The Rating Scale Breakdown:
- 0 – 0.5 – Abysmal
- 1.0 – 1.5 – Terrible
- 2.0 – 2.5 – Poor
- 3.0 – 3.5 – Average
- 4.0 – 4.5 – Great
- 5.0 – Excellent
- Undetermined – Too soon to tell or lacking evidence to provide a solid answer
- Not Tested – Has yet to be requested or there is some limitations to prevent accurate test results
- N/A – Not Available and or Not Applicable to this program
Electronic Arts’s E3 2016 Press Conference – 3.5 “Average”
- EA hosted a dual event. One big live show in LA, and one in London.
- EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson promised us “a taste of a bunch of great stuff that we have in development”, before congratulating all the “influencers” in the room for being able to play some of them after the show. Meanwhile, Peter Moore is at the Hammersmith Apollo in London with 600 Europeans for the other half of this show.
- First on to show us his wares was Vince Zampella of Respawn, to introduce Titanfall 2, which will be on PS4 as well as Xbox One this time. He promised a “deep progression” system and we saw a lot of grappling hook use and wall-running in a game that prioritises speed. The new game will feature six different Titans this time around, which will be customisable. The trailer leaked before the show even started, and looked suitably bombastic. It’ll be out on 28th October 2016 and there’s a beta happening before then.
- According to EA’s Peter Moore, Madden NFL 17 will bring the “most balanced gameplay to date” to the series. He revealed three new ways to play online: Premier, Challenger and EA Major events. These range from personal competitions between players (Premier) to major corporate broadcasts (EA Major). On top of that, the Madden 17 Championship series next year will offer a $1 million prize fund. A big new addition to Madden this year is the Play the Moments mode: “This year introduces Play the Moments, the fastest way to play Madden NFL. Play the Moments allows fans to experience the important milestones in each game while simulating the rest of the matchup. Players will be invited to jump in at critical moments such as red zone drives, vital third downs, game-winning drives and more, offering the chance to prove your mettle in clutch situations. The shortened games allow Franchise players to take their team all the way from opening day to the Super Bowl in just a weekend, maximizing the fun along the way. Of course, those who want to experience the game from kickoff to final whistle can turn off Play the Moments, or opt to jump in and out of moments as they wish throughout the game.”
- Aaryn Flynn from BioWare entered the stage to talk about Mass Effect: Andromeda and asked “how far will you go?” You are part of a expedition to the Andromeda galaxy, where everything is completely new – planets, species, technology. In this galaxy… you are the alien, and it is a clean break from the Mass Effect trilogy. He said the dev team is pushing itself more than ever, and wants to offer more freedom in this game, which features an all-new cast built using the Frostbite engine. We didn’t get a proper trailer, but we did get a behind-the-scenes developer diary that showed lots of new footage from the actual game, including new planets, aliens and characters, the Mako, as well as mo-cap and other work in progress. There was no release date or anything for Mass Effect: Andromeda, but they will be sharing more “in October”.
- Andrew Wilson then talked talking about a new initiative: Play to Give, which combines gameplay challenges with charity donations. The charities are pretty good, actually! It seemed to consist of EA donating $1m at the end of a kind of global play session.
- FIFA 17 introduces a story mode called The Journey featuring a player, Alex Hunter, as he begins his career in professional football. For the first time the game is also adding Premier league managers – Jose Mourinho wandered on stage for a little panto back-and-forth with Peter Moore. FIFA 17 is also said to be part of a “revolutionary year” for the franchise. Four pillars of gameplay have been overhauled for FIFA 17 this year: Set Piece Rewrite (new penalties, free kicks, corners, and throw-ins), Physical Play Overhaul (Pushback Technology changes the way players physically interact in every situation), Active Intelligence System and New Attacking Techniques. Now for some gameplay changes: set-pieces have been re-done, physical play has been overhauled, there is a new player intelligence system, and there are new ways to “create chances and finish in front of goal”. All of this is inspired by real-life young football talent. There seemed to be a real “new start” theme to FIFA this year.
- Next EA talked about Unravel. They want to find more developers like Unravel’s Coldwood Studios. There is another new initiative called EA Originals. This involves EA supporting and funding smaller developers creating interesting things – with all the profit going back to those developers.
- The first EA Originals game is called Fe from Zoink Games. We’ve got another charmingly nervous Swedish creator. It’s “a personal narrative about our relationship with nature”, where you play a young cub all alone in a forest, and every animal, creature and plant communicates through strange music as there are no words or dialogue. Each song you learn will let you reach new parts of the forest. It sounds quite lovely. It promises freedom to explore, without hand-holding. Apparently the game won’t hold your hand or tell you what to do, you have to go and explore the forest and learn the game yourself.
- Not one, but three new Star Wars games are coming! There’s a new Star Wars: Battlefront coming in 2017 and the first Star Wars: Battlefront will get new content based on the new movies next year. On top of that, a new action-adventure Star Wars game featuring new characters and new narratives from Visceral Games (that’s Amy Hennig’s project) is coming in 2018. We got to see a tiny glimpse of concept art and in-game footage featuring a Star Destroyer. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Check out that video again and you’ll see an X-Wing PlayStation VR game featured briefly too. And a Star Wars game from Respawn is in the works. It’s a third-person action adventure game in a different time period, according to EA. We knew about that already, but it doesn’t hurt to speak about it again.
