E3 2015 Wrap-Up

Another E3 week has come and gone, leaving behind some great games in its wake. This year was a strong conference overall, with several companies announcing new properties, as well as delivering on some super strong follow ups to previously established franchises. With that being said, this article will recap each conference, highlighting what I thought were a few of the stronger games, as well as one or two questions I still have going forward. Keep in mind that this recap will not cover anywhere near the full lineup of announcements, so if one of your favorites doesn’t make the list, keep in mind that this is my opinion only.
*This recap does not include the PC gaming conference.

Bethesda:
Watch the entire conference here

Fallout 4 – Arguably the biggest announcement of the conference, Bethesda nearly stole the show before it began by not only showing a gameplay demo for this title, but by announcing that it would be available November of this year! This demonstration looked much better graphically than the previous trailer, and the familiarity of the combat systems coupled with the awesome new crafting mechanics should keep old fans engaged while bringing in a whole new audience for this game. To boot, they also announced Fallout Shelter, a super fun mobile game, which is available now, and then brought out this sweet collector edition, complete with a life-sized Pip-Boy.

Dishonored 2 – Dishonored was one of my favorite games of last generation, so this long rumored sequel was a big hit for me. It look as though Emily, from the original game, will be playable along with Corvo in this installment, and I can only hope that the emergent gameplay in this follow up hits as hard as the first game. While we wait for this game’s arrival, check out the Dishonored Definitive Collection, a graphically remastered version of the original game that also includes all downloadable content, which will be available this fall.

A Few Thoughts – The new Doom sequel looked good graphically, and the new combat mechanics seemed interesting, but I was left wondering whether the Doom namesake would be enough to differentiate itself from the myriad of other first person shooters on the market today…Similar to this, their newly announced Elder Scrolls Legends collectible card game seems to be a questionable move when you realize it will be going head to head for the same audience as the wildly popular Hearthstone.

Microsoft:
Watch the entire conference here

Halo 5: Guardians – Microsoft definitely knows how to utilize its most popular franchises, and its multiplayer demonstration of Halo’s new Warzone mode was by all accounts a big success. I’ve never been a huge Halo fan myself, but the game seems poised to make a huge splash with its drop in/drop out co-op campaign, as well as the next chapter in its admittedly interesting story. Look for it when it hits retail October 27th of this year.

Recore – This was one of the games that I was most interested in this year after seeing the visually stunning trailer during the conference. With producer Keiji Inafune, of Mega Man fame, at the helm this Xbox eclusive game is one that I’ll be keeping an eye out for in spring 2016.

Sea of Thieves – This Rare Studios production is another game with a stunning art style made by a company with a long history of success. Again, not much information on this one, but who doesn’t love a good pirate adventure with friends?

Gears 4 – I’m curious to know what their narrative angle is for this one, since the original Gears of War storyline seemed to wrap itself up pretty well. The gameplay demo looked really solid, and it’s been long enough where I feel that there is definitely and audience for another Gears game.

Some Thoughts – The big backwards compatibility announcement was a nice surprise, although it did seem like it came a little too late…The new wireless elite controller is really tempting due to its fully customizable body, I just wish it wasn’t $150…The new early access program is interesting, and I just hope that it is much more well curated than the program that Steam has for PC games…Another new Dark Souls game is coming, and I wonder when players start to feel some fatigue from that style of punishingly difficult gameplay?

Electronic Arts:
Watch the entire conference here

Mass Effect Andromeda – Another follow up here, this time to the amazing Mass Effect series. This one seems to be taking place in an all new universe, which I think is the right decision, given that the original trilogy’s story did come to end. There’s still plenty to be revealed before we see the full game in the 2016 holiday season.

Unravel – This indie game tasks players to take the form of Yarny, a cat made of string, and solve several platforming and puzzle stage while working through what the creator calls “connecting the red thread of life.” I hope that this game’s unique art style will be enough to separate it from the rest of the packed indie puzzler genre.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – Not being touted as a sequel, this follow up to the original Mirror’s Edge provides players with a look into protagonist Faith’s early life, before she became the hardened runner that she is in the first game. Being a gamer who tends to value a good story,. I’m really looking forward to this one, and the news that they are going to stick with the free-running combat mechanics of the first installment only solidifies my interest. This one is set top hit stores February 23, 2016.

