Post-E3: What are we really wanting from games and their annual events?

It appears that many of us were left disappointed at the unfoldings from this year’s supposed ‘biggest gaming event’. E3 has its ups and downs every year as people favour companies to others and some perform better. As a combination those of the ‘big six’ certainly hit the marker more than others. The big six I speak of are Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Bethesda and EA. Last year appeared to be quite a big event with tons of great games announced…so why aren’t we pleased this year?

I will try and give my look on some issues which find us to be clashing over these conferences. Now for one I wasn’t disappointed by everything at the event. In my opinion the company that won E3 for me was Nintendo. You could say I’m quite the Nintendo fanboy and enjoyed what we got last year which happened to be mostly three games (Pokémon: GO, Pokémon: Sun & Moon and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild). However, I favoured Sony’s as we got to see a ton of new games announced. This year Nintendo showed us new games from some of their much loved franchises which were Yoshi, Kirby, Mario and Metroid. These game announcements benefit both of their gaming systems (Switch & 3DS) and a partnership with Ubisoft showed their (Ubisoft’s) conference to be a major improvement on the previous year…less gags and more gameplay.

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The upcoming Spider-Man title on PS4 gave us a mixture of old titles and fresh new gameplay.

With my two comparisons of Sony and Nintendo, this year Sony merely showed titles we knew about and didn’t reveal any game release dates for this year. It was nice to see extended gameplay, especially for games such as God of War and Spider-Man, but besides that there wasn’t too much of what we already hadn’t heard of or seen. Should E3 be about showing gameplay from games coming up or about revealing new games? There is a lot of nostalgia pulling at the heart strings and fans are always looking to revisit old titles but at the same time want something new and exciting from the gaming world.

Xbox gave us some expected material for they have less franchises than Sony’s Playstation and we got to see more footage from Rare’s Sea of Thieves with the new additions Crackdown 3 and State of Decay 2 along with some unique titles such as Ori & The Will of the Wisps. There were big games like Anthem, Metro: Exodus and Assassins Creed: Origins showcased at the event, but these are cross-over titles and so could have been shown by other companies. Indie title Cuphead from Studio MDHR was finally given a release date (September 28th) and Super Lucky’s Tale which was previously a VR character and reminisces Conker’s Bad Fur Day also caught my attention. There seems to be a big deal that even if the game isn’t by the company, them getting the game trailer out first appears to be vital for Microsoft….maybe Sony doesn’t have much more room? Hype is intended when you hear ‘world exclusive’ said before the pictures come onto the screen, but without hearing ‘Xbox exclusive’ it doesn’t sound as exciting.

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It was another year and another fast car for Xbox.

Obviously I’m forgetting the big elephant in the room or actually their smallest elephant yet which is the ‘Xbox One X’ (brilliant name). Yes it looks nice and if you’re a film fan you’re getting true 4K which the PS4 Pro cannot output and you also get 6 terraflops of memory storage, but when you’ve not convinced me with new games, how am I going to be interested in this machine? If you like Xbox I am sure this will be appealing and what caught my attention was the original Xbox console’s catalogue going backwards compatible on the Xbox One. Whilst we all want new…old sounds pretty good as well and will definitely push retro sales…and prices. That is where Sony miss out majorly. We like both new and old and yes all of these new games look nice but man we want some cross-play or some PS3 playability without paying out more for subscriptions.

There’s benefits to both consoles but what we didn’t see from Sony where they have the 1-UP on Microsoft is new footage from their VR tech. The Playstation VR is a really nice VR headset and has had some nice games and features so far in almost its first year. It would have been nice to receive some new content but I guess we can always receive that at any point of the year. The same goes for any game announcement. Does it always have to be at E3…can it not advance on a previous announcement?

One part of video games we love and can loathe is sequels to games as we like to further a series but do we get the same amount of new games or new game-types announced? Bethesda gave us Wolfenstein 2 and Evil Within 2, Ubisoft gave us Beyond Good & Evil 2 and EA some more sports titles like Fifa 18. Whether there is the case of longevity between games in a series to be taken into account like BG&E2 or the expected timeline follow up in the Bethesda names – is it all too ‘samey’ or ‘expected’? Just because a game in this series hasn’t been out for years, it doesn’t mean it’ll be good or perhaps we’ll get ourselves too excited and the hype will ruin our expectations. That can be an issue in deciding what to bring out next, especially from a retro perspective but a game like the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy couldn’t have come at a better time or been a better remaster.

