whinge and tell you how and why the darlings of E3 are going to let you down.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Yes, everyone wants to be a Jedi. Because Jedi are special. Except, in an MMO, you can simply choose to be a Jedi. Which means being a Jedi is about as exotic as being right-handed.

Anyone making an MMO of Star Wars has to make the choice between making the game follow the Star Wars rules or making it balanced, because a Jedi is deliberately not balanced when compared to anything that doesn't have force powers, a lightsaber, super reflexes, the ability to see the future, the power to shoot lightning from their fingers, and the voice of James Earl Jones. You'll either play in a world where the Jedi class is so powerful that nobody wants to play anything else, or one where a Jedi is a sad mockery of the characters we see in the movies. In either case, it will be a world where half the people you meet have force powers, most of them are more powerful than you, and they all talk like retards.

Sure, the idea of playing a noble and mysterious Jedi might be appealing, but ten minutes after logging in you'll find your self in the Goldshire, but with lightsabers. You're not going to be hanging out with Mace Windu, Yoda, and Luke Skywalker. You're going to be in some sewer under Coruscant, killing gonga-rats for 10XP each with fellow party members "Ninjaguydan", "Abcdef", and "Manparts".

Heavy Rain

Developer Quantic Dream is making a story-driven game with unconventional mechanics that allows you to explore a given story from multiple points of view. That sounds great and exciting, unless you remember that they already did that, and it was a disaster. Indigo Prophecy (aka Fahrenheit, aka Mr. Stabby and Incan Wizard Go Bananas in the Big Apple) has the distinction of having the most ridiculous plot I've seen in a videogame, ever. And that includes Burgertime and Halo.

All of the original elements are here. An unconventional control scheme that uses a fancy system of gestures to perform mundane tasks like turning doorknobs and standing up. A mystery surrounding a serial killer. Investigation-based gameplay. Quasi-quicktime event driven action. Changing viewpoints. An ongoing weather theme. (Fahrenheit took place during an endless snowstorm. Using my Jedi powers of precognition, I predict that Heavy Rain will likewise have some sort of dense precipitation thing going on.)

Unless Quantic Dream gathered together enough condensed stellar mass to have it all collapse into a singularity, and then flung their entire staff of writers into the resulting black hole, making sure to not begin work on Heavy Rain until after the writers had crossed the event horizon and it was impossible for them to influence the development of the game in any way, then this game will likely be more of the same: An hour of brilliance and mystery followed by six hours of weapons-grade balderdash.

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