E3 2015 – Highlights, Takeaways and Feels

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, is the biggest, most exciting video game convention of the year. This is where new games are announced, new trailers for games are released and new features for games and platforms alike are unveiled for the public. E3 is a spectacle of interactive entertainment that sets the bar for each year of progress throughout the video game industry. Each year we see major conferences from the heavy hitters such as Sony and Microsoft as well as smaller scale conferences from publishers such as Ubisoft and Electronic Arts (EA). While the conferences are where the big time announcements happen, E3 is a week long even full of all kinds of gaming news, reveals and cinematic goodness. Subsequently, each year I try to tackle the plethora of information and condense what I can in E3 wrap-up articles like the one you are reading now. This year I plan to give a quick rundown of what was shown at all of the major conferences of E3, give my thoughts and opinions on what I saw and give a personal score for each individual conference. After all that I will detail my favorite moment of E3, my biggest disappointment and the game that impressed me most. Keep in mind that I will not be covering everything shown at E3 in this article, just the major stuff. For more information and all the visual content you can get your hands on check out GameTrailers.com and GameInformer.com.

Bethesda Highlights:

Bethesda Bethesda was the newcomer this year as this was their first year hosting a full conference at E3. They kicked it off with some badass gameplay for their upcoming first-person shooter Doom, complete with shotgun carnage and chainsaw massacres. They also showed off their new multiplayer map building component called Snapmap along with yet another chunk of gameplay. They followed Doom with some new gameplay for Overwatch then segued into a world premier trailer for Dishonored 2. The trailer, which was cinematic and showed no actual in-game content, showcased Emily Kaldwin (the young girl from the first game) as one of the two characters which are playable in this game, the other being Corvo, and some cool new powers that she possesses.

Dishonored2

Dishonored 2

After Dishonored 2, Bethesda brought out Fallout 4 – one of the biggest game announcements of the year. Having been given a cinematic debut trailer a couple of weeks ago, they were able to focus more on in-game footage, gameplay and new features for the game. I found the crafting system and settlement building features to be awesome new additions to the game and I’m really looking forward to seeing them implemented. They also revealed a new mobile game and companion app for the core game. Release Dates –

  • Doom – Spring 2016
  • Fallout 4 – Nov. 10, 2016

My Takeaway: I really liked this conference. It was short and sweet, they delivered content at a fast pace without skipping over important things which was great and helped to keep viewers interested. This was Bethesda’s first E3 full press conference and I couldn’t tell, it was so seamless and well done it felt this they were E3 conference veterans. My favorite part of this conference was the Doom footage as I am really excited for that title, but all in all the whole thing was great. The release date for Fallout 4 was also a huge win, it’s rare to see a game announced and released in the same year these days. A lot of gamer hype came out of this conference and it did a great job of setting the mood for the rest of E3. Score – 9/10

Microsoft Highlights:

xbox

Microsoft had a great show this year in which they announced some cool new Xbox One features as well as revealed a lot of new exclusives and content for previously announced games. They kicked off their show with some Halo 5: Guardians gameplay and a look into the games multiplayer. From there they announced a brand new IP from Microsoft Studios and Keiji Inafune (the creative mind behind Mega Man) called ReCore. Nothing aside from a cinematic teaser was shown, but it looks promising and features a female lead and a robot dog. Next up was a huge announcement for Xbox One owners – this holiday season the Xbox One will become backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games. This works digitally and with retail discs as well as features the same screenshot, DVR and broadcasting abilities as Xbox One titles. With multiplayer titles, people playing on the Xbox One will be able to join games with those on the Xbox 360 and the whole thing is brought to us with no charge. After the backwards compatibility announcement, more detail about the new Xbox One Elite controller was shown in a video that went over all the details and the new design.

