If there is one thing I am thankful for every year around E3 time, it’s that I have an office job. I block off time on my calendar, get lunch, and watch the press conferences in the comfort of my desk while my coworkers are blissfully unaware that I’m feeding my addiction for the latest and greatest in video game announcements. There are always big surprises and the ones from this year were no exception. We saw a ton of games coming out this year and even more coming out next year and it’s a great time to be a fan of gaming. So, without further adieu, here are my grades for this year’s announcements by press conference (some are skipped in the interest of time, but we tried to cover the big ones).
Bethesda began E3 this year with their first press conference at the event. The show began with an impressive showing of the new Doom and it’s map creator which was extremely bloody to put it bluntly. This was impressive but tended to go on a little long, but the overall tech and gameplay was awesome. The show continued with showings from the Elder Scrolls Online, an official announcement of Dishonored 2 (leaked previously) and ended with a bombshell – gameplay of Fallout 4 AND an announcement, it would be releasing this year. If you remember from our predictions post last week, I called this. It seemed too perfect not to do this, especially with their very first E3 presentation. The gameplay we saw was amazing, and the crowd went nuts for it. We were also introduced to a robust creation mechanic that will be present in Fallout 4 (which you can see via the video below). Overall, Bethesda’s showing was the stuff of legends and it got E3 off on the right foot.
Scott’s Bethesda Grade: A
Microsoft started off the true first day of E3 and they did so in a big way. From the get go, Microsoft came out swinging and announced backwards compatibility for their console. This is something that was thought to be nonexistent this generation, yet Microsoft found a way to implement it, and according to initial reports, implement it extremely well with reduced load times and less pop ins for some games. A really neat game named ReCore was announced that looks like it could be an awesome puzzle style game with a girl and her robot dog/monster/thing. Dark Souls III was onstage (a personal favorite) and some other multi platform games were announced, but the true big announcement came at the end of the show while Fallout 4 was on stage. The announcement was that the Xbox One will have mod support for it’s version of the game, mirroring the PC. This is absolutely huge for anyone who has played Fallout on the PC. Mod support literally changes the game for the better and increases playtime in a game you probably already completed. I played Fallout 3 once on consoles, but my mainstay was on the PC where I modded the heck out of the game. Microsoft needed a way to differentiate themselves from the Playstation 4 and they did just that. With backwards compatibility and the superior console version of Fallout 4, Microsoft did one hell of a job at this year’s E3. Throw in a new controller, an insanely impressive HoloLens demonstration, some awesome third party games, Halo 5 coming this year alongside some other titles and it’s easy to say they had a great showing. (Plus that $30 Rare collection looks super sweet!)
Scott’s Microsoft Grade: A
Sony was the next big conference and if you know me, there is one thing I think Sony needs – exclusives. All of the other consoles have them but Sony just can’t seem to find them, especially in time for the holiday season. That rang true again with Sony and their distinct lack of first party titles. Sony had some amazing games on their stage, but they were either not theirs (Shenmue 3), so far early in development that we truly don’t know what it is (Media Molecule game, Shenmue 3, and the Final Fantasy 7 remake), or is a game that has been promised for so long that I lost interest years ago (The Last Guardian). I know, I’m being hard on Sony, but it’s because they are sounding lazy after getting out to a headstart this gen. They are now the home of Call of Duty (huge honor I’m sure) and aren’t really making their console be the definitive go to console. Plus, with the news that they don’t intend to look into backwards compatibility, I fear they may lose some of the stream they started this console generation with. Regardless, there were some truly amazing games on their stage. The first, Horizon: Zero Dawn, blew my mind. I also predicted we would see a new Guerilla Games project that wasn’t a Killzone in our prediction post but I had no idea it would look this amazing. Plus, Uncharted looks just like we would think a next gen Uncharted would look like – beautiful. Overall, I wasn’t blown away by the press conference, but it was very good. Everything was in the future and nothing big was coming out this year, something Sony needed to have in order to win this E3. A good showing, but not the best. I am pumped to see more of that Final Fantasy VII remake though.
Scott’s Sony Grade: B
Now we move onto Nintendo. Oh, how I have been loathing writing about this. I love Nintendo. I always have. There is something special about Nintendo in my eyes and their first party titles. I have owned every Nintendo console ever made and I will continue doing so, even when my partner in crime Nick decides to try and convince them not to. So, it’s with a heavy heart that I watched this press conference and saw an absolute abhorrent showing from a company that really needed to compete this year. I have no idea what went on in the board rooms and meeting places when they prepped these showings. Almost everything we saw, we knew about. Almost everything we didn’t know about, we didn’t want to see. There was a new Metroid, but it was some weird offshoot. Yoshi’s Wooly World looks adorable, but we knew it was coming this year. Super Mario Maker looks like a ton of fun, but we also knew that was coming this year. Fire Emblem, knew about it. Animal Crossing game? It’s new, but it’s not an Animal Crossing game per se, but rather some weird board game that Nintendo just can’t stop making (looking at you Mario Party…just die already). All in all the show was depressing and if you were a Wii U fan, it was downright catastrophic. Nintendo started the show talking about how they plan on announcing their next console/project next year and then went on to ignore the Wii U almost completely over the next hour. Way to reward your loyal fans for sticking around and buying your stuff. All in all, it was a horrible presentation and Nintendo really needs to do better in the future. I really hope they put their heads together and release a Nintendo Direct announcing some games, maybe showing off more of Zelda (which is supposed to come out next year) and stop talking about this new console – focus on the one you have out already!
