So, the big press conferences for the 2015 season of E3 are over, and we’ve all digested what they had to offer. Some of them were awesome and some of them were awful, so I think it would be cool to rank them from worst to first. There’s a lot of stuff to talk about here so you might want to grab a snack and get comfortable, because I will be going into detail for all 8 of this year’s E3 press conferences. Lets get started, shall we?
8. PC Gaming Show
Alright, so coming up the rear is none other than PC gaming’s first foray into E3 press conferences, and the fact that it was the first certainly showed. This thing went on for 2-AND-A-HALF-HOURS, and only really had a few moments that were really notable. We got better looks at Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and learned that games like Gears Of War Ultimate Edition and Killer Instinct would be coming to PC, which was great to see. New content for games like Guild Wars 2, Pillars of Eternity and Heroes of the Storm is also pretty sweet.
However, the majority of what was shown seemed like little news blurbs that would have just been shown on the PC Gamer website, but they decided to drag them out into boring live discussions. I would have loved to have seen some actual gameplay for a lot of the new announcements that were made, but without gameplay footage I found it hard to really care about the games at all. In fact, very little gameplay was shown for these particular segments, and even though the conference’s host was solid and kept it from bombing completely, there is definitely a lot that needs to be improved upon next time around.
EA is never going to be the most anticipated press conference of E3, simply because the type of games that have such a large share of their company does not appeal to the type of people who attend E3. While they should know this by now, for whatever reason they had the nerve to drag the sports game talk on forever, culminating in a baffling stage conversation with Soccer legend Pele. This was some seriously yawn-inducing stuff, especially considering the whole time they were talking about the sport and not the video game itself. It was also clear that Pele knows nothing about the video game series, which made this whole conversation seem really awkward and pointless.
Still, there were definitely a few highlights in their conference. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst looks like a really promising reintroduction to the cult-classic game, and Unravel is a charming and unique sidescroller that I’m really looking forward to. Mass Effect: Andromeda was announced, but there was no gameplay shown so I find it hard to really get excited about that yet.
The big one, of course, was the ending reveal of gameplay for Star Wars Battlefront, and it did not disappoint. The graphics were incredible, the gameplay was action packed and had a lot of variety, and it just felt like authentic, old-school Star Wars. This all ended with a spine-tingling confrontation with Luke and Vader that, in my opinion, could not have been executed better than they did here.
So, apart from one really awesome moment, EA’s latest press conference was a stinker.
Ubisoft had a really solid E3… for the most part. We found out about a new entry in the Ghost Recon series called Wildlands, and a really interesting medieval game called For Honor. Rainbow Six Siege and The Division were also shown off some more and looked good, even though the scripted team chat gameplay was cheesy and dumb as it always is at these things.
They also showed a new cinematic trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, which… bleh. I find it really hard to get excited about Assassin’s Creed games anymore and this trailer did nothing to change that.
However, my favorite announcement of the show – and one I was not expecting at all – was the reveal of South Park: The Fractured but Whole. This is a sequel to one of my favorite games of last year, The Stick of Truth, and looked just as hilarious as the previous game. I cannot freakin’ wait for that one.
Aisha Tyler is back to crack the jokes and lighten E3 up a little, and for the most part she did a solid job. However, her trying to make a meme with a random dude in the audience just fell completely flat on its face. Then it went to the Just Dance section of the conference and suddenly everything was going south very quickly. Jason Derulo took the stage to sing and dance with some other random people, and he tried to get Aisha to dance with her but she wouldn’t. So yeah, those spots weren’t too hot, but overall the conference was solid.
I gotta give it to Nintendo for starting their conference off with the most style, as our 3 presenters were puppet versions of Reggie Fils-Aime, Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto. Then they quickly transformed into Star Fox characters and we got our first taste of Star Fox Zero. Honestly, it looked really solid, but I was expecting this reveal to have more of an impact than it did on me. It seemed very similar to Star Fox 64 in some spots, and the fact that what it actually is remains a mystery is a little strange. They said it’s not a sequel, a prequel or a reboot, so I guess that makes it a re-imagining of Star Fox 64? Not sure how I feel about that one, but I won’t count it out yet.
Still, they announced a lot of games, albeit sometimes a bit too briefly, that have me really excited to check out. There’s a sweet looking Mario & Luigi/Paper Mario cross-over called Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, which looks like a return to form for both series. The Zelda series got two announcements with Hyrule Warriors Legends and Triforce Heroes both on 3DS, which are basically an expanded version of Wii U’s Hyrule Warriors and a new multiplayer-focused zelda game with visuals in the vein of A Link Between Worlds, respectively.