XboxOneEliteController

Xbox One Elite Controller

Bethesda took the stage and showed off a shorter, more concentrated version of the content shown for Fallout 4 at their own conference. They revealed that Fallout 3 will be included with the Xbox One version of Fallout 4 via the backwards compatibility feature (basically a free code for the game type of thing, not a remastered version) and that PC mods will be available for the Xbox One version of Fallout 4. This is a huge announcement as the PC community has historically created a plethora of fantastic mods for Bethesda titles such as Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, so the ability to share those mods with console players is huge. This feature is rumored to be available for PlayStation 4 players as well as it was never said to be exclusive to the Xbox One, though it hasn’t been made 100% clear. EA took the stage next to talk about EA Access which is some kind of subscription for EA games that allows subscribers early access to new EA games and it’s only on Xbox One. They also unveiled Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2.

Next up was Forza 6 talk and a Ford GT was lowered onto the floor for the audience to marvel at. A world premier for Dark Souls 3 was shown then some more information on The Division was discussed, including that the game’s beta would be available first on the Xbox One. Rainbow 6 Siege was announced to come with Rainbow 6 Vegas and Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 on the Xbox One via the backwards compatibility feature. Xbox took this time to talk about ID@Xbox, the indie game portion of the Xbox platform, and went over a handful of indie games we should expect to see on the Xbox One. Among these were three awesome looking games: Tacoma, Beyond Eyes, Cuphead and Ashen.  One of my favorite parts of the Microsoft conference was the Rise of the Tomb Raider demo, which took the stage next, in which we see Jonah and Lara Croft scaling some crazy, snowy mountain. Rare took the stage and a Rare game collection, called Rare Replay (30 games for $30), was shown as well as a trailer for their brand new Xbox One exclusive IP Sea of Thieves. After that was some information about Fable Legends then went into a really neat showing of the Hololens and it’s use in Minecraft. The conference was wrapped up with the announcement of the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, a remaster of the first Gears of War, then the reveal of Gears 4 along with an awesome gameplay trailer.

Gears4

Gears 4

Release Dates – 

  • Forza 6 – Sept. 16, 2015
  • Dark Souls 3 – Early 2016
  • Rainbow 6 Siege – Oct. 13, 2015
  • Tacoma – 2016
  • Beyond Eyes – Summer 2015
  • Cuphead – 2016
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Nov. 10, 2015
  • Rare Replay – August 2015
  • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition – Aug. 5, 2015
  • Gears 4 – Holiday 2016

My Takeaway: Microsoft had a super bold, super full conference. While I just talked about the highlights, there was a lot of information and content shoved into their time slot and that backwards compatibility announcement was huge. The Xbox One has a killer line-up and many of the games shown and announced are coming out this year or early next year, which is really awesome. Their exclusive line-up really surprised me as well, most if not all of the exclusive titles announced were definitely games I plan to play. Score – 9/10

Electronic Arts (EA) Highlights:

EAlogo

Electronic Arts (EA) had a typical conference by their own standards. Sadly, they use the same formula every year yet every year people hate it more and more. One of their saving graces was that they opened up with a short CGI teaser for the upcoming Mass Effect title we heard about last year which has been named Mass Effect: Andromeda. The game takes place in the Andromeda galaxy and we will be playing as a human, otherwise most details have yet to be revealed. After that EA talked a bit about their upcoming Need for Speed game and a new expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The next game that took the stage was one of the coolest, most adorable games I have witnessed in a long time called Unravel. It’s a puzzle platformer featuring a little character made of yarn exploring the real world and is said to be a representative of love and the bonds we make in life. It was really special to have the creator of the game take the stage and talk about it, he showed a clear love and devotion to his game and his excitement really gave this game a ton of life.

