Sony has officially killed it yet again when it comes to E3, absolutely killed it. While the games were a lot more powerful last year, everything else about this conference was amazing. From the pacing, to the lack of unneeded information that would have otherwise just bloated the time that the conference was on. Not a single speaker stayed on stage longer than was needed to get the message across to the audience.
It literally started with a bang of orchestral renditions of music for the first trailer which was God Of War. In the past, God of War was a game that felt one dimensional, not only with gameplay, but with character depth and development, but this game feels head and shoulders above those that came before, and it is exciting. Immediately after the amazing showing of God Of War, they finally revealed the new game being developed by the Sony Bend studio, after a number of years, and after a coy trailer they swiftly moved onto a new trailer for Last Guardian. This trailer not only introduced new aspects to this game but they also showed the existence of dialogue, and the date of realease for this title is 26 October 2016.
The pacing to this presentation was unreal, and to continue to follow that trend they led directly into a new gameplay segment of Horizon: Zero Dawn. This time it was decided to show a bit more of the other aspects of the game such as the character interactions, and missions that you can partake in which seem to happen organically in and around the character in a way that feels natural. The lead-ins into the games were smooth and fit well with what they showed and at the perfect length so as not for anything to outstay its welcome. After an interesting gameplay segment for the game Detroit: Become Human, which showed the way that the different paths you could take branched off and giving the hint towards the different character stories that they could be sectioned off, they moved swiftly onto VR.
Apparently they learned from their mistakes with showing VR in previous years and made a damn good showing of it, that felt less forced and created a feeling that VR can be interesting. The first game that was shown was a bit of a bit of a trick on the part of Sony and Capcom where they used a demo called 'The Kitchen' which was a roundabout way for them to reveal Resident Evil 7, which seems to be following its horror roots while also seemingly keeping parts of the more recent entries. While this game is shown during the VR portion, it is not exclusively a VR game, it just has a mode where you can play the whole game in VR mode. The other VR demos were mostly short and sweet trailers that showed what they needed and went away, which kept the pace high, and the release date for the PSVR is 13 October 2016, for $399.00.
The rest of the conference was just as fast and game focused as it was earlier in the conference, and when there was talking it was to the point and quick,not wasting anytime with double talk or jargon, just talking about the game, showing the game and moving on. Crash Bandicoot is getting the first three games in the series fully remastered, while also being put into the newest Skylanders game. Call Of Duty made an appearance, and it wasn't its typically overblown self absorbed presentation that spent too much time preening itself, and for once in a decent while it looked good. Then the conference decided to end with a bang Kojima Hideo appeared on-stage and showed an in-engine trailer for something called 'Death Stranding' which starred Norman Reedus, and looked to be in amazing form once again, tech, and idea wise for Kojima-san. And as a last hoorah they decided to show a gameplay trailer for the Sony Bend game 'Days Gone' which seems to be an open world zombie sort of post apocalypse third person game which looks quite good. In conclusion, it can be said with an amount of confidence, that Sony has once again taken E3 by storm, not even Bethesda could compete this time, Sony has unequivocally proven that they understand the way to get their message across in the most positive way possible. If this is the trend Sony is going to follow, then it is exciting to see where they go from here.
Starting off, it can be said that it was reasonably better than most of what was presented yesterday. However with that being said the conference on its own was....middle of the road. It started out with the announcement of the XBOX One S, which is a smaller more streamlined console that has 4K capabilities, Blu-Ray and up to 2 Tb hard drive, with a price that starts at $299.99, which includes the updated wireless controller. The next thing mentioned was the XBOX Play Anywhere program which is a cross play platform where people on Xbox, can play with PC and vice versa, the first game to be included in this is going to be Gears Of War 4.
After a slow start they moved onto the games, the first of which was Gears Of War 4. They introduced a new enemy called the 'swarm' and other than a gameplay demo that looks like they are sticking with the formula of the previous games, though the graphics do look quite nice, and the sandstorms add a nice extra layer to the gameplay, at least as far was shown in the demo. Along with the sawblade weapon that they showed they announced a Gears 4 themed Elite controller. After a weird Killer Instinct trailer introducing the new fighter to the game, General Raam from Gears Of War, they moved on to Forza Horizon 3. The new location of the game is in Australia, and it includes four player drop in and out co-op play. The amount and types of cars have increased from the previous games, this is going to be a part of the program that XBOX is starting with all future games where if you buy the game digitally on Xbox you get it for PC for free, it releases on 27, September, 2016.
