I spent the day watching the live streams of E3. Last year, I made a video highlighting all of what I saw during the E3 Press Conferences. That video was over an hour long, so I decided to condense this year’s E3 into an article of my opinions of E3. Below are my opinions on each of the press conferences separately. At the end, I’ll have a summary of what I thought of this year’s E3 Press Conferences as a whole.
Day “1”, officially Day 0. First of all, I want to state that this Microsoft Press Conference was the best press conference of theirs in the last few years. Recently, they would take a lot of time announcing new apps and Kinect games for the Xbox, which a number of people didn’t really care about. This year, Microsoft came right out of the gate saying “We’re dedicating the entire briefing to games”, and boy were they right. Microsoft showing off new games was really needed since previously they’d show off too many other things, and not much in terms of “hardcore” games.
During the pre-show, Microsoft showed off an achievement tracking software that kept those pesky “kill 100 enemies with the pistol” achievements in line by showing a live updating progress bar snapped to the side of the screen.
Microsoft opened up the press conference showing gameplay of Call of Duty: Advance Warfare. The graphics and facial animations definitely looked very impressive. While I was watching it, I started to question whether I was watching a live action trailer, or a gameplay trailer. However, it was definitely a Call of Duty trailer. I didn’t really care much about it.
Sunset Overdrive looks just as fun as it did when it was announced. During the gameplay trailer, they made a jab at modern shooters by the main character walking up to a generic military guy hiding behind a crate and saying “cover mechanic huh?” The gameplay looks very fluid, and it looks just ridiculous enough to be amazing. My only worry is how it would function. If the snap-to-ledge functionality gets in the way of what I’m trying to do, then it can easily be a bust.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity was announced with having 4 player co-op. I believe that this was a game mode that is a good decision for the Assassin’s Creed series. The gameplay trailer they showed that showed off the co-op gameplay looked really fun. However, the end was super brutal, and is not recommended for weak stomachs.
During the Fable Legends announcement, they showed off a gameplay mode that is along the lines of “Villain vs. Heroes”. When you play as the villain, the game functions as a hybrid of a Real Time Strategy and Tower Defense game. It looks really fun!
Project Spark still looks really cool. The trailer they showed off was done really well. They also showed off the many different games that have been created using Project Spark. I’m still excited to see these games come out of the community. They then teased that Conker from Conker’s Bad Fur Day was going to be in the game. I, along with many other people, thought that was then leaning towards an actual Conker game, but of course Rare was still nowhere to be found…
During the Halo announcement, they announced three things: Halo 5: Guardians, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and Halo: Nightfall. 343 Industries announced that the entire Master Chief series (Halo 1-4) would be sold on one disc and span all four games. It was also announced that it would include multiplayer from these games, untouched from the original. Along with that, they announced that Halo 2 would get the same treatment that Halo 1 did by getting a full HD overhaul. Halo 5: Guardians was announced to have the beta included in Halo: The Master Chief Collection along with the TV series Halo Nightfall.
Microsoft showed off some more for The Division. They showed off some additional gameplay that looked very interesting. However, there’s still not much being shown. I was still confused while watching it, because I wasn’t sure if the dialog was done by the players, or if it was dialog given by the game.
Microsoft had an Indie Game Showcase that showed off Aztez, Knight Squad, Plague Inc, White Night, Earthlock: Festival of Magic, Cuphead, Hyper Light Drifter, Lifeless Planet, Slash Dash, Fru, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, Mighty No. 9, Grave, Threes, FenixRage, Woolfe, #IDARB, Hellraid, and Below. These were really quick trailers, but I’m excited to see that Microsoft is showing off Indie Games.
Other games that were announced, but really only showed a trailer were: Forza 5 DLC, Forza Horizon 2, Evolve, Dragon Age: Inquisition, DeadRising 3 DLC, Disney Fantasia Music Evolved, Dance Central Spotlight, Ori and the Blind Forest, Inside, Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Phantom Dust, Scalebound, and Crackdown.
EA’s press conference had a lot of what was expected (EA Sports games), but had some surprises as well.
EA kicked off the press conference with a dev diary for Star Wars: Battlefront. They showed off some of the environments that they did some research on environments from the movie. From the little bit of gameplay they showed, I’m getting really excited for this.
EA also showed off some more gameplay for Dragon Age: Inquisition. They showed off a cool feature that they called “tactical camera” where the battle pauses, and you can give orders for your other characters for when the game resumes play.
My biggest excitement came from when EA announced a new Mass Effect game! They showed off a dev diary with the developers explaining that they are designing massive worlds for you to explore. No trailer or gameplay for it, but it exists!
EA wrapped up the press conference with Battlefield Hardline. The gameplay took me by surprise because it’s not a generic “modern military” shooter. In fact, the gameplay they showed was for a multiplayer game mode called “Cops vs. Criminals”. This looked really intense, and actually got me interested in it. To finish it up, they announced that the closed beta for Battlefield Hardline was available TODAY. You can sign up at http://www.battlefield.com/hardline/beta. It’s a “first come, first serve” basis.