Unravel

Unravel

After Unravel was more information on the previously announced Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. Then things took a turn for the more boring with a focus on sports games intermixed with a section on mobile games that was handled poorly (opening with “Let’s talk about mobile” was a bad choice as it automatically turns people off) then went back to more sports talk. They had an on-stage interview with the legendary soccer player Pele, which if done elsewhere would have been really meaningful but ended up falling flat on its face while boring the life out of viewers during the conference. EA’s conference basically became ESPN for awhile, so excuse my lack of details on Madden, FIFA, NBA and whatever other sports games they discussed. In the middle somewhere they talked very briefly about Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, which is to be an open world, free roaming experience, while showing a neat CGI trailer for the game. They went back to sports then finished up with a cool Star Wars Battlefront gameplay demo. Release Dates –

  • Mass Effect: Andromeda – Holiday 2016
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic – Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion – October 2015
  • Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst – Feb. 23, 2016
  • Star Wars Battlefront – Nov. 17, 2015

My Takeaway: This conference was again typical for EA – boring and full of sports while showing as little as possible of what the general public of gamers actually wants. I was disappointed with the Mass Effect: Andromeda teaser, that game has yet again been given a teeny, tiny highlight at an EA conference then brushed aside for the next game. I was disappointed that Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst only had a small spot in the conference too. Basically, I was just disappointed that it felt like 45 minutes of annual sports titles, 10 minutes of non-sports games and 5 minutes of fluff – give or take. Score – 4.5/10

Ubisoft Highlights:

Ubisoft

Ubisoft hosted an enjoyable show which was hosted yet again by Aisha Tyler who really makes the Ubisoft conferences worth watching, in my opinion, as she brings lots of energy and fun every year. They opened with a teaser for the new South Park game titled South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, took the stage to talk a bit about the game, saying that it has a superhero theme. Next up was a new IP announcement for a game called For Honor, a competitive game with historical roots in which players play as Vikings, Samurai or Knights in a battle against one another. It’s melee combat in a visceral battlefield with co-op teams of 2 or 4 against other teams. It’s a really unique looking game with a very intriguing concept. Next up was a new The Crew expansion called Wild Run, a Trails Fusion expansion called Awesome Level Max and more on The Division including a demo of their Dark Zone game mode.

ForHonor

For Honor

Next was a short preview of the space themed city builder title Anno 2205 then a segment for Just Dance 2016 complete with plenty of on stage dancing and singing. Rainbow 6 Siege showcased gameplay from their Terrohunt mode and actress Angela Basset took the stage after it was announced that she would be playing a part in the game’s campaign. A little demo for a game called Trackmania Turbo was next followed by a new CGI trailer for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. The conference wrapped up with the announcement and subsequent gameplay trailer for the massively open world Ghost Recon: Wildlands. My Takeaway –  Overall, it was a decent press conference. There was good pacing and a lot of energy on stage plus some really neat information for new games and previously announced games alike. As is the case with Ubisoft at E3, it was short, sweet and to the point. There wasn’t too much that was standout-ish aside from For Honor and I didn’t feel like there was enough new content shown for games like Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and The Division. Score – 7.5/10

Sony Highlights – 

playstation

Sony brought the goods yet again and in the interest of being completely honest with you all before you keep on reading – this was my favorite conference of E3 this year. Sony opened up their conference in a big way with a gameplay demo for a game announced ages ago then seemingly forgotten – The Last Guardian. Next was a gameplay/story trailer for a brand new PS4 exclusive IP from Guerrilla Games called Horizon Zero Dawn. The game features a female protagonist in a post-apocalyptic world reclaimed by nature, after mass civilization has vanished and robot creatures roam the earth. Up next was the reveal of a brand new Hitman game complete with a cinematic trailer, the announcement for a Street Fighter 5 beta releasing next month and a live gameplay demo for No Man’s Sky. Media Molecule took the stage to introduce their new IP called Dreams, a game in which players create their own fluid dream worlds. Then we saw a trailer for Firewatch, a game in which you roam what seems to be at least a semi-open world environment while solving some kind of mystery and surviving on your own.

HorizonZeroDawn

Horizon Zero Dawn

Destiny’s newest expansion, The Taken King, was given a trailer which showed off some of the new content as well as what players can expect from the upcoming addition. Conceptual gameplay for Evie Frye of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was shown as well as an announcement that that game will have exclusive content for the PlayStation 4. World of Final Fantasy was announced and given a trailer which led in to what I found to be the most emotionally exciting announcement of all of E3 – A Final Fantasy VII remake complete with a beautiful trailer. After that Sony showed off their indie showcase which I would love to detail a bit more but given that I was still recovering from the Final Fantasy VII announcement I couldn’t really focus on anything at that moment. The Morpheus, Sony’s VR hardware, was briefly brought up as well but they didn’t get to into the details. I didn’t have much time to relax as next up was another huge announcement – a Shenmue 3 Kickstarter, which reached it’s goal of 2 million dollars in less than 24 hours.