The next few announcements were rather lackluster, there was a new trailer for the game ReCore, that showed off a bit of gameplay, as well as the name of the character, known as Joule, the next part was a bit odd where they showed off the Titan fight in Final Fantasy 15. While it was visually striking, the fight itself was odd, whether that was due technical difficulties, or unused to the controller, it was an odd demo. After a forgettable trailer for The Division announcing the first piece of DLC, and a re hash of the Battlefield 1 trailer that was showed at the EA conference, they spent a bit of time, talking about their new 'features' that they are going to implement this fall. The three features are Xbox clubs, which seems similar to the similar PS4 feature of the communities, then there is LFG (looking for group) which is as it sounds and helps to get people together to finish content, as well as a way to set up tournaments with various games, which will also work in accordance with the plans that EA also has for such. Sadly the slow pace and uninteresting lasted for a while longer, with a long drawn out information on a Minecraft update to the game, Minecraft 'realms' which is a cross platform functionality for Minecraft. Also another thing that made the conference drag more than it should have was the mention of personalized controllers, and the half-assed presentation of the up and coming indie games coming to the Xbox one.
The rest of the conference spent a lot of time going back and forth between interesting and cringe inducing. The inclusion of 'We happy Few' for the early access version of Xbox, the announcement of a standalone Gwent game, Tekken 7, Dead Rising 4, and Scalebound, the best part of the conference was by far the game showing of Sea Of thieves. Developed by Rare, this game seems to be quite broad and all encompassing with the things that can be done when it comes to gameplay. Even with the announcement of Halo Wars 2, and State Of Decay 2, the conference ended on a somewhat flat point by announcing the more pwerful console, currently called Project Scorpio, which is not to be released until holiday season 2017.
Overall, this conference while so far the best of the bunch, had its own issues when in regards to pacing and spending too much time on parts that were overly boring and/or pointless. Another thing is that with the announcement that if you buy the games digitally you get the PC version of the game for free, the question that needs to be asked is, do you need to have an XBOX? are they making themselves irrelevant, and if so why announce the new versions of the console? It could possibly be said that they want to give people the options in how they want to play their games, though, at face value it gives the appearance that the XBOX is not the focus, and they need to make sure they get the message they want to get across properly. In conclusion, while they flip flops with pacing were annoying, and the messages they were giving were confusing, it was still up to this point the best conference.
So on a subjective basis it can be said that the EA conference for E3 2016 was not as good as it could have, or truthfully should have been, can one say that the conference for Bethesda was better? In a word, yes, and there are a decent amount of reasons for this to be the case. Most simply is the pacing of the presentation, while it may not have been as well paced as their conference the previous year, when compared to EA, it is heads above it in that respect. Once again the presentation started with the old X-Play crew (Adam Sessler, and Morgan Webb) getting the crowd prepared with their banter that still works well, while this part of the conference started it off slow, you could tell it was more of a way to keep the audience preoccupied with small info dumps,including the announcement that Fallout shelter was being updated, and being brought to PC later in the year, as well as info about the card game 'Elder Scrolls: Legends'.
Though once the conference started, it started with a bang, that being of Quake: Champions. At a cursory glance of what the trailer reveals, its seems as though it is somewhat of a hero shooter,while seemingly retaining its multiplayer, arena shooter roots that were introduced in Quake 3 Arena. Other than the fact that it is going to be a PC only game,not much info was given other than more shall be revealed at this years' Quake Con. While it was previously mentioned that this conference had a better time with their pacing and presentation there were still some hiccups throughout the show, that do make some sense due to it being a trade show by name, it still felt as though a bit too much time was given to patting their own back which had the tendency to slow things down considerably. Other than that tendency, and spending a bit too much time on the Elder Scrolls themed card game, the presentation picked up some steam, and seemed to retain that energy through till the end.
