Live Event: E3 2015
Love it or loathe it E3 is a huge deal for gamers around the world. It is a chance for companies such as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo to preview their up and coming games for the future. Of course in this digital age it’s increasingly difficult to keep things secret but there are always one or two surprise moments. I can understand why people wouldn’t enjoy E3 as it could be described as a massive hype train where people are often left wanting more or promised games that never appear. I personally really enjoy E3 and I’ve previously described it as Christmas for gamers.
E3 2015 kicked off in style with a hugely impressive and confident show from Bethesda. This was the first time they have appeared on stage at their own press conference, but you would never know it. It was if they had a checklist of what not to do at E3 and boy did they deliver with a slick presentation, which showed off plenty in terms of games and surprises.
Initially I thought this was a CG trailer as the game looked absolutely stunning. ID has promised a back to basics approach with Doom which boils down to killing demons with big f’ing guns. As the demo played and the bullets started flying there were audible cheers from the audience when the marine carried out a number of takedown moves on the enemies. These ranged from stamping on heads or ripping out a demons heart. It all looked hugely impressive. Then we got to see a number of different weapons including the double barrelled shotgun and plasma rifle which all looked great but then we saw the classic Doom weapon; the chainsaw. We were treated to the chainsaw ripping demons apart and trust me when I say this game won’t be for children. ID also showed off the multiplayer aspect of the game which has the usual game modes of domination and team death match. There was also a level construction kit called Doom Snapmap which allows players to share their creations with others. The demo shown looked very intuitive and should add huge variety to the multiplayer. It’s also a refreshing change to be able to make and share maps from the usual map packs that are released as paid for DLC. The demo concluded with a trip into hell where we caught a glimpse of the BFG. I’m eagerly awaiting Doom following the presentation. The game will be released in Spring 2016.
This game is currently in alpha phase and it was mentioned that the game will be going into beta soon. The video showed off a third person hack and slash game with shooting thrown into the mix. There were different classes such as Brawler, Enforcer, Infiltrator, Ranger and Gadgeteer shown off. The game is described as team based action combat.
Dishonoured 2 and Dishonoured Definitive Edition
Arkane Studios took to the stage next to show off a CG trailer of Dishonoured 2. The trailer looked impressive but I’m always dubious of CG trailers. In Dishonoured 2 you have the ability to play as a male or female character and each will have different abilities and gadgets. You will be able to play the game in full stealth not harming people or choose to go in weapons blazing. Just before they left the stage they announced the Dishonoured Definitive Edition coming this fall.
The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited
A video was shown off from the makers of The Elder Scrolls Online explaining the new expansions coming later this year. They were Imperial City: Fallen Capital of Tamriel and Orsinium: Realm of the Orcs.
The Elder Scrolls Legends
This was described as a strategy card game based in the Elder Scrolls Universe. I’m guessing the success of Hearthstone has something to do with the release of this. The game will be free to play and available later this year on PC and IPad.
We knew that Fallout 4 was going to be shown off at E3 but Bethesda really knocked it out of the park with the information they provided about it. The game kicks off just prior to nuclear war where you are at home with your family. They showed off the character creation system which looks very intuitive and simple to use. Bethesda also seems to have worked on the user interface with things looking more defined and prominent. Graphically the game looks very detailed indeed with a lot of the environments looking great. As it’s a Fallout game you can play in first and third person view. The game also showed off your dog companion who can be given contextual commands such as fetch items or scout ahead. The VATS system returns and again looks very nice indeed and they showed off the new Pipboy which looks superb. You can find game tapes which allow you to play mini games like a version of Donkey Kong and Missile Command on your Pipboy. This lead onto them showing off a real life Pipboy. This will be available with the collector’s edition of the game. You can put your phone into the Pipboy and they have also created a second screen app to run alongside the game. You can set your various stats using this option. This is coming to IOS and Android when the game is released. Bethesda also announced a new mobile game called Fallout Shelter. The game takes inspiration from FTL and XCOM. Fallout Shelter looks like a management simulation where you need to ensure that your dwellers are happy and fend off the various raiders and deal with accidents. The game is free to play and available right now. The next thing shown off was a crafting and building system in Fallout 4. You can build your own home and even create your own settlements, adding defences and setting up shops. The game also features a deep crafting system for weapons featuring over 700 variations of attachments for the 50 base weapons. Of course the question on everyone’s lips was when the game is available. The answer to that Fallout 4 will be released on 10th November 2015.
