E3 has been good to developers and gamers this year, hasn’t it? We saw new technology, new games, cross-play, tournaments, and a woman who just could not contain her love of Elder Scrolls. But not everything was particularly amazing. There were many instances where E3 had us spacing out, but it always managed to get our attention again, usually with something awesome, or discussion/debate worthy. Let’s dive in:
- Titanfall 2 not only features single-player, it will also be on PS4 for the first time. Both these additions are noteworthy, because we think it might really kick off the series, more than it did on Xbox One. Also, we have a strange sensation that former and current Destiny players will be hardcore fans.
- Madden gave way to tournaments. With EA Play, players will be able to focus their energy on pro sports.
- FIFA 17: The Journey is now featuring a campaign mode. Alex Hunter is the protagonist, and it seems to be very much a “feel-good, work hard and play hard” kind of story.
- EA Originals is made up of a holy trinity: taking first-time experiences and sharing them, supporting small developers by partnering, and funding (profit goes back to developers).
- Amy Hennig and Visceral Games are working on a brand new Star Wars. Many were hopeful for bounty hunters, but we didn’t see any. It might be too soon to tell, since it is still very much in the works. However, call us crazy, but the highlight of that whole bit was Amy Hennig! Ever wonder what she thinks of her time with Visceral, after working with Naughty Dog for so long? We do too.
EA Highlights Verdict
Overall, EA had quite a bit to show players, but nothing really seemed to make a random woman in the audience scream happily. It was decent at best – something we hope EA developers were prepared for. They’ve made some decisions that have had major repercussions before, and their stigma is still lingering.
EA Play to Give, where players complete challenges, and help teammates, so at the end, EA will donate $1 million to charity, was meant to be a reparation. Clearly, it’s meant to clean up their public image, but…did it work? No enthusiasm from the crowd usually means that’s a negative.
- Quake is back, as Quake Champions, an arena style, FPS for PC. Friendly for hardcore players, or not. Although we think the class system is a little lacking.
- Fallout 4 is getting workshop additions, a Fallout Shelter spin, so now players can build their own vaults, and there’s a new amusement park: Nuka World!
- Speaking of Fallout Shelter, it’s getting updates.
- Skyrim is getting its PS4 remaster, with mods on consoles, set to release for $60 (too expensive for a remaster) on October 28.
- And finally, Prey is making a comeback, filling in for Dead Space. This reboot is coming in 2017, and will take place in 2032.
- The Dark Brotherhood DLC is coming to Elder Scrolls Online, as well as One Tamriel, with no level restrictions.
- Bethesda VR: Doom and Fallout 4 to be released for VR.
- Dishonored 2 will be released November 11, and features new lighting and shadows, making it look “like a painting in motion.” It answers what became of Emily, 15 years later. Players can play as either Corvo, or his daughter.
Bethesda Highlights Verdict
We felt like the woman in the audience, especially when Dishonored 2, and the Skyrim remaster were announced. Both these games are beloved and anticipated. Not only did Bethesda deliver, they really rose to the occasion by surpassing expectations. Our bone to pick is the price point for Skyrim, because it’s a remaster, not a new game, making $600 too expensive.
- The Xbox One S is 40% smaller, sleek and comes with an integrated power supply and a new wireless controller that features textured grips. It is 4K compatible, too. With a price point of $299, it is both a sucker punch to PS4, and players, since that is the most basic model. The higher models, with the memory you want, are overpriced for what they are. No one needs more than a 500GB.
- Gears of War 4 is coming out this October 11, but it’s basically like every other game in the series, with the exception of the duo that made it fun to play to begin with.
- Forza: Horizon 3 is nothing new, but the environments are gorgeous. So gorgeous, that they have to be seen. By everyone, preferably. Our only major dispute here is that no one should ever take a Lamborghini to the beach.
- Recore is coming out September 19, and it is adorable. The issue is that the Collector’s Edition is $180, which is on the steep-end.
- Battlefield 1 is going to let EA Access members play first, but we are rather concerned. Unless there’s a limit on how much they can do prior to official release, they’ll have an unfair advantage.
- Minecraft is getting platform friendly, making it possible for people to play together using iPads, Surfaces, and VR, all simultaneously. It won’t be available on consoles until next year, however. Texture packs and Add-Ons are also available.
- Dead Rising 4 is coming this holiday season, and it looks like a hilariously good time.
Sea of Thieves, the multiplayer experience for pirate-loving friends looks like a grand, awesome time.
- Project Scorpio is coming Holiday 2017, and it’s boasting “most powerful console ever.”