One thing I wasn’t expecting was the announcement of Mario Tennis Ultra Smash, which has me pumped as I love the sport and I love the games in the series. The graphics looked gorgeous and the gameplay looked really smooth, with a sweet new ability that allows you to turn into a giant to cover more ground and hit the ball like a bullet. Super Mario Maker was also shown, but I’ve seen everything I need to at this point for that game to know that it looks good.
The one announcement that I was waiting for the most, though, was the release date for Xenoblade Chronicles X. It’s been out in Japan for a while now, and every time there’s any new gameplay shown for it they always seem to dance around the damn release date. However, we now know that the game will launch this year on December 4th, so that’s awesome. I have no idea how they’re going to top the first one, but the fact that we’ll be getting more from that series this year is really exciting.
The thing that kind of stunk about their digital event is that there were spin-offs announced for several popular series rather than main games. Metroid Prime: Federation Force, The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes and the two Animal Crossing games (Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival) could be interesting, but they felt more like a tease than anything else. They definitely didn’t show anything that made any of them look like must-have games, but hopefully they’ll prove otherwise.
The puppets were cool, but they were definitely there to distract from the fact that Nintendo didn’t have the strongest line-up of games for this presentation.
4. Square Enix
OK, so this press conference was marred by lots of awkward moments and technical issues, like poor translation and sound screw ups, but there were still some genuinely great announcements to be found here. We got an awesome look at brand new gameplay for Kingdom Hearts III, and seeing that has sent my hype for the game through the roof. They showed the same exact Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer again, only this time it said that more information is coming later this year, which still got me pumped regardless of the fact that it was just one great big tease.
We got our first in-depth look at Just Cause 3, and the game looks like way too much fun. It’s like the crazy world of Far Cry in a third-person perspective, only the dial is turned up to 11. There’s all manner of vehicles to use, things to blow up in dramatic fashion thanks to unlimited C4, and just all round bat-sh^t insanity that the series is loved for. They also revealed that the game is launching on December 1st, which is awesome news.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was also shown and although we saw some different footage compared to what Microsoft revealed, I’ll refrain from commenting on it here to avoid making my thoughts about it in the Microsoft press conference discussion obsolete.
Most surprising of all, however, was the announcement that they were making a new game in the NieR franchise, which is something that I’m sure nobody expected. I was also really happy to hear that they are starting a new RPG-focused development company called Tokyo RPG Factory, with news of a brand new series in the works code named Project Setsuna. Again, not a whole lot was shown for these new RPGs, but the fact that they’re focusing more on them is reason enough to get pumped.
Then there was that dude with the creepy mask on his head the whole time. That was… interesting, to say the least.
Again, there were many stumbles along the way, but I’m more focused on the games and Square Enix brought enough with them to keep me interested.
Microsoft had a really solid show this time, with some big reveals and announcements that kept their conference chugging along at a solid pace. They showed a new mode in Halo 5 called War Zone, which features 24 players at once that looks absolutely ridiculous… but in a good way. Mega Man and Metroid Prime devs are making a new game called ReCore that might be cool, but not enough was really shown to get me really into it.
They dropped their first bombshell of the conference, however, with the announcement that Xbox One will begin supporting backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games. By the end of the year they hope to have over 100 Xbox 360 games compatible with the Xbox One, which is great news for everyone.
Dark Souls III also got a quick and sweet reveal video, but considering how many leaks regarding the game happened prior to E3 the announcement didn’t have the punch it could have had. It’s more Dark Souls though, so that more than likely means another fantastic game.
Gears of War also got some solid time in the limelight with information regarding Gears of War Ultimate Edition being revealed. The big surprise was actual gameplay for Gears of War 4, which featured different characters and a different tone compared to the series’ past. I was pretty impressed with it, even though the gameplay on display looked exactly like everything else the series has done so far.
More gameplay was shown for Rise of the Tomb Raider, but, honestly, for some reason this game just hasn’t grabbed me yet. I really liked the first game, but everything that they’ve shown so far for the sequel just seems like the first one… but with snow! I’m tellin’ ya, they really just need to drop the whole Rise of the Tomb Raider name and rename it Tomb Raider With Snow. That’s the title that would have copies soar off the store shelves and their sales would quadruple, as a result. Trust me.