- Finally, we saw Battlefield 1, which is “no ordinary game” according to Patrick Bach, who says that he wants no battle to play out the same way. It’s been in the works for a very long time, apparently. They showed an hour of gameplay after the show. It featured destruction, weather, weapons and vehicle variety. Each one will make every match different and have different impacts on your play. The same map will be different in sun or heavy rain or fog. Oh, and it’s gonna have airships, armoured trains, and battleships. EA also revealed Operations mode for Battlefield 1, stating: “Operations introduces a completely new way to play multiplayer. In Battlefield 1 you will play a series of interconnected battles across multiple fronts. Play a sequence of battles where your actions have consequences beyond a single match, as you try to conquer territory or push back your attackers.” It’s out 21st October 2016 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. We also got a new trailer for Battlefield 1 too.
Bethesda’s E3 2016 Press Conference – 3.0 “Average“
- Bethesda kicked things off with a long-rumoured reveal: Quake Champions. Id Software director Tim Willits came on stage to introduce Quake, a competitive, arena-style shooter for PC. “Whether you’re new to Quake or have ben fragging for 20 years, Quake Champions will give you the challenge you expect from id multiplayer games,” Willits said. Willits said the game will be focused on speed and performance, with graphics running at 120 Hz with an unlocked frame-rate. There’s a cast of different characters with varying attributes, so that all players can find a style to suit them. Sounds a bit hero-shooter. Perhaps Overwatch (and Battleborn and Paragon) has some new competition. Also, I doubt Battlecry will ever surface now. Bethesda has plans for an eSports league, and will share more information at QuakeCon this year.
- Bethesda’s Pete Hines took the stage next to talk about the publisher’s free-to-play card battler. As well as the usual modes like arena and battle, there’s a story mode is presented form the perspective Moth Priest named Kellen, although goodness knows how you spell it. A new trailer was released to highlight that. Hines announced the game will be coming to mobile devices this year. Nice. It’s currently in beta on PC.
- While there’s no word on a new game from Bethesda Game Studios yet, that’s because it’s still busy with Fallout 4. A pre-recorded segment from Todd Howard introduced the Contraptions Workshop DLC, launching on 21st June 2016, which allows players to build all sorts of weird devices. Another Workshop DLC pack follows in July, giving players a bunch of Vault-Tec assets with which to lay out their own fault. Finally, a more substantial pack called Nuka World Amusement Park is scheduled for August 2016. Fallout 4 is coming to virtual reality via the HTC Vive in 2017, apparently. Bit of a turn up for the books. If you still have any money left, there’s a new Fallout Pip-Boy replica on pre-order. It’s $350 and a lot better than the one that came with the special edition.
- The last bit of Fallout news is that a major update is coming to Fallout Shelter, which is coming to PC in July 2016.
- Next was the remaster for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, now called The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, that was widely rumoured before the show. It’ll include mod support on consoles and it’s out 28th October 2016 on PS4 and Xbox One. It will also be available on PC, and will be a free upgrade to those who own the original and all DLC packs.
- Austin Arkane Co-Creative Director Raphael Colantonio came on stage and talked about Prey, which has been secretly in development for years now as Prey 2. A first-person immersive sim with a psychological twist, it seems to be a reboot of Human Head’s troubled Prey IP. Set on a space station in 2032,you’ll play as a man who represents “a key experiment meant to alter humanity forever”. Aliens invade the space station you’re on, and you must survive using all the tools available to you. It’s launching for PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2017, and there’ll be more information at QuakeCon.
- Id Software confirmed a new DOOM DLC pack is incoming, along with a ton of free content. Called Unto The Evil, the first DLC pack will deliver multiplayer maps, a new gun and armour, and a new playable demon called the Harvester. For those of you who haven’t tried it, you’ll be able to download and play the first level of DOOM for free this week only on PC, PS4, Xbox One. DOOM is also going VR, apparently, but no date was provided.
- Bethesda hinted at new content on the way to The Elder Scrolls Online, the MMORPG game, which celebrated recent content updates, and confirmed Japanese release in September 2016. The Dark Brotherhood DLC comes to The Elder Scrolls Online on PS4 and Xbox One next Tuesday, and we got a new launch trailer for the console release. A major update is coming in northern autumn called One Tamriel, which will remove all content restrictions; no matter what your member level or alliances, you’ll be able to enjoy all content. Oh also, The Elder Scrolls Online now has 7 million players, apparently.
- Blink-182 performed after the show for those in LA. More relevantly: Bethesda is making VR stuff. There’s DOOM, and… Fallout 4 in VR. Fallout 4 will be coming to HTC Vive in 2017.
- Looks like Dishonored 2 was the last game we saw. Creative Director Harvey Smith showed off the game for the first time, and talking about the new protagonist, Emily Kaldwin, and new city, Karneca. A gameplay footage reveal panned slowly through many different locations, showing off the new city’s increased verticality, decadent interiors and wind turbines. Arkane’s Harvey Smith said the developer had to build a custom game engine to bring the city to life, and to create features like interruptible real-time cutscenes, NPCs with their own schedules, and more. As second video showed us an early section of the game from Emily’s perspective. She walked along talking with Corvo, but a planned ceremony to honour her mother was interrupted by a mysterious assailant. The video then skipped on to footage of climbing, again from Emily’s perspective. Finally, we got to see Emily tackling a mission; you can check the video out above. Her Mesmerise and Domino powers were one of the highlights. We havemore details on Emily’s new powers in the pull article in case the excitement of watching the video renders your unable to comprehend spoken words. In case three videos weren’t enough for you, Bethesda then gave us a rad new Dishonored 2 trailer. Good times. Hopefully we’ll have that for you soon. The game is out 11th November 2016 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. Pre-orders come with a free copy of Dishonored: Definitive Edition for a limited time. There will be a very special edition with a replica of Corvo’s mask.
