E3 2015 is over, the dust has settled on the show floor once again and we take a look back over the last week to find our top picks from the games and features announced.
Jon – When this game was first announced at E3 2009 I was blown away with excitement. Shadow of the Colossus is still in my top 5 games of all time, so the thought of another game from the same team was just too awesome. But then came the delays, and more delays, and rumours that it was being canned. It all went quiet. Too quiet.
Then, a few weeks before E3 2015, we started to get hints that the game would be back on show. I took the rumours with a pinch of salt and promised no to get too excited (although I must admit I failed a bit on that one).
Not only was it mentioned it also kicked off Sony’s press conference and we got to see a full 5 minutes of actual gameplay footage. And boy did it NOT disappoint. Getting a 2016 release date I would say now is a particularly good time to own a PS4. And talking of Sony’s console…
Paul – Sony chose to start the show with this for one reason, they knew what the fans wanted. They weren’t wrong. The internet exploded when the year appeared on screen. It wasn’t even a date, just a year. Starting life as a PS3 game, it actually transpired that the game had been in development for PS4 since 2012, but to know that the Last Guardian was still here and nearer to completion was enough.
Xbox has owned the rights to timed exclusive DLC for Call of Duty since Modern Warfare 2* back in 2009. Since then there has always been a strong marketing bond between Microsoft and Activision, with both companies leveraging the power of the IP to suit both their needs. So what’s changed?
Back then the Xbox 360 was outselling the PS3 and I suppose it made sense for one of the biggest names in gaming to hop on board. Fortunes have swung back in Sony’s favour since the PS4 was released back in 2013, with its sales outstripping that of the XB1. This is a clear indication that Activision sees the Playstation as the strongest horse in the race right now.
I don’t think the announcement is a complete game changer in the console wars. I still think Sony beat Microsoft in the console wars at E3 (not by a lot mind you) but what this does show is that MS are listening to its customers and giving them what they want, if not need.
Since current gen was launched nearly two years ago I think I have played about 2 hours on my old consoles, and that was Black Ops 2 on my 360. I think part of the reason for this is the lack of convenience in doing so, and perhaps backwards compatibility making playing older games that much easier will change this for me.
Jon – EA had to do something big, right? Am I the only person who is bored at seeing FIFA games being given a lick of paint? “Woohoo, this year you get to play as women!!”. Big deal, it’s something that should have happened years ago.
The Star Wars Battlefront preview trailer from a few weeks ago also left a lot to be desired. Yes it looked pretty, but it didn’t show me what the game was going to look like when it was being played to death. My enthusiasm was reset and I cancelled any thought of a pre-order.
But then EA and DICE went and blew my socks off with what can only be described as complete and utter brilliance. The sound, the graphics and the gameplay all looked top notch in their E3 showing and my excitement for the game raced back up to 11. It’s gonna be tough finding the time to play all the great games scheduled for October/November this year.
Jon – I didn’t see this one coming. Somehow Guerilla were able to keep a tight lid on one of the best looking new IPs I’ve seen for a while. Native humans fighting giant robot ‘dinosaurs’ for survival? Count me in.
Here’s the thing with this. Uncharted 4 has been talked about for some time and although the presentation looked completely awesome it wasn’t such a big deal. And Tomb Raider looked just as slick, with polished graphics making the athletic (read: less titillating, with the emphasis on the first syllable) Lara Croft look even better than ever.
Yet both of these were eclipsed by the creators of Killzone and one of the best kept secrets of modern times. I was blindsided by the demo. Jaw on the floor stuff. We watched some hunter gatherer female take down a massive mech-dino thing in a flurry of arrows and lasers. There are a lot more details to come, but as a first glimpse it looked bloody brilliant.
Paul – Few of us had dared hope that the forklift outside the E3 building could be anything more than a sly wink at the fans of Shenmue, but Sony proved us all wrong. During the PS4 Press Conference, series director Yu Suzuki stood up and announced that he was making Shenmue III and funding the initial backing by Kickstarter. After the countdown it was already clear that this was going to break records and it did, becoming the fastest Kickstarter funding on record.
Why is Shenmue so important? The series has inspired many fans since its first episode on Dreamcast and those who followed it through the sequel either on the same console or the original Xbox were disappointed when the story was left hanging by publisher Sega. Being honest, it’s not the best made game and it has its flaws, but it had heart and an attention to detail in the living world it created which had never been seen before. This was an open world game before open world games were ever a thing. Now we may even find out what happens to Ryo and if he ever gets any closure.
7. Starfox Zero
Paul – You can say what you like about Nintendo but they certainly do things their own unique way. This was evident from the outset as the three Nintendo spokespeople; Satoru Iwata, Reggie Fils-Aimé and Shigeru Miyamoto appeared as puppets and morphed into Starfox characters in front of our eyes. More importantly, it lead to the new Wii U Starfox game’s reveal, a game that uses the Wii U Gamepad but also has plenty of references to the series, including the unreleased Star Fox 2.
In a year where Nintendo has been all but abandoned by third parties, they seem to be swimming in first party releases, keeping some fans happy until the NX is revealed next year.
8. The PC Gamer Show
Paul – Okay, so it may have been a little bit of an advert for AMD to sell their Radeon cards and tell everyone about Direct X 12, but this was the first time that major publishers and developers for PC had been grouped together to create something special for PC gamers.
The show suffered a little from repeated trailers previously seen at the console and publisher conferences, but that didn’t detract from providing a unique place to grab all the PC news and actually get some time with important developers to tell their story. Let’s hope it becomes a regular feature of E3 in the future.
9. Forza 6
Paul – Microsoft and Turn 10 took a lot of flack for rushing Forza 5 to market, the first Xbox One game was lacking in features and tracks when it arrived and just felt slightly rushed, despite still being a solid game. So it’s pleasing to see that Forza 6 seems to rectify things and it’s shaping up to be the true sequel to the series that Xbox One deserves.
26 destinations, 450 cars and one trailer full of stunning 1080p in-game footage. Now that’s what we wanted to see.
10 – Ubisoft being nuts…again.
Paul – In addition to bringing us South Park: The Fractured But Whole and Trials with a Unicorn in place of a bike (really!), host Aisha wasn’t afraid to make fun of herself or take in the absurdity of E3 in general, stopping to talk to a cosplayer in the process. It might not have been up there with Mr Caffeine, but Ubisoft’s E3 is always entertaining.