Microsoft Highlights Verdict
Compared to years before, Microsoft seems to finally understand what E3 is about: games and gameplay. Rather than focusing on sports and TV, they focused entirely on games – a lot of them. Our biggest issue, however, was using Xbox One S as a stepping stone to Project Scorpio. No one knows how this will work, and whether or not Project Scorpio games will be playable on Xbox One, and Xbox One S, but Microsoft keeps saying “no one left behind.”
- We have one, only one major highlight from Ubisoft, as sadly they didn’t seem to have too much to showcase, and spent too much time on each game, so as to meet the time requirements. Their most precious highlight was their new Star Trek game, in VR.
- There’s an Assassin’s Creed movie! But we’ve known about this since when? May? March? No, January, so it doesn’t qualify as a brand new highlight.
Ubisoft Highlights Verdict
Ubisoft needed to spend less time on their strange, and rather perplexing opening performance, and sad hype men, and more time making games to showcase. Out of everything they showed, which wasn’t a lot, Star Trek: Bridge Crew and the Assassin’s Creed movie, are the only things that really got our attention. And the movie, we’ve known about for months. For Honor was also worth noting, but it wasn’t a highlight, as we saw this game at last year’s E3.
- They may have started with an orchestra where the vocals were drowned out by the instrumentals, but Sony did give fans a new God of War. Now, it might alienate some fans, because it’s not Greek mythology anymore, it’s Nordic. And somehow, there’s a son now, so it can’t be Kratos. However, Spartan Rage is still a thing, and it’s in a Nordic setting, which make no sense whatsoever.
- Days Gone is a new title, and already, it looks like it’s going to be a hit. It’s amazing in every way, from combat, to mechanics, from design, to the playable character. If you love mercenaries, or bounty hunters, then this game is right up your alley.
- The Last Guardian finally got a release date announcement. After skipping an entire generation of consoles, you can expect to play this game on October 25, 2016.
- Horizon is a combination of robots, and a Medieval world, of tribes, and of advanced technology. It’s so intriguing, players can’t stop talking about it. Not to mention the combat.
- Detroit: Become Human looks like an entirely new game than it did last year, but it works. Branching dialogue will determine the ending, ensuring the player choices actually have a say in what occurs, rather than just immediate repercussions, but the same, universal ending.
- VR got a spotlight, with a brand new Resident Evil VII, Farpoint, Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing Mission, Batman Arkham, and a special Final Fantasy XV mission, all available on VR.
- Speaking of VR, the new PlayStation VR headset is launching October 13, 2016 for $399, and has 50 games lined up for it already.
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare launches in November, but Modern Warfare is also getting a remaster.
- Speaking of remasters, Crash and Crash 2 are also getting remastered.
Kojima made an appearance, debuting Death Stranding, featuring Norman Reedus. It was all shown in real time, and it looked dark.
Sony Highlights Verdict
Sony had, by far, the best presentation at E3 2016 due to one obvious reason, and one that should be obvious, but isn’t: Kojima, and gameplay. Rather than focus on dancing, talking, or focusing on one game for too long, they focused on gameplay videos, and the live music to enhance it all. They waited to bring out Kojima for the end of the show, and they showed all of the games that players have been waiting, and asking for.
- There is a new Legend of Zelda: Breathe of the Wild. It looks gorgeous, but is it something new, or something we’ve seen before?
- Pokemon Sun and Moon looks like a Pokemon game, one of which we’ve seen for many years now. There is nothing particularly new, or amazing about this. Whatever changes they’ve made, seem to be small, such as Pokemon animations.
Nintendo Highlights Verdict
Overall, nothing really sparked enthusiasm on the Nintendo front. It’s safe to say most players were sitting there, with the live feed as background, while they did something else.
What Can Developers Learn From E3 2016?
So, Sony definitely had the best presentation of E3, not only because of the great games, but because of their approach: minimal talking, minimal number of presenters, and a whole lot of gameplay. Notice the difference between that, and Ubisoft, where they did more talking than anything, because there wasn’t much to show. Or how about EA with more to show, but nothing particularly jaw-dropping. Their approach was to talk more, to try and hype the content up, but it wasn’t helping.
What can you learn from this? That gamers want the obvious: games and gameplay. That’s what E3 is all about, and that’s what has been so hard to get from developers, it seems like. Too many waste time talking, or trying to hype up ideas that aren’t going to blow up. This means that to make it big in the business, you need to provide the product that people want. It’s business 101: make a product that people will want. Sony knew how to do this, and the formula was all there for the taking: good stories with replay value, magical, immersive worlds, and Kojima. Notice, they didn’t need the cross-play, or the new console announcement, to make it the best, most hyped presentation of E3. It just was.
Quality speaks for itself. Put out the good games, promote them, and people will notice.