Microsoft’s E3 2016 Press Conference – 4.0 “Great“
- Microsoft was pretty leaky before the show. Both a new slim Xbox One model and Dead Rising 4 had leaked – but the press conference filled out our understanding of both.
- Xbox Boss, Phil Spencer said this sku would be the “the smallest Xbox console in history.” The white console is 40% smaller, offers 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray support, and High Dynamic Range (HDR). The limited edition 2TB hard drive version will run you $399/£349/€399 and after its release in August, a 500GB version will be available for $299/£249/€299, and a 1TB edition for $349/£299/€349. It features a redesigned wireless controller which uses Bluetooth (can be used with Windows 10, tablets), and sports a textured grip. The new Xbox Wireless Controller will be also be sold separate worldwide starting in August for $59.99/€49.99/€59.99.
- Phil Spencer talked up the actual games, starting with Gears of War 4. Unsurprisingly, The Coalition’s Rod Fergusson announced that it will be released on 11th October 2016 and that it will be cross-play and cross-buy on both Windows 10 and Xbox One (a policy for all Xbox games going forward). It won’t cost you extra to own both versions, either. There was a substantial co-op gameplay demo, set during a dramatic storm and featuring lots of buzzsaws and an aged Marcus Fenix. Oh, there’s a Gears of War 4-themed controller out soon too.
- Some quick news on Killer Instinct: the next special character is General Raam, from the Gears of War franchise.
- Leaked a few hours before the show, Forza Horizon 3 received a really nice cinematic trailer by Playground Games. It takes place in Australia and after the trailer, some debut gameplay footage was shown with some people using controllers and keyboards. The game features a 4-player co-op campaign and like Gears of War 4 is part of the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative. So, if you buy it on either Xbox One or Windows 10, then you can play it on the platform at no additional cost. The game is out 27th September 2016 and is now available for pre-order. Dropping the cash early means you will be able to start playing it on 23rd September 2016 and will be handed a Car Pass, VIP Membership and more.
- Next was Recore, the Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive from Keiji Inafune and Armature Studio LLC, was shown on stage. In the action-adventure game, players take on the role of Joule, who is one of the last remaining humans. They will “forge friendships” with robot companions and participate in adventures throughout the mysterious, dynamic world. Recore will be made available worldwide as an Xbox Play Anywhere title starting 13th September 2016.
- Square Enix’s Hajime Tabata was next to talk about Final Fantasy XV, the game upon which Square Enix has spent all of the money in the world. The E3 demo showed the characters in the game fighting a massive boss/titan battle scene. It’s out on 30th September 2016 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
- If the hours of Battlefield 1 footage that EA streamed last night was not enough for you, you’re in luck! Patrick Bach from DICE was next to talk about it some more. Xbox players who are EA Access members will get early access to the game on 13th October 2016. There was a re-run of yesterday’s trailer.
- This was followed by the first look at The Division: Underground DLC Pack which is out on 28th June 2016 for Xbox One and PC, and then on 2nd August 2016 on PS4. It is the first of three expansions for The Division, and takes players underneath New York City, where they will explore urban dungeons across a series of randomly-generated missions.
- Xbox’s Mike Ybarra announced that Xbox Live is improving its network with new servers, and some people in the audience gamely clapped for that.
- Clubs are coming to Xbox Live, allowing users to create communities. The much requested background music option is also on the way along with new language support, Cortana, LFG and Arena features too. Arena is a tournament platform in which players can sign up compete in games.
- Looking for Group: Like a “want ad” for multiplayer, Looking for Group on Xbox Live is the easiest way to seek out players who are available – and qualified – to jump into your multiplayer match right now.
- Arena: A new online tournaments platform designed for everyone, from novice to aspiring pro, Arena on Xbox Live brings competitive gaming to Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. Sign up for tournaments directly through the Xbox UI or the Xbox app and play for prizes and bragging rights.
- Cross-play: Gamers on Xbox One and Windows 10 can now play select multiplayer games together. “Gears of War 4,” “Forza Horizon 3,” “Sea of Thieves” and “Scalebound” all support cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and now “Minecraft” players on iOS, Android, Windows 10 phone and Windows 10 devices can all join together in cross-device multiplayer fun.
- Cortana: The popular digital assistant Cortana is coming to Xbox One, featuring familiar voice commands available on Windows 10 devices and new gaming-specific scenarios for Xbox One. Cortana will initially launch on Xbox One in the U.S. and U.K. with additional markets coming soon after.
- PC games (Win32) in Xbox Live: With the Xbox update coming this summer you’ll see the top PC games on Xbox Live, with more added every month. Use the Xbox app to see what PC games your friends are playing, view game clips and upload your own, and message and voice chat with friends across games.
- Language Region Independence: Based on overwhelming fan feedback, we’re enabling Language Region Independence to give gamers even more control over their Xbox experience and how they engage with their Xbox One. Language Region Independence gives gamers the freedom to choose any supported language on Xbox One, regardless of their location.
- Minecraft players can now play together on PC, console and through mobile. This is a friendly update, according to the company. The cross-device multiplayer between iOS, Android, Samsung Gear VR and Windows 10 devices, was made possible through the Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition beta and Minecraft: Pocket Edition. With Xbox Live and the the realms service, Windows 10 and mobile Minecraft players can host their own multiplayer worlds on private, cloud-based servers and play with friends even when the original world creator is offline. Starting today, players with Xbox Live accounts can try Minecraft Realms on mobile and Windows 10 free for one month through the Minecraft App The team also announced new game add-ons coming this fall such as texture packs, and the ability to create maps and minigames. Minecraft was also demoed with Gear VR, with John Carmack showing it off.
