The main day of E3, where Microsoft and Sony take to the stage alongside EA and Ubisoft’s own conferences, may seem a little diluted back here in the UK, especially when some people hold their conferences at stupid-o’clock (Sony, I’m talking to you), but it’s always a chance to take stock of what we’ll expect to see over the next 12-18 months from the big 2, EA and Ubisoft.
Sony didn’t really have a huge catalogue of 2015 games to fall back on, but they probably didn’t think they needed it, either. Still seen as being ahead of the competition, their E3 could have been overly confident, leading to a fall, but turned out to be another strong line-up of surprises and fan favourites.
First up, to the delight and surprise of those watching, was The Last Guardian. Yes, that game which was first shown at E3 2009. While Team Ico confirmed (to no-one’s surprise) that this would now be a PS4 game rather than on PS3, the demo was a nice surprise and actually showed us for the first time what the game would be like. It was certainly great to get a feel for the mechanics and gameplay behind the often teased game that felt, at times, like it would never see the light of day. The 2016 release date at the end sealed the deal.
Robot Dinosaurs are the next big thing to steal Sony’s show. It’s Guerrilla games and their new IP Horizon: Zero Dawn. Very nice looking mix of futuristic post-apocalypse jungle, robotic wildlife and stealth. This could well be one to watch.
The new Hitman looks like a reboot of the franchise and gets a Playstation exclusive beta of the game. Sony seem to be going all out on grabbing timed exclusives, possibly as an answer to Tomb Raider. Talking of exclusives, there’s Street Fighter 5, PS4 console exclusive game. It looks…well, like Street Fighter.
Hello Games’ Sean Murray is on stage to present No Man’s Sky again and he takes everyone on a trip to a planet. After telling everyone that it’s not populated we see fish, robot guards and other creatures. Better check that sensor, Sean! It still looks stunning and until it arrives I don’t think anyone can still really believe that this game is possible. Just the scope alone is mind boggling.
Media Molecule’s Dreams up next and it’s a…well, it’s not a game as such, it’s more like a collaborative art program with animation. That trailer didn’t really explain much, did it? Still, it looks interesting and it’s Media Molecule, so it’ll be good.
Firewatch trailer is another one of those exclusive titles for console. It’s a survival horror type thing and the trailer doesn’t give much away other than it seems to be set in a big forest. So getting lost among lots of trees in the dark, then.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate gets more exclusive content for PS4 (pretty much a given for Ubisoft and Sony now).
Final Fantasy gets a new Chibi style game for the PS4 and Vita (the only time the Vita gets in on this year’s E3, it seems) and then the big one, FF7 remake, the one everyone has been asking for and no-one expected. Nice.
To top it all, though, Sony go and invite Yu Suzuki on stage for probably the biggest reveal this year; Shenmue 3. It’s one of those games that has been dreamed about by many gamers for many years without the possibility of ever seeing it happen, but now here it is. It’s a kickstarter, apparently. £2m is the asking price to get it started (nothing compared to what it will really cost to make the game, I’m sure) and Sony seem to be behind it. Well, that’s my mind blown.
Batman gets official Scarecrow missions and the trailer looks pretty good for these. Call of Duty gets timed exclusive DLC (that might hurt Microsoft’s pride a bit).
The show finishes off with a smattering of Battlefront (which looks nicer every time I see it) and then Uncharted 4. Any usual E3 and this would be a big thing, but even Uncharted can’t top the FF7 and Shenmue announcements. It is a really lovely demo of the gameplay, mind you, even if it does go a bit wrong in the middle.