E3 Comments and Reactions
I don’t know that I would call the latest E3 as the best E3 in ages, I have to concede that it was a remarkably solid press conference. From the first major conference featuring Bethesda in their first ever E3 players were shown upcoming games to be excited about. Bethesda had a good showing including games like Doom and an Elder Scrolls Online expansion, but the showstopper for Bethesda was Fallout 4.
Fallout 4 seems to begin in the pre-war era and expand on the already expansive lore of the Fallout universe. Mechanically it seems like it will follow the template set by Fallout III and expanded on in Fallout: New Vegas. However, Fallout 4 will feature the ability of taking over wasteland space and building a settlement. Players will then have to build defenses to protect their settlement from raiders. More Fallout is always welcome, but Fallout with added play content is amazing.
Electronic Arts also had a strong showing. It showed a number of games of which the two that caught my attention the most were Mass Effect: Andromeda and Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst. The Mass Effect Trilogy was perhaps the most significant trilogy of the previous generation. It gave the players a galaxy to explore and the ability to make choices that actively affected the narrative, and although the ending was not widely praised the experience that led up to the ending was breathtaking. Mass Effect: Andromeda will have the player explore the Andromeda galaxy. Meanwhile, Mirror’s Edge gave players first person control over Faith as she parkoured and free-ran across rooftops. Redefining what it meant to be a first person game, Mirror’s Edge forced the player to explore and take risks. However, the control was a bit clunky. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst will hopefully address these concerns.
Ubisoft likewise showed a few games of which two piqued my interest. South Park: The Fractured But Whole caught my attention because the Stick of Truth was incredibly enjoyable. However, I’m not sure that more of the same would make for a great game. Towards the end, Stick of Truth began to lose its appeal. I’m hesitantly looking forward to the next title and keeping my fingers crossed for some change. For Honor, however, caught my imagination. The game allows the player to take part of a 4 player battle where each player can mow down enemy warriors until they meet face to face with an enemy commander – another player – when the game will slow down and force the player to carefully consider the opponent’s moves and parrying before attacking.
Nintendo’s presentation was largely lackluster. While I am overjoyed for Star Fox fans who will be getting Star Fox Zero, I was never a fan of the series. Nintendo also showed some games and Amiibos, but there was no groundbreaking reveal. I am looking forward to Fire Emblem Fates, Fire Emblem X Shin Megami Tensei, and Xenoblade Chronicles X, but these are games that have already been announced and we already knew about. What I enjoyed the most out of the Nintendo conference was the story told by the producer of the Yoshi’s Yarn game. She said that she didn’t know how to code and was not an artist, but she wanted to help in the creation of the game beyond her producer tasks, so she created cute yarn Yoshis. When she brought them to the office, other producers loved them and decided to implement them in the game, thus cementing the aesthetic of the game. This shows that when there is a team of people working on a creative game project, each team member has something to give despite the lack of ability for coding or using Photoshop.
Square Enix had an interesting presentation, not because of what they showed or because it was specially groundbreaking, but because of how uninteresting it was. The conference featured a number of Square Enix Japanese devs and executives talking about games. This, of course, required a translator. However, they spent so much time talking and so little time showing the games, that the translator fell asleep.
As far as games are concerned, Square, as always, delivered a number of sequels that are sure to be of interest to many. Just Cause 3, Nier 2, Kingdom Hearts 3, and the long awaited Final Fantasy XV were showcased next to Star Ocean 5, a welcome surprise, and a new game titled Project SETSUNA to be developed by Tokyo RPG Factory.
Despite Square Enix’s solid showing, it was Sony who “won” E3. Although mentioned here last, Sony was one of the first companies to take the floor. Sony opened its conference with The Last Guardian, a game that left players baffled when first showcased over five years ago and which has been in development hell since. Sony also showed new footage of Street Fighter V and No Man’s Sky, both eagerly awaited games, and premiered footage from a new IP called Horizon: Zero Dawn. This new IP features a woman with a bow and arrows hunting robot dinosaurs. Gameplay seems to be a combination of Monster Hunter’s monster battles and Metal Gear’s stealth systems. Sony finished their conference by showcasing polished footage of Uncharted 4, but the two reveals that made players and gaming press alike go wild were two announcements made during the middle of the conference. First, Sony announced a proper remake of Final Fantasy 7. This is a remake that fans of Final Fantasy have been waiting for over 15 years. Understandably, excitement was high.
However, the Final Fantasy 7 remake reveal was surpassed by the announcement of the Shenmue III Kickstarter with Yu Suzuki.Shenmue is a Dreamcast game that can be said help establish many of the trends currently seen in many games. Cinematic play, freedom in an open world, open world collectables, and independent NPCs were all traits from Shenmue, a game whose production cost 70 million dollars to make. Despite Shenmue featuring a compelling story with interesting and multilayered characters, it performed poorly in the market and the story was never finished. Fans have been hoping for a sequel for over 10 years. Yu Suzuki asked for 2 million on the Kickstarter in order to measure interest, and the goal was met in under 9 hours. The kickstarter campaign currently has raised 3.2 million dollars and still has 28 days to go.
As was suggested in the GT livestream, “every dream has come true”.
In the end, it is undeniable that E3 2015 was an incredible event for gaming. It showed many new IPs, offered to continue the more popular franchises, and even surprised us with unexpected announcements. Was it the best E3 ever? I can’t attest to that, as I have not seen every E3 show. However, it was a pretty good one.
Oh, and the astute reader might have noticed that I did not mention Microsoft. The reason for this is that outside of the announcement that the X Box 1 will have backwards compatibility, I don’t think the Microsoft conference had much to offer. It did show some good games, but they were, by my assessment, good and not something that I am genuinely excited about.