- Xbox LIVE Users can now order customised Xbox controllers from the Xbox Design Lab. There will be over 8 million color variations. Users can customize the controller body, D-pad, thumbsticks, ABXY buttons and more. Each controller is handmade to order and shipped directly to fans. Xbox Design Lab is open for orders now in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico for $79.99 through the Xbox One Design Lab website. Laser engraving is also available for an additional $9.99.
- Next was Inside, the long-awaited new game from Playdead, developers of LIMBO, and it is now available for pre-order. We’ve seen so little of the adventure puzzler thus far that any new informtion is very exciting. Unfortunately we didn’t actually get any new details on the game, but we did get a release date of 29th June 2016. To celebrate, LIMBO was made available for free to all Xbox One players from 13th to 20th June 2016.
- A selection of Indie Games presented in a showreel included Cuphead, Outlast, Deliver Us The Moon, Flint Hook, FAR, Slime Rancher, Shadow Tactics, Figment, The Culling, For The King, Racon, Stardew Valley, Hand of Fate 2, Below, Bloodstained, Everspace, and Yooka Laylee, which is a hot favourite of mine nd releases in Q1 2017.
- After going dark for a while, Compulsion Games finally brought We Happy Few back into the spotlight. The game is coming first to Windows 10 and Xbox One this summer. The game takes place in a dystopian, mod 1964 England that lost World War 2, and the citizens of Wellington Wells are taking a happy drug called “Joy.” We Happy Few was also finally announced to release on 26th July 2016 via the Xbox Game Preview. This is the Xbox One version of Early Access which will soon feature The Culling, DayZ and others.
- CD Projekt Red came on stage next to announce Gwent as a standalone multiplayer title. It is also said to be coming to PC and PlayStation 4. The popular mini-game in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will support multiplayer with your friends, and will include updated mechanics, new visuals, and even a single-player campaign. A closed beta on Xbox One will go live on 26th September 2016.
- Tekken 7 is coming to Xbox One, and a very dramatic trailer for the fighter was shown. It features a story mode which transitions from cinematics to gameplay seemly. It is slated for release in 2017. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is being handed out for free to all Xbox Live users free with backward compatibility.
- Screenshots for Capcom’s Dead Rising 4 leaked earlier, so it wasn’t a surprise announcement. There was a rather fun trailer shown for it though, along with the announcement that it’s scheduled to be released worldwide on 6th December 2016 for Xbox One and Window 10 via cross-buy. Developed by Capcom Vancouver, Frank West returns in this entry, which features an “unmatched level of weapon and character customization,” along with new features including new zombie classes and EXO Suits.
- Platinum Games’ Hideki Kamiya came on stage next to give everyone a look at Scalebound, which features the “biggest boss fight ever made.” The Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive allows players to customize the game hero Drew and their dragon, Thuban, to suit their playstyle. Battle legions of soldiers and massive monsters solo or cooperatively with up to three additional friends on Xbox Live. Scalebound will also be an Xbox Play Anywhere title on Xbox One and Windows 10 and will release in 2017.
- Sea of Thieves, the upcoming pirate game from Conker’s Bad Fur Day developer Rare was shown. It is coming to Windows 10 alongside Xbox One in 2017 and is an immersive, shared world adventure game. It features pirates along with “unexpected dangers” and loot for the taking. Players can “be the pirates they want to be,” share adventures with friends, and set their own rules, roles and goals. The game will evolve over time and will grow based on feedback from the community. The gameplay shown featured a bunch of Rare fans trying to sail a pirate ship together whilst getting drunk on rum, and there was even a ship battle at sea when another crew turns up.
- An announcement trailer for State of Decay 2 was shown, along with the news that it’s an Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive. The next installment in the franchise features an all-new multiplayer zombie survival experience, where players will work together to build communities. Choices made will shape the interconnected world and form a unique experience every time. State of Decay will be made available worldwide as an Xbox Play Anywhere title in 2017.
- News on the upcoming beta for Halo Wars 2 may have slipped out early, but that didn’t put a damper on the excitement shown by the audience at Microsoft’s show today. Announced for release on 21st February 2017 for Xbox One and Windows 10, players can get their hands on the game now through the week-long beta which kicks off today. Halo Wars 2 was the best-selling real-time strategy of all time for consoles, and is in development with 343 Industries and Creative Assembly.
- The news we were all waiting for: Project Scorpio was officially announced through a a video featuring developes such as Bethesda’s Todd Howard discussing the console. Xbox One – Project Scorpio will feature 6 teraflops, the most powerful GPU in a console ever with right cores. It along with Xbox One S and the original Xbox One will support all games and accessories. “No one gets left behind,” Phil Spencer stressed. Xbox One, Project Scorpio is out in 2017.
PC Gaming Show E3 2016 Press Conference – 2.5 “Poor“
- Last year was PC Gamer’s first go at making an E3 conference just about PC gaming. It was nice and relaxed affair but it went on and on with little news announced. This year it still went on, the show was longer than any of the other shows so far, and it was jammed full of trailers.
- Last year’s host Sean ‘Day’ Plott was back and his first guests were from Relic to show off footage of Dawn of War 3. It’s too short a video to get a sense of the RTS, but it did show off both squad management and base building, which means the developers are drawing in elements of the first and second game. The second Dawn of War stripped out base building entirely, focussing on small squads of soldiers and made for a very different style of RTS.
