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Special Report: E3 2015

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Another year, another E3 has come and gone. While a lot of folks have felt that overall, this year’s E3 was somewhat disappointing, there were certainly some big announcements made. While some of the news was expected, some of the games which were shown came out of nowhere and left gamers speechless. As has become my yearly tradition, I’ve summarized the press conferences from the big three below and selected the game which I thought stood out the most at this year’s E3.
(As ever, massive wall-o-text incoming~)

Microsoft’s recent press conferences have generally been lambasted by gamers. In the waning years of the Xbox 360, they focused heavily on the Kinect whereas the early appearances of the XBone placed too great an emphasis on its place at the center of your entertainment experience rather than its role as a gaming machine. Microsoft opened this year with one of their upcoming juggernauts – Halo 5: Guardians. If I’m not mistaken, this was the first time the game’s campaign was showcased and we were given our first gameplay look at the titular Guardian. Honestly, while I adore the Halo universe, the closer and closer this game gets, the more nervous I become of 343’s vision. They also touched on a new game mode, Warzone, which will pit two teams of twelve players against each other and against AI enemies in massive environments. It sounds intriguing, but at the same time, it feels like a strange step away from the traditional PvP. Microsoft then moved to a new exclusive franchise, Recore. While we didn’t get to see any gameplay, the potential pet mechanics of moving your pet from one robot to another seems intriguing. Microsoft then took a quick break from games to discuss two new developments. The first was that the XBone would now support backwards compatibility. Given the ridiculousness of PS Now, this is a huge advantage Microsoft has over Sony. Microsoft then unveiled a new controller that’s clearly geared towards the most hardcore players. Bethesda presented some more info on Fallout 4 which was mostly overshadowed by the amazing press conference they had given the previous evening, followed by a brief appearance by EA who talked about Madden 16, EA Access, and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. Microsoft then briefly showcased Forza 6 with an arguably unnecessary prop before teasing the third entry in the Dark Souls franchise. The next game to take the stage was The Division, which Ubisoft announced would have an exclusive XBone beta, which was followed by Rainbow Six: Siege. I honestly thought The Division was already out, so I was more than a little surprised to see it at E3 and learn it won’t be out till 2016. Microsoft then teased a new franchise, Gigantic, which looked like an Overwatch clone more than anything else. Microsoft then touted the indie games coming to XBone before turning to gameplay of Rise of the Tomb Raider. This game looks better and better each time I see it, and I’m more than a little bummed that it’s going to be an XBone exclusive at release. Rare then took the stage to show off an interesting pirate game, Sea of Thieves, and reveal a collection of thirty Rare games which will be released later this year. As someone who grew up playing Rare games, I was incredibly disappointed when the company was purchased by Microsoft, and this collection of games has me more than a little jealous of people who get to revisit some of my favorite N64 games. They then presented a Cersei narrated trailer for Fable Legends which will allow XBone and Windows 10 players to play together and freely switch between platforms. Microsoft then moved on to what should have been their final segment, a phenomenal demo of their virtual reality system, Microsoft Hololens. I’ll be honest, I am somewhat skeptical of this technology and had a bit of trouble fully wrapping my mind around it all (in part due to my becoming an old person who does not play Minecraft and needs a tutor to teach me how to tame a horse..), but the near universal praise which has come from E3 about this technology has me hopeful, not just for its applications to gaming, but for its numerous other possible uses. Afterwards, Microsoft closed with one of their stable franchises, Gears of War. Not only did they announce a collection of the previous Gears games, but they also unveiled the next entry in the franchise. This game features new characters and a new story, but the same chainsaw-gun driven combat that made the early games so successful. While there were not a lot of bad things to say about Microsoft’s press conference, there was also very little that was “jump up and cheer” amazing. Halo 5 will definitely be a hit, the Rare Replay is a nostalgic dream, and Hololens has amazing potential. However, Microsoft didn’t have anything that really wowed me this year.

