SEGA E3 2012 Roundup

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SEGA had a fairly muted showing at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, but it was still rich with unique and diverse titles across every major platform, like fans of the company can always expect. SEGA also had some very unexpected surprise reveals and announcements, some received better than others.

Anarchy Reigns and Rhythm Thief are especially notable for not having a proper slot at SEGA’s booth this year. I suggested previously that these games are likely canceled in North America, but SEGA has hinted that this may not be the case.

After the break we have included each game SEGA of America focused on during the event. as well as other titles related to the company. We have read hundreds of articles and compressed it all into a basic read.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: Colonial Marines is the latest SEGA-funded game based on the Aliens film franchise by 20th Century Fox. A first person shooter set as a direct sequel to the 1986 film Aliens, players get the chance to experience what happened to other stranded marines mentioned in the film.

Although previous events have had playable builds of Aliens: Colonial Marines, multiplayer modes were available to the public for the first time at E3 2012. Several previewers noted that the game felt less scripted when compared to their last time playing, something that has remained a concern for many since the game was first revealed.

Developed by Gearbox, the game has been delayed numerous times with the most recent announcement revealing that it was delayed into February of next year, missing the Wii U launch, of which it was supposed to be a big release for. It will be available at retail on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Wii U.

The Cave

The Cave is an adventure game with platforming elements. It has been compared to Maniac Mansion and the Monkey Island series of games, both of which were created by Ron Gilbert, the lead of The Cave.

On SEGA’s show floor the game obtained much praise for it’s pacing, art and puzzles although some noted that it may be unwise in comparing it directly to the likes of Monkey Island in fears of over-hyping the overall package. Regardless, it won a ‘Best In Show’ award from Game Informer.

Developed by Double Fine Productions, The Cave will be available for download in early 2013 on Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation 3’s PlayStation Network and Steam on PC.

Dead or Alive 5

The upcoming continuation of Tecmo’s Dead or Alive fighting franchise has been receiving a lot of positive attention not just due to it’s new art style and improved gameplay mechanics, but also because of it’s inclusion of Akira Yuki from SEGA’s Virtua Fighter series. At the event, several returning characters from past Dead or Alive games were shown, but also that another Virtua Fighter character would be included, Sarah Bryant.

Although the game was not found at SEGA’s show floor at E3, SEGA of Europe has previously confirmed that they will be publishing the game in Europe. Available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Tecmo Koei has said the game will be ready for a late September retail release across all regions.

Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit

Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is a downloadable 2D action platformer with a heavy emphasis on gunplay and dark humor in a cartoony setting. Inspired by classic action games, players control the rabbit prince of Hell as he gets revenge for embarrassing images of himself that were leaked onto the ‘Helternet’.

It was received well at SEGA’s booth, with a large amount of people praising the use of colors and fluid action at a stable 60 frames per second.

Developed by French indie developers Arkedo Studio, Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is expected to release this summer on Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation 3’s PlayStation Network and Steam on PC.

Jet Set Radio

Jet Set Radio is a re-release of the iconic 2000 Dreamcast game. Presented in high definition, this new version features additional graffiti art made by fans in a recent contest, new control options for right analog sticks, touch controls (for the PlayStation Vita version) and retains almost every licensed song from the extended release De La Jet Set Radio. Only two of which are missing.

The game was received very well at E3, with several previewers enjoying the additional camera controls on the right analog stick. Many were impressed with how well the visuals have aged.

The downloadable game is set for a summer release on Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation 3’s PlayStation Network, Steam for PCs and also the PlayStation Vita.

Project Diva F

The most surprising SEGA title at E3 this year was easily the new Project Diva F making an appearance on the PlayStation Vita show floor. Most interesting of all, this was done by SEGA of Japan without the American branch’s consent.

The Project Diva series of music games stars the digital idol Miku Hatsune from the Vocaloid sound program that has become a massive success story in Japan, but has yet to become available in other major regions in video game forum. SEGA of Japan hopes it’s presence at E3 will change this and bring attention to it.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz

The latest release in the Super Monkey Ball series of games, Banana Splitz takes place inside a toy box and features several level layouts from past games in the series. Designed as a more challenging game, similar to what was expected of the franchise when it was brand new.

Banana Splitz was received well at E3 and is getting a fair amount of attention as it is one of the only announced upcoming Vita games that will be released in every region this year.

The game will be released this winter exclusively for the PlayStation Vita and features several control options to take advantage of the platforms’s unique hardware. It is unknown if the game will retain the cameo model SEGA is using to advertise in Japan, but it seems unlikely considering it’s mature nature.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is the upcoming sequel to 2010’s Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, a family friendly racing game designed around SEGA themed characters and worlds. The Transformed title comes from how player’s vehicles will change depending on if the turrain they happen to be on, such as boating in a lake. At E3, SEGA revealed the iconic Joe Musashi from the Shinobi series of games and Shadow the Hedgehog as well as real-life NASCAR racer Danica Patrick all as playable characters; The later of which was not shown in-game.

SEGA presented this title as their biggest of E3, in particular the reveal of Danica Patrick as a large part of the marketing as she will compete in a racing event this November with a special Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed car. This news confused those not from the United States who are not familiar with Danica herself and frustrated many fans hoping the game would be a celebration of SEGA’s licenses. Steve Lycett, the producer of Transformed went to several online forums in hopes of calming fans with the information that they may enjoy the vehicle she drives in the game, leaving several fans speculating that she may be driving the Hornet car from Daytona USA.

The game itself was enjoyed by many on the show floor, several were surprised with how enjoyable the boating portions of the races were and many were happy to see more characters from less childish games from SEGA’s history, such as Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe.

Developed by SUMO Digital, Transformed will be available late this year at retail on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation Vita and for download on PC.

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown is the latest release in the critically acclaimed Virtua Fighter franchise. A massively expanded upon release compared to it’s original console version from 2006 and 2007 with new mechanics, characters, levels and thousands of new customizable costumes, Final Showdown is a download-only release, easily SEGA’s most ambitious yet.

Previews of the game were non-existant as the game was released on the first day it was playable at E3.

Developed for arcades and home consoles by SEGA AM2, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown is available for download right now on Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation 3’s PlayStation Network.

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My view

This was easily one of the weakest E3s for SEGA in the history of the expo, but not because of the quality of the games. SEGA only had seven games at their event. This is not due to their recent restructuring, but their strong push to have several games available right before the event. It seems silly to have over a dozen games releases just weeks before the biggest event in the industry only to not have them featured at it completely. The newest SEGA Vintage Collection releases are all outstanding accomplishments at incredible prices, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II is the latest main-series Sonic release, why would their star franchise not be at E3 (not counting Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed)?

If games like Anarchy Reigns and Rhythm Thief truly are not canceled, then why were they not featured? Especially as they are supposedly set for release so soon, why support them even less? The later was even mentioned during Nintendo’s 3DS software event during E3, saying there is a downloadable demo on the way. All of this makes even less sense when considering how poorly the PlayStation Vita platform is doing compared to ones Anarchy Reigns and Rhythm Thief are available on, yet a large portion of SEGA’s games at the event are available on it?

SEGA can be pretty weird.

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