- Klei, makers of Don’t Starve and Mark of the Ninja announced Oxygen Not Included in what must be one of the shortest trailers ever seen: There aren’t many details about Oxygen Not Included besides that it sees you managing a colony built inside of an asteroid. Besides learning that it would be a side-on colony simulator we know nothing at all about it. But it’s Klei so it will probably be brilliant.
- Wildcard the makers of Ark: Survival Evolved took to the stage to show off some footage of the dinosaur survival game’s new Redwood area.
- The highlight so far had to be the trailer for Giant Cop, a VR game that puts you in the massive shoes of a King Kong-sized police officer who has to stomp around a city putting criminals in their place.
- Next, a nice man from TaleWorld’s Entertainment came on stage to show off Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord’s siege. The sprawling open world sandbox RPG has had sieges since the first game but they quickly became repetitive. In Bannerlord it looks like the variety of castles has been greatly extended, meaning battles will remain fresh.
- Tripwire announced that, as well as working on Killing Floor 2 in Steam Early Access, it is making a Killing Floor game to be used with Oculus Touch. It’s called Killing Floor: Incursion and looks like it may make you brown your trousers.
- This was quickly followed by a trailer for SUPERHOT VR. It looks, well, super hot. SUPERHOT could work extremely well in VR, especially if it makes use of HTC Vive’s motion tracking.
- Obsidian showed off a trailer for its new RPG: Tyranny. It was known that this game was in the works with Paradox publishing it, and that it was separate from Pillars of Eternity. Tyranny has Obsidian diving into the ideas of good vs evil, not a new theme for games, but, in this case, evil has already won and you fought in its army. Your job is to rebuild society after the war has ended.
- Tyranny was swiftly followed by a trailer for Observer, a creepy looking cyberpunk horror game that sees you hopping into the dreams and nightmares of the citizens in a future world.
- Next we’re onto Bohemia who is announcing the release date for Apex, Arma 3’s next expansion, as 11th July 2016. The expansion adds a new 100km map, new weapons, and new vehicles.
- Turing Test was next. It’s heavily inspired by Talos Principle and Portal. It looks like a good deal of fun, if a little generic.
- Overland is a game I’ve heard a bit about and now a new trailer shows it in motion.
- The next trailer shows why you don’t show off your alpha footage before you’re ready for release. Dual Universe is clearly inspired by No Man’s Sky and looks like it may be able to beat Hello Games to release, especially as the developer is looking to release the game in Early Access. As well as No Man’s Sky, there’s a strong flavour of Space Engineers about Dual Universe. Lots of crafting and customisation. Like Ark: Survival Evolved and other survival games, I can see this sucking in a lot of people.
- And that’s all we’ve got time for. It was essentially a trailer reel for more than an hour and a half.
Ubisoft’s E3 2016 Press Conference – 4.5 “Great“
- The Ubisoft press conference kicked off with some folks and furries dancing to Queen with clips from Just Dance 2017 playing on-screen. Host Aisha Tyler then stepped on stage after the dancers were through cutting a rug to announce that the latest iteration of the game would feature the first streaming system. It will be made available on all platforms this fall, including PC and will arrive on Nintendo NX next year. But you want to hear about the big games, right? Well, read onward.
- The first trailer of the night is for Ghost Recon: Wildlands, the game that closed last year’s show. The cinematic shows the spread of cocaine across Bolivia and Ghost Recon’s role in hunting down the gangs that are producing the drug and shipping them around the world. The game focuses on the Mexican Cartel taking over the cocaine industry in Bolivia. The cartel has taken over the cocoa leaf business in the regions and has the government in its pocket. It’s the first military shooter in the series with an open-world playable in both solo and 4-player co-op. The open world will have various ecosystems that will affect gameplay – all with freedom of choice to achieve objectives the way the player wants. The trailer is gorgeous but the real substance came in the in-game footage. Unlike Rainbow Six Siege, where teams must work together in small spaces and tight corridors, Wildlands has your squad work in tandem over much larger areas. You need to separate and take out clusters of enemies in different parts of a level simultaneously. The gameplay mechanics, from the camera, to the marking system and more, look inspired by Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The game releases on 7th March 2017 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
- Next, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, came on stage to talk about South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and where as the Stick of Truth was a fantasy setting, now the kids are playing as their alter-ego superheroes. So expect the Coon, Captain Chaos, Mysterion, The Human Kite, Toolshed and more. As the new kid, the player will come up with their own superhero in order to become part of the Coon & Friends group. Players can mix and match powers, and will be able to define the character with “crime fighting motivations.” Some of the missions include zany adventures such as helping the Gay Fish’s (Kanye West) mother get to heaven. The combat has been tweaked. Players can now move to get behind cover, push and pull enemies, and the space is no longer restricted. Powers can be used to get over obstacles and players can even manipulate space and time using the power of flatulence. The cinematic trailer at the end is the funniest part, as the game pokes fun at Marvel, DC Comics, JJ Abrams, and more. Those who pre-order the game will be handed The Stick of Truth free on Steam, PS4 and Xbon One when they pre-order. They can do so from today, and start playing The Stick of Truth right away. The game releases on 6th December 2016 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
- A dangerous threat is running around unchecked in the New York City underground. You must put an end to it. While we heard more on the The Division’s Underground DLC Pack during the Microsoft E3 2016 press conference, Ubisoft showed the video once more during its showcase. The first of The Division’s three paid expansions, Underground, will be available on 28th June 2016 exclusively on Xbox One and PC. The new content will also be available on PS4 on 2nd August 2016. As with the free Incursions and Conflict updates, Underground brings a host of new features and loot to collect as player navigate the subways, tunnels, and sewers generated with random layouts. Additionally, Underground features a new Incursion called Dragon’s Nest, which will be bigger than those found in the previous updates. Set in Hell’s Kitchen, it features the Cleaners as a primary enemy as they continue their haphazard and dangerous attempts to burn the virus out of New York City. Also, free outfits are coming with The Division Underground if you are a UbiClub member. As you can see in the image above, the clothing is based on other Tom Clancy shooters Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Rainbow Six: Siege and Splinter Cell. The main focus for Ubisoft with The Division during its presenattion was the Survival DLC content. It is coming first to PC and Xbox One, and then later to PS4. It features a city accosted by a blizzard, and it will be released this summer.