A lot was expected from Microsoft at this year’s E3. They promised the greatest games line up in Xbox history, so no pressure then! One of the major announcements was that the Xbox One will now be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games. This will initially be around a 100 games with more being available later this year. You will be able to take screenshots and stream games. Also shown off was the new Elite controller which features a number of customisable options. Speaking of controllers an Xbox One controller will be bundled with Oculus and Xbox games can be streamed using Oculus. Hololens was a new piece of technology shown off. Essentially these glasses create an augmented reality. This was demonstrated with Minecraft where one player was playing using a tablet and another player was manipulating the virtual world using Hololens. It looks intriguing but how affordable and what other uses this technology will have is another question.
Halo 5 Guardians
The show opened with a 4 player coop demo of Halo 5 Guardians. Nathan Fillions character from Halo ODST was revealed as a playable character. The story seems to centre on whether Master Chief has gone rogue and is now a traitor. A new multiplayer mode was announced called Warzone. This will feature 24 players, large maps and AI controlled enemies. If you’ve played a Halo game you know what to expect. I’ve personally had fun with the Halo games and rank Halo 3 as my favourite of the series. This doesn’t look to do much different than previous games but I’m sure it’ll be good fun. Halo 5 Guardians is due for release on 27th October 2015 and is an Xbox One exclusive.
This was a CG trailer of a desolate wasteland where a female protagonist and her robot dog are attacked by enemy robots. The dog sacrifices itself and leaves its core which is then placed into a different robot. The trailer didn’t show any gameplay footage so it’s hard to say much more, but it’s an Xbox One exclusive and comes out in spring 2016.
We saw the reveal of this at the Bethesda conference but the new announcement was that mods created on PC will be available for free on Xbox One.
Peter Moore announced that Titanfall and Dragon Age Inquisition will be available as being part of the EA Access vault which is exclusive to Xbox One. He also announced Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 which is coming spring 2016.
Forza Motorsport 6
It was difficult to tell if what was shown off was CG or in game footage however, if you love your car racing games this comes out 15th September 2015 and is exclusive to Xbox One.
Dark Souls 3
A brooding CG trailer was shown off for Dark Souls 3 which is coming early 2016.
Tom Clancy’s The Division & Rainbow Six Siege
A trailer was shown off for The Division and Rainbow Six Siege. Xbox players will be able to play a beta of The Division in December. Rainbow Six Vegas 1 and 2 will come free with Rainbow Six Siege thanks to the backwards compatibility which was announced earlier.
This is a colourful third person action adventure game which is exclusive to Windows 10 and Xbox One. Not much was shown except you can choose different heroes in the game. Gigantic will be free to play and have a beta in August 2015.
Next up was a montage of indie games coming to Xbox One. These included the beautiful looking Cup Head, Rise and Shine, The Mean Greens, The Flame in the Flood, Phantasmal: City of Darkness, The Solus Project, Westerado: Double Barrelled, Sword Coast Legends, Outward: The Adventurer Life Sim, Goat Simulator: MMORE Goatz Edition, Game 4, Below, ARK: Survival Evolved, Recruits and Superhot. Following the montage was a more in depth look at some more indie games such as Tacoma from the makers of Gone Home. Ashen is an Xbox exclusive and is an open world survival game. Beyond Eyes features a blind girl where you shape the world around you with your other senses. It looks beautiful and reminds me a lot of Rain and The Unfinished Swan. We got a more in depth look at Cuphead and boy does it look great. The graphics are inspired by 1930’s cartoons and it certainly looks stunning. Cuphead is an Xbox exclusive. They finished this segment with a pilot program called Xbox Game Preview. This boils down to early access for Xbox, a feature which has been fairly controversial on services like Steam. The good thing is that it offers trials before you decide to buy.