Next we saw a neat trailer for Batman: Arkham Kinght’s new challenge mode, the Scarecrow Nightmare Missions, which began with the cremation of The Joker. After that was a virtual reality showcase which was thankfully short and sweet as there wasn’t anything super significant talked about. A new feature of PlayStation’s television service, Vue, was revealed: now the service will offer individual network channels and discounts for PlayStation Plus members. Activision took the stage to announce a partnership with PlayStation for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, complete with a gameplay trailer for the campaign and the multiplayer. Disney Infinity took the stage next to talk about Star Wars and Marvel additions to Infinity 3.0. Next a single player, offline mode was revealed for Star Wars Battlefront and the conference wrapped up with a new, kick ass gameplay demo of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Release Dates – 

  • The Last Guardian – 2016
  • Destiny: The Taken King – Sept. 9, 2015
  • World of Final Fantasy – 2016
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – Nov. 6, 2015

My Takeaway: This conference was awesome to watch because it was just back to back to back announcements and new game content. There was never a boring break or a long period of time in which they talked about stuff that no one cared about. The more boring stuff was just briefly talked about, then they moved on to more trailers and gameplay demos. The three huge announcements (The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII, and Shenmue 3) really took the show by storm. I didn’t expect even one of those to be at this years E3 yet somehow all three of them were there which was super exciting. Overall I really appreciated the pacing of the conference, it was super full of hype and excitement while revealing awesome new games and lots of demos/trailers. The only downside was that most of the games they showed either didn’t have a date or had a far off date, not a lot seems to be coming out in 2015 as far as console exclusives go. Score – 9.5/10

Nintendo Direct Event Highlights:

Nintendo

Nintendo doesn’t do a live conference at E3, instead they show a pre-recorded event in which they announce, talk about and show off their upcoming games. This year they kicked off their Direct Event with a really special, super cute puppet show featuring puppet versions of Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata and Reggie Fils-Aime. They went right into Star Fox Zero after that then talked a bit about how we will see more on their new platform, the NX, next year and detailed some new Skylanders/Amiibo crossover. We got a first look at Zelda Triforce Heroes for the 3DS and Hyrule Warriors Legends for the 3DS. Next was a Metroid game for the 3DS called Metroid Prime: Federation Force followed by a trailer for Fire Emblem Fates.

Fire Emblem Fates

Fire Emblem Fates

There was a trailer for Xenoblade Chronicles X shown, followed by some short trailers for Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer and Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival, both of which are 3DS titles. After that was my favorite part of the Direct Event; they showed a little video about Yoshi’s Woolly World in which the woman who created the yarn Yoshi Amiibo discussed her designs and a bit about the game itself. A new game called Yo-Kai Watch was announced with a trailer then there was a bit of talking and trailers for shown for Mario and Luigi Paper Jam, Mario Tennis Ultra Smash and Super Mario Maker. Release Dates

  • Star Fox Zero – Holiday 2015
  • Legend of Zelda Triforce Heroes – Fall 2015
  • Fire Emblem Fates – 2016
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X – Dec. 4, 2015
  • Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer – Sept. 2015
  • Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival – Holiday 2015
  • Yoshi’s Woolly World – Oct. 16, 2015
  • Yo-Kai Watch – Holiday 2015
  • Mario and Luigi Paper Jam – Spring 2016
  • Mario Tennis Ultra Smash – Holiday 2015

My Takeaway: The Nintendo Direct this year was a bit flat. There was a lot of content, sure, but most of it was for the 3DS and a lot of it looked subpar. Most games were reused assets, there really weren’t any new IPs or upcoming Wii U games which makes it apparent that they are probably jumping ship on the Wii U and saving up all the hot titles for their new platform, the NX. Most people were very disappointed with this year’s Direct Event and I myself found it to be pretty lame but not terrible. Score – 6.5/10