- Palmer Luckey, creator of the Oculus Rift VR headset, and Jason Holtman came on stage to discuss the Oculus Rift title. Two teams of three will go against one another in the VR competeive mode. It’s a capture the flag mode with a best of three rule. It takes place over Paris. Players will try to grab the “prey” and take it back to their nest.
- Another video for the VR title was shown, and featured Star Trek actors such as Karl Urban from Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and Star Trek Beyond (2016), Jeri Ryan from Star Trek: Voyager and LeVar Burton from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Players can play in co-op as captain and other members of the crew on the USS Aegis as it searches for a new Vulcan homeworld. Players will need to work together with up to four players as a team to keep the ship running smoothly as they take on missions and come face -to-face with the Klingon Empire. Alternatively, players can also experience the game solo with AI crew members. It features full-body avatars, hand tracking, and real-time lip-sync. Star Trek: Bridge Crew is coming this fall for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR.
- For Honor was next and it received two rather awesome videos. One cinematic, which focused on the history of the fractured world the game sits in, and you get to play as either Vikings, Samurai’s or Knights, and one featuring the Vikings faction. Jason Vandenberghe, one of the most fearsome men in game development, strided out onto the stage, growled “Desperation drives us to war!” and announced that the game would feature a full story-based campaign that can be played solo or with two players in either split-screen or online. This campaign will go into more depth on the three warrior factions, Samurai’s Vikings and Knights, as well as the evil leader of the Blackstone Legions, named Apollyon. An Alpha test will be held, and you can register for the tester through the official website. There will be Deluxe and Gold Editions made available, with the latter coming with exclusive gear, customization items, a special execution effect, and boosters. The Gold Edition includes all of the Deluxe Edition items and the For Honor Season Pass. If you pre-order For Honor, you’ll also get access to the Legacy Battle Pack, which includes three exclusive armor designs wearable by Warden, Raider, and Kensei. It’s out on 14th February 2017 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
- BUD is back with a new adventure in Grow Up, the open-world sequel to Grow Home. Where the original saw the little robot growing a large beanstalk-like Star Plant, this time out he is tasked with “acrobatically bounding around a lush world” looking for scattered pieces of his spacecraft, MOM. This time, he has new abilities such as Floradex, which enables him to clone any of Grow Up’s 24 plant species. These can then be used to bounce, catapult, and soar through the landscape in order to discover its secrets. With the help of his friend POD, BUD will be able to tackle the game’s missions or leisurly explore and reshaping the world. Eventually, he’ll need to find a way to grow the planet’s gigantic Star Plants, so he can climb into space, and reach the distant moon for a reunion with the final piece of MOM. Grow Up will be made available for download on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in August 2016.
- If you like Trials, and Far Cry: Blood Dragon, they got together and made a baby called Trials of the Blood Dragon. Trials of the Blood Dragon is available right now on Steam, PS4 and Xbox One for $14.99. It was released mere moments after Ubisoft’s E3 2016 showcase. The mash-up combines Trials gameplay with the style and attitude of Blood Dragon. Take control of Rex Power Colt’s “cyber-commando kids” as they drive, shoot, swing, tame and travel through different environments. Expect also hot competition with Ghost mode, Global Score and Leaderboards. The game features 30 missions across seven different worlds, with fully animated cut scenes, and a self-contained story set 12 years after the events of Far Cry Blood Dragon.
- Producer Frank Marshall came on and discussed the Assassin’s Creed movie, and showed a behind-the-scenes look at the actors, such as Michael Fassbender, discussing the storyline. It also showed never-before-seen clips from the film. It looked pretty cool, honestly. Let’s hope it is. It’s out in Theaters on 21st December 2016.
- Now it’s onto the big new game of the night, which is Watch Dogs 2. The game is looking gorgeous, with a much more interesting lead character than Aiden Pierce (he was a prick, let’s be honest). We got an eleven 11 gameplay demo showing off the open-world setting of San Francisco, showing Marcus Holloway and his Dedsec allies infiltrate the home of a social media mogul. In this mission, Dedsec is looking to expose the CEO of popular social media platform, !NViTE, who is using the citizens’ personal data to engineer a corrupt voting process. The game tasks players with finding their own missions through exploration and then tracking them through the phone’s DedSec app. The anomalies that lead to missions are “represented by orange blooms” which can be seen while in Nethack mode. Think of it as something similar to night vision, only hacker vision which reveals hackable points of interest and electronic signals. It’s out on 15th November 2016 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. On top of that, all DLC for Watch Dogs 2 will be released 30 days early on PS4 before Xbox One and PC.
- Oh, also, after the demo was finished, Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, announced the continued relationship with Sony on the sequel. Sony’s Jim Ryan took the stage to announced the two are working on a Watch Dogs film. We knew a film was in the works, but now we know for sure the picture company will also be working with and 20th Century Fox on the distribution. It was previously reported Recency pictures would handle the production. We know the partnership will involve Ubisoft Motion Pictures and Sony Motion Pictures. Unfortunately, no release dates for the movie were announced.
