At first I didn’t understand why Nintendo would not have a live press conference at E3. Surely, with sales and games lacking on the Wii:U, the media attention would be a good opportunity to gear up for the holiday season.
After watching their stream, which didn’t work on Nintendo.com, I now understand why they wouldn’t want anyone to see. They don’t have much to show.
I missed the presentation for Pokemon X and Pokemony Y, since I had to go looking elsewhere for a stream that worked. But I did catch Supermario 3D World (above). Another mario game with a cat suit, excited? At least this time they went out of their way to include Princess Peach instead of two toads like the Wii version.
Then there was another rehash, Mario Kart 8. An emphatic apology for not being able to release 1st party games like Wii Party U and Wii Fit U at launch. They’re both delayed until next year because they really wanted to add new features.
Did you know people use MiiVerse to draw more than Penises? So they’re releasing a new installment of Art Academy so you can draw better on your Wii:U.
Then there was a quick 3rd party highlight reel. Assassins Creed, Batman, Batman on DS, a dance game, Deus Ex from ages ago, Splinter Cell, Sonic, Sonic on DS, and Watch Dogs.
Then they showed off an eShop Indie game reel. I would bet everything shown is available on PC.
If re-using old IPs over and over wasn’t bad enough, now they are just remaking old games. Zelda Wind Waker HD is coming to Wii:U. It has a new message in a bottle feature.
Between all the regular characters they did show off two new properties. One called The Wonderful 101 and another just titled “X”, which is a “large scale open world” game.
There’s also a new Donkey Kong called Tropical Freeze, a Bayonetta sequel which features a new haircut and another Super Smash Bros with Megaman.
Pokemon X and Pokemon Y
Super Mario 3D World
Mario Kart 8
Wii Party U
Wii Fit U
Zelda: Wind Waker HD
The Wonderful 101
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Super Smash Bros
In all honesty, this is a pretty pitiful presentation and doesn’t stack up to the hype that surrounds E3. Aside from the new IP X, there isn’t much to get excited about unless Mario Brothers still excites you. It’s not to say that the Wii:U is a bad platform, there are fun family and children games on it. However, if you want mature titles you are buying one of the bigger two coming out this year. If anyone owns a Wii:U, it will be accompanied by an Xbox One or a PS4, but I don’t think there’s enough worthwhile software available after a full year.
Can you “win” E3 with a sentence? How about 3? If there was a PR battle against the two main hardware makers then I think Sony may have a large upper hand at the moment. While Microsoft has been vague about their policies regarding online connectivity and DRM, Sony was very clear.
You can loan, share, sell and trade your disc games. You do not need to verify your discs.
You do not need to be connected to the internet, and you most definitely do not need to phone home every 24 hours. A direct shot across Microsoft’s bow.
The PS4 will cost $399. $100 cheaper than the Xbox One.
There are a few caveats to be noted. They explicitly said “disc games”. If you weren’t paying attention. So there is definitely going to be a distinction between disc games and online games (or downloaded games). at $499, Xbox One comes with the full suite of motion controls with Kinect. Sony did not mention the Move. I’m not a big motion control fan, but there is something simplistic in not fracturing your hardware. If everyone has a Kinect than developers won’t be afraid for experiment with it. The PS4 might just have a separate version with the Move priced the same (or even more expensive). So we have to wait and see.
Sony know’s how to start a show. They literally dropped the bass with a sweet reel of all the upcoming games. Out of all the conferences this one started off with a bit of excitement. And even though it’s about 9:30pm at this point I’m not as tired and faded as I was last year. They begin by talking about how the Vita is not dead and that Vita compatibility is baked into the PS4. New games are coming and they are remastering old games. Also, the PS3 is not dead. They showed off a bunch of other trailers. Oddly, none of these look any different than a PS4 game or Xbone game shown so far.
I want to kick right into some game trailers though. First, is the gameplay of Watch Dogs that was shown later in the show (above). It will be a PS4, PC, and Xbone game. I can’t help but start with this since it’s something I’m looking forward to the most. It’s not specific to any console and I look forward to playing it on my PC.
They showed off some PS3 exclusives that make me wish my PS3 didn’t brick earlier in the year. The showed The Last Of Us which is just around the corner (comes out Friday) and a Gran Turismo game that looks like it could be next gen. Then there was this cute teaser for a game called Rain, of which I know nothing about but it looks interesting. Then there was a trailer for Quantic Dream’s Beyond Two Souls, which looks more fleshed out then last year and actually looks like it could be an exciting game.
Onto the main event, the PS4! Starts off right away with GTA 5 and Batman: Arkham Origins (above) which looks amazing. Then they showed off the device without much fan fair. Which seemed strange. It looks like a modern version of the Xbox One, still a bit of a brick but with slanted edges and a bit smaller. I’m unsure which console design I like more. It seems odd that they both feel a bit “retro” that they are both square.
They then spent just the right amount of time talking about the PS4 as a media center. Yes, it does Netflix and Youtube. Did you expect less? Sony Media will offer a service which will give unlimited Videos and Music at launch, as well as Pay Per View events. Which, honestly, is more appetizing to me as someone who is not a cable subscriber. The old television and cable system is dead. Microsoft is placing too many bets on a dying medium.
