E3 2015: The after-report
Well… that was an E3.
I’ve got a lot to get through, but briefly, if you don’t know what E3 is, it’s a week-long expo where video game developers and publishers, in big press conferences, show off their latest creations. Some years in the past have been great, and some others… not so much.
This year was a big one.
The first day kicked off with Bethesda, the publisher of game franchises like “The Elder Scrolls” and “Fallout.” This was their first conference at E3, and they started with a bang; literally, with a demonstration of the upcoming “Doom.” They also went in-depth with the upcoming “Fallout 4,” and announced that it will be releasing in a mere five months.
Microsoft followed the next morning, and the general theme of their show seemed to be that the Xbox One is trying to become more like a PC. It’ll soon boast Windows 10 support, backwards compatibility, user-generated mods for the Xbox version of “Fallout 4,” and even early-access titles, where games are able to be bought and played before they’re finished. These are all features that PC gamers have been used to for years, and while some of them (like mods) are fantastic, the early-access games have me a bit miffed, since unfinished games will now undoubtedly plague Xbox’s digital storefront the same way they currently plague Steam.
EA and Ubisoft followed after that, and… well, there’s not a whole lot to report. EA’s “Star Wars: Battlefront” looks quite good, as did Ubisoft’s “For Honor,” an upcoming medieval slash-em-up. However, they also made some strange announcements that don’t exactly cater to the gaming crowd, such as a “Minions” mobile game, or an interview with football legend Pele. They had other entertaining games to show, but it wasn’t as interesting as the brutal, raw gameplay that Bethesda had to offer in their conference.
Sony didn’t have any raw gameplay footage to show either, but they did drop three gigantic bombshells that have seemingly convinced the gaming community that the PlayStation 4 “won” E3. Specifically, those three games are “The Last Guardian,” the latest game from the legendary Team Ico, “Final Fantasy VII Remake,” which is exactly what it says on the tin, and “Shenmue III,” which would have been a great announcement if it didn’t unveil a Kickstarter campaign.
The “Shenmue” franchise has long been funded by its publisher Sega, and the Kickstarter campaign was announced at a gigantic, expensive event with tons of effects thrown into it. Do not tell me that “Shenmue III” would have a hard time getting funded by anyone but the fans. And if you way that the Kickstarter was created to gauge fan feedback, I rebuke by saying that fans have been vocally begging for a new “Shenmue” for years. The announcement felt very disgusting.
Anyway, Nintendo started the following morning with a… strange show, to put it charitably. There were Muppets, lots of figurines, a “Metroid” game that doesn’t star Samus, and little else to speak of aside from strange new “Zelda” and “Mario” spinoffs that stray from the usual, comfortable path. Not a bad conference, but definitely strange.
Square Enix followed with a conference filled with impressive announcements, surrounded by a poor presentation. The translator for the Japanese executives seemingly fell asleep at the wheel, trailers were shown that were shown at conferences the previous day, and there was a guy in a weird mask that came out of nowhere, promptly left, and was never spoken of again. How odd.
Finally, in a possible new E3 tradition, independent developers for PC had their own conference, sponsored by graphics card manufacturer AMD. While some announcements were cool beyond a shadow of a doubt (a new “Pillars of Eternity” expansion? Sign me and George up!), the conference felt needlessly long with lots of weird content that isn’t for everyone. That’s normal for the PC market; there are many games on the platform that definitely serve a specific niche. But for a huge E3 show, they should have focused on the bigger games and kept it action packed and short.
Those are my thoughts on E3 this year. I don’t have much else to say, so I’ll remind you all: don’t take what you see here for granted. There may have been a lot of very exciting announcements, but the game you get could be very different than the game you see, for better or worse. Oh, and one other thing to say:
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. EMBRACE THE SEAWOLF SLUG.