- The final reveal of the night was a whole new IP. It’s an open world, extreme action, sports game called Steep from Ubisoft Annecy. It mixes base jumping, skiing, snow boarding, and open-world exploration together in a big winter sports bundle. It features extreme winter sports such as skiing down treacherous mountains, gliding around in a wingsuit, snowboarding and parasailing through the Alps. Players will find various drop zones across the map and reaching them will award medals. And yes. You can hit the side of a mountain and bounce off of it like a child’s rubber ball. It features online competitive play, and players will encounter others in the community while playing. Other players can be followed, the camera can be used in slow-mo, and videos can be taken in-game and shared. Replays can be edited with different camera angles, speeds, and pacing to give them extra pop. The game also features live riding quests scattered across the world, which will encourage players to go to different parts of the mountain. A beta is in the plan, and Steep is scheduled for release in December 2016 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. Steep’s development team has confirmed that it will support VR and that open-world slopes based on the mountains of Alaska will be available as a post-launch, free update.
- To close the show, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemont brings all the developers on stage to celebrate, because this year marks the publisher’s 30th anniversary. Good going, Ubisoft.
Sony’s E3 2016 Press Conference – 5.0 “Excellent“
- There is, for some reason, an orchestra front-of-stage, replete with choral accompaniment. A woman beats a shield and makes guttural noises into a microphone. I didn’t actually know what this music is from, but it sounded like it was from God of War. The dramatic musical interlude from a live orchestra was an extremely classy way of saying “oh boy, you won’t believe how much money is riding on this next project”.
- When the curtains parted on a gameplay demo for the new God of War, which is just called God of War, we were not especially surprised. Turns out Kratos has settled down a bit since we last caught up with him, and has some sort of young kid. The pair of them went hunting. Dads and AI companions and kids seems to be a pretty lasting trend. Next a bunch of glowing-eyed baddies ambushed Kratos. After a bit of melee with an axe, Kratos confronted one in close quarters combat in what looked like a lengthy kill animation. Shortly thereafter the pair ran into some sort of troll or ogre – I suspect troll because it mentioned Valhalla. Looks like those Norse mythology rumours were right. Certainly explains the snowy setting. Kratos used a Spartan rage attack in the ensuing battle, kicking off a brutal kill animation which ended in a cutscene. There were no QTE prompts on screen during any of this, which was interesting. Father and Son then continued their merry jaunt through the forest as if attacks by all sorts of horrid beasties were just everyday occurrences, which is very true in video game land. There were several touching teaching moments and those of us whose hearts are not filled with ash probably had thoughts about the precious nature of human existence especially as regards those parts of it not old enough to drive yet. Then there was a dragon, and the title reveal. It’s not God of War 4, it’s God of War, and a “new beginning”. The reveal video, which is a cross between cutscenes and gameplay is ten minutes long. Evidently the orchestra was playing all of that live, according to people in the room.
- Here’s what Bend Studio has been up to since the relese of Uncharted: Golden Abyss on PS Vita in 2012. It’s a post-apocalyptic, open world, action-adventure, third-person view game called “Days Gone” on PS4. It has players in the role of a drifter with a motorcycle who misses his (dead?) lady friend very much. We didn’t learn anything else about it. More details coming later on in the show.
- Next up is The Last Guardian. We see another cat-bird-thing for the first time and unfortunately it does not look friendly. And the good news is that Team Ico’s game will be released on 25th October 2016 for PS4. FINALLY!!!
- Next we got a lengthy demo for Horizon: Zero Dawn, which we know is due in 2017. We saw our hero take down some robot dinosaurs and speak with a very fightened NPC, and got a look at the game’s menus including crafting and the map. On the map, you’re able to seek out specific game – if you’re looking for a mount, say. We saw a bison-like creature called a Broadhead tracked and captured in this way. After a scenic gallop past a river, our hero arrived at a village which came under attack by a mysterious enemy. Bringing up an overlay revealed the creature’s vulnerability to fire. The weapon wheel was in frequent use to switch between various abilities. The battle took place on the skirts of the village, with soem strcutures being destoryed, before our hero (whose name I totally remember but not quite at this moment) even climbed back onto her Broadhead to shoot from its back. Switching to a crossbow-like weapon, our hero was able to tether the boss to the ground and finish it off.
- A new trailer for Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human was shown which seems to be all about an Android called Connor. What happened to Kara? Anyway it showed off some sort of police procedural affair leading up to a hostage negotiation situation, which the implication that things can go differently depending on what you do and the choices you make. The android protagonist is called Connor and he dwells so deep in the uncanny valley spelunkers are required to deliver his mail. It’s heavily inspired by Heavy Rain, but has no release date.
- A horror game from Capcom is up next, which opened with the words “Full PS VR experience” and then “before Kitchen” – a reference to the notoriously terrifying virtual reality demo from E3 2015. It looks very intense and looks hugely inspired by P.T. (Silent Hills), which Konami cancelled in 2015. Surprise: it’s Resident Evil VII. A demo of the game is now on the PlayStation Store now and the full game will be released on 24th January 2017 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. The whole game can be played from start to finish in PlayStation VR as well.
- Some chat about PlayStation VR now, which Sony America’s Shawn Layden reckons is a landmark moment for VR. More than 50 games will be available for it by the end of the year (it’s out in North America on 13th October 2016 for $399). We’re going to see a few of them.
- The first VR game looks pretty impressive visually. It’s Farpoint from Impulse Gear for PS4, in which you explore alien planets. It looks kind of like a first person version of Dead Space, Halo and Mass Effect combined for PlayStation VR.
