The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2015 in Los Angeles showcased hundreds of video games earlier this week. The gaming world didn’t get many shocking reveals, but it did get a lot of solid information on titles we suspected were in the works.
I wasn’t there this year, but I was able to catch many of the online streams of the major press conferences. After checking out the trailers, awkward talks and marketing gimmicks, here’s how the machines that run most of the industry did on its largest stage.
Veteran third-party publisher Bethesda knocked it out of the park.
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It announced a sequel to the popular action title “Dishonored” and gave us great looks at “Fallout 4” and “Doom.”
The “Fallout 4” section was key. We saw some gameplay footage that looks better than the shoddy trailer images. I will be happy as long as the graphics rest somewhere in between the footage shown during E3 and in the trailer.
The game will release Nov. 10, and it includes tons of insane building and crafting options. It was one of the expo’s most important game showcases.
We also learned a bit more about “Battlecry,” a competitive multiplayer game akin to “Team Fortress 2.” I played it at last year’s event, and it should be a fun game to run around in with your buddies for hour-long intervals.
The Xbox crew delivered its heaviest punches in the features department, not with its game announcements.
I am lukewarm on the backwards compatibility announcement. The option to play Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One would have been a lot more useful when the Xbox One first came out.
Support for PC mods and an early access program are huge coups. This will attract developers and players from the PC gaming realm, and it something the PlayStation 4 can not yet match.
Of the dozen or so games previewed, the “Gears of War 4” and “ReCore” trailers struck me the most. Gears of War is one of Microsoft’s strongest franchises, while “ReCore” has a great, Pixar-esque look and comes with a fabulous developer pedigree (Metroid, Mega Man).
The godfather of them all’s E3 press event left one lasting impression on me: There were puppets.
Other than that, I wasn’t too thrilled. The partnership between Nintendo’s Amiibo toy-to-game figures and the Skylanders crew was a major announcement. Both sets of toys will surely plaster children’s Christmas lists and torch parents’ wallets, but I don’t think it is a console-saving announcement.
“Star Fox Zero” should be a new great title. I like that its creators are taking a “back to basics” approach with it, and I think the clumsy Wii U gamepad may actually fit the look and feel of the game perfectly.
But we didn’t get a major Metroid announcement. In fact, we didn’t get any major Nintendo franchise announcements aside from “Star Fox Zero.” There were some fun games shown for Nintendo’s 3DS hand-held console, but the Wii U was left to die.
I can’t believe I am writing this, but Electronic Arts’ event was probably my favorite.
The largest third-party game publisher opened with a fantastically done announcement trailer for “Mass Effect: Andromeda,” arguably the biggest news of the entire conference. It was short, set to “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” and showed just enough Mass Effect deliciousness to whet my appetite.
The company followed it up with a solid “Star Wars: Battlefront” presentation, a decent “Need for Speed” announcement and the quirky little “Unravel,” which is apparently about a little dude made out of yarn. I dig it.
EA ended with a barrage of its many fine sports game franchises. The event wasn’t groundbreaking, but it was a strong showcase of everything the publishing giant has to offer us.
Sony’s press event should have opened with this disclaimer: If you don’t like one-player action or role-playing games, the door is that way. I like those things, so the Sony event gave me a few warm, fuzzy feelings.
The “Final Fantasy VII” high-definition remake was probably the major announcement. Remaking what is unquestionably one of the greatest RPGs ever made is a sure-fire way to curry favor with a good portion of gamers.
I was pleased to get a look at “Hitman,” as that has always been one of my favorite single-player franchises. The Hitman stable is far superior to Assassin’s Creed, which also got a bump during Sony’s talk.
“Horizon: Zero Dawn” could be a game to watch. Its announcement trailer showed a woman hunting some sort of robot dinosaur with a bow and arrow, which appeals to many of my interests.
I don’t get the “Shenmue 3” buzz, but maybe I am too young to understand that franchise.
French publisher Ubisoft delivered the biggest surprise of the expo at its press conference: “South Park: The Fractured but Whole.”
The sequel to last year’s “South Park: The Stick of Truth” was a total shock. It took South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone about five years to finally work out the development, and both have told interviewers it would be a long time before they dove into a game again.
“Stick of Truth” would have been my game of the year if not for “The Banner Saga” by indie developer Stoic, which also showed off a sequel at E3. I am sure the superhero-themed “Fractured but Whole” will live up to its predecessor and its hilarious name.
We got another look at “The Division,” a promising apocalyptic role-playing game that has been brutalized by delays.
I am also interested in “Rainbow Six: Siege.” About a decade ago, the Rainbow Six franchise delivered some fun shooters that offered a tactical change of pace from the Call of Duty franchise.
Sony stole a bit of Square Enix’s thunder by showing off the “Final Fantasy VII” remake and “Hitman,” but the Japanese publisher still had a little more for us.
The most important part of the conference centered around “Kingdom Hearts III.” The franchise, which is essentially a youthful “Final Fantasy” mixed with Disney characters, is a dynamite role-playing option for gamers of all ages.
We got a look at more “Kingdom Hearts III” gameplay footage, which included a “Tangled” level. But we didn’t get a release date, which is pretty upsetting considering it was first revealed at E3 2013 and looks pretty finished to me.
Square Enix also showed off new Tomb Raider and Dues Ex footage, but I have never understood the appeal of those two franchises.