The sports games that they announced, which surprised no one, were UFC (which is including Bruce Lee), NHL 15, PGA Tour (which is utilizing the Frostbite 3 engine), Madden NFL 15 (which is supposed to give more control of the defense), and FIFA 15.
Ubisoft had a lot that it had riding on it. Two years ago, they announced Watch Dogs with a lot of hype with it. Last year, they announced The Division with a lot of hype. This year, what did they announce? First of all, the host, Aisha Tyler (who has hosted the last few years), is an amazing host. She seems very comfortable on stage and knows how to play with the audience. But that’s not what you’re here to read.
Ubisoft started off their press conference with a cinematic trailer for Farcry 4. I’m still not sure of anything about it, but it shows, what I can assume, the bad guy in the story. He and the main character of the game supposedly know each other. The bad guy is also an interesting character to the point that I want to see more about him. Seems like it could be an interesting story.
Next up, Ubisoft announced Just Dance 2015 with the ability to record yourself dancing to put yourself in the game. Cool idea, not sure how much use it’ll get. Then they followed up with a smartphone app called Just Dance Now. This makes it so anyone who has the app can join the game as long as you can see the TV. Your phone acts as the controller.
The Crew looks even better than it did last year. They showed in engine footage of a trip from Miami to LA. This is one of the 2+ hour missions that take you across country which can be cool, or maybe not. Who knows? They’ve also opened up sign ups for the closed beta at http://www.thecrewgame.com/beta.
Shape Up looked just a bit better than most of the “fitness” games that are out there. It makes minigames with workouts, so it gives you a goal to beat your high score. You can also compete with yourself by having it record your previous gameplay. This is an Xbox One exclusive.
The Division showed off some more with a cinematic trailer. Assassin’s Creed: Unity also showed some cinematic footage along with good 5-10 minutes of gameplay. The Heads Up Display reminded me a lot of Watch Dogs with the number of icons. Valiant Hearts: The Great War is based on events of WWI. The cinematic trailer looked really powerful and drew some tears.
Lastly, Ubisoft CEO, Yves Guillemot, came out and announced Rainbow Six: Siege. This looked really cool since it was gameplay footage. It looks like there’s going to be fully destructible environments. You can take many different routes to accomplish your objective. They showed a 5 vs. 5 game where one team had to rescue a hostage taken by the other team. From the gameplay, it looked like you had to really communicate with your team and use actual tactics to complete your objectives.
Which finally brings us to Sony’s press conference. After nearly 12 hours of video game announcements and trailers, Sony has had the pleasure of wrapping up the first day of press conferences.
As we figured, Destiny was going to be shown during the Sony press conference. Little did we know, it was going to be the first of a nearly two hour press conference. Destiny showed off a new cinematic trailer that still keeps my interest in it. It didn’t really reveal much, but it also didn’t hurt anything. Sony also announced that the beta will be available July 17th. If you can’t wait that long, the alpha will be available to Playstation 4 users this Thursday on http://playstation.greatnessawaits.com/. Sony also revealed a white Playstation 4 bundle with Destiny.
Sony then showed us a cinematic trailer for a game called Entwined, a game that uses the same style of controls as Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons where you control both characters with both thumbsticks. This is available for PS4 users now for $9.99. This looks like a really fun game, and I’m always down for supporting indie developers.
After that, Sony revealed Little Big Planet 3, much to the glee of the audience in attendance. There wasn’t really a trailer, but there was actual gameplay on stage. I know this because there were a number of deaths and mistakes that were made during the announcement. Little Big Planet 3 not only showed off Sack Boy, the staple character of the Little Big Planet series, but three additional characters that each have their own abilities. Please welcome Oddock, Toggle, and Swoop to the Little Big Planet family!
Farcry 4 made another appearance on the Sony stage, this time with a gameplay trailer. The backgrounds and graphics looked stunning. They then showed off that there are some co-op elements that can be attained by inviting a friend on Playstation Network, even if they don’t own the game themselves.
No Man’s Sky was a surprise to everyone in the Sony press conference. This came out with a gameplay trailer of a procedurally generated world. According to the developers, Hello Games, there will not be two of the same experiences in No Man’s Sky.
Now we get into the PSN portion of the press conference. Sony announced that they will be bringing YouTube to PS4. You can then press the share button on the controller to immediately upload video clips to YouTube. Sony also announced that they were going to be releasing 25 Free to Play games on PS4 in the next 12 months. In addition to that, Playstation Now (the service that allows you to rent previous generation games and stream them to you PS4) will be available for open beta on July 31st for the PS4. They also had said that for certain Sony TVs, Playstation Now will be available for those. All you’ll need is a Dualshock controller. Sony had also stated that there will be a Ratchet & Clank movie available. After a few additional TV show and movie announcements, Sony announced that all Playstation Plus subscribers will get to view Playstation programming in their entirety for free.
