Initially, the various announcements from E3 2015 left my jaw dropped in awe… initially. A week after, I’ve been able to reflect over the titles announced and came to the conclusion that as amazing as many of these announcements were, they weren’t that surprising. Gone are the days where the conference included various mind-blowing announcements; most of these were generic, predictable and somewhat lacklustre reveals.
The presentations themselves have almost become a snooze-fest, as publishers focus on their top few blockbuster titles and then undermine the smaller projects which have just as equal potential. Of course there were some astonishing moments such as the live showcase of the Microsoft Hololens, yet the rest of these presentations were mainly mellow. The only publisher who twisted the standard presentation of announcements were Nintendo, yet this alone could not salvage their boring and little selection of games. Perhaps I’m sounding a bit too negative. Of course the entire event was fantastic overall, yet there clearly were some notable issues which brought down the anticipation of the event.
At long last…
We knew some of these games were coming, but that didn’t stop the shock from actually seeing these trailers or gameplay upfront. Bethesda’s conference started E3 with a high by exploring the 2016 Doom, announcing Dishonoured 2 and finally revealing gameplay of the highly anticipated Fallout 4. These three titles in particular were long-awaited games which we finally discovered more about. In fact it could be argued that Bethesda’s showcase of games was perhaps the most intriguing and well handled out of all the other conferences.
Even less hyped announcements like The Elder Scroll: Legends or the smartphone tie-in Fallout Shelter were equally fascinating reveals. After the hype? – well these still seem as equally promising as it was when announced. Fallout 4 in particular has gotten the most attention recently, and its wonderful gameplay decisions, intriguing premises and gorgeous graphical style all indicate that Bethesda have been clearly hard at work since 2009 in developing this game. It seems that if the highlighted gameplay equates for the majority of the games’ experience, Bethesda has created a killer list of titles.
Other title’s which we’ve known about for a while grabbed many heads. Sony finally brought The Last Guardian to attention, a title which has been ambiguously silent the last few years. While the game seems slightly unchanged from what we’ve previously seen, it’s still gratifying to see that we’re close to purchasing it now. The game did seem like a puzzling enjoyment, yet many online fear that the game will become repetitive. Nonetheless, its minimalist gameplay style is still a pleasant change from the typical action packed games which have become a standard in modern gaming.
EA on the other hand spent too little time on perhaps their two most desired games – Mirrors Edge Catalyst and Mass Effect Andromeda. Perhaps the two games still require a lot more development, and whilst it’s disappointing how little the conference focused on these two, it’s better than what Nintendo offered.
The Legend of Zelda and Metroid are two titles which we were expecting to see for the Wii U. These two franchises did appear, but just not in the fashion which was expected. Metroid Prime: Federation Force received the biggest backlash from fans of the Metroid Prime series; not only was it not the Wii U version they were expecting, but the 3DS spin-off distanced itself too much from Samus and her adventures that it lacked the right to share the title ‘Metroid Prime’. A week from since, gameplay videos shown from the Nintendo Treehouse still retain unimpressed thoughts. The multiplayer experience makes the series appear more of a party game rather than creating a ‘hardcore’ ambience which it’s known for.
Of course Star Fox Zero was one of the other desired titles which did appear. The game is a reimagining of Star Fox, yet the gameplay which we’ve seen is too early to judge as it focused more on the iconic traditional opening level. It’s refreshing to see these rumoured or long-awaited titles come to life, yet some conferences achieved in creating a lasting hype in this more than others.
Vita and Wii U – where’s the love?
This Sony handheld and Nintendo home console are two gaming devices which has a huge fan following, yet has still failed to find its position in a mass market appeal. As a result in Sony or Nintendo eyes, the pressing matter is to focus on the money-making consoles – the Playstation 4 and the Nintendo 3DS. The Vita and Wii U do have upcoming games, yet these are either too small to announce at E3 or there’s not enough compared to their priority device.
Shortly after the Sony conference, a video was uploaded noting the upcoming Vita games. The main reason why this highlight reel didn’t make its way into the actual conference is simply that Sony knows their target audience; the majority watching E3 want to see big AAA games opposed to a highlight of handheld Indie games. Judging by the video, we can see that there is a small amount of games planned. Does it justify your purchase of the Vita? Well to many, the Vita makes the perfect indie console, but to those wanting that PS4-like experience which Sony promised pre-Vita, it doesn’t seem so. It’s great to see that there’s still support for the Vita, yet a little confidence in the actual conference surely would’ve helped with Vita sales.
The Wii U also has little to offer. Rumoured games such as an HD Animal Crossing was shot down in flames by … this:
Does the rumours of Nintendo’s ‘NX’ justify the lack of Wii U games? – No. Just as with Sony, confidence is key. The reason why Nintendo seemed to have the least hype-worthy conference was simply because there was no confidence in the Wii U. Few announcements and focus on spin-offs or party games was not what Nintendo fans were waiting for.
The future is here.
As stated before, minds were blown in Microsoft’s conference. Other than their impressive headline of games, Microsoft demonstrated the power of the Hololens with a Minecraft demo.
This is the future… if it works. Hands-on experiences have been positive so far – but as seen with the Kinect – these tech demos have been misleading in the past. While other tech companies experiment with Virtual Reality, Microsoft are testing Augmented Reality. As amazing as it is, it comes with its risks. This obviously isn’t the most ideal way of playing Minecraft, it’s clearly a gimmick which would be cool (and convenient) to use here and again, yet by the end of the day you’ll want your keyboard / controller and an actual screen. The Hololens requires the same advice as with upcoming virtual reality devices like Project Morpheus – provide a new experience that actually redefines gaming. If using AR/VR is the future of gaming, it has to prove why it’s worth changing our gaming techniques.
“I haven’t walked the floor, so I can’t say in terms of what’s on the floor today, but at least based on what I’ve seen to date, it’s not fun, and it’s not social. It’s just tech.”
– Reggie Fils-Aime.
This trending tech NEEDS to be fun and social to be more than just a tech gimmick. Gaming needs to prove that virtual reality is a necessity. Evidently, it seems that the Nintendo NX will not take the same virtual reality past as other consoles are following. Despite having an overall disappointing E3, Nintendo does already set up hype for next years version as we’ll see what Nintendo deems is “fun” and “social” with new tech.
Graphically, we’re finally seeing current generation consoles come to a higher standard than they did previously. Games like Star Wars: BattleFront, Sea of Thieves, Uncharted 4 and Fallout were astonishingly beautiful. It’s just a bonus to look forward to with this supposed “future”.
Humour is one thing that’s often absent in these conferences. There’s often just stale announcements one after the other, with little time to make a joke and lighten the mood. Just like Nintendo’s amazing E3 Nintendo Direct in 2014, E3 2015 focused around a unique and hilarious way to announce their games. Had the line-up of Sony or Microsoft games used this type of humour, these E3 conferences would’ve been 10/10.
Best and Worst?
E3 2015 was fun, but it could be better. Personally, I believe Bethesda had the best presentation out of all the other E3 conferences. But the three main conferences (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo) had a more difficult job in speeding past various games of different genres in one conference. With these there in mind, Microsoft had a great, unexpected and most exciting line-up of games. And it should be clear in the article that I regard Nintendo as the worst of the three, only due to the lacklustre announcements.
What’s your thoughts? Have your views on certain games altered since the actual E3 announcements? Share your view in the comments below.