This year’s E3 lineup has me excited like never before. I think this is because there are a lot of titles that they teased us with in 2015 that are now about to be released including the one game that I know I’ll need to take a month off sick to play, Mass Effect Andromeda. There were also a lot of fun surprises and interesting news that I think will make a significant impact on the immediate future of gaming.
The EA lineup was about what you would expect… Titanfall 2 looked beautiful and though not one I’m inclined to play, the idea of a single player campaign intrigues me. FIFA is also not a type of game I’m ever likely to play (woo, sportsball) but the trailer for the campaign actually drew me in and got me interested; however I would prefer to just play the story without having to play the football matches which probably removes the point of the thing entirely.
The new EA Originals game, Fe definitely has me interested with its beautiful styling and unique game mechanics involving music and sound; I’m glad they recognized the success they had in Unraveled and are continuing to go in the indie direction.
One of the biggest reveals from EA was that there are going to be two new original Star Wars games but not a whole lot of information was provided; I assume that the 2017 E3 we’ll probably get the trailers for the games if not launch dates.
And of course, Mass Effect Andromeda. I was so happy to get more of a look at it, but I was disappointed at how little was actually revealed. Considering the game was originally supposed to have launched this winter, I was hoping for something more substantial than just gorgeous landscapes and familiar aliens. More bits and pieces were revealed about the game throughout the course of E3 though, so I’m continuing to sit at maximum excitement; it’s clear the game is going to be bringing back some of my favorite things from ME1 like exploration and the Mako, so I’m sure I’ll be happy.
Bethesda surprised us with announcing Quake Champions; I played Quake many years ago and since then I’ve drifted away from that kind of gaming, but Champions might convince me to check it out again.
What everyone was waiting to hear about of course was anything having to do with Elder Scrolls; Bethesda revealed Elder Scrolls Legends, a digital trading card game much like Hearthstone, and also announced a remastered Skyrim for PS4 and Xbox One with some form of modding ability.
They also had some news about Elder Scrolls Online, a forthcoming Dark Brotherhood DLC, and most interesting and intriguing to me, is One Tamriel – a game wide altercation that removes level restrictions on content so that everyone can access everything in whatever order they so wish. This is the first time something like this has been done in an MMORPG, but I think this is an amazing development and I’ll be interested to see whether this catches on.
There were also some Fallout 4 announcements including Fallout 4 Workshop, a Fallout Shelter update that will make it available on PC, and most exciting to me, fully playable Fallout 4 VR coming to HTC Vive in 2017.
Bethesda also introduced a new game called Prey with a very gritty but beautiful looking trailer with just enough elements to make it compelling. I was ready to be sad about a male protagonist (which was featured in the trailer) but according to Rock Paper Shotgun you’ll be able to choose your protagonist’s gender.
Last, but maybe the most exciting to me is Dishonored 2, coming out November 11th I never played the first Dishonored, but the trailer and the gameplay Bethesda premiered already has me on board. It looks incredibly amazing which they took great pains to achieve by developing the Void engine saying they wanted to make it “look like a painting in motion”. The game mechanics seem badass, and I love that even though when you begin the game you can chose between a male or female protagonist, that the story was clearly developed with the female in mind as opposed to an after thought. Bethesda left things off by saying that for a limited time if you pre-order Dishonored 2, that you’ll also get the definitive edition of Dishonored the first; I’m sure you can guess what I did immediately after that was announced.
The Microsoft presentation ended up being overall one of the least interesting to me. They introduced the Xbox One S which is 40% smaller than the Xbox One, can have up to 2T internal storage, an integrated power supply, and a new wireless controller with increased range. I’m sure if anything happens to our current Xbox One, we’ll upgrade to this, but other than that I just don’t see any compelling reason to upgrade.