Halo 5: Guardians
Backwards compatibility
Rare Replay
Hololens could be amazing

343 is making me less excited for a Halo game..
Very little coming in this next year that really stood out

Final Grade: B

If you’ve read my previous E3 write-ups, you may have noticed that I have criticized Sony for the lack of information on The Last Guardian almost every year. However, after so many years, I finally can mark that criticism off my list. Sony opened their press conference with a demo of The Last Guardian running beautifully on PS4. This game looks more gorgeous than ever and looks to be a beautiful (spiritual) sequel to ICO and Shadows of the Colossus. Guerilla Games then unveiled their newest franchise, Horizon: Zero Dawn. This game looks to be a third-person role playing game where players hunt mechanical monsters which roam the world and is a drastic break from Guerilla Games’ previous heavy-weight, the Killzone franchise. SE then presented a cinematic trailer for the next Hitman game which was followed by the announcement that Street Fighter 5 would be a PS4 exclusive. After that, players got to revisit the beauty that is No Man’s Sky. For those who don’t remember, this game promises players an infinite universe to explore. While I’m still curious to see how this vast universe will be populated, the gameplay demo certainly made it look more enticing. Media Molecule then took the stage to present the next evolution of their super creative style of games, Dreams. I’ve previously discussed how I lack the creative spark to enjoy these types of games, but if you enjoyed the Little Big Planet games, I imagine this one is right up your alley. We were then briefly introduced to Firewatch, a mystery game set in the mountains of Wyoming, before one of my most anticipated games took the stage -- Destiny: The Taken King. The Taken King is set to be a major Destiny expansion which brings this phenomenal game into its second year. Bungie showed off some of the new enemies, new areas, and most importantly, new subclasses. No game has captured more of my time this past year than Destiny and I’m eagerly waiting for September to roll around so I can delve into this new and exciting content. Ubisoft then presented a trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, the next game in this yearly franchise which features a female protagonist and occurs in London. This was then followed by the segment which has undoubtedly received the most discussion here on BG, the reveal of an adorable Final Fantasy game and a CG trailer which unveiled Final Fantasy VII: Remake. Now look, like all Final Fantasy fans, I’m excited that SE has finally officially announced a remake of FFVII. However, as the week has gone on, the realization that the game is at least five years away and will likely look very different from the game we fell in love with so many years ago has set in. While I’m glad that SE has finally put an end to the rumors and questions about a new FFVII, my excitement will have to wait till we get some more tangible information on this game. I think this segment was followed by one about indie games (I was honestly still excited by the FFVII news and think I was texting like three people at the time..) and then the reveal of a Kickstarter for Shenmue 3. From what I gather, this game was already going to be made, and the two million goal was essentially a marketing test for Sony. Warner Bros then debuted a new trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight which has me eagerly waiting for its release next week. Sony then showcased its own virtual reality system, Project Morpheus, which was mostly overshadowed by Microsoft’s presentation earlier in the day. They then discussed Playstation Vue, an a la carte TV plan which will purportedly allow customers to pick their channels rather than buying bundles like we currently have to do. Sony then unveiled their partnership with Activision, complete with preferential treatment for the latest Call of Duty, Black Ops 3. If you’re a Call of Duty fan, you’re probably excited (or furious that Microsoft is no longer the golden child); if you’re not, it’s just another CoD game at this point. Sony then briefly touched on Star Wars Battlefront and the Star Wars inclusion into Disney Infinity before moving onto their final game, Uncharted 4. While the demo did look nice (after a minor hiccup), I was more than a little disappointed that the demo featured so much driving. Honestly, like many, I feel this new take on the Tomb Raider franchise was inspired by Uncharted, and so I’m pretty disappointed that the new Tomb Raider has me more excited than Uncharted 4. Sony definitely had some big announcements, but their biggest problem was that so much of what they showed won't be out soon. Don't get me wrong, I get that E3 is about showing the future, but it is hard to get really excited about an indefinite future with no tangible end in sight.

Finally got new information on The Last Guardian and scheduled for 2016!!!
Destiny: The Taken King!!!
FFVII Remake is finally happening!!!
No Man’s Sky still looks promising..

No gameplay of FFVII, so it is probably years away
Why am I more excited for Tomb Raider than Uncharted 4..?
Nothing on the PS Vita