The next thing to be talked about was the upcoming DLC for Fallout 4, two of them are for the workshop part of the game, while both look interesting, especially the Vault Tec workshop (which allows you to build and run your own Vaults) the real meat of that is the reveal of the Nuka World DLC, which is apparently a Nuka Cola theme park. While there was not a lot of actual information of the DLC other than the individual trailers, the brevity of the presentation was appreciated overall. Someone from Arkane Studios came onstage and showed off a trailer and a bit of information about a reboot/re-imagining of the game series 'Prey' which is seeming to go for a bit of a sci-fi shooter, thriller vibe with the story. The gameplay looks interesting and more information is easily anticipated for this title. After that they announced new free updates coming to doom, and the first info given about the first piece of multiplayer DLC for the game, it was announced that they will allow people to download Doom on all platforms for free to play the first level for free, which is their new form of 'Shareware'. After some ESO (Elder Scrolls Online) info, mainly about the new DLC, and some more pacing issues about the plans they have for VR (more specifically focused with the HTC Vive) they ended the presentation on a gameplay demo for Dishonored 2. While the new stuff with Emily was cool, and the new graphics engine was beautiful, the presentation felt slightly rushed. It can be said that the beginning of E3 2016 didn't have the same power that it did last year, and EA having a less than stellar showing, overall the Bethesda conference built a bit of the confidence back, even with its pacing issues and abrupt end, there is enough to be excited for to keep watching till the end.
Ah June, that time of year when summer begins and traditionally games are far and few between, except for one instance, the Electronic Entertainment Expo; commonly known as E3. This year it started on Sunday, at 1:00 pm Pacific time with the Electronic Arts conference, and ended with the Bethesda conference at 7:00 pm Pacific, which is a new trend to the conferences that started last year with Bethesda and its amazing showing. The question to be asked is did Bethesda match, or surpass the showing that they had last year, and did EA bring out the 'big guns' to open up this years' E3?
The best response to that question would be, sort of, though in all honesty it depends on what you were looking for, and interested in as a gamer. Are you generally a fan of what EA releases as a company in general? Then the answer is yes, are you interested in Fifa, and can't wait for the new version to be released? Then the answer is yes, Are you more interested in the obfuscated future ideas that EA has for you without any real reveals and answers to your gaming related questions? Then yes, EA did a great job of starting this years' run of E3 conferences. In response to Bethesda, it can be said that while the conference was not as good compared to 2015, that is a slightly unfair comparison, due to how much, and how well the messages were delivered by them.
Starting off with EA this year, there was a bit of an expectation that they were going to start this E3 off with a properly amazing conference that would set the bar for those that come after to follow, sadly that did not happen. It started off quite strongly with multiplayer, and single player reveal trailers that make that game look like they are pulling out all of the stops to make this second attempt something that lasts longer that a month in the play cycle of gamers, especially since it is released on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, with a release date of October 28th 2016. But after that it was a tad bit all over the place, what with the dual cast in L.A and London the conference seemed to lose focus, which wasn't helped by the way the speakers didn't seem to really know how to talk to their audience.
With the pre-requisite mention of the sports games Fifa and Madden 17, along with the E-sports tag-along that rode the Madden coat tails, though thankfully the time spent on both of these games were nothing close to how long was spent in previous conferences. While the presence of Sports games are something that has an audience, it feels that the time spent on this topic, and the lackluster representation some of their larger I.P received this year was once again created under a committee that didn't understand a major proponent of their audience. Interspersed into the middle of the conference was the announcement of what is called "EA Originals" which is a program that was created to help independent game developers to make the games that they want to make with the support of a major publisher, the first game to be introduced through this program is called Fe, which looks quite interesting at a glance, though with it being so early in development it is too soon to judge it, though the major issue, with this Originals program, is that the details of it, and the games to be included in it were just barely glossed over, which is a common issue with the EA conference as a whole.
By far the largest waste of time had to be the coverage of the Star Wars games that are still in development. It reminded one of the E3 2014 EA conference where they spent more time talking about how excited they were to show you what they were working on, and not having enough time to show you, and people working on computers drawing non-descript Star Wars themed things, and skits, that by the end of that presentation, other than the knowledge that games exist, and they were being worked on, no real relevant information could truly be gleaned from what was said. The last bit of the conference that was truly interesting was the Battlefield 1 presentation, that came towards the end. While the Single player video, as well as the Multiplayer shown was a good way to end the conference, overall the presentations were over bloated, verbose to the point of boredom, and did not truly excite to the point that it should for something that is supposed to be the start of E3.