Star Wars Battlefront – I am EXTREMELY conflicted about this title. One the one hand, I love Star Wars as much as the next nerd, but the multiplayer demo that was shown seemed to be little more than Battlefield 4 with a Star Wars skin. If there is an engrossing single player mode where I can recreate all of my favorite Star Wars battles, I’m all in, but if the single player is lacking, I may have to go against the force and give this one a pass.

Some Thought – Don’t sleep on Plant vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, the sequel to a gamer that I very much enjoyed. I think that they would do well releasing this game at a price point lower than $60, as they did with the first, because while it is an enjoyable shooter, I question its ultimate staying power…Sports games are another EA specialty, and this year’s lineup looks like it always does, with FIFA and Madden leading the way.

Ubisoft:
Watch the entire conference here

South Park: The Fractured But Whole – This was another show stopping announcement, and The Stick of Truth was a hilarious and surprisingly well made RPG, which gives me hope that this new and unexpected follow up will continue that tradition.

For Honor – Another new property here that piqued my interest. This a multiplayer team battling game where a player can chose to be a knight, samurai, or Viking, and the game then pits four of these “heroes against another team of four, throwing in AI controlled bots for good measure. This game is inrguing in that it puts heavy focus on tactical swordplay, as opposed to the hack-and-slash style that is so common today.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – I want to be excited for this, but every logical bone in my body is telling me to avoid it like the plague, at least until the first patches hit. We all know how much of a mess Unity was, but there’s just something irresistible about a new AC in a new historical environment. Being able to play one of two main protagonists is also a new, and hopefully successful, game mechanic.

Some Thoughts – I continue to have significant questions about Tom Clancy’s The Division. It seems like a game I really want to like, but everything the team has shown so far has seemed extremely similar in nature, and quite reminiscent to Destiny, for me at least. Whether or not it has a single player mode, as well as the exact nature of its online co-op still face questions, hopefully to be answered before its March 8, 2016 release date…Rainbow Six Siege is looking good, and the added Terrorist hunt mode, a fan favorite, has it in good shape for its beta test on September 24th of this year…The Ghost Recon: Wildlands trailer looked interesting, and I’m hoping to hear more about that soon.

Sony:
Watch the entire conference here

The Last Guardian – The literal and figurative white whale of E3 finally makes an appearance, and then fades off into the distance again, leaving behind only a 2016 release date. Should I believe it this time?

Horizon: Zero Dawn – My game of show for several reasons, firstly that it combined an awesome trailer and then snowballed directly into a game demo. Bonus point whenever I can see actual gameplay. Secondly, the setting looks amazing, and being able to play in a world after civilization’s collapse, but appearing to keep our previous technology, is a great combination. This Playstation exclusive has me hyped for its next showing!

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – This game looks absolutely amazing, graphically and stylistically. I love Nathan Drake’s personality and the adventure that always finds him, so playing another chapter of that story, especially one that looks as breathtaking as this one does, is something I will never decline to do.

Some Thoughts – I am starting to question the end result of No Man’s Sky. It’s a really ambitious game, and one that I really want to play, but as of yet, I can’t seem to figure out what the endgame is. The goal is to reach the center of the galaxy, but why, and what do we do after that? The big Call of Duty deal has changed hands, with Sony this time gaining first access to new map packs before any other platform. I don’t think this is really going to be a decider for them, since most players will have already chosen their console, and I can’t see too many people speeding $300+ just to get some new maps before anyone else…Firewatch, an indie standout, seems to be a story driven mystery/adventure game worth looking out for…I’m surprised by Sony’s stance on Project Morpheus, their virtual reality headset, which they made sure to stress was a “totally optional peripheral device.” Seems to be some strange marketing…Another case of strange marketing is Shenmue 3. When Sony gave Yu Suzuki, the series’ creator, stage time to announce his Kickstarter campaign, company execs took the stance this was an independent project. After the Kickstarter met its goal in record time, word came out that Sony was in fact giving money to the project. This is a worrying precedent if it is one that continues into the future, due to its stunning lack of transparency.

Nintendo
Watch the entire conference here

Star Fox Zero – I really, really, really hope that you do not need to use the gamepad to target enemies in this game. The return to space combat, as well as the integration of the different forms of the Corneria are all great, but whether or not the gamepad integration is forced is going to be make or break, for me at least.

