E3 Press Conference Round-up (The Big Ones!): Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Sony
Microsoft marked the first official day of press conferences before the show floor opened. Sparing no time at all, they confirmed the existence of the Xbox One S (Slim) console that will include a new Bluetooth enabled controller with textured grips. The console itself will sport slightly higher specs to support 4K playback and is 40% smaller than the original box. It’s coming this Fall.
Gears of War 4 then rolled out in a spectacular showcase of the games graphics and classic gameplay. Horde mode (‘3.0’) is making its triumphant return and the game will support Microsoft’s new ‘Play Anywhere’ initiative that allows for cross-buy (buy once, own on both PC and console) and cross-play co-op.
Killer Instinct is getting a 3rd season and a special character to mark the return of Gears. General RAAM will be a free playable character. Watch out for the swarm.
One of my favourite series, Forza Horizon got a reveal of its third iteration. This time around the festival takes place in Australia and brings in co-op campaign modes and dune buggy racing.
Of the other newer announcements, Microsoft announced a customizable controller offering that allows for millions of colour combinations and face button choices. You can even engrain the controllers with your favourite phrase or gamertag. These puppies run $79.99 US.
Dead Rising 4 is coming back to the console. Frank West is heading back to the same dilapidated mall that started it all. And on Christmas, no less!
Sea of Thieves also got a gameplay demonstration, finally showing off the co-operative nature of the game. Crew up with your friends and start raiding other ships. The game looked super early-days. Swashbuckling will have to wait until 2017.
A fan favourite, State of Decay got a quick trailer and announcement. Here’s hoping they fix the technical issues with the game, because the first was seriously ambitious and I can’t wait to dive back in to a new, improved version.
Microsoft closed out the show with a teaser reveal of Project Scorpio. Confirming rumours the next iteration of Xbox will be miles ahead, technically, then the current offering. It is clear Microsoft wants to play catch-up and fly pass Sony. The console will support VR devices, 4K gaming and the entire back-catalog of ‘One’ games. Expect it next Holiday 2017.
Finally some in-game footage of ReCore
The Division DLC is coming to Xbox first
Xbox Live and the dashboard are getting some improvements
Scalebound takes place on an epic scale, includes co-op
Tekken 7 is real
On to Ubisoft! The beleaguered game-maker touted its 30 year-old chops at this year’s event blowing open the doors with a large choreographed number announcing yet another iteration of Just Dance (2017) It then moved on to a gameplay demo of Ghost Recon: Wildlands showcasing the setting of Bolivia and some serious co-op gameplay. It even got a date – March 7th.
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone then took the stage to overview the introduction to their next RPG ‘Fracture But Whole’. The kids of South Park have moved on from fantasy to superheroes and you, the player, are back to the bottom of the food chain.
Ubi is also taking VR seriously, Oculus founder Palmer Lucky came out to the stage to take part in a live demo of ‘Eagle Flight VR’ which seemed to be football with birds? And some original Star Trek series cast members showed off their skills and techno-jargon by playing the newly announced Star Trek Bridge Crew VR in a recorded bit.
We finally found out just what For Honor is. The game will include a single-player campaign as well as a multiplayer mode. Gameplay looks a lot like Dynasty Warriors but one-on-one fights open up into a complex attack/defend combat system. For all the lovers out there, For Honor comes out Valentines Day.
Ubisoft closed the show with a reveal of its latest IP, Steep. Developed by its studio in the French Alps, Steep appears to include facets of Pilot Wings (fly through the rings!) and open-world sports titles. The game is based around snowboarding, skiing, wing-suit and para-gliding through picturesque locales and is coming out by the end of the year. Not quite the ‘show stopper’ Ubisoft has been getting good at, but unique none-the-less.
The Division is getting a 2nd expansion titled ‘Survival’
Grow Home is now Grow-ing Up with a sequel
Trials is entering an all-new, retro universe. Trials of the Blood Dragon is out now.
The Assassin’s Creed movie is almost here
Watch Dogs is likely the next feature film
Ending the day, Sony opened with an orchestral performance of seemingly ‘God of War’-like music and announced, you guessed it, another God of War. This time, Kratos is seemingly retired to Norway with his son, but it seems the Gods of Valhalla are just as unhappy with him. The gameplay is much changed from the original game and seems to take on more of a slow, deliberate combat system from the Souls games.
Sony Bend finally revealed what they were working on, ‘Days Gone’ looks eerily similar to both the Last of Us and State of Decay franchises. The game take place in a post-apocalyptic setting, naturally, with hundreds of cannon-fodder zombies. Not sure what sort of twist this game will take later on, but it didn’t really impress.
The next surprise was Resident Evil 7, coming straight the PS4 with full VR support when it launches this January. First-person, VR jump scares!
PlayStation VR got a seriously short showcase with shooter Farpoint, a Battlefront X-Wing Mission for VR, Batman’s Arkham VR, and a first-person shooting sequence inside of Final Fantasy 15 ‘VR Experience’. Not sure how Sony plans on making its headset a raging success, because this showing was really lacking. VR comes out in a few short months, what exactly will be playing?
Crash Bandicoot is coming back, the 1st, 2nd and ‘Warped’ games will be getting full-remastered for the PS4. No new Crash game, though.
One of Sony’s big aces up their sleeve was the reveal of Hideo Kojima’s first independent title, exclusive for PlayStation. ‘Death Stranding’ stars a character played by Norman Reedus in a creepy, grey world. Not much else is known at this time.
Insomniac is making a Spider-man game. It will take place outside of the new movie and star a more experienced Spidey.
Sony closed out the show with in-game footage of Days Gone. No announcement of a ‘slim’, or PlayStation NEO. No new, secret game, either. It’s clear Sony is dead-set on maintaining its status quo position as current console leader.
Last Guardian is coming October 25th
Horizon: Zero Dawn will include loot, crafting and conversation trees
Detroit: Become Human is still the name of that detective game from David Cage
Crash is coming to Skylanders: Imaginators
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare looks incredible, and non-linear!
Where’s Nintendo, you might ask? The console-maker took a very limited approach to this year’s E3, showing off its upcoming Pokemon games on its Treehouse stream, as well as in-depth gameplay and feature of the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Zelda is pushing back to 2017 in anticipation of the launch of NX.