While many people are still clamoring/bitching about Microsoft's "one more thing" FF13 announcement, a lot of people look away from the developers' titles that build the stepping stones of the consoles' third party support. That being said, while many people are declaring Microsoft the winner of this year's E3, I think the true developer's award this year goes to Sega and the strong game lineup they have for this year at E3.
It's no secret that I have supported Sega since the beginning of time. I still won't forget the defining games that developed Sega - the company, and not Sega - the console. But recent years have not been kind to Sega. While other retro companies have adapted to the 7th console generation, Sega has stayed in the past, developing for arcade companies and releasing crap game after crap game. After Sonic 2006, Sega fans everywhere were ready to bury the symbol that created the company, Mr Sonic the Hedgehog himself. In a game where loading takes up 75% of the game, it followed up with another disappointment of releasing "Seven Rings in Hand" for the Wii (which mind you, I didn't think was terrible but people say otherwise). I haven't played Nights yet, but not too many people are giving it the praise that the first game received so I am glad that I am waiting patiently for the price to go down for this game.
But something mysteriously happened this E3. Somehow, rather than being the antiquated old company that has been stubborn to listen for so long. It seems that they're finally getting something's right with their gaming lineup this year. And most importantly, it all started with trying to bring their mascot to form, Sonic the Hedgehog. I don't want to write any impressions on the trailers as many people have done that already, but I will say that Sonic Chronicles and Unleashed suddenly have piqued my interest again and has brought the hope to revive the company back to 3rd party relevance.
Self admittedly, I haven't played a great Sega game in a long time. We all know how they have to stoop to getting movie licenses and making god-awful Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk games, but I've been more disappointed in Viking: Battle for Asgard and the Club, both of which I thought would be tremendous games but just didn't feel like Sega of old ingenuity, but soon that may change.
The games that will spearhead Sega back into the fray: Mad World, a Okami/Sin City hybrid is so super violently and stylistically cool and looking finer by the minute.
Samba De Amigo with it's addictive theme song 'Al Compas Del Mambo' are looking to make me shake those Wii-motes like a 4 year old on too much sugar. Golden Axe could be great, but as long as there are dwarves and pixies dropping health. Valkyria Chronicles could be a sleeper hit exclusive for PS3, that is if M$ doesn't buy that too.
Sega has been looking on the up and up, and seems to have finally listened to our bitching and moaning of what the Sonic series has become and cleaned it up truly. They've also followed suit by showing some promising games that may restore their ruined reputation from the crap we've been delivered in recent years. Heck, I'll even go as far to say that Sega was a Shenmue 3/Skies of Arcadia 2/Jet Set Radio 2 (3?) away from announcing that rumors of patenting the Dreamcast 2 brand were true and going to manifest into them coming back into the console world (and no the 360 is NOT their reincarnation).
Yes I could say if up until this point, if you've truly missed Sega the company of old, this could be a great year for them and would be wise to start playing some of the stuff they have in store. It has been, after all, 9 years since 9/9/99 and honestly Sega has shown that it was probably the strongest developer coming into E3.