Some of the games featured that just didn’t interest me were Gears of War 4, Killer Instinct, Forza Horizon 3, The Division Underground, Battlefield 1, Halo Wars 2, Tekken 7, Deadrising 4, State of Decay 2, Scalebound; these games of course looked stunning, especially the Australian tracks of Forza, but for me these games lose my interest in just not being game types I play, not seeming compelling, or being franchises I’ve never gotten into.
However I am pretty excited about Recore. I was feeling it at last year’s E3, and getting to see more not only has me more interested. Yay robot puppies!
We Happy Few was also incredibly compelling with its unique almost cartoonish art style and the seemingly dark storyline, I know I’ll either play this myself or follow someone’s Let’s Play.
Sea of Thieves seemed to be an interesting pirate MMO concept that might actually survive, I’ve heard a lot of excited hype about it so far though the game play XBOX showed wasn’t particularly interesting to me.
Microsoft also showed us a montage of coming indie games and featured Inside, a game from the creators of Limbo (which I enjoyed thoroughly) and had a very ominous trailer. They also announced that Limbo is currently free on Xbox One right now.
Most importantly though for some people was the introduction of The Witcher independent Gwent game. Though I’ve played a lot of The Witcher 3, I’m not a total Gwent head like some people, but I’m excited about this regardless. They didn’t have a whole lot to show or say about it other than it’ll have both multiplayer and a single player campaign and that some redesigning has been done which can be seen on their website which is where you can also sign up for the beta which will be coming soon.
Microsoft also showcased their updates to Xbox Live which include background music, language region independence, Cortana, cross platform accessibility between Windows 10, iOS, and Android, clubs and community creation and a looking for group feature. They also gave us a too long trailer for the ability to now create and buy custom colored controllers in thousands of combinations.
The Ubisoft performance as per usual was particularly fun and unusual.
Like their Just Dance 2017 opening
And their introduction of Trials of the Blood Dragon
Aisha Tyler was also, as expected, totally charming, engaging, and hilarious throughout.
We got to see a bunch of Ghost Recon Wildlands 4 player co-op gameplay which looked fun and beautiful, but not particularly inspiring.
Ubisoft also premiered an atmospheric and dark trailer that seemed as if it was going to be for The Purge the game or something similar but turned out to be a spoof trailer for the new South Park game The Fractured But Whole which besides for some updates to the combat system seems to be just like The Stick of Truth but with superheroes instead; for those that enjoyed The Stick of Truth I’m sure this will be great.
We also got a live VR PVP demo of Eagle Flight. It looks like it could be fun, but it’s difficult to convey the quality of a VR game without actually experiencing the VR yourself.
Ubisoft showed us a pre-recorded Star Trek VR demo played by Jeri Ryan, Levar Burton, and Karl Urban which as a Trekkie greatly excited me, but what Ubisoft featured wasn’t particularly compelling or interesting.
I was, however, excited to see a sequel to Grow Home (which I played on the PS4 and found to be super sweet and unique), Grow Up which seems to be integrating some new mechanics.
We got to see some behind the scenes and new film footage of the upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie which I have my doubts as to the quality once released.
We also got to see footage of a gorgeous and I believe singularly unique extreme sports game called Steep. I’m a huge fan of snow, so I may just play for that aspect alone.
What I was most excited for from this presentation though was the look we got at Watch Dogs 2; I know the first game had mixed reviews, but I’m very into the stealth/hacking game mechanics and love the debut of their black protagonist.
Most surprising to me was my reaction to their For Honor trailer and gameplay; besides for being beautifully designed… LOOK AT ALL THESE WARRIOR WOMEN IN REALISTIC PRACTICAL ARMOR! I will definitely be getting For Honor when it’s released Valentine’s Day next year.
The Sony presentation ended up being my favorite of E3 by far. The entirety of it was accompanied by a live orchestra which backed most, if not all of the trailers which were shown to us pretty much one right after another. I enjoyed not having to listen to awkward developers and instead to just enjoy the footage for what it was.