The creator behind DayZ showed a brief CG trailer and announced Ion which is described as a space MMO.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
We’ve seen the CG teaser trailer but now we actually got to see gameplay footage and again it looks stunning. I really enjoyed the reboot of Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider looks to expand on the winner formula. The game is released on 10th November 2015.
The collection of 30 Rare games featuring: Perfect Dark Zero, Perfect Dark, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Battletoads, Underwurlde, Lunar Jet Man, Cobra Triangle, R.C. Pro-Am 2, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, Digger T Rock, Gunfright, Jet Force Gemini, Snake Rattle N Roll, Slalom, Solar Jetman, Jet Pac, Jet Pac Refuelled, Banjo-Kazooie, R.C. Pro-Am, Conkers Bad Fur Day, Kameo, Viva Pinata, Killer Instinct Gold, Sabre Wulf, Banjo-Tooie, Knight Lore, Blast Corps, Atic Atac and Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts, is coming to Xbox One on 4th August 2015. The price point was touted as $30 for 30 games. This is now on sale in the UK for £20 which is amazing value for what you get.
Sea of Thieves
This is a brand new Rare game which appears to be some kind of first person pirate adventure.
This game will be free to play and exclusive to Windows 10 and Xbox One. Players will be able to interact between PC and Xbox One. The game will come this holiday.
Gears of War Ultimate Edition
This is the first Gears of War game remastered and modernised for Xbox One. It will feature 60FPS and run at 1080p. Considering it’s called the Ultimate Edition, I’m surprised it doesn’t feature the other 2 games. The game is coming on 25th August 2015.
Gears of War 4
Microsoft finished by showing off Gears of War 4. Gameplay footage was shown and it looks pretty sweet albeit is still a Gears of War game and looks to play the same as the others. It also looks to feature a new protagonist. The game is coming holiday 2016.
EA had a poor E3 in 2014 with very little in terms of games actually shown off. This year the pressure was on for them to show off what they had been working on for the past year.
Mass Effect Andromeda
EA opened with the big guns and showed off a very brief look at a new Mass Effect game which is coming holiday 2016. It showed off a Mako style vehicle but it was difficult to see anything else, however it certainly grabbed the attention.
Need for Speed
This was described as an open world racer featuring huge customisable options for the cars. I’m not really a racing kind of guy so all I can really say is the cars looked very shiny and polished! They showed off some of the customisable features and they did look pretty extensive. The game was shown running and all I can say is that it did look an impressive arcade racer. Need for Speed is due for release on 3rd November 2015.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Knights of the Fallen Empire was shown off as an expansion and is due for release on 27th October 2015. It will be free to all subscribers of The Old Republic.
This is a new game from EA where the main character is made of yarn which unravels as you play. It is a puzzle platformer where you use your yarn to swing to new areas and traverse the landscape. The game looks very interesting and similar to Little Big Planet or a slightly more grown up version of Kirby’s Epic Yarn.
Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2
A trailer for PVZGW2 was shown off at the Microsoft press conference but this expanded on it. There are new plants to choose in your fight against the zombies. Gameplay footage was demonstrated and it looked great. If the game is half the fun of the original Garden Warfare then they are onto a winner. The game is coming spring 2016.
NBA Live 2016, FIFA 16, Madden 16, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour
It wouldn’t be an EA conference if we didn’t have lots of time spent on sports. I’m probably doing this section a disservice by not going into more detail but seriously, its sports. There were lots of sports and it went on, and on, and on.
Mirrors Edge Catalyst
This is a follow up to the critically acclaimed Mirrors Edge. EA boasted that there would be no levels or loading screens in the game and it offers a full free roaming experience. The game is due for release on 23rd February 2016.