Super Mario Maker – This is probably one of my most anticipated games of the year. Giving a fanbase as crazy and dedicated as Nintendo’s the ability to create and instantly share their own unique Super Mario levels is awesome, and being able to integrate all generation of the game is even better. This has the potential to be a gamer that sticks around for the remainder of the Wii U’s lifespan, however long that is. Look for it on September 11th of this year.

Yoshi’s Wooly World – Another long awaited game, and it continues to look solid. The yarn inspired design aesthetic is cool, and the Yoshi’s Island style game mechanics will be familiar to longtime players. The plush yarn Yoshi amiibo is awesome too! Check the game out on October 16th, 2015.

Yo-kai Watch – Being a big Pokemon nerd, this is a game I have been hoping would be localized for a while now. Its similar mechanics should (I hope) be enough to give it a strong American fan base, and hopefully make it a staple here in the States (so I don’t have to import it anymore!)

Some Thoughts – Nintendo probably pulled the biggest personal fakeout on me by announcing two new Animal Crossing games, neither one of which was a full version for the Wii U. Animal Crossing is another personal favorite of mine, so needless to say I as pretty disappointed by Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival…Several properties that have already been released in Japan were confirmed to have US release dates, including Fire Emblem Fates (2016), Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem (2016), and Xenoblade Chronicles X (Dec. 4, 2015)…Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam is an interesting idea in that it combines the two of the offshoot Mario series into one…Mario Tennis: Super Smash is a game that I’m looking forward to, having loved the previous games…Metroid Prime looks amazingly disappointing, and has received a lot of fan backlash from those hoping for a new full-fledged Metroid game…Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes will release in the fall of this year, and should be an interesting take on a multiplayer Zelda game.

Square Enix
Watch the entire conference here

Rise of the Tomb Raider – I haven’t been a huge Tomb Raider player in the past, but this game might change that. The gameplay they showed, while not very interactive, reminded me a lot of the Uncharted series, which is one that I really like. I’ll definitely be giving this game a look on November 10th of this year.

Just Cause 3 – If you are looking for a crazy action game where everything blows up “independently and unpredictable,” then this is the game for you. It looks insane, with the ability to grapple on to almost everything, and explode literally anything. Maybe a little light on the story side, but the non-stop action more than makes up for it.

Final Fantasy VII Remake – I don’t usually get excited for remakes, but this one has been a long time coming. I’m a big fan of Final Fantasy lore and stories, and this is one of the craziest and best. I’ve played through the old game multiple times, and even looking at the pre-rendered graphics of Barrett and Cloud made me excited for this one.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – The next chapter in Adam Jensen’s story looks set to be a good one. Set in 2029, augmented people are treated as outcasts and terrorists. The development team has assured fans that the core choice mechanics will continue to have a huge impact on how the player is viewed, and will also have a big impact on the story’s ending. Looking forward to getting my hands on this one in early 2016.

Hitman – I’ve played and enjoyed some of the previous Hitman games, and also disliked some of them. This one seems to be ditching an overarching story and instead focusing on a series of contracts, some of which will be released with the game on December 8th, 2015, and some of which will continue to roll out as free downloadable content into 2016.

Some Thoughts – Lara Croft GO, a game coming soon to mobile, is one that might be worth playing. It takes the mechanics of the Hitman GO mobile game (which was pretty fun), and applies them to another popular franchise…World of Final Fantasy is a unique look a the FF universe that incorporates an appealing chibi art style and brings in character from across the entire FF series. I’ll definitely be checking it out…If you are put off by the admittedly complex and crazy Final Fantasy lore, check out the Final Fantasy portal app, coming this summer, which is an encyclopedia of anything and everything you need to know…Two new Kingdom Hearts games are coming, Kingdom Hearts: Unchained Key, for mobile, and Kingdom Hearts 3, for console. I’ve never been a fan, but both games look visually appealing and are currently in development…Project Setsuna is a brand new RPG in the works from Tokyo RPG Factory. This one is intriguing simply because the announcement was only that they are making the game, and more information will come in 2016. The concept art looks good though.

The End!

If you took the time to read all of my thoughts, thank you, and you are clearly as passionate about games as I am! I hope you’ve maybe come across a new game you didn’t know about, and I look forward to playing with you in the future! See you next E3!

This article was written by Lucas Woodward, a writer for dusk magazine. 

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