After a bit more social media talk, they showed off some more games. A new IP called Order 1886. It kind of just looks like a bad PS3 game. Then we got a flurry of games coming at launch for the PS4. Killzone: Shadow Fall, Drive Club, Infamous: Second Son (which I thought looked good) and Knack. Then we were treated to a tease of the Quantic Dreams tech demo (above).
By the way, did you know Sony loves Indie games? Because they showed off about 10 of them in quick succession. Take that Microsoft! There was Jonathan Blow’s new game The Witness and the new title from the creators of Bastion, Transistor. As well as Octodad? The one thing I noticed at this point is that Sony really has something for everyone, in games. Big AAA titles to weird indie titles. It has the full gaming experience so far. The Xbox One has something for everyone if you’re not a gamer. It has your shooters and football with fantasy league integration and you can watch TV on it.
Remember is 2006 when Assassins Creed debuted at E3? I would have thought the series would have lasted this long. Or that it would still be mildly interesting. After seeing the trailers I was underwhelmed but this gameplay trailer makes me want to play it. I’ve skipped games in this series because they just simply release too many of them. But this might be one I play. I left the video above of the broken gameplay trailer. The game was jittery and ended up crashing.
Lastly they showed off the new co-op shooter by Bungie. Looks like multiplayer will allow people to drop in and out and world events will happen where multiple teams will show up to fight. The persistent online multiplayer world is an interesting concept for consoles. It will just be interesting to see how single player ties into these games. I’m just not a co-op kind of player.
Batman Origins (vita)
Counter Spy (vita)
Doki Doki Universe (vita)
Killzone Mercenary (vita)
The Last Of Us (PS3)
Beyond Two Souls (PS3)
Gran Turismo 6 (PS3)
Batman: Arkham Origins (PS3)
Grand Theft Auto 5 (PS3)
The Order 1886 (PS4 onward)
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Infamous: Second Son
Blizzard games (like diablo)
Final Fantasy Versus (XV?)
Disney Kingdom Hearts III
Assassins Creed Black Flag
2k Sports Basketball
The Elder Scrolls: Online
Overall, I think Sony had a better show. They answered the questions on everyone’s mind without being vague. Online connectivity, DRM, used games. On top of that their price is $100 cheaper. They spent just the right amount of time on the “gravy” (PS4 as a media center) and spent more time on the games. They have a wide range of titles, from Triple A to Indie. It’ll be interesting to see how buyers react in the coming months.
Ubisoft is known for having the most awkward celebrity presenters at E3. Thankfully the only awkwardness tonight is Aisha Tyler’s massive size next to absolutely everyone from Ubisoft… and a couple bad sex jokes… ugh.
I can’t help but just start off with the E3 trailer for Watch Dogs. It’s a really cool trailer but I’m very disappointed that there was no gameplay shown. It sounds like there will be more to show in the coming days at E3, so keep an eye out for it. Still, I would have liked to see it.
We can loop all the way back to the beginning of the presser which opened with Jerry Cantrell showing off the new “session mode” in RockSmith 2014. I have no idea how it works but it’s touted as the “fastest way to learn guitar”. Even if that’s not true, I like the idea of being able to jam along with a full band alone in my apartment.
A random thought, what ever happened to Ubisoft’s Laser Tag game? That came from the year of weird gizmos and gadgets. (Wii pulse monitor anyone?)
I’m just going to leave this here. It’s nice to see South Park: The Stick of Truth still exists after THQ’s demise. Coming this holiday season.
Some of the other things shown didn’t really have much traction with me, but Ubisoft always have some interesting new gameplay ideas. They revealed Rabids Invasion, a new interactive cartoon on TV. Using the Kinect to interact with your TV show, a bunch of kids pointed and screamed at the TV for points during the show. The game isn’t something I want to try but the idea is interesting.
They also showed off a new racing game. Like everyone else during the next generation of console hype. The one thing you can always expect from a new generation in gaming is racing games showing off the tech in the systems. While The Crew doesn’t seem like a fun game (it’s basically GTA but you’re locked into cars), but it introduces a recurring theme of always online persistent worlds for the new consoles. The game has no solo mode, you are always connected to the online world. While it’s an interesting idea, I hate the idea of paying full price to have access to a service. And how will the servers hold up?
Then there’s Assassin’s Creed Pirates of the Caribbean edition. Maybe I’m jaded to the whole franchise at this point but the trailer I saw, while nice, was kind of bland. Like with Watch Dogs, I was expecting to see a bit more gameplay here.
Lastly, they showed off a cool Tom Clancy co-op game. The Division. You can drop in and out of the online world with your friends and control helicopters with your tablet. It looks cool but I find it hard to get excited about co-op games. Trying to find friends to play is not always an option, especially at the launch of a new console. Also, it seems fair to note that none of this is new tech. Left 4 Dead has existed for awhile.
