7. PC Gaming Show
The PC Gaming Show was one of the presentations that had a lot to prove. Unlike Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, which each have conferences spotlighting their own platforms, PC has relied on a collection of numerous stage shows and reveals. There was no show dedicated specifically to PC fans until last year. While year one was relatively slow, it was expected due to it being a first outing. This year, at E3 2016, many expected the kinks to be worked out and a show on the caliber of any of the “Big Three.”
You would think with so many huge publishers and developers backing the PC platform, you’d have a much more hype inducing conference. What the PC Gaming Show did provide was strong indie support. That’s not a bad thing, but when you’re going up against AAA lineups and hardware reveals, something bigger is needed.
EA took to the stage at E3 2016 with all eyes on them. Not many publishers can boast having such a highly anticipated lineup in the pipeline, giving the company plenty of potential going into the show. Not only does EA have the license to Star Wars, one of the biggest franchises in entertainment, but Mass Effect Andromeda along with a full suite of premier sports titles help keep the publisher ahead of the game. Unfortunately, all of that potential was squandered at E3 2016.
When EA finally started the presentation, there was a lot of expectations, the biggest of which was some mind blowing information on the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda. Instead, a year after the cheap glimpse that was given on stage at E3 2015, another trailer was shown off and very little info was provided. Even more disappointing was the fact that we still haven’t seen any gameplay.
The absence of a substantial Mass Effect offering could have been dismissed had Star Wars played a more prominent role, yet that wasn’t the case. What eager fans were treated to were some behind the scene glimpses at all of the teams working on Star Wars projects… and that’s it. There was no reveal of the projects from Visceral or anything that Motive has been working on. As it stands, fans know about as much this year as they knew last year.
All in all, the potential that led EA to E3 2016 never came into fruition. If anything, there are even more questions about what the future holds now then there were before, and that should never happen after a huge press conference.
While Nintendo didn’t exactly have a “press conference” the company provided an extensive stream that showcased what the company was up to and why fans should be excited. The talk of the day was The Legend of Zelda and Pokemon Sun and Moon. While that isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, there was plenty of information shown off that proves Nintendo realizes that it needs to shake things up.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is very new. While you will be playing as Link and dealing with familiar characters and monsters, Nintendo is creating something that is a much deeper RPG experience, bringing it up to par with some of the biggest games out there. A much more immersive world, larger battles, an inventory system that includes varied armor and weapons, and we’ll finally hear some speech. No more “LISTEN,” just full dialogue to pull you into this beautifully realized Hyrule. Pokemon also showed off something fresh with its beautiful visuals and slew of gameplay upgrades. There were even some new critters revealed as fans all around the world got to witness Popplio fall in battle (that poor clown dog thing just can’t catch a break).
Still, no NX and only two games as a focus, no matter how good they are, they can’t really stand against the huge lineups and tech reveals shown off before. It’s good to see Nintendo do something new for a change, but they’re going to need a little more if they hope to really steal the thunder and re-secure the company’s spot as a member of the Big Three.
Ubisoft is a lot like EA in how the company has many different properties with a lot of potential. The studios that make up Ubisoft are among the most talented in the world, which is why it’s not surprising that they have so many fans and players look forward to their press-conferences every year. Going into E3 2016, one of the biggest for the company was Watch Dogs. With that leading the way, Ubisoft was in line to deliver a solid showing.
The brand new Watch Dogs 2 gameplay was definitely something to behold. Choice plays a much bigger role with different methods of completion being far more thought out than they were in the previous game making everything seem more engaging. But not everything was kept in the serious world of hacking, there was some humor injected into the Ubisoft press conference, as well. Not only did Aisha Tyler keep spirits lifted during the show, but South Park: The Fractured But Whole helped to reignite excitement for the next adventure with Cartman and the gang. Even The Division received some stage time showing off a glimpse of yet another expansion: Survival. The silence was broken for Far Honor, as well, with the story taking center stage and a release date informing warriors when they’ll finally be able to go to battle.
There were a couple of weird moments, particularly Just Dance and Trials of the Blood Dragon. Just Dance is a large series, so we can understand the huge dance party put on for its sake, but those always come off as a bit awkward. And Trials of the Blood Dragon? Well, it isn’t exactly what fans of Blood Dragon had in mind when they said they wanted more.
The absence of Assassin’s Creed in game form may have soured the experience for some, especially when we know that there is a big game slated for next year. Yet even so, Ubisoft managed to keep the conference fresh as it broadened its horizons instead of relying on the tried and true.