Star Wars Battlefront
This was the big finale for EA. We actually got to see gameplay footage which was captured on a PS4 and it didn’t disappoint. We saw a recreation of the battle on Hoth. The player was switching between first and third person views with vehicle combat was also shown off. A snow speeder was seen taking down an ATAT using the iconic grappling hook. TIE Fighters were attacking X-Wings and to finish we saw Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker squaring off. I was extremely hyped after seeing this and can’t wait for the game to be released on 17th November 2015.
Ubisoft is usually the edgy conference out of all of them with Aisha Tyler doing a good job of being self-deprecating and throwing in a few swears for good measure.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Matt Stone and Trey Parker took to the stage to announce a follow up to the acclaimed Stick of Truth. This was a genuine surprise and a great way to start the show.
A new game which is a third person hack and slash adventure. The gameplay footage featured heavily on coop combat. The game features different warriors to choose such as a Knight, Viking and Samurai. A lot was made of the gameplay with them boasting dynamic combat in how you wield your sword and shield. The game looks nice enough with hordes of AI enemies thrown into the fray. It’ll be interesting to see how the game turns out and new franchises are always welcome.
The Crew: Wild Run
This was shown as an expansion to The Crew and based on the trailer you will be able to ride motorcycles, rally cars, monster trucks and drag racers.
Trials Fusion: Awesome Level Max
The trailer featured a gun toting cat riding a fire breathing horse! What more could you want? This expansion is coming 14th July 2015.
Gameplay footage was shown of Ubisoft next big tent pole release. They showed off the open world online emergent gameplay with a team encountering other players and deciding whether to attack them or the games AI enemies. It also showed your own team members betraying you, stealing your loot and leaving you for dead. The game is released on 8th March 2016.
This city builder showed off how you can create cities in the far reaches of space. The game is coming on 3rd November 2015.
Just Dance 2016
You can now use a smart phone as a controller rather than Kinect or the Sony camera. They are also introducing Just Dance Unlimited which means you will be able to stream songs to your console.
Rainbow Six Siege
Angela Bassett took to the stage as she is one of the characters in the Rainbow Six Siege. They boasted that all of the environments in the game are destructible. A live demo showed one of the characters smashing a wall with a sledgehammer creating a new way into a room. The game looks a lot of fun especially in coop.
This looked like a cross between Wipeout and Stunt Car Racer. The game also features a track maker which creates new tracks on the fly. It reminded me a lot of Trials as there are constant check points throughout and instant restarts when you inevitably crash.
Assassins Creed Syndicate
This kicked off with a CG trailer. Let’s face it, Ubisoft know how to do a CG trailer for Assassins Creed. However, there was no gameplay footage shown which doesn’t inspire confidence especially considering the problems with Assassins Creed Unity.
Ghost Recon Wild Lands.
The final reveal was a new entry into the Ghost Recon catalogue. Based on what was show it looked like a team based action adventure with coop. The story seems to be centred around a war on drug cartels. A huge open world is promised with an assortment of vehicles from helicopters, cars and speedboats. From what was shown the game looked like a lot of fun.
All eyes were on Sony following a strong showing from Microsoft, especially as Sony’s own first party software line-up for 2015 has been described as sparse by their own people. Let’s just say that Sony didn’t disappoint. Sony’s own virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus, was mentioned briefly but there were no demonstrations of the system, when it will be released or how much it will cost. PlayStation Vue was also mentioned as a new TV streaming service for PS4.
The Last Guardian
The show kicked off in spectacular style with the reveal of The Last Guardian. This game was originally shown off in 2009 and speculation over whether the game is still alive or not has been rife. We saw 7 minutes of gameplay footage and it looked great. As you’d expect from the creators of ICO and Shadows of the Colossus I can imagine that you will build a bond with the main character and his creature companion. The game was announced for PS4 and is due for release in 2016. Fingers crossed.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Next up is a new franchise from Guerrilla, the makers of the Killzone games. The game looks to be a third person adventure whereby your main character is a hunter stalking robotic animals. Think Dinobots and you’re not far off. The world looks to be post-apocalyptic whereby nature has taken over and man is faced with hostile machines. Imagine Enslaved and you’re not far off the mark. The game looked beautiful and I’m really excited to get my hands on it.
