E3 2015 – The Good, The Bad and The Surprising
After our series of E3 predictions articles we thought it would be good to get our writers back together to get their thoughts on E3 2015. What did they like? What did they dislike? What surprised them? Read on to find out.
Stephen del Prado
I’m being torn in a number of ways on this one, but I have to give it to Shenmue 3. Blame the Dreamcast fanboy inside of me, but I absolutely adored both Shemue titles, even more so after having visited Japan. I’ll readily admit Sony has been a bit of a heel with waiting until the Kickstarter took off before getting fully on board, but for $29 I can (hopefully) catch up with Ryo. Fun fact: I was younger than Ryo when playing Shenmue 2 and will now be older than him when playing 3. Weird!
Perhaps my biggest annoyance at E3 this year was the fact that Sony continues to pretend the Vita doesn’t exist. At this point, it’s basically on life support from niche publishers and eastern devs. This doesn’t bode well for the future of the system itself or even Sony continuing in the handheld market.
Two Words, One Number – Final Fantasy 7. This game is so many firsts for me – the first JRPG I played, the first PlayStation game I bought (on the first console I bought myself no less) and the first game I put over 100 hours into. But at the same time, now that the CG trailer is over and the lights have come back up, I’ve had a chance to think about it.
And, if I’m being brutally honest with myself – I don’t really want it. Before you grab a pitchfork, I don’t begrudge others for desiring to have a souped up version of the Materia system, or breeding a Golden Chocobo in 60FPS, but I know this game inside and out. Everything about it – the chunky graphics, the sometimes off translations, the PSX era soundtrack, the cheesy mini-games – that’s what Final Fantasy 7 is to me, and I don’t want to tarnish that. If I have one wish for the remake, it’s this – please don’t let Nomura do any character redesigns.
My favourite moment lies stretched and strewn between Fallout 4, Just Cause 3 and No Man’s Sky gameplay videos. The depth and scope of Fallout 4, the explosive madness of Just Cause 3 and the unfathomable size and direction of No Man’s Sky appeals to the very core of what I look for in games, and I couldn’t be more hyped. The end of 2015 is going to be great!
Arguably, Nintendo’s Direct was the most disappointing with the absence of the much anticipated Zelda Wii U title, or any other title with a significant ‘WOW’ factor. I personally liked the look of Metroid Prime: Federation Force and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, and although I’m very much looking forward to StarFox Zero, I felt it looked visually bland, at least from a distance.
Sony’s conference is basically one massive ‘What the hell’ moment. Having not owned a Sony console since the PS1, the excitement of The Last Guardian admittedly passed over me, but the impact FF7 had on me as a young lad had me holding my head in disbelief at the announcement of it’s HD remake, despite us all having an inkling it was happening. A close 2nd place goes to Microsoft for re-introducing backwards compatibility when I was convinced such a feature had been put to pasture long ago.
There were plenty of great moments this E3 (Xbox backwards compatibility, PS4 DLNA streaming, a smorgasbord of wonderful sequels, remakes and new IPs) but I’m going to have to admit my favourite moment was seeing gameplay footage from Uncharted IV. Despite the dissonance between his lovable rogue persona and trigger-happy actions, I’m a Drake fan through and through, and seeing his familiar face among those brand new, beautiful set pieces was the perfect mic drop for what was a brilliant Sony conference.
Just to be different, I decided to go with that one guy who kept cheering really loudly during the cheesiest, goriest parts of the Doom 4 announcement. Don’t take this as a condemnation of violence; the Mortal Kombat x-ray moves may make me cringe but I’m a slasher flick fan of old and I get the enthusiasm for over-the-top (fictional!) carnage. But That One Guy had me raising my eyebrows because he was the only one “woo!”-ing and “yeah!”-ing each time I heard him and it was always at the most unoriginal examples of brutality. Was he just trying to be heard? Was he seated nearer to the mic than everyone else? Or does he just have a very specific fetish for dismemberment? Who knows…
Having given in to the sweet siren call of sleep and missing the Nintendo conference and all the puppety “goodness” it featured, I’m going to have to say the weirdest moment for me was when Aisha Tyler interviewed a cosplayer in the audience during the Ubisoft conference and kept saying “meme”: “You’re sitting here like a human, life-sized meme!”, “We should come up with a meme!”, “You’re going to be a meme now!”. I think it goes without saying that Aisha Tyler is probably the best celebrity host E3 has ever seen, but this was far from her finest moment. Please, Aisha, stop saying meme; you’re giving MGS2 a run for its money.
Through tears of sheer joy the news of Final Fantasy 7 getting a remake instantly turned me into an emotional wreck. Rarely has a game ever made my resistance to faboi-ism inept, when SquareEnix dimmed the lights and teased us with this magnificent trailer, it was like all my dreams had been answered. Sure we have little to no more information other than that it’s been confirmed, but that’s all we need. The path has been shown, the light is at the end of the tunnel, and I’ll gladly walk towards the light!
Really Valve? Nothing? I get it, Valve doesn’t need to really get into the whole hype thing. They’re self sufficient when it comes to funding, they call their own shots but it just seems that every year I grow less and less excited to hear what Gaben has to tell us. The Vive and Steam Machines looked interesting but with barely any follow up I find I’ve moved from despair to annoyed. The next logical step is frustration.
I need to be honest here, I did not expect Microsoft to give me any news to really get excited about (other than Halo 5 that is). And yet with RARE releasing a sensational 30 game bundle, Gears of War remake, Hololens and Oculus support and backwards compatibility … it was like being blinded side across the face from a fist made of sunshine and rainbows. Well played MS, well played.