The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is a massive trade show dedicated to the multi-billion dollar industry that is video-games. This year was one full of surprises. It started with the likes of Activision, E.A. and Nintendo dropping out of doing a conference, and it ended with a Legend of Zelda game being one of the most talked about games of the show, something that probably hasn’t happened since the early 00s. Although it was focused on Virtual Reality – primarily Sony’s Playstation VR – I felt that the traditional games really had the strongest showing. VR is, in my opinion, either too abstract or too young to really “wow” at a video-game conference the size and spectacle of E3. But enough about that, here are some of the coolest things that were announced at E3:
There was a lot of talk about new, more powerful, versions of both the Playstation 4 and Xbox ONE. So it was only a matter of time before a company announces more concrete information. But after Sony said they weren’t going to say anything about code-name Playstation NEO no one expected either company to say anything. Well Microsoft pulled the trigger and came out spitting hot fire about the Xbox Scorpio. They explicitly stated how powerful the console will be (reportedly the most powerful console ever) and said that all Xbox ONE games will work on it and there won’t be any ‘Scorpio’ exclusives. No man left behind, was the message. It was a cool announcement and it will be incredibly interesting to see how iterative consoles pans out for both companies.
In order for me to take any notice of a fourth (really, seventh) God of War game, it would have to be something very special. Well God of War 4 looks like exactly that. The graphics seem incredible and the overall tone looks so detached from the schlock-y previous entries that it almost looks like a totally different franchise. It actually seems mature and thoughtful instead of over-the-top. Kratos has mellowed with age and now has to try to teach his son (!) to live in some destitute Scandinavian country filled with Viking mythology. The combat, too, looks reworked. Gone are the huge ultra-violent combos so instead the fighting seems to be much weightier (perhaps some influence from the Batman games?). I always wanted the God of War franchise to extend to other mythologies once it had finished with Zeus and his crew, so I am looking forward to this game. I hope it lives up to the trailer.
Rare are actually making games again everyone! Finally Microsoft have unlocked the Kinect basement they were trapped in for years and have let them make an actual game real people want to buy! And what game have they made? Well Sea of Thieves looks like Pirates of the Caribbean mixed with Destiny. A semi-open world multiplayer game centred around looting, killing dudes and piloting your own galleon as you travel from island to island. If that doesn’t sound lime some of the coolest shit ever, then get off this website.
There was a lot of information about Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE about before E3 mainly due to it being released in Japan a while ago. However, I had remained woefully ignorant about the game until Nintendo showed it this week. Turns out it is a Japanese Role-playing Game that mixes the demon summoning mechanics of a Shin Megami Tensei game with the characters of Fire Emblem (who I think are the demons in this case) with…Japanese pop music. It is a profoundly weird mixture that looks borderline incomprehensible at points, but #FE looks so stylish that I can’t help but want to buy it as soon as it comes out over here.
Speaking of borderline incomprehensible, Hideo Kojima (he of Metal Gear Solid fame) announced his new game, his first after being fired from Konami. It is called Death Stranding and after watching the trailer that was shown at the Sony press conference…I have no idea what the hell is going on. It looks weirder than any of the stuff Kojima has made in the past and it has a polygonal Norman Reedus, from The Walking Dead, in it. God knows what it all actually represents, but I am down for whatever Kojima does. He has earned my trust over the years.
A lot of people have been clamouring for a Gwent and CD Projeckt Red have finally obliged. It seems to be a fully realised, expanded and reworked version of the Magic The Gathering/Hearthstone-esque card game that you can play in The Witcher 3. It even has a fleshed out single-player campaign. I doubt it will become as huge as something like Hearthstone but it is a cool thing for CD Projekt Red to now that there are no more expansions coming out for The Witcher 3.
We Happy Few looks incredible. The sense of style is almost unmatched by any of the games shown at E3 with a couple of exceptions (shout out to Persona 5 and #FE). The aesthetic feels like a mixture of Bioshock’s kitschy mid-20th century fashion with the drug fueled psychosis turned up a notch. But looks are actually deceiving, it isn’t a story-driven First Person Shooter with arty ambitions but is instead a pseudo-Rogue-Like with randomly generated levels. That may put some people off, but if anything that makes me even more interested in We Happy Few.
I thought Prey, as a game franchise, was dead. There was a really awesome trailer for Prey 2 like five or six years ago then the game got cancelled and Prey faded away. So it was a huge surprise that Bethesda have brought it back. Although it doesn’t look like the original Prey, no anus-doors or Native Americans in sight, but the ideas in the trailer sure look intriguing. I hope some of the stuff from the old trailer still remains.
Now this totally blindsided me. Marvel were out of the video-game business beyond mobile free-to-play games so for Insomniac – developers of the Ratchet and Clank games – to be developing an open world Spider-Man game and for it to look this good is a welcome surprise. Spider-Man 2 developed for the PlayStation 2 and the Original Xbox was one of my favourite games back in the day so I am more than excited for a potentially awesome open world Spider-man game.
Ubisoft always end their conferences with a new game. The last few have ended with a grim Tom Clancy game. So Steep, an open world skiing, snowboarding and wing suit-ing game really came out of left field. There hasn’t been a decent ‘extreme’ sports game since…SSX Tricky for the Playstation 2? I honestly thought the genre was dead so it was very cool to see a big mainstream company like Ubisoft develop one. And it looks superb, so I will definitely buy it.
There was a lot of hype around this game. Nintendo had played it very close to their chest beyond saying that it will be “open world”. Well they spent almost all of E3 showing off huge chunks the game and…damn. Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wind is my game of the show, by FAR! The world looks massive and you can do so many things in beyond the normal stuff of exploring and killing dudes. You can can climb up everything, providing they have enough metre to do so, hunt, generally mess about with the physics, tame horses and even run to the very last boss without doing any of the story. And it all looks fantastic, which is especially impressive considering it is on now outdated hardware. A lot of people were disappointed that Nintendo weren’t doing a proper conference but, once again, they show that they didn’t need one. LoZ: BW spoke for itself with its innovation on the typical Zelda – and open world in general – formula.