Square Enix Conference:

SquareEnix

Square Enix had a decent showing this year in which they announced a few new games and showed a lot of detail for their previously announced games. They started off with a lengthy trailer for Just Cause 3 in which gameplay was shown and new mechanics and features were detailed. The trailer’s narration was extremely bland, which made this a bit of a flop, but the content was still really cool. Next was an announcement for a new NieR game with a secret subtitle that was paired with a short teaser. They followed that with a dev diary style featurette for Rise of the Tomb Raider in which the developers talked about the realism of the environment’s effects on Lara’s appearance. Paired with that was an announcement for a new mobile game called Lara Croft Go. The trailers for the Final Fantasy VII Remake and World of Final Fantasy from the Sony conference were shown again and we were told that we would get more Final Fantasy VII news this winter. Kingdom Hearts took the stage to announce a new mobile title in the series called Kingdom Hearts Unchained followed by an exciting new gameplay trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3.

KH3

Kingdom Hearts 3

Next up was a new trailer for Hitman which, like the Just Cause 3 trailer, was accompanied by more information on the game. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness was announced for Europe and North America with a gameplay trailer and then the team behind Deus Ex: Mankind Divided took the stage to talk about the game. They showed off some gameplay along with some more information on the game’s setting and relation to the previous installment in the series. They finished up with an announcement for a Final Fantasy mobile app which will compile news on the game series for users and a big reveal for a new, dedicated RPG studio called Tokyo RPG Factory that was accompanied by some concept art for a new IP from the studio.

Release Dates

  • Just Cause 3 – Dec. 1, 2015
  • Hitman – Dec. 8, 2015
  • Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness – 2016
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Early 2016

My Takeaway:

Square brought some great content and gave us a lot of awesome information on their upcoming games. It was a good conference but also a bit bland. I feel like I don’t have much to say about it so I suppose that means it was good, not great. I found that the constant talking during the trailers as well as before and after was both informative but a bit boring for an E3 conference. Overall, I both liked and disliked this conference due to the cool content paired with excessive talking.

Score – 8/10

PC Gaming Show Highlights:

PCGamingShow

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t take notes during this three hours long conference. I didn’t really even pay attention to most of it. Basically, I just wanted to note that I did sort of watch it and there were a few games that stood out to me. One of the stand-out games that I saw here was Beyond Eyes, which I had already seen at the Microsoft conference. The developer talked about her concept for the game and went over a bit of what the game is about which I found to be really neat. The game follows a young girl who was recently rendered blind and her journey. It looks so unique and captivating, plus I really loved the art style.

Another game, one which I heard about and saw a bit on before E3, was Soma. This game is made by the people who made Amnesia: The Dark Decent and has a similar style. It’s a survival horror game that takes place in a space station and features robotic enemies. Like Amnesia, you can’t fight and you’re livelihood depends on your ability to run and hide. It looks terrifying and awesome all at the same time. The last game that stood out to me was Tacoma, a game made by the people who made Gone Home. I really liked the style of the game and it seemed like the game has a similar style to Gone Home, yet also featured some new mechanics as it takes place on a space station.

My Takeaway:

The PC gaming show was long and played out like a late night talk show in which a lot was shown and some really creative people were featured and able to talk about their games, but it was pretty boring overall. I like that they gave a conference to PC gamers but maybe next time they should shorten it up a bit and pick a focus. Switching between tech talk and games, most of which were not PC exclusive, felt a bit jumbled.

Score – 6.5/10

E32015

Alright, so I’ve gone over each major conference and discussed the highlights as well as my takeaways for each. Keep in mind that I may have gotten some details wrong or missed some things, this is all based on the notes I took during each conference, so bare with me and I will update as necessary. Part of the title of this article is “Feels” so I’d like to take the time to discuss my feelings about a certain game as well as give awards for the most impressive and most disappointing games of E3 2015.

