Another successful day in E3 history! Several exciting announcements have been made and the future of VR has never looked so promising. Let’s take a deeper look into each conference to see what worked and what could have gone better. Feel free to click on the bolded words to view trailers and gameplay demos!
With the recurring theme of giving players the choice on how to play the way they want, Microsoft gave an impressive and intriguing event that shows that they are adapting for the exciting future of gaming.
- The hype within the Marcus Fenix cameo. Since Gears of War 4 was announced, fans have been dying to see Marcus in this new dystopian environment. Getting a glimpse of his new burly beard in that beautiful cinematic trailer has gotten me even more excited to see how this newest installment will be, especially since they plan on revisiting their horror roots from the original installment.
- The overall cross-play theme. Even though I am not a huge fan of the series, the Forza Horizon 3 demo was a fantastic representation of how connected Xbox players can be through PCs and both Xbox One consoles.
- Xbox One S! This is a reveal that was leaked weeks ago, but it looks even better than I thought it would. 4K support, 40% smaller size, internal power supply, and a new and improved controller will leave plenty of gamers wanting to upgrade their systems and convince new gamers to finally join the Xbox community.
- The adorable Minecraft presentation. The silly and humorous interactions between the presenters reminded me of what I love about the classic Minecraft charm. While some may feel that this on stage presentation was awkward, I felt that their banter was rather loveable and fit very well with the content they were representing.
- Frank West is back and Dead Rising 4 looks as wacky as ever! The trailer shows a variety of absurd crafted weapons, silly ways to cause destruction, and Frank’s passion for photography. As a gamer who loves this series but felt fatigued by its last entry, my faith has definitely been revitalized for this next installment.
- The teaser for Project Scorpio. While the actual hardware was not shown, the inspirational words from the Microsoft team and some top-tier developers made me much more excited for the upgraded system. The future of VR is new and exciting and Microsoft is clearly ready to tackle this new beast of technology.
- Strong indie support. With titles like Limbo and Braid having such success on the Xbox 360, it is great to see them still rallying for the underdogs. I can’t help but feel that Cuphead will become an instant classic upon its release.
The Bad (Microsoft)
- Filler content. As excited as I am for Final Fantasy 15, the demo just felt like a last-minute add-on to an otherwise thoughtful press event. The same could be said about the release of The Division’s DLC pack that is coming to Xbox One first. The filler continued with EA’s Battlefield 1 trailer, which was the same exact trailer shown at their conference the day before. It would have been much more effective if they had at least showed a new cinematic trailer or gameplay demo.
While Microsoft and Sony’s conferences focused heavily on games and innovation, Ubisoft’s event felt more like a popularized ceremony that you might see on MTV.
The Good (Ubisoft)
- For Honor looks awesome. The beautiful cinematic and intriguing gameplay demo have been quite the talking point on the internet today. It is clear that the hype for this title is just getting started, but we will find out more details before its release on February 14th of next year.
- Ghost Recon Wildlands looks like The Phantom Pain with friends. This tactical war series has been gone for far too long, but it is looking better than ever. I cannot wait to tackle missions in a variety of ways with a couple friends.
- South Park: The Fractured But Whole is hilarious. This comes as no surprise since the first installment is often regarded as one of the funniest games of all time. Fans can look forward to countless laughs, interactive environments, and the intuitive turn-based combat later this year.
The Bad (Ubisoft)
- Overall, it was a very awkward presentation. The respectable host (Aisha Tyler) was certainly knowledgeable, but her demeanor and cussing came off as unprofessional rather than charming. The opening dance was a vapid act that served little purpose for the conference.
- As much as I love Trey Stone and Matt Parker, I feel that their presence and the interview for the Assassin’s Creed movie seemed completely unnecessary. While they were certainly interesting and respectable guests, the E3 stage is not the place for this.
- The conference was far too long. Sony and Microsoft have their own gaming platforms that allow for an incredible amount of diversity in announcements, but Ubisoft should not have taken the stage as long as they did. A 30-45 minute conference would have been much more effective and memorable.
Holy cow. When it comes to an impressive game library, there is no competition here. Sony repeatedly showed off fantastic demos throughout their whole event. They provided a slew of gameplay demos and cinematic trailers that left social media going ballistic several hours after the event concluded.
The Good (Sony)
- God of War Reboot! God of War is a series I never particularly cared for. Kratos’ personality and story always seemed uninspired and cheesy to me. However, this revival seems to change its past. Kratos is now a family man who clearly has a lot of love for his son. Throughout the demo he protects his son from danger while teaching him to hunt, even providing moral support for him when he must kill his first deer.
- Kojima and Norman Reedus are partnering again. Many fans (including myself) were very disappointed when the Silent Hill game for PS4 was canceled. The marriage of a Kojima’s fantastic creativity and Norman Reedus’ great acting was a phenomenal combination that can still be seen in Kojima Productions first game, Death Stranding.
- Resident Evil 7 revealed! With a demo that originally looked like a revival of the PT project, Resident Evil 7 is once again changing its core mechanics. This next installment will play as a first person horror and is said to take many pages from its original and more horror-based beginnings.
- CRASH BANDICOOT RETURNS. While it is only through remasters (the first three of the series) and a Skylanders cameo, this is great news for the IP. Perhaps the success of the remasters will provide enough financial support to afford a complete reboot for the series in the near future.
The Bad (Sony)
- No Vita support. As a lover of Sony’s last handheld system, it still hurts to see it criminally under-supported. If the Vita wasn’t dead before, it certainly is now.
All events had great things to show, but some did it better than others. Ubisoft’s event was easily my least favorite conference since E3 started. It felt more like a pop culture show with it’s over the top performances and famous guest stars. Their show felt like it was written for stockholders, while Microsoft and Sony were there for the gamers. Microsoft found a fantastic balance between convincing demos and improving the quality of life for gamers. As great as Microsoft was, Sony absolutely killed it with their unmistakable passion for what their fans love most, their games. Crash Bandicoot, God of War, Resident Evil, Spiderman, and the highly-coveted The Last Guardian were just a portion of Sony’s arsenal and allowed them to steal the show. Sony has proven why they have such a massive lead in sales for this console generation. They know what their fans want and always deliver. With only Nintendo’s minimalist conference left, it seems that Sony will reign victorious for the best conference this year.