It’s been a lukewarm E3 so far. Today, Nintendo will be showing off its good at their press conference, but as of this writing, I haven’t had a chance to see much beyond their initial pre-E3 offerings. Microsoft had a solid showing of first party sequels, interactive features, and third party treats here and there, and while all of that seemed interesting, most of it will be finding its way to another platform. In fact, the whole Smart Glass thing seems a bit like a desperate attempt to replicate the experience offered by Nintendo’s upcoming WiiU tablet interface. That said, there were a few gems that shined slightly brighter than the others yesterday. Chief among them was this bit of gameplay from Naughty Dog’s upcoming PS3 exclusive, The Last of Us.
The gameplay might seem a tad scripted, however you should know by now that its by design. When developers want to demo their technological prowess, they’ll go out of their way to create situations that allow it during these demonstrations. For example, running out of ammo and hearing a click causes an enemy to correctly identify that you’re out of bullets, and thus a sitting duck. A nifty bit of AI, however your partner then takes advantage of that situation herself to set up a surprise attack having seen that you’re out of bullets. This example, although apparently scripted for the presentation, could be avoided by a player with more conservative aiming, or by simply choosing a different path altogether. Suffice to say, it was an incredibly impressive use of AI.
I’m not the only one who seems to agree. Mr. Metal Gear himself, Hideo Kojima, later tweeted that seeing this gameplay made him happy, and jealous — he found it inspiring. Its tweets like that which gives me hope, as a gamer, that the industry will find a way to grow, even when the technology itself stagnates. Setting aside that this is a PlayStation exclusive, hopefully other developers will take something away from this trailer and use it to provide an experience everyone can enjoy. Who knows, maybe Nintendo already has that card up their sleeves. I’m sure we’ll find out today.