No, I don't really think the Penny Arcade guys stole my line. I just like having a lot of positive reinforcement and showing off how smart I am. (Why else would I have quoted N'Gai's reply?)
It's pretty amazing at how uniformly terrible the feedback has been from E3. For an industry that's never been bigger, never been healthier, never had the credibility that it does now (witness state after state fall all over itself offering tax incentives for game development), you'd think that people would take more risks, do more interesting things - you know, surprise us.
The only people who were surprised were the LucasArts people, who just totally had The Clone Wars Nerf'd - they should cancel/delay it for Wii Motion Plus, because they're going to make a ton of cash once they actually do have a user-friendly one-to-one lightsaber duel game.
But let me make a clarion call - please, publishers, get some guts. (I'll give the developers a pass - and for good reason.) All we've been getting are more of the same - more peripherals! more sequels! more crossovers!
And let's not even get into the new "hotness" of turning video games into Mach 18 razors, where the $60 game is the razor and the overpriced DLC are the blades. Razor and blade model is taught from day one in business school, but it should stay to razors and blades. Episodic gaming is the just the bastard child of this mentality, as well.
Make a good, full game and we'll happily pay full price for it. I mean, did you see the sales numbers for New Super Mario Bros.? Doesn't have to be 80 hours - it just has to be good.
Look, I know that you're supposed to make stuff that people want. And the easy thing to do is to give people more of what they're buying now. But just as we've learned from Friendster that scaling is important, learn something from your media bretheren - don't pull a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire move and kill the golden goose by shoveling our mouths full. Take a tentpole and then give us new stuff. Friends is a success? Great, schedule something new at 8:30 (7:30 Central).
And just to make the previous point really, really clear: this is the exact opposite of what Microsoft did with Crackdown - you're not supposed to take crap and get us to buy it so we can get into your beta. You're supposed to take your Halo and be like: we like this too, it's different - try it out.
There are all sorts of developers who want to try new things - hell, it's why you lose your best people. Bungie did not want to make Halo 4, and can you blame them? I mean, Clover gave you Viewtiful Joe (link goes to my favorite in the series), and it was good enough to get a sequel (see - sequels can be good when they're good and a little different) and a port, and then you disband it after Okami? For shame.
So let's not kill the golden goose - try new things. There are easy ways to get new stuff that you believe in out there. I've only outlined one - there are surely others. It's good for you, it's good for your shareholders, and it's good for gamers.