E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is currently underway in Los Angeles, and the world’s biggest game platforms and developers have been showing off what they have got lined up for the year ahead.
Starting with Bethesda Softworks on Sunday evening, we got a further look at Fallout 4. After the release of the game’s trailer to an ecstatic response last week, the developer confirmed its release date of November 10th.
They also unveiled a new version of the PC classic Doom, this time updated with modern blood and guts - literally. As with the classic version, multiplayer will be a big part of the new Doom.
Microsoft’s Xbox presentation on Monday showed that the company is still refining their latest console.
More than a year after its release, Microsoft announced that the Xbox One will be able to play Xbox 360 games, bringing about the loudest cheer of their announcement.
While you will need the disc in the Xbox, it won’t actually be read, just used as proof that you own the game as it’s downloading and as you play it.
The games during the Xbox presentation seemed to be mostly rehashes (or remasters as they like to be called) of pre-existing games and series: Halo 5: Guardians, Gears of War 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, augmented reality Minecraft and Forza Motorsport 6.
The big names from the last few years are still the big names this year.
The indie showcase always slotted in had some interesting games, including Cuphead, which is successfully styled like a 1930’s cartoon, and Beyond Eyes, where the protagonist is a blind 10-year-old girl.
Apart from a new controller unveiled, there was nothing hugely new from Xbox this year. Some nice refinements that’ll keep fans ticking over.
At EA’s presentation, the message that they’re exclusively making Star Wars games was hammered home.
All throughout the presentation, a graphic would appear on screen telling you how long until Star Wars: Battlefront was revealed. This really made everything else on display, such as teases for Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst to Mass Effect: Andromeda, feel decidedly second place.
However it is rightly so. After a series of ho-hum games, Star Wars: Battlefront completely stole the show and is a strong contender for 'Game of the Show'.
Reminiscent of the classic Battlefront games, this one, running on EA’s impressive Frostbite engine, truly feels like you’re right in the heart of the epic Star Wars universe. Get ready to throw your money at EA again come November.
Ubisoft, well, they were also at E3. Nothing too outstanding from the French developer this year. They went the same route of the other presentations we’d seen so far with re-releases of titles we know and love.
Another Just Dance, yet more Creed from those Assassins, South Park, and Tom Clancy ruling the roost again with Rainbow Six Siege and The Division.
A brand new Ghost Recon, Wildlands, was their best showing this year. Promising a huge open world, you have to go South America to take care of drug cartels and able to complete missions in different ways -whether that be loud and messy or quietly and stealthily.
Sony started the final presentation of the day with a bang, by unveiling gameplay and a release date of 2016 for the long awaited game The Last Guardian, in development since as far back as 2007.
The PS4 is very much owning the category of smaller scale games, at least in terms of the studios producing the games. It had No Man’s Sky, a vast space exploration game, and Firewatch, a mystery game set in the Wyoming wilderness, a breath of fresh air after the frantic first person shooters we’d been seeing all day.
These games are different to what we think of as big selling console titles, and Sony knows that that’s the PS4’s draw.
Unlike the rest of the announcements, Sony took time to step away from games and talk about the PS4 as a media hub.
They announced PlayStation Vue, a cable service that lets you choose the television channels you want, something that American cord cutters had been calling out for for ages.
While they waited for Apple to bring it to them, Sony has creeped in and done the deal.
There were some of the usual high-budget, top tier games on show, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops III, an expansion pack for Destiny, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End just to keep the hardcore gamers in line.
There was no clear winner from this year’s E3. While previous years saw major hardware announcements, this year was all about the games.
Sony might’ve just got the edge with Microsoft, mainly by surprisingly and delighting long time fans, but both showed their strengths.
The development studios showed that they’re willing to keep churning out what gamers want - a steady mix of new, exciting worlds, with the classics also given a little love.
In the end, that makes the gamer the winner.