This was always going to be a kind of odd year for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (aka E3) due to the massive hype from last years show, as the new generation of consoles hadn’t launched at that time (apologies to the Wii U which had launched but nobody really cared. And I type this as a Wii U day one owner!). Rumours and leaks are commonplace before E3, but this year a lot of the speculation turned out to be true.
I’m going to go in order of the Press Conferences and then add random comments to the end.
First up was Microsoft. I think they had a pretty good showing. The new head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, said there would be games for ninty minutes and there really was games for ninty minutes. They started with the new Call Of Duty which was a surprise to no one. But it looked interesting, at least to me. Though I admit that I like sci-fi and future tech, so the demo worked for me. There was the usual Forza and Halo announcements. I liked the ID@XBOX segment which showed off a lot of their Indie games, including Cuphead which has an amazing visual style.
The only other showing to get me really excited during the Microsoft show was Scale Bound
A new game from Platinum! This and D4 (Dead Dreams Dont Die by Sweary69) are the games that might make me pick up an Xbox One. Kind of odd that both are Japanese games and for the Xbox (considering the 360 didnt do that well in Japan).
Overall, they did as they said. Games for nintey minutes, and there was some good games. Ori and the Blind Forest looks really interesting (and not the Bling Forest as the Spike ticker stated for a while). Phantom Dusk pleased a small group (it was fun to see Patrick from Giant Bomb freak out once he realised).
Next up was EA. It was a conceptual conference for a lot of it. They started well showing a making of Battlefront that had known Star Wars characters in the Dice offices with a few shots of in game footage. Not a surprise this isnt further along as most of their tech guys have probably still been helping out with Battlefield 4. Then, one of the few live music performaces of all the press conferences, a lady playing an electric cello? (I suck at knowing large stringed instruments and cant be arsed to research) to a Dragon Age Inquisition trailer. It sounded great on the stream and I bet it sounded awesome for those in the venue.
The odd thing about a lot of the rest of EA’s conference was that most footage featured the caption “CONCEPTUAL FOOTAGE”. This was fine for the new Criterion game, which was clearly very early, and kudos for part of the interview being done in their local pub. But to see this attached to the new Mass Effect was worrying in a way. People have mentioned on twitter that they have played an early build of the new game. But to only see a few character models felt like nothing has really progressed. That music however, will always make me pay attention.
Not much else of note from EA. Sim’s and sports didn’t inspire and Battlefield Hardline isn’t up my alley (so to speak).
I look forward to the Ubisoft conference as they don’t seem to care about being too serious. Its also the first conference of the day not aired live on Spike TV in the States, so I guess they can get away with it. Aisha Tyler hosted once again, and I think she did a good job. Its always funny to see her next to Ubisoft head honcho Yves Guillemot (he is quite small). My favourite trailer to come out of the show was the inivisible person Division trailer.
Another powerful trailer was the Valient Hearts trailer, but unlike the Division I had no idea of the gameplay from the trailer so I was left just wondering what it was. The Crew sounds interesting getting to drive across a condensed version of America but early previews have been less than positive. The new Far Cry villian seems interesting and quite psychotic, but the reveal lacks the impact of the Vaas “Insanity” trailer for me.
Sony was kinda all over the place. They had good games to show, The Order, Bloodborne and Destiny. An interesting way of announcing Little Big Planet 3, just showing the logo before the people on stage could do anything. One thing I have heard a bit about on podcasts this year is that live demos suffer from input lag. Hence people looking like they are playing poorly. Given the signal delay and the nervousness from playing in front of not just the people in the arena but the live audience around the world, its a wonder live demos still happen.
The worst part of Sony’s conference was showing Vib Ribbon on screen. Not once but twice! And with no mention of bringing it to current machines. A missed oppertunity. The big “HELL YES!” moment belonged to No Man’s Sky. Seeing a little bit more than at the VGX’s last year was enough for me. This space adventure sim looks awesome. And to think its developed by ten people.
Nintendo had a rather good showing on the Tuesday morning with thier digital event. Starting with a Robot Chicken sketch which led into a Iwata vs Reggie Dragonball Z fight. Did not see that coming a mile off. The new Zelda looks interesting and I hope they take the time needed to make it different to the previous games. There was a wooly Yoshi and a claymation Kirby, both look visually appealing but I’m left wondering if that can sustain a full game. The one game that really caught my attention was Splatoon. A 4 vs 4 3rd person shooter where you play as a humanoid squid trying to cover the level in your colour. You can then change into a squid to swim in your own color. The trailer explains it better.