For me, the stuff that stole the show here was everything having to do with Rare. Microsoft is releasing a pack of Rare games on Xbox One called Rare Replay, which contains 30 games for $30, which is one of the best deals I have ever heard of. Also, it was even announced that Rare has a new game in the works (that isn’t some stupid Kinect game) called Sea of Thieves. It looked colorful and had pirates and ships and the open seas and I want it! Microsoft basically took time in their conference to remind everyone that 1) Rare was once great 2) They can still make interesting games if we let them and 3) F^$% the Kinect!
So, a really solid showing for Microsoft at E3 this year and certainly a big improvement over some of their most recent showings.
This is Bethesda’s first time ever having an E3 press conference, but, unlike the PC Gaming Show, you would think these guys were experts at it. They delivered a quick and to-the-point conference with lots of great-looking gameplay and very little filler to speak of.
DOOM started things off and looks like the gory goodness that fans have been waiting years for now, with guns and monsters that are beyond intense. This was a great way to kick things off as a new DOOM game has been something people having been clamoring for.
Dishonored 2 was officially shown off for the first time following those leaks, and holy crap does it look good. With its multiple protagonists and continuation of the first game’s ominous and dark tone, this is definitely one of my most anticipated upcoming games. Kind of a bummer that we only got a CG trailer, but for a first official reveal I can overlook that… for now.
However, the biggest game of their show was always going to be Fallout 4, and it did not disappoint in the slightest. We got some great looks at how the game works from the setting, character customization, plot and a lot more. The game looks absolutely fantastic and really got me excited for it even though I was left unimpressed by its initial announcement. It is, without question, going to be one of the biggest and best releases of the year. I’m tellin’ ya right now!
Props to Bethesda, as they really brought the big guns with them and delivered a solid show for everyone to experience. Now they aren’t going to have one of these every year and that gives them time to stockpile some big stuff to share, but it’s still one of the best showings to happen at this year’s E3 press conferences.
There were some other really solid showings this year, but Sony completely blew everyone else away. Seriously, it is not even close here: Sony won.
They kicked things off with one of 3 humongous bombs via the unveiling of the long-delayed and assumed dead The Last Guardian, which looked stunning. The visual style and gameplay looked great and definitely had a sort of ICO vibe to it that I loved. They even ended it with the information that it would be launching next year, so now we know that it’s happening for sure!
The next humongous bomb was the announcement of the Final Fantasy VII Remake, which is something that fans have been begging for for YEARS. They showed a brief cinematic video for it, and it looked incredible with visuals that rival the beautiful Advent Children movie. It’s probably very early on in development, but it’s happening!
Their third and final humongous bomb was the best of all and one that I can’t even believe happened: the announcement of Shenmue III. As soon as I heard the game’s iconic theme I literally got goosebumps. A video was shown revealing a Kickstarter for the game, which lead to Yu Suzuki coming out to the stage to countdown the beginning of the campaign. It was a moment for the history books as millions of Shenmue fans are finally getting the continuation of the series they have been waiting over a decade for now.
Even outside of these 3 huge announcements, Sony still had a lot of other games to show off that also looked fantastic. Horizon: Zero Dawn looked like an awesome blend of medieval and futuristic fantasy adventure, while the trailer for Firewatch had me laughing at its great dialogue and left me in suspense with its final and unexpected moments. They even ended it all with an incredible look at gameplay from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which only further solidified how hyped I am for that game.
Oh, and there was also that little announcement that Sony is now getting all DLC first for the Call of Duty series over Microsoft, which is a huge blow. Call of Duty has been Xbox’s darling for nearly a decade now, with tons of MLG players dumping hundreds of dollars and hours into the Xbox versions to compete and be the best. Now, all of those people are going to have to come over to PlayStation 4, which has a lot of people pissed if the whole #XboxOrWeRiot petition thing hasn’t made that clear.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Sony won E3 with its press conference, as they probably had enough content here to win several press conferences if they really wanted to. We got announcements for 3 huge games that everyone has been waiting an eternity for in one night, with information of other solid games sprinkled throughout. It was just an incredible showing and one that I won’t soon forget.
And that marks the end of my E3 2015 press conference discussion/ranking. Overall, it was a really solid showing of games with only a couple of conferences that really dropped the ball. There are so many amazing games to look forward to in the near future, and I can’t wait to see if they all live up to the hype. Thank you for reading, guys!