Old Generation Games:
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot
South Park: The Stick of Truth
New Generation Games:
Just Dance 2014
Rabids Invasion (TV/game)
Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag
Tom Clancy’s The Division
Overall Ubisoft has a pretty solid lineup. Featuring games coming soon for our current systems and games coming up at in 2014 for the new consoles. From the “hardcore” to free-to-play to children’s and casual. Even having a good mix of sequels and new property, they showed it all. While I might be bored with Assassins Creed, it will sell. Plus, it still looks good. I didn’t even mention Splinter Cell above, a game I look forward to checking out, simply because I didn’t like the trailer. Ubi is usually pretty good with trailers but they dropped the ball with that one. A lot to look forward too in the coming months.
Let’s talk about the upcoming games from the two big publishers at E3. Starting with Electronic Arts who dropped the bass hard with some of the only gratuitous dubstep I’ve heard so far. (As opposed to last years wubs all over).
I’m not sure if EA had any big surprises this year. They showed another clip of Titanfall, which at first didn’t thrill me, but now it’s starting to look a bit interesting (trailer above). Always nice to see some (kind of) fresh ideas.
EA introduced their new sports engine called Ignite. There was no Hockey title shown so my interest was mild at best. Madden looked great. It was hard for me to discern any difference from Fifa ’14. I would guess the most interesting new feature would be for Basketball fans, as EA is introducing ball physics to NBA Live ’14. I know that might sound a bit dumb but it actually makes sense that the engine manages a very integral part of basketball. Dana White then showed up to say a few things about fighting but unlike what he might think, not everyone is interested in fighting as a sport.
EA teased a new Star Wars Battlefront (top above). It seems like they are scrapping the titles that we actively being developed at Lucas Arts since that was all they had to show. They also teased a new Mirror’s Edge. I really didn’t enjoy the first one but it seems like a lot of people did. It is coming… “When it’s ready”.
The one game that surprisingly caught my interest was the Battlefield 4, 64 player demo. It just looks really cool (especially that falling building at the end). Two things to notice that will be a trend in the next gen multiplayer area. The ability to drop in and out of play and playing with a tablet. To what extent you can use your tablet for gameplay hasn’t been discussed but it’s a theme running in most of the demos today. It’s there but they just aren’t really mentioning it.
All the games mentioned were:
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare
Star Wars: Battlefront
Need for Speed Rivals
Dragon Age: Inquisition
NBA Live ’14
EA had a pretty decent show. There’s a lot above that I did not mention. Plants vs Zombies looked like fun but it reveals some of the plans to push Xbox One. It’s coming first to Xbone then later to the 360. They showed off a persistent online experience in Need for Speed, which exists in the cloud (always on, again). A Need for Speed movie and Dragon’s Age. It’s a pretty decent lineup but nothing that is going to rock your world and definitely no next gen must haves unless you’re a big Fifa or Madden fan.
Microsoft did not lie when they said E3 would be all about the games. Showing off, by my count, 21 titles including 9 exclusives. They also revealed a new Xbox 360, a few social features for Xbox Live and Xbox One sale date and price.
The show started off with a great teaser trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The trailer is above. Using a horse for stealth might become the new hiding in a box meme. It’s Metal Gear Solid meets Red Dead Redemption. Bad jokes aside, it looks cool.
From there we go on to discuss the new look for the Xbox 360 (picture) and the exit strategy for Gold members. Basically, two free games every month up until the release of the Xbone. Games which, you cannot transfer to the new console of course. They showed three upcoming games for the 360 with 100′s more to be released. So your 360 is not dead in the water. The games were World of Tanks, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Dark Souls II.
Moving onto Xbox One games. A few things to mention from this section. The most interesting game featured was Remedy’s Quantum Break, the ultimate Remedy experience (video above). I also enjoyed the teaser for Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive (below), but I’ll reserve judgement until I see gameplay. The first mention of “open world” and “the cloud” was for Sunset Overdrive, and it carried into Forza 5. That dirty word. Microsoft yet again failed to address the concerns about needing an active internet connection.
They continued to talk about how much they love Indie developers by showing Minecraft. The only other interesting trailer that was teased was D4 (above). I unfortunately fell asleep during Dead Rising, The Witcher 3 and Battlefield 4. All fine games I’m sure but not at all interesting to me. Ohh ya and a new Halo.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Xbox 360- World of Tanks
Xbox 360- Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
Xbox 360- Dark Souls II
Ryse: Son of Rome
Forza Motorsport 5
Dead Rising 3
The Witcher 3
What Lies Below
Black Tusk Studio Project (Not titled)
Xbox One will be available in November 2014 at a price of $499 USD. Which is not a horrible price point. However, I’m still not sold. The games shown weren’t awe inspiring and I’m curious to see how many “exclusives” end up being exclusive to both Xbox One and PC. For 500 bills you can give your PC a good update. On top of that, there are still a lot of questions involving DRM, loans and rentals and how connected Xbox One needs to be for you to play. Not to mention all the privacy concerns of the always watching and listening Telescreen, err, umm, I mean Kinect. These are all really good questions and Microsoft continues to avoid concise answers. It’s all part of the PR plan to deliver the bad news.
But they did show games today. Which is a step in the right direction.