Not many were sure what to expect from Bethesda at E3 2016. Last year was the unveiling of Fallout 4 and the announcement of that game’s release date. With Fallout 4 ending up being one of the biggest games of 2015, Bethesda needed to show something big this time around, or at least something unexpected. Quake seems to fit the bill as nobody expected a new FPS so soon after the release of the well-received Doom. A brand new arena shooter that brings back what made the Quake series so great certainly piqued a lot of interest as soon as the press conference began.
Another huge reveal was Prey. While it was rumored that a Prey 3 was in the works, the folks behind Dishonored have created something entirely new that is sure to mess with the minds of players. Speaking of Dishonored, the upcoming sequel had a lot of new details shared. Emily’s powers are much different when compared to those of Corvo’s and you’ll have the option of playing as either one, which opens you up to new experiences and story. Fallout 4 showed up again, this time covering the rest of the DLC expected for the game, which included the rumored theme park and the ability to build your very own vault. Modding support is where things got interesting, though. Fallout 4 had recently received mods on the Xbox One with the capability coming very soon to PS4, but that’s not where it ends. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim special edition was revealed and it will also have mod support. Bethesda is doubling down on bridging the gap between its PC and console games and that’s most definitely a good thing.
It was interesting to see Bethesda manage to deliver a great show two years in a row, especially when last year seemed to exist for the sole purpose of launching one of their biggest games ever.
Microsoft went into E3 2016 with a very different mindset from last year. Where E3 2015 was all about the games, this year’s press conference centered around a brand new message. Microsoft has been adamant about changing the way people view Xbox, and to hammer that point home the company is tearing down the walls between consoles and PC. In fact, Microsoft wants to bridge all platforms to offer consumers the freedom to experience their games as they see fit.
This meant brand new, fan-requested features for the Xbox One, such as clubs and tournament support, plus some new hardware options. The Xbox One S was unveiled and is set to release this year with its 40% smaller body and 4K/Ultra HD media support. Yet, it’s the future that looks even brighter because late next year, the long rumored Project Scorpio will be released. It will be much more powerful than the current Xbox One as it will allow true 4K gaming and be ready for VR. It is being designed to give developers the freedom to create the games they imagine.
The game offerings were nothing to scoff at, either. Sure there was a huge sentiment of deja vu as Microsoft paraded many of the games the company revealed last year during their E3 2016 press conference, but there were some new games definitely worth keeping on your radar. Dead Rising 4, Forza Horizon 3, and more are sure to keep fans locked in for a long time.
For the second year in a row, everyone wondered exactly how Sony planned on leaving an impression on the E3 festivities. A lot of companies brought their A-game, including one of Sony’s biggest direct competitors in the gaming industry, Microsoft. Yet, the juggernaut that the PlayStation 4 has become managed to push through and wow everyone yet again. Last year was all about nostalgia, relying on long wished for remakes and sequels to games everyone though would never be made. There was still a small dose of that to be felt at E3 2016, but new was definitely the bigger focus.
Opening with God of War 4, Sony managed to grab the attention of everyone in the room. From there, Shawn Layden was able to share the plans that the company had in store for fans and PlayStation’s future. Unlike in previous years, though, it wasn’t conveyed through long spiels, graphs, or charts. Instead, the games did all the talking, and man did they have a lot to say. After the pre-requisite trailers for The Last Guardian, Horizon Zero Dawn, and a reminder that PSVR was right around the corner, Sony brought out the big guns and, just like last year, everyone was surprised. Resident Evil 7 took to the stage and showed a return to form for the series, Batman got a VR experience, and a new IP from Sony Bend took center stage with an open world full of death, despair, and a whole lot of tension, but Sony still wasn’t done.
After years of hints, rumors, and trolling, Shawn Layden finally took to the stage as the Crash Bandicoot music played in the background. There was no t-shirt this time, just a happy announcement that the first three Crash Bandicoot games were going to receive complete remasters. As that devoured the minds of fans everywhere, Andrew House came on briefly to introduced his BFF Kojima who in turn introduced one of the biggest mind*&@!s ever, which is saying something of the man who created Metal Gear Solid. His new PS4 game, Death Stranding, is full of sand, oil, man-birthed babies, and Daryl Dixon. Needless to say, everyone was excited. And just when you thought it was done, Sony had one more exclusive to unveil, an Insomniac-developed Spider-Man game. Once again, Sony waited until the end of the night to absolutely crush it.
Oh, and did we mention that Kojima-san walked down on light, as if descending from the heavens? Yeah, Sony was ready for anything.