In addition to all of these, there was a ton of games that had trailers shown, but not much in addition to that. Those are The Order 1886, inFAMOUS Second Son DLC centered around Fetch, Bloodborne, Dead Island 2, Battlefield Hardline had a cinematic trailer, Magicka 2, Grim Fandango remastered for PS4, Suda51’s new game Let It Die, Abzu from the creators of Journey, Mortal Kombat X, Metal Gear Solid V, Grand Theft Auto V coming to PS4, Batman Arkham Knight, and finally the reveal of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
Day “2”, technically Day 1, started off with the Nintendo Digital Event. It wasn’t necessarily a “press conference” in the same sense as the other four, but it functioned the same way. Here’s what they showed during the Nintendo Digital Event.
They started off with Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Aime, introducing the Digital Event in Robot Chicken form. This was a running theme throughout the event. I thought it was a fun way to keep the event less “formal” than a regular press conference. They then went to a video of Reggie and Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, fighting each other, which blended into some announcements for Super Smash Bros. Here, they announced that you would be able to use your Miis to fight in Super Smash Bros. You can customize how your Mii fights by giving it one of three classes, Brawler, Swordfighter, or Gunner. From here, you can choose your 4 special moves of a list of 32 moves. At the end of the event, they also revealed that Lady Palutena was confirmed for Super Smash Bros. During this, they also showed off a new thing called Amiibo. This is a figure of a Nintendo character, similar to the Skylander figures, that you can touch to the Wii U Gamepad to load that character into specific games. They announced that Super Smash Bros. will be the first game to take advantage of it with Mario Kart 8 to follow.
Nintendo showed off their new game that looks and feels like Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Yoshi’s Woolly World. Yoshi’s Woolly World looks adorable! Nintendo announced that it will have 2 player capabilities. Hopefully they give one of those knitted Yoshi dolls as a pre-order bonus. I want one!
Nintendo then announced a new Legend of Zelda game (no title given). There wasn’t much information given, but the trailer they showed consisted of a vast field. A field so large, it puts the massive Hyrule Field from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to shame. I’m a big fan of the art style too. It looks like a cross between Twilight Princess and Wind Waker.
Have you ever wanted to easily create your own Mario levels? Well Nintendo announced Mario Maker. It looks like a tool to easily create any level you’d like in the original Super Mario Bros. NES style, or the new Wii U style. Again, I’m very excited to see what people come up with.
A new IP that Nintendo revealed was called Splatoon. Splatoon is an 8 player (4v4 online multiplayer) game that consists of spreading your paint throughout the level. You can move quickly through your own paint to get ahead faster, but if you step on the opposing team’s paint, you slow down. The object of the game is to have a majority of the level covered by your team’s color paint. It also makes great use of the gamepad by giving you a real time updated map. You can also tap the icons of your team’s players to immediately rocket to their position in battle to help them out. Splatoon looks like it could easily be a really fun game! However, Nintendo isn’t really known for having the most reliable online experiences. So, we’ll see how it works out.
Overall, I feel like this is the best E3 of the last few years. I’ve been watching the E3 press conferences since 2009, and the only year that sticks out in my head was 2010 when Kevin Butler came out during the Sony press conference. For the most part, ever since Microsoft unveiled the Kinect, codenamed “Project Natal” at the time, there was way too much time devoted to shoving Kinect and the Playstation Move down people’s throats when they just wanted to see game franchises that they loved. In addition to that, previous press conferences also devoted half the time to new functionalities of the consoles (eg. Netflix, Skype, etc) when again, we just wanted games.
This year, I’m very happy to see Microsoft devote their entire press conference to games, even a couple Kinect games. Most of those games are also franchises that people wanted to see. EA’s press conference, although had some sports games in it, seemed to show a number of more hardcore games. Not to mention the fact that they teased a new Mass Effect game! Ubisoft has been the leader the last few years with their surprise announcements of Watch Dogs and The Division in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Sony actually felt the weakest this year, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sony revealed a number of awesome things, but also devoted a good chunk of time to the Playstation Network, which a number of people could have gone without. Then Nintendo blew a lot of people out of the water by announcing a new Zelda game, a couple Mario themed games, and a new Star Fox game (on the show floor, not in the Digital Event). Not to mention their new IP, Splatoon, looks like it could be a ton of fun!
All in all, it’s been a long couple days, and a lot of information being jammed into my head in a small period of time, but it’s been completely worth it. If you want to watch any of these trailers that I’ve listed, you can look them up on YouTube. I’m very excited to see what’s coming this coming year in video games! It also looks like I’m going to end up with all three consoles again this generation… *moth flies out of wallet*