Scott Nintendo Score: D
Scott’s E3 Winner: Nintendo! (Yeah right…) It’s actually a tie for me. Bethesda with their announcement of Fallout 4 releasing this year, and then Microsoft with their backwards compatibility, awesome games (that are actually coming out this year), and the mod support for Fallout 4 – I couldn’t decide. If I absolutely had to, I’d probably give it to Microsoft (since they seem to be in bed with Bethesda and the upcoming Fallout 4) but it’s really too close for me to pick. They both did an awesome job. Sony would have had a better shot this year had they announced more games coming out this year and more exclusives. Their one big hit, Uncharted, fell through to 2016 and this holiday season just seems bleak for them.
Scott’s Top Games of E3 2015
1. Fallout 4 (with it’s mod support on Xbox One)
2. Horizon: Zero Dawn
3. Dark Souls 3
4. Mass Effect: Andromeda
5. Gears of War 4
Special mention: Rare Collection (it really does look awesome for 30 bucks!)
E3 is by far, my most favorite time of year. It’s an all out war between game developers on who gets my precious time and money. To say that the shows this year have made it tough for me to decide would be an understatement. There is a huge amount of exciting games coming out with confirmed release dates starting next week and ending in March. Not only are there some new installments coming out from tested franchises but really great, interesting new IP’s as well.
Microsoft started out really strong and sort of lost a bunch of steam by the time EA’s Peter Moore left the stage. The biggest news was the addition of backwards compatibility. The 360 community is still huge and being able to play your games, even multiplayer, on the One should help ease the pain of upgrading systems. Microsoft also showed a higher end, customizable controller. One of my biggest complaints about the One is the cheap feeling controller so this has me intrigued. The two biggest standouts came from ReCore, from the makers of Metroid Prime and the HoloLens technology. Microsoft got some love for Fallout 4 with the ability to install mods exclusively on the One. Like I stated earlier, the event did seem to bog down a bit in the middle and by the time Gears 4 was announced I was more excited for it to be over with, but overall interesting things from Microsoft
Nick’s Microsoft Grade: B+
Sony really needed to pull out all the stops this year to make up for a weak lineup of games and boy did they ever. It was like the first Christmas after my parents’ divorce all over again, big gift after big gift. They started with The Last Guardian and despite it looking slightly aged was still gorgeous. From there we got to see a glimpse of life after Killzone with Horizon: Zero Dawn. First off I love what Guerilla did with Killzone and to see what they have in the pipeline made me extremely excited (Hunting robot Dinos with a futuristic bow). Media Molecule showed off its next endeavor with Dreams which looks promising. The biggest hits of the night came out of nowhere it seemed. Final Fantasy 7 remake is official as well as a, now fully funded, Shenmue 3. The night ended with an pretty great demo for Uncharted. While they still kinda lacked in games they did tout many Sony only exclusives for games such as Destiny and Call of Duty. It wasn’t all games, Sony announced that there video service will let you purchase channels a la cart, making anyone looking to cut those expensive cable bills down, Me, very excited.
Nick’s Sony Grade: A
Nintendo Digital Event or “how we quietly let everyone who bought a Wii U know they made a mistake.” I knew going in Nintendo wasn’t going to have much, but man that was terrible. A slew of 3DS games including two new Zeldas, and a watered down Metroid game and barely anything for the Wii U. The biggest game for them seemed to be Super Mario Maker, which they went back to several times is basically you making your own Mario games. Pretty lack luster for a character celebrating 30 years. They relied heavily on Amiibo power and had several videos over explaining their thought process. Oh, and puppets….lots of puppets. I just….I mean, come on Nintendo….
Nick’s Nintendo Grade: C
Nick’s E3 Winner:
Bethesda kicked off the show Sunday night and for a first timer, they did really well. The show was well paced and funny. Clearly it was meant to showcase Fallout 4, which was just announced a week prior, but that didn’t stop them from packing it with other great and exciting announcements. Doom looked absolutely spectacular and I couldn’t help but get really excited when the demo showed off an old favorite, the chainsaw. It is also getting multiplayer and from the looks of it, a very intuitive map builder. Next up was Dishonored 2, which I totally called. While we didn’t see a whole lot of it, we know that we can either play as Emily Kaldwin or Corvo. Everything they showed for Fallout 4 got me excited but what really did it for me was the in world crafting system. Fallout has always allowed you to pick up just about anything and keep it but now you can actually put it to use by upgrading weapons even building a settlement that you have to power and keep protected. While deep down I know the final product will be bug ridden just like 3 and Skyrim the demo, washes away all worries. Bethesda really stole the show hands down and I hope we can look forward to another event like this next year
While I’m really excited for the Fallouts and Battlefronts, these new IP’s really stood out to me and I cant wait to know more.
Nick’s Bethesda Grade: A+
Nick’s Top Games of E3 2015
2. Horizon: Zero Dawn
3. For Honor
4. Mass Effect: Andromeda
Still want more opinions? Good, because we asked other gamer dads what they thought about this years show
John Wahl from Mega Dads
1. What was the biggest surprise for you at E3? Shenmue 3. I’ve been waiting for that game since playing the import Dreamcast copy of Shenmue 2. I was beginning to think it would never happen but I was happily proven wrong.
2. What are you most excited for? The sheer number of amazing games coming out in the next 12-24 months. There’s just so much coming that it will be impossible to play it all.
5. Who do you think had the best event or who won? Bethesda
Now that you know what we loved about E3, who do you think won the show? Feel free to answer the above questions in the comments below and let us know how your E3 week went!