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E3 2017 Vertical Slice, why?


The vertical slice: With about 18 months before Anthem launches (this is without delays) the E3 2017 trailer captured everyone's attention. What was so important for BioWare to announce Anthem at E3 2017? Without any other information such as concept art, screenshots, interviews or any other meaningful details released since E3, the question is why the vertical slice?

The “vertical slice” is a demo that shows the progress of a game, a cross-section of the layers within that game i.e. UI, mission, combat, etc. More important it shows the publisher that development is on track and that additional resources are warranted.. Remember that this is by no means the finished product, but more a proof of concept of all the hard work that has been going on for the past months or years.

What does this mean for all of us. Well it gives us the first look of a game in some detail if the game is a in-game demo (which was crucial) and not just a cinematic. The critical analysis that was given the E3 demo gave us a truthful look at what was offered by BioWare. BioWare truthfully said this was captured in-game on a XBox One (true) in 4K and the technical aspects were amazing. We got a sense of the game but no detail, an overview of what to expect but no who, what or why was given in any meaningful way.

Controlling the narrative: E3 demo was compared to a lot of games but one in particular, Mass Effect-Andromeda, a game that has been dropped. Separate the two games by showing an in-game demo and that this is an Edmonton game not an Montreal game (which has been absorbed). A new IP by a different studio distancing the negative PR from ME4. I believe the strategy worked. Remember that the vertical slice is a marketing tool also and sets the tone and enthusiasm within the gaming community. This also worked or I wouldn't be here and hopefully you reading this article. Edmonton studio creators of the famed Mass Effect 1-3, bring on a well known story writer and create a vertical slice that captures the imagination and shows the mark differences between Anthem and ME4. Yes, I think they pulled it off. The beginning of 2018 may be the real start of the PR campaign, we will see. Here is the real reason (in my estimate) of the vertical slice.

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