Next up was a CG trailer for a new Hitman game. We didn’t see any gameplay footage but six exclusive contracts were announced for PS4.
Two new characters were shown off for this PS4 and PC exclusive. Birdie and Cammy will be in the game and it looks fantastic.
No Mans Sky
There is a lot of buzz for this space adventure. We were treated to a live demo whereby you can fly anywhere and land on any number of planets. We didn’t get a release date but the scale, ambition and expectation for this game is huge. Let’s hope they deliver.
It’s difficult to tell what type of game this will be. It’s from the creative people at Media Molecule and it appears to be a game creation tool whereby you can sculpt and make your own characters. Visually it looked stunning but it’s way too early to tell what the game will be about.
This looks like an interesting first person adventure whereby you appear to be a park ranger who gets caught up in a murder mystery. There are elements of comedy and suspense and the brief trailer looked great.
Destiny: The Taken King
The next expansion to Destiny was shown and is released on 15th September 2015.
Assassins Creed Syndicate
This CG video showed off a new female character called Evie. There will be exclusive missions available for PS4.
World of Final Fantasy
The word adorable was used about a hundred times during this trailer. To be fair it did look cute. The game will be available in 2016 on PS4 and PS Vita.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake
After the announcement of The Last Guardian this reveal brought the house down. Although we only saw a CG trailer and a quick glimpse of the back of Cloud, just the fact that this game is coming was enough to get the crowd rocking. The game was announced as coming first to PS4.
Devolver Digital montage.
4 new games were shown making their console debut on PS4. They were Ronin, Eitr, Mother Russian Bleeds and Crossing Souls. All looked great and will be coming to PS4 and PS Vita.
I know people who actually cried when they heard this announcement. In fact I was close to tears when I heard the beautiful music and Yu Suzuki appear on stage. Although the announcement was only for a Kickstarter for the game, just the fact that the game is being considered and is now a possibility is a huge deal. It really is the stuff of dreams. The Kickstarter has broken records as one of the fastest funded kickstarters in history making over 2 million dollar in less than 24 hours. You can back the Kickstarter here.
Batman: Arkham Knight
A CG trailer of the forthcoming Batman game was shown off. The game is coming 23rd June 2015 and will feature missions exclusive to PS4.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
For many years Microsoft have partnered with Activision to bring timed exclusive DLC map packs to Xbox. The big announcement is that Sony has now partnered with Activision and all DLC will be timed exclusive for PS4. The game itself looked like you’d expect but the biggest change with previous COD games is that you will be able to play the campaign in 4 player coop. Like it or not, COD is one of the biggest selling gaming franchises so this is a big coup for Sony.
Disney Infinity 3.0
PlayStation will receive an exclusive starter pack for the upcoming toys to life series Disney Infinity 3.0. The playsets will be available one month before they are released on other platforms. The other announcement is that a Boba Fett figure will be exclusive to PlayStation.
Star Wars Battlefront
Following the gameplay showing at the EA conference we were treated to more gameplay and again, it looks stunning.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
Sony finished on one of the flag ship exclusives and boy did it look good. If you’ve played an Uncharted game you know what to expect but the biggest reveal was Nate and Sully jumping into a jeep and seamlessly getting involved in a chase through packed streets, smashing scaffolding and debris. Imagine the hillside chase from Bad Boys 2 and you’re not far off. It looked amazing. Bring on 2016.
For the past couple of years Nintendo have had digital events rather than appear on stage at E3. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t surprises and big announcements and Nintendo aren’t afraid of poking fun at themselves. This year was no different with Satoru Iwata, Reggie Fils-aime and Shigeru Miyamoto appearing as muppets. They then turned into characters from Star Fox which leads onto their first announcement.