- Then there’s Star Wars: Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission, which is being developed by Criterion and DICE, but carries no release date and will be playable on PlayStation VR.
- The third VR game is Batman Arkham VR, which is being developed by Rocksteady, and came as a genuine surprise. It is out in October 2016 and is exclusive to PlayStation VR.
- Another showing from Final Fantasy XV after its Xbox conference appearance. This trailer is considerably sillier and more energetic, with fighting, Chocobo riding and strutting in equal measure. Final Fantasy XV Will Support PlayStation VR, where you’ll play as Prompto, as he’s the only one who uses a gun. but it’s not quite clear how it fits into Final Fantasy XV itself, but the game itself is out on 30th September 2016 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
- Next is Call of Duty Infinite Warfare. It looks a lot like EVE Valkyrie, but more polished. The gameplay demo showed walking on a spacehip bridge, the spaceships hangar deck, flying a starfighter out of that ship, dog fighting in space, jumping out of the starfighter and onto an enemy spaceship where you can shoot people. You can also board the enemy ship, kill the crew and abandon ship before blowing it up, all while in low-gravity. The game will be out on 4th November 2016 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
- It was followed by a very quick look at the remastered version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which is exclusive to pre-orders of Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, and will be released on 4th November 2016 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. Apparantly, the campaign mode will be playable 30 days early on PlayStation 4 – assuming you pre-order the appropriate edition.
- Sony has done a piece of wizard licensing somehow and rescued Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot from Activision. We’re getting Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2 and Crash Bandicoot Warped fully remastered from the ground up for PS4 – but not before Crash himself appears in Skylanders: Imaginators in October 2016. That must have been a good time for both companies’ lawyers.
- Next up was LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a cute new trailer. On top of that, the live orchestra is still accompanying all of this. The trailer looked awesome and was funny as hell. Anyway, there’s a demo available right now on the PlayStation store, and the game’s out in two weeks on 28th June 2016 for PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Windows PC.
- Andrew House then came on stage to welcome Hideo Kojima, who hysterically appears with all the fanfare of a late-stage X-Factor contestant, flashing lights and all. After seeing that, I’m sure everyone in the auditorium needed a change of underwear, as Hideo Kojima’s enterance was one of the most fervently worshipful intros Sony has ever coordinated. So glad to have him back though. He just said “Hello. Hello everyone. I’m Back”, which caused the audience to go into overload. From there, he introduced a cinematic, for the new Kojima Productions game, which he said was running in real time, and might as well be called A Giant F**k You to Konami. There is a naked man, with electronic handcuffs, and a baby, with a rope connecting it to the naked man. The naked man is Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead and P.T. fame! He is crying, and now the baby has turned to sludge. Now there are dead whales and fish on the beach and five figures floating in the sky. I have no idea at this point. It’s called Death Stranding, but has no release date. We do know that it’ll be a console exclusive to PS4 as Sony confirmed its PS4 development after the show, so it’s not just a tech demo movie or whatever. Also, it won’t be released on Xbox One, but it will be released on PC via Steam sometime after its PS4 release, but we don’t know how long that PS4 exclusivity will last for.
- Next up, it was revealed that Insomniac Games is making a new Spider-Man! This was rumoured, but given that Activision has always had the Spider-Man license… oh man, this could be great. And it’s a PS4 exclusive, but no release date was revealed. I’m suspecting 2017 alongside the release of the movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming. Activision and Sony’s love-in has really borne fruit, hasn’t it? They’ve got Destiny and Call of Duty sweetheart deals, and they’ve managed to untangle the painful mess that is the Spider-Man and Crash Bandicoot rights.
- Finally, here’s a long gameplay demo for “Days Gone”, which was revealed earlier. It is an open world, action-adventure, third-person view game, that is not about Zombies, even though they attack the player in a hoard just like in the movie, World War Z. The game takes place two years after a global pandemic occurred which killed almost all of humanity, but transformed millions of others into “Freakers”, mindless creatures that are quickly evolving. In this gameplay demo, two types of “Freakers” were revealed, Newts and Hordes. As the game is set in an open world, players are allowed to use multiple ways to complete objectives, such as utilizing stealth and taking the aggressive approach. Players can also craft new items to improve combat efficiency, such as using the Oil Filter from an abandoned truck to make a custom Suppressor.
- And we’re done! We saw lots of new games, some promising VR, and the conspicuous absence of its recently-confirmed more powerful PS4 model, codnamed Neo.
My Overall Score: 22.5/30
75 % = B
My Final Verdict –Part 1– E3 2016 was a great experience again, just like every other year, but with the conferences being split over two days again this year, it’s like the E3 days of old. When it comes to the conferences themselves, all of them were enjoyable, but Ubisoft’s was the funniest because it was evenly passed and contained tons of humor, and Sony’s was the most heart pounding due to it basically being just continuous trailer and gameplay footage. Unfortunately, while there were some good games at the press conferences for Microsoft, PC Gaming Show, Bethesda and EA, the conferences themselves just didn’t wow me at all.
My Final Verdict –Part 2– There were some great games at E3 2016 that were either fresh announcements or re-announcements of games we already knew about. The games that stood out for me personally were Battlefield 1, DOOM, Quake, The Division, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Watch Dogs 2, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Steep, Detroit: Become Human, Resident Evil VII, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Spider-Man, from Insomniac Games, the creators of the Resistance series, and Days Gone, from Bend Studios, the creators of the Syphon Filter series. Even though I can’t really use VR due to my poor eyesight in my left eye, I really do want to try out Resident Evil 7 on PS4 in VR.
Till The Next Review,