The Feels…

This E3 marks yet another year in which I was actually brought to tears while watching a conference live. Last year the reveal for Rise of the Tomb Raider during Microsoft’s conference made me teary eyed due to sheer excitement and happiness, given that I am a huge fan of the series and Lara Croft means a lot to me as a character. This year Sony was the one who pulled at my heart strings and made me feel those deep feels. To preface this I have to say that Final Fantasy VII is a huge part of my childhood. Not only did I play the game a lot as a young lass but I also have a lot of positive memories surrounding my experience with that game such as the quality time my brother and I spent together while trading off the controller and taking turns playing the game for hours on end. It’s safe to say that it is the single most memorable experience of my childhood in relation to video games. So when the trailer for the Final Fantasy VII remake was revealed I was struck with disbelief and awe.

As the trailer began, I had this feeling. It’s as if a part of me knew what game it was immediately but my rational mind, the part that said this remake is never going to happen, kept telling me that this was not what I thought it was. As the trailer proceeds, I see snippets of the city and I am saying no, it can’t be. I saw a familiar playground in a slum-like neighborhood and began to really feel the depth of my excitement but still a part of me was saying no way, maybe that was part of my mind trying to keep me from being let down if this wasn’t what I already knew it to be. All of these familiar settings paired with foreboding and familiar musical accompaniment was starting to send me over the edge. Then I see an all too familiar yellow flower on the ground in a puddle paired with a black feather and that’s when I knew that this was exactly what I wanted it to be. Then the next shot was of a brilliantly detailed Midgar and by this point there were already tears in my eyes. When it rounded out with the most familiar song of the entire Final Fantasy VII universe and showed the backs of Barrett and Cloud followed simply by the symbol of Final Fantasy VII and the word “Remake” I felt absolutely overjoyed with positive emotions. I was so emotional, there just aren’t words to accurately describe it. The one thing I have wanted more than all others for the past 10 years is finally happening – a Final Fantasy VII remake has been announced. “The promise has been made.” This is living.

 

There was a lot to love all over E3 this year. The world has been saying that this is the “E3 of dreams”, this is the year that all dreams come true and anything can happen. I’d love to talk about every game I loved but that would be way to much to talk about and nobody wants to read all of that. So to slim it down, I’m going to put a spotlight on the most impressive game and the biggest disappointment, all in my opinion of course.

My Biggest Disappointment of E3 2015

I figured I should start with the bad news and finish up with the good news, so let’s talk about what I consider to be the biggest disappointment of the show. Sadly, I found the Mass Effect: Andromeda teaser to be the biggest disappointment and I’d like to explain why. Again, let me preface by stating that I’m a huge fan of the Mass Effect series. I’ve gone as far as to say those are my my favorite games of all time, I even go out of my way to defend the ending of Mass Effect 3 which I absolutely love. That being said, the way that Bioware and EA have been handling this newest installment to the Mass Effect universe has be a big, fat disappointment and this year is no different.

Forever ago Bioware announced that they weren’t done with Mass Effect and would be making a new game. This game was clarified to be not directly connected to the original three games from the get go and very little more was said. Last year at E3 we saw a brief dev diary style video alongside some concept art and that was it. That was disappointing seeing that it was E3 and they said little more than that they were indeed developing this game and here is what it may or may not look like. This year I expected more from them. They haven’t said much of anything since last E3 so I thought that this year we would get some more substantial news. Usually when a developer announces a game’s development at E3 that means they are getting close to releasing it (unless that game is The Last Guardian or a Final Fantasy/Kingdom Hearts title, of course) so I figured that, logically, this year they would show some gameplay or at least a story trailer giving us more information on the game.