Star Fox Zero
Star Fox was teased at last year’s E3 so it was great to actually see the game running on WiiU. One of the main features they showed off was the Arwing fighter transforming into new vehicles such as a walker, helicopter and a tank. The game is due for release holiday 2015.
Donkey Kong and Bowser will feature as characters which will only appear on Nintendo consoles. These new Amiibo will have duel functionality so you use them in their own games as well as in Skylanders.
The Legend of Zelda Tri Force Heroes
This 3DS game will allow you to be able to team up with other owners of the game to play cooperatively. Tri Force Heroes is coming fall 2015.
Hyrule Warriors Legends
This 3DS game is a reimagining of the WiiU version. It will feature new characters and as well as characters from the WiiU game. The game is coming in the first quarter of 2016.
Metroid Prime Federation Force, Fire Emblem Fates, Genei Ibun Roku X FE, Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer, Yok-ai Watch
These 3DS games were all shown but very little is known about them based on the trailers.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
This game has been teased for 2 years and it just keeps looking better and better. I’ve never played a Xenoblade game before but it looks like a cross between Monster Hunter and Phantasy Star Online. It comes out for WiiU on 4th December 2015.
Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival
Animal Crossing is a hugely popular franchise for Nintendo so it’s no surprise to see a new version announced except this game is for WiiU. The game is coming holiday 2015.
Yoshi’s Woolly World
This is the follow up to Kirby’s Epic Yarn. This game looks absolutely stunning and as you would imagine will feature Amiibo integration. The game is released in Europe on 26th June 2015 for WiiU.
Mario & Luigi Paper Jam
This 3DS game looks fantastic featuring classic 3D Mario characters and Paper Mario characters interacting with each other. The game is coming in 2016.
Mario Tennis Ultra Smash
A new Mario Tennis game was shown which is coming holiday 2015.
Super Mario Maker
Super Mario Maker will allow you to create your own 2D levels from classic Mario games. The video showed how Miyamoto used to design levels using graph paper and how you will be able to have a huge degree of freedom to create your own levels. A new 8 bit Mario Amiibo was also shown off which looked pretty snazzy. Super Mario Maker is released on 11th September 2015 for WiiU.
Square Enix have some of the biggest franchises in gaming such as Hitman, Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy, so it was interesting to see what they had planned for the next 12 months and beyond.
Just Cause 3
This game looks absolutely insane! It’s an open world game whereby you can take control of multiple vehicles. The video showed off the main characters grappling hook which can be tethered to multiple objects. An example of this was a soldier being tethered to a propane tank. You can use your imagination of what happened when the tank was shot. Bye bye soldier. Just Cause 3 is released on 1st December 2015.
New Neir Project
A new project developed by Platinum Games is usually something to get excited about but in all honesty the trailer didn’t show off much at all. The biggest news from this announcement is that it will only be on PS4.
Rise of the Tomb Raider & Final Fantasy 7 Remake
Square showed off trailers that had been seen at the Microsoft & PlayStation press conference.
Lara Croft Go
From the makers of Hitman Go comes a new isometric mobile game called Tomb Raider Go.
Kingdom Hearts Unchained
This is the first Kingdom Hearts game that will be available on smart phones. It will also link to Kingdom Hearts 3.
Kingdom Hearts 3
The world premier trailer was shown off for Kingdom Hearts 3. I’ve never played a Kingdom Hearts game and all I really know is that it features Disney characters with a Final Fantasy style gameplay.
The new Hitman game was described as an open world sandbox where you can choose your assassinations. New contacts and locations will be available as the game evolves and will appear for limited periods of time. You will also have freedom to tackle missions using stealth or going all guns blazing.
Star Ocean Integrity and Faithfulness
Another popular JRPG was announced which is coming only to PS4.
Deus Ex Mankind Divided
The follow up to Deus Ex Human Revolution was revealed. The next chapter in the saga of Adam Jensen is coming in early 2016.
Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes with and ‘The Same Coin‘)