Final Grade: B+

As they’ve done in previous years, Nintendo again chose to stick with a Nintendo Direct rather than a massive press conference. This year, Nintendo decided to only focus on games coming out in the remainder of 2015 and the early part of 2016. Of course, this meant that the recently delayed but still highly anticipated open world Zelda for Wii U did not make an appearance. True to form, Nintendo opened this E3 with puppets leading into a reveal of Starfox Zero for the Wii U. This game is a reimagining of the original entry into the franchise which harkens back to the old N64 game while offering new gameplay and improved graphics. Using the Direct and the Treehouse during the day, Nintendo showcased how players could focus on the game world on their TV while getting a view from the cockpit through the Wii U screen. After the brief tease last year, I was surprised when Nintendo announced this game would be out during the holidays. Nintendo then showcased the ridiculous gameplay of Mario Maker, meant to celebrate Mario’s thirtieth anniversary this year. Nintendo briefly touched on some new Amiibos and the games which would include them before a brief segment of Skylanders which would integrate two new Donkey Kong and Bowser Amiibos. Although the Wii U Zelda was not shown, Nintendo debuted Triforce Heroes, a new Zelda for the 3DS. This game returns to the style of Wind Waker and features three player coop and multiplayer. Rather than items, the game also looks to feature costumes which grant specific abilities. Nintendo also announced a 3DS release of Hyrule Warriors which will be released in the first quarter of 2016. One of the most controversial reveals of this Nintendo Direct was Metroid Prime: Federation Force. This 3DS game is a coop shooter set in the Metroid universe, but strangely does not feature Samus. While I am disappointed that Nintendo has not announced a new Metroid game in quite some time (longer if you're like me and still pretending Other M never happened..), I’ve also learned not to judge Nintendo games so quickly. The original Metroid Prime is still one of my top ten games, so I imagine I will likely pick this one up, assuming I can play it on my nub-less old 3DS. Next up, Nintendo presented a dubbed trailer for Fire Emblem: Fates, the western title of Fire Emblem: IF, which will hopefully include all three storylines rather than forcing players to purchase different versions. Atlus then presented a singing game of sorts which I honestly spaced out during, which was followed by a game I’ve been waiting for -- Xenoblade Chronicles X. Not only does this game still look amazing, but Nintendo announced it will be out in December. Nintendo then presented Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival. I’ve never really gotten into or really played any of the Animal Crossing games, so I really don’t have much to say about either of these. Yoshi’s Wooly World took the stage next and continues to be one of the most adorable games ever. Nintendo also announced special wooly amiibos which will be released alongside the game in October. Next up, Nintendo showed a trailer for a game called Yo-Kai Watch before giving us our first look at Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam, which was described as a collision between the Mario and Luigi games and the Paper Mario games. While I never played any of the Mario and Luigi games, the Paper Mario games were always hilarious and fun to play, so I’m pretty excited for this one, especially since the trailer looked more like a Paper Mario game. Nintendo then unveiled Mario Tennis Ultra Smash before closing with a brief segment on Mario Maker which showcased some of the history of the development of the early Mario games. While Nintendo had some strong games which I’m excited for (Starfox Zero, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Fire Emblem: Fates), they also disappointed a lot of fans. Part of the issue is that Nintendo offers Nintendo Directs fairly frequently, so many games which would have been shockers had already been revealed. Of course, the voices which have clamored for a new Starfox game have joined those who clamor for a new Metroid game which has only gotten louder with the reveal of Federation Force. Honestly, while it wasn’t a strong press conference, Nintendo chose to focus on a lot of exciting games which will be out shortly rather than games with indefinite release dates, which is something neither Microsoft nor Sony cannot say they did. Personally, I did not think Nintendo did that terrible a job, but that's because there were more games shown which I'm planning to purchase in this next year than I saw at the other press conferences.

Starfox Zero – Out this year
Xenoblade Chronicles X – Out in December
Fire Emblem: Fates confirmed for early 2016
New Zelda (possibly set in New Hyrule)

No Zelda Wii U
Metroid Prime: Federation Force was not what people were expecting
So much of what was shown has been already revealed by other Nintendo Directs

Final Grade: C

Game of E3: Fallout 4
For a lot of people, the reveal of Final Fantasy VII probably stole the show. However, a teaser for a game that’s probably five years away didn’t do it for me. Instead, Bethesda’s reveal of Fallout 4, which took the stage early and stayed at the forefront all week long, was the big winner for me this year. I think a lot of people, myself included, were expecting an announcement of Fallout 4 sooner rather than later, but I doubt there were many who were expecting it would be out in less than six months. Bethesda’s most recent games, Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, have both been phenomenal games which have rightfully earned Fallout 4 a powerful wave of hype.

So there are my thoughts on E3 2015, but what were your thoughts? While I was not very impressed by any of the press conferences, were you? Do you agree that Fallout 4 was the best game of the show, or maybe another game stood out to you more? And most importantly, what games have you most excited for this upcoming year of gaming and which games are day one purchases?


  1. Kaslo -
    Kaslo's Avatar
    I feel Horizon: Zero Dawn should be in the Sony Pros