Instead we were given a less than 2 minute long teaser that was mostly just a character flipping through some images of what we can assume are planet surfaces. Then the character stands up, pulls out a Paladin-style pistol and walks towards the camera revealing a “N7” logo on his armor. The trailer tells us “Discover a new galaxy” and shows the newly revamped Mako that we have heard about, then there is a short bit of him on a planet basically standing then dodging some weapon fire from distanced enemies. It cuts and says “Mass Effect Andromeda” then “Holiday 2016” and that’s it. I’m not sorry about stating that while yes, it’s better than nothing, I’d honestly rather they waited until they had more than an ambiguous teaser before bringing this game up again. This isn’t some sequel or some small time game, this is part of a series that is arguably one of the most iconic video game series’ in existence. It was definitely better than what we got last year but not by a lot. It left me feeling more troubled with all the questions I have about the game rather than feeling excited. For me, this trailer was the biggest disappoint of the show and I think that comes from the fact that this series is near and dear to me and I felt that this game deserves more than what it has been given. Maybe if I wasn’t so close to the series I wouldn’t feel this way, but alas this is simply how I feel.

Most Impressive Game of E3 2015

So many games impressed me this year at E3. Obviously the Final Fantasy VII Remake meant a lot to me but also games like ReCore, Unravel, Beyond Eyes, The Last Guardian, Dreams, Sea of Thieves, Gears 4, Shenmue 3 and Dishonored 2 stood out as great announcements that really intrigued me. Plus there was new content shown for games I really want like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Doom, Uncharted 4, No Man’s Sky and Fallout 4. But one game has to take the cake here and that game is Horizon Zero Dawn. This was a new IP from Guerrilla Games, the studio behind the Killzone series, which was announced during the Sony conference. Horizon Zero Dawn is a game that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which civilization is mostly gone and those who remain have reverted to a somewhat nomadic state, it seems. Nature has reclaimed the world, buildings have fallen and wildlife seems to have transformed to some kind of technological, robot-like state (at least a lot of animals, I’m sure there are still biological animals as well). The trailer, which is about six and a half minutes long, shows a woman who has a bow and is basically setting up the world state as well as actually going out and fighting these huge robot creatures.

It’s a great trailer because not only is it lengthy, showcasing a lot of the environment and those who inhabit it, but it also focuses on this woman as she goes through this combat scenario. We see that she has personality as she talks about things and is saddened by having to kill one of the creatures and we also see that she has a lot of capability. It’s great to see such a big game that is being widely praised and looked upon favorably feature a female protagonist. That’s a huge win for inclusivity and normalization of female characters in leading positions in games. What’s exciting is that this new IP is so completely different than everything we have seen, it’s not like any other game that exists. The trailer showed actual gameplay, which looked really awesome and unique, and later it was revealed that this is an open-world game which really adds to the impressive nature of Horizon Zero Dawn. I was left feeling refreshed, realizing that maybe gaming isn’t just rehashing old ideas and making bland games. I feel like that was a major theme of this years E3 and Horizon Zero Dawn really exemplified that overall theme.

In conclusion, I must say that this year’s E3 was probably the best E3 I’ve ever seen. We saw so many awesome new games, a good deal of information for games we already knew about (with a few exceptions) and generally a lot of content. It was a lot of fun to watch all the conferences live and just feel excited. It’s been so long since I’ve been legitimately happy enough with the world of gaming to consider myself proud of gaming as a whole, but this E3 made me feel that way again. Along side so many uniquely new IP’s were games staring female protagonists, which is thankfully appearing to be a rising trend. As many know, I find that to be a huge win for gaming in general. I loved seeing all the new ideas from AAA games as well. In the past we had to rely on indie games to bring us unique content, but it seems that now AAA gaming is realizing that most gamers want something new and they are embracing that. So here’s to E3 2015, I hope that the trend keeps on going and that next year is even better than this year, just as this year was even better than last year.

2 thoughts on “E3 2015 – Highlights, Takeaways and Feels

  1. I can get behind most of this. I think your EA score is a bit too kind though. They had so little to show or reveal, even the big ME4 teaser was barely anything worth noting. I also would score Square Enix lower since it was one of the worst paced and most boring conferences yet. At least EA’s seemed like it might have some appeal if more gamers were into sports titles, Square Enix’s was just so bland.

    Except Kingdom Hearts 3, of course (and Star Ocean, maybe).

    Good stuff!

    Like

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