Quite dramatically it opened with what seemed to be opening gameplay of God of War which was astonishingly gorgeous. I’ve played a little God of War before but it’s never been a franchise that I’ve been a fan of. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to check this one out though.
Next was a short trailer of what I’m calling the “white biker dead girlfriend” game, Days Gone. I was prepared to be uninterested as it seemed to not be particularly compelling, but then they gave us a live game play demo towards the end of the showcase and, I tell you, I went through a roller coaster of emotions.
First, the orchestral music accompaniment reminded me of The Last of Us (which is one of my all time favorite games) so it put me in a particular headspace, and we saw some interesting things like the protagonist pulling a part out of broken down truck and attach it to his gun in order to make a silencer –this makes me believe there’ll definitely be a crafting/scavenging component to the game – but then suddenly a zombie, and then even more suddenly a giant hoard of zombies. So many zombies. So many that I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to play this game. Like, World War Z level of zombies. At this point I’m feeling pretty compelled.
After Days Gone we learned that the widely anticipated The Last Guardian will be released in October which I’m fairly excited about.
And we got to see some great Horizon Zero Dawn gameplay which looks AMAZING. It’s coming out February 2017 and I have a feeling it might be top three favorite games of next year.
The trailer for Detroit: Become Human looked super interesting and makes me think it’ll be a game that I play as a group with my friends.
Next the Resident Evil 7: Biohazard trailer really freaked me out and terrifies me that it’ll be fully playable in VR. I told my roommate that if I have any kind of undiagnosed heart condition, that’ll be how it’s discovered. Another game that we’ll probably play as a group, because no way in hell am I attempting that alone.
We got a bunch of exciting PlayStation VR news after The Resident Evil trailer; The PlayStation VR headset will be available in October, and there’ll be 50 VR games for it just between launch and the end of the year including Resident Evil, Farpoint, a Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing mission, Batman Arkham, and a Final Fantasy XV experience which actually doesn’t looks compelling at all in comparison to everything else.
The Call of Duty Infinite Warfare trailer made me 100% more interested in COD. The gravity/space aspects of gameplay looked intriguing and unique. If there was some kind of single player campaign I would probably play, but that doesn’t really seem to be the point of COD.
The crowd at the showcase went wild over the announcement of a completely remastered Crash Bandicoot franchise for the PS4, which frankly has me excited as well. And we also got a new trailer for the Star Wars VII Lego game.
We also got treated to a teaser for a Spider Man game which I will be completely on board with, especially if the game mechanics are similar to Batman Arkham Knight which I recently finished on PC.
The big PlayStation reveal though was for Death Stranding the new Hideo Kojima game featuring Norman Reedus, a baby, oily handprints, dead crabs, dead whales, dead fish, random handcuffs, random dog tags with black hole physics formulas on them, and random figures floating in the sky. The trailer was confusing in all the right Kojima kind of ways. After the greatly disappointing cancellation of the Kojima/Reedus/del Toro Silent Hill game, I’m expecting Death Standing to be a big hit.
I will note that I distinctly missed seeing anything form PlayStation about another of my most anticipated games, No Man’s Sky. Though it’s being release in just a couple of months, I was really hoping to get at the very least a new trailer. C’est la vie.
Lastly, from Nintendo, the biggest reveal we got was a lot of live gameplay from the forthcoming The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game. Nintendo talked about the new Pokemon game as well, but clearly Zelda was the focus of E3 for them.
Personally, I am incredibly excited. It looks like this game will be exceptionally open-world with a lot of freedom, new game mechanics, and an interesting inclusion of technology instead of a more classically fantasy take. I think the phrase they used that really piqued my interest was how “non-linear” this game would be.
I’m feeling positively about this change, but it’ll be seen whether or not this will be the right direction for Zelda.
Overall, E3 2016 has me pumped for what the next year, and even just the next few months, has in store for video games. Here’s to hoping I’ll actually have enough time to play everything that I want to.