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Activision’s conferences seem to have disappeared. Remember an expensive looking Eminem opening to promote the new Call of Duty: Ghosts title?

Perhaps we are lacking new games, but companies like Nintendo can keep using the same series’ again and again…is that because they got it right the first time? Is it the age difference between them and modern consoles or the game types? The longevity between Metroid games has proven to get folks excited even if it is another Prime game. We do get a lot of the same old genres like shooters and stealth titles – you can give them a new coat of paint and name/lead character but the playability will be similar. People might like that though and kudos to them.

If you’re someone who loves games and doesn’t believe in the consoles wars which is a thought process we should all have you may have less to worry about at such conferences except for the fact you might not see enough gameplay. Nintendo show off lots of gameplay (they have done so for Mario Odyssey) and you get to see all of the different worlds and abilities. Sony however showed small segments from the games but didn’t reveal too much more and then companies like Ubisoft may have just shown a majority of trailers. Obviously for their big games like Far Cry 5 and Assassins Creed: Origins we got gameplay but how much is too much? Some people might not want to see any past a simple launch trailer as they don’t want the game to be spoiled upon launch day. Others might want lots of content to learn more about the game before it is released. It’s a difficult area and no doubt these companies will think about how much and of what they want to show the audience.

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Nintendo changed their big conference stages shortly after the Wii U was available for purchase.

It has been rumoured that Xbox and Sony didn’t show us everything they had due to a big factor which is the timeline of showing the game to its release. Phil Spencer, the big dog at Xbox said that the company has signed new games but would not want to show something that might not even be out for three years. Xbox recently cancelled the production on title ‘Scalebound’ and so to create hype now for something that isn’t finished would be a risky move.

We will still have other gaming events throughout the year such as Gamescom where we can still expect to see more content. There’s new ways with the internet and streaming to advertise games (the Nintendo Treehouse as one example) and those are always a nice watch. It spreads out game announcements and we’re treated throughout the year instead of taking in everything at once and proceeding to argue about who was better. With how fast the gaming world is moving with advancements in picture quality, cross-play and virtual reality I’m left with wondering whether we’re even impressed these days and expect too much from companies. If a console can output good graphics, do we deserve them? Are game prices too high? Are we seeing the same game repeated too much? Should companies focus on less games? Endless questions and possibilities my dear Watson.

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Is E3 becoming a bit too ‘samey’ over the years and is this doing good for games?

Let’s just turn everything on its head for a second. Does E3 really do any good for the gaming world?

Are we not giving too much attention to one moment of the year and giving too much pressure onto game designers and companies? As video games are in no way a similar environment to what they were 20-25 years ago, are we looking at video games in the right way? They are a means of profit and E3 has definitely been a key player in carrying on profits in the gaming sphere for the next few months. A lot of material seems rushed and time and effort is wasted due to commercialism. There will always be deadlines but E3 is a bit like a toy at Christmas and everyone wants their big thing to be in everyone’s homes. What has saved video games recently has been indie titles because their breakaway from big name companies has brought some notable titles which may be influenced from better days but also made retro the norm again. Games such as Super Meat Boy, Binding of Isaac: ReBirth, Braid, Rogue Legacy, Fez, Owlboy, Limbo and many more have turned the focus away from big names and most will find themselves on most platforms after a couple years. There are still some credible games out there!

E3 is still a special place in the gaming world. How companies choose to stage their conferences is up to them and we do get a nice mix: EA in London and Los Angeles, Nintendo in their private conference and the others doing big rooms (and less jokes and bad presenting from Ubisoft this year made it one of the best). Sony adds a nice visual touch and Microsoft keeps it straightforward and tries a realistic approach and all are welcomed by audiences. We argue who has the better console and even though a lot of games from this year’s E3 will not be out this year we still have a lot to look forward to. No doubt we will see The Last of Us 2 and Death Stranding shown later on in the year by Sony…

 

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Civilisation VI: An ever-growing world at your fingertips

This years marks the 25th anniversary of Civilisation and Civilisation VI will hit shelves October 21 for PC and is being made by 2K Games. Yesterday we were treated to an insight into what will make this title different from the rest and what has been improved from previous instalments.

For those of you unfamiliar to Civilisation, it is a turn-based strategy title in which you play as a country and create a civilisation and you can claim victory through many different methods including: culture, domination, scientific, diplomatic and time. It is a game full of historic leaders and world wonders. There are threats from all angles and so it is good to have a great army and sometimes plenty of cities. The game starts thousands of years in the past and can finish up in the future. As you progress, your tools, technologies and people will grow and age throw the generations of development and in the end you will have a futuristic city after first starting in a dusty grassland surrounded by barbarians.

The game will begin with a montage of previous games over the series’ lifetime starting with Civilisation to show how far they’ve come. Cities are not going to feel like they did before as everything you build isn’t restricted to one tile. The whole world has blown up to be of an actual map size. Everything you build will be dispersed onto separate tiles, especially wonders and so gameplay becomes more vulnerable. If you are under attack from god knows who and god knows what, you can no longer protect everything comfortably into one spot and so defence and barracks are important. Also, your workers are no longer under that title, they’re builders now.

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Instead of mist or fog crowding around the areas your settlers/scouts haven’t visited yet, there is an old timey hand drawn map which features sea creatures and dragons that you would find on those tea stand maps. It’s a nice look and very artistic which demonstrates how far the world has progressed.  After setting up another city, roads have been made much easier and are set up through travellers/caravans. This takes away the strenuous time of using workers to build roads which also straps you of income if done incorrectly. When setting up a religious site, as each place has its own tile, it is always good to find a scenic spot or a great wonder to set up as this will increase happiness greatly.

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One of the prettiest parts of this game are the movies of construction and so you can see in real-time how your wonders progress. This can help give you an idea how long it takes for them to be built. Another interesting time feature is the day and night cycle which is an optional add-on where you can have morning, noon, evening and night.

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There are 18 civilisations in this game and so far we know that America (Roosevelt), Egypt (Cleopatra), Japan and China are confirmed. There will be some new civilisations coming to the series, hopefully some African or South American countries! Barbarians will also be a lot harder as they now have tactical strategies to attack you. There are new barbarians including a barbarian horse archer. Oh the joys. AI of other civs will have historical agenda personalities that mix in with who they are. Roosevelt is a warmonger and Cleopatra sides with civs who have a big army. There is obviously still multiplayer with the new addition of being able to finish a game in an hour as well as six-eight hours. The game definitely has a lot more strategy and preparation than previous titles.

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When characters are defeated such as spearmen, there appears to be a quick flash of blood splatter to confirm this which is new and is nice to see more graphical happenings in the game. The game looks beautiful in general with a very bright and colourful map and cleaner and more styled art. There are new characters as well including spies. Not much is known on this yet however.

The game may start off a bit slow but during the middle and end, there are plenty of surprises to be had that will certainly rock the balance of your gameplay. The first part of the game is really about exploration and getting accustomed to the game anyway. In terms of government policies, one of the new exciting features is that you can reconfigure your government’s aims at certain points. Maybe you’re wanting to concentrate on developing your land at one point, next you’re under attack and we need to turn to increasing production of resources and building up an army. Like many civ games there are endless opportunities and this system sees a nice mix of IV and V.

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Overall, this game looks to be the best Civilisation title yet and will probably keep expanding to greater heights as the years come. More news will come as it develops. Get ready to plan, be strategic and of course, be the best.

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One more thing, the space race is in the game!

Nintendo: New battles, lands and most importantly Pokémon!

Pokémon Sun and Moon are set to hit shelves on November 18 and we have just been told of plenty of info for what’s to come! Here is a list of everything that’s coming!

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-The names of the games are to do with the earth and how the sun is a source of life and the moon effects all of our lives. The region of Alola will be teaming with life.
-Solgaleo and Lunala will play unique roles within the series.
-Zygarde will appear in the game and in its different forms.
-Alola consists of four islands and one man-made island. The area is like the Galapagos Islands – out of the way and full of new creatures.
– The three starters were made to look cute in battles and creators were careful with colours.

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-You begin in your bedroom where there is a huge widescreen TV, a Wii U and a Pikachu doll. (However, the game is still in development so this might not be in the final game).
-You go downstairs and your mother has a Meowth.
-Your character has just moved to the Alola Region.
-Humour from the start as your mother says “packing will be the death of me.”
-Your house is a huge wooden built building with a garage.
-There’s lots of greenery and palm trees and you leave from the left into Route 1.
-Some Pokémon returning include – Ledyba, CaterpiePikachu and Pichu.
-Move sets for Popplio: water gun, pound, growl and then disarming voice.
-Litten knows ember and Rowlett knows Leafage.
-New Pokémon: Grubbin (bug hermit creature) Yungoos (normal mongoose) and Pikipek (flying woodpecker).
-Yungoos always gets hugry and is looking for food. During its hunger it gets aggressive.
-Pikipeck can peck 16 times in one second.

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-When catching a Pokémon there might be a white Pokéball next to it which encourages catching more creatures as it indicates an evolution or pairing.
-When catching a Pokémon, it will be ‘Regsitered’ in the Rotom Pokédex.
-Battles are different with mini screens of the battle set out on the bottom screen.
-Each option has a colour specific.
-Trainers stand behind their Pokémon in the battle.
-The lighting and camera change with the time of day.
-Popplio stands up on its feet like a seal when waiting for a move selection.
-There is an ‘i’ icon which gives you a detailed explanation of a move.
-You can click on the enemy Pokémon after using a status effect and it will tell you how it has effected the Pokémon.
-Pokémon in battle will have shadows.
-When approaching a trainer, a shadow will fall on the top and bottom of the screen to indicate they will battle you.
-The stats for levelling up all have their own colour.

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-There is a festival in the nearest town which has lots of characters and cut-scenes.
-There are plenty of torches lit in the scene.
-Hala – guy who gives first pokemon
-Hau – friend and has starter pokemon
-You battle Hau in a festival pokemon battle
– Lillie (the professor’s assistant) doesn’t like seeing pokemon get hurt and isnot a trainer
– Culture is integrated into a big battleground at the festival
-‘Tapu Koko’ is important
– Hau is the grandson of Hala and Hala gives you your first Pokémon.

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-Nintendo workers took trips to Hawaii to study the area and get a better idea.

-Once you battle a Pokémon once, you learn which moves are effective and which aren’t.

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-There’s a new gameplay mode: ‘Battle Royal’.
-It is a communication tool between players in an all new multiplayer mode.
-You can have up to four players and battle one at a time.
-First person who loses all three of their Pokémon means the battle is over.
-Person who has defeated more Pokémon becomes overall winner.
-One on one battle but you can have two more opponents against you.
– This battling will have a strong strategy focus seeing as there can be three on one.
-Matches can be up to an hour log.
-Trainers can customise different outfits.

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Ubisoft: A steep incline to something better

Ubisoft opened their event with Just Dance 2017 which will becoming to all consoles, PC and the Nintendo NX next year. We were treated to a dance performance which included a dancing giraffe. Like a dancing giraffe it could stumble a lot and have to keep getting itself back up, however on this occasion, constant humour aside, Ubisoft pulled off some sweet moves. Let’s find out what went down.

Comedian and actress Aisha Taylor was back to present for the fifth year running as the company celebrated its 30th anniversary. The next game on show was the 14th instalment in Tom Clancy’s: Ghost Recon series. ‘Wildlands‘ was announced at last year’s E3 and this time we were treated to plentiful gameplay. The game takes place in Bolivia where a Mexican drug cartel has taken over the area and are harvesting cocoa to sell, making Bolivia a narco-state. You the player in Ghost Recon fashion will be playing the role of the ghosts who aim to cause chaos and bring down the system.

The game is action packed and full of high speed chases, plenty of vehicle switching, stealth and  co-op switching between characters to infiltrate bases. The mission that was shown was to take down El_Pozolero. The game focuses around teamwork in order to take down the base and will result in you attacking from all angles which will certainly be great for multiplayer. One player could be attacking from a helicopter, another via a getaway vehicle, one simply walking in and another sniping. The game will hit shelves March 7th next year.

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The Fractured But Whole is a superhero theme after its predecessor  was fantasy.

Now it looked like we were going to be treated to Watchdogs 2 early in the show with a trailer reminiscing hacking and code. However there appeared Eric Cartman as superhero ‘The Coon’. Trey Parker and Matt Stone came out to talk about the next South Park instalment: ‘The Fractured But Whole’ which takes influence from previous title ‘The Stick of Truth’.

It is the next day in South Park and the children are now playing as superheros, so everything you achieved at the end of the first game is pointless and to everyone you are a ‘douchebag’ again. The game takes a big influence from Marvel with the children aiming to set out a movie series and how there will be a ton of films and spin offs. Certain characters are under appreciated and create a separate faction causing a civil war between the children. Marvel isn’t alone as J.J. Abrams and DC comics are also the butt of jokes.

Cartman helps you create your class which can be from a brutalist, blaster or speedster and each child is given a backstory to their character. The game is also full of typical toilet humour that is familiar in the series, but the game itself has seen many improvements. The game concentrates on space as unlike the previous title, you are not restricted to being in one place and so can use certain attacks to your advantage to progress through the game. The combat system has also improved and you can push and pull characters into objects or other characters for extra damage points. Farts were used as an attack in the first game and this continues however, they are super powerful and can rip the fabric of time. This aids a player in remaking decisions in the game.

If you pre-order the title now you can get The Stick of Truth for free. The game will release on December 6.

Next up was a better look at Tom Clancy’s Division’s new expansion: ‘Underground‘. You work in a team against dangerous threats under the streets of New York. No two missions are the same and there is a big replayability factor which has better rewards the more you play. The expansion which releases on June 28th will receive three exclusive skins from fellow Tom Clancy series’ Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six and Splinter Cell. It was also announced that another expansion is on the way called ‘Survival‘ which takes place in a ferocious blizzard that has ruined New York and sets everyone against each other. The point of the game is hunt or be hunted.

VR is everywhere these days and Ubisoft has two titles in the works. One is a Star Trek title where you can control the Starship Enterprise and work in teams fighting against enemies. The trailer showed celebrities including for Next Generation actor for Worf, ‘LeVar Burton’. The second was a title where you play as eagles in a capture the flag style game in France. Eagle Flight is about teamwork where two teams, red and blue, work to get bait to certain points.

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In For Honor you can play as a viking, samurai or knight.

Probably one of the most exciting hack and slash titles in a long time, For Honor lets you play as three different classes with different back stories. From the viking perspective you are trying to rise up from the ashes and make your people great again by infiltrating the samurai’s and claiming the area for your own. From a trailer that looked like the end of season 2 of Game of Thrones, the game has multiple weapons and enemies with quick progression from ocean to land to climbing to duelling.

The game which launches February 17 revealed epic fights and endless replayability. Definitely a must for multiplayer.

One of the more colourful titles, Grow Home was up next with the revealing of its sequel Grow Up. Here you play as Bud and you are no longer under the watchful eye of mother. Using seeds and plants it is your aim to get Bud to the moon. The game will release in August on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

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Every Ubisoft game should get a Blood Dragon makeover.

Like Far Cry, Trials is the next Ubisoft game to get a Blood Dragon makeover. The trailer showcased a gimic-like 80’s GI Joe commercial with toys and bright psychedelic colours. The game seems very similar to the Far Cry title and has plenty of rides and fast-paced vehicles, but also certain tracks which include none at all. This is definitely one of the most fun and layed back games to get stuck into!

Finally, it was the game we had all be waiting to see, Watchdogs 2. You play as Marcus a new hacker for DedS3c who will take down corporations and social media as humans are fixated with technology. You’re not alone in taking back control of the establishment as you will be working with ‘Wrench’, ‘Sitara’ and ‘Josh’. Each character plays an important role in Marcus’ hacking and infiltration. One of the most exciting parts of this game is that in San Francisco, you can pretty much hack anything from TV’s, cars and any old household equipment. This can be used to help get to your goals and mess with those around you.

There are also a lot of gadgets to be used including robots and drones which are a nice touch to a modern game and can be used as mobile cameras to see who is in the buildings you are infiltrating. There’s plenty of shooting to be had too but, this title seems to have a better grasp of what Watchdogs should be unlike its predecessor. The game will release on November 15.

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We thought it was all over, but Ubisoft wants us to socialise and get a little extreme.

One more game was revealed and my word through their own engine, Ubisoft has made one of the most strikingly beautiful titles I’ve seen at this event yet. ‘Steep‘ is an extreme snow/winter sport title including base jumping, snowboarding and paragliding. There is a big social aspect to the game as well where you share stunts, crashes, maps and who knows what else.

The aim of this is to play with other players and invite them into your game. You can set challenges with your own rules such as jumping off of a certain cliff that you think is particularly hard. You can replay a lot of material, save it, set tracks and watch any other user’s performance. The beta will be available soon if you register and the game is set to launch in December.

I really recommend checking out this title as it will be something special and is a game-type that is unheard of! Sure Nintendo might have 1080 Snowboarding and Pilotwings, but trust me it is nothing like this. Ubisoft might not have the impressive stage Microsoft and Sony have but that doesn’t mean they don’t have plenty of great titles in the works.

Xbox One: We’re not worthy

So Xbox and Microsoft have pretty much stolen E3 which a huge amount of game, social and technology announcements and there has been a lot to take in. Plenty of great game titles are coming back and cross-play was a t the forefront of most titles mentioned. So what happened?

First off we were treated to the new Xbox One model which was leaked the other day. The console known as ‘S’ for slim will be 40% smaller than the previous model, have 4k ultra video, HDR gaming, a 2TB hardrive and will have a new controller with new textures. It was also revealed that the base price will be $299 so think of that in pounds, it’s going to be good money. Oh and head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, says it will also release in August this year.

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The new Xbox One model: ‘S’

The Coalition studio head, Rod Ferguson, kicked off the show by showing gameplay from Gears of War 4, one of the most anticipated titles of this year. The game is part of Xbox’s new ‘play anywhere’ which combines Windows 10 and Xbox One gameplay across all platforms and when you save on one platforms you can resume where you left off on the other at no extra cost. The title was shown through co-op cross-play on both platforms in a scenario following the abduction of character Kait’s mother by the swarm who are a new enemy.

The gameplay showcased a ferocious storm and a ton of enemies to fight through including drones and turrets which were tactically removed through co-op play of a catapult and shooting objects. Players will have to destroy swarm nests in a huge lightning storm and take on huge beasts. The game is set to release on October 11th.

This was followed by an old favourite, Killer Instinct, whose game has seen some character additions recently including Rash from Battletoads. It was revealed that General Raam from Gears of War will be added to the cast and will be free-to-play this week.

Up next was popular car racing title Forza Horizon 3, which takes place in beautiful Australia and graphically it was depicted well showing a nice mixture of off and on-road driving. Ralph Fulton of Playground Games showed off the world gameplay premier with a mixture of fast cars and off-road vehicles all merging together from different cross-play platforms. One of the big additions is how players can drop into other’s games at the click of a button and their surroundings will automatically adjust to the host. The game will release September 27th.

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ReCore: Another Inafune classic in the works?

A sneak peak at Keji Inafune’s next title ‘ReCore‘ was showed instantly after which introduced different characters such as Joule, Mack, Seth and Duncan. The game includes a lot of robotics, space like weapons and scenery and a connection between the characters through the use of orbs. A very promising title to come your way.

Square Enix were next up and presented some co-op gameply from the new Final Fantasy XV game. It was a four-way battle against a titan including characters: Noctis, Prompto, Ignis and Gladiolus. The demo didn’t grasp too much excitement for a game releasing September 30th but will surely feature more intense battles against huge creatures.

Next it was announced that Tom Clancy: The Division will be getting an expansion called: ‘Underground‘ which takes place in an urban underground which will have randomly generated missions and tons of battles.

Mike Ybarra of Xbox Live had plenty to tell us and said they are listening to players and are creating a faster, more reliable network and incorporating cross-play that begun with Rocket League. In Autumn they will be releasing ‘Clubs’ which is creating communities, ‘Looking for group’ which is for multiplayer and ‘Arena’ where you can play solo or with friends in tournaments.

Playing on from the mention of cross-play came Minecraft. For those who are fans of the ever-growing series this will surely be a favourable addition. Cross-play will connect Xbox, PC, iOS and Android together where players can play on other servers and realms how, when and where you want. The update to the series will be called ‘The Friendliest update’ as it is bringing everyone together. Oculus Rift will also be incorporated to the game which has been shown already; it makes mine cart rides looks extra thrilling. Finally, Minecraft texture packs will be coming to PC and mobile where players can customise characters and scenery to however they want. This update will be coming in Autumn.

A sneak peak was given to ‘Inside‘ which is from the creators of Limbo and once more creates that eerie grey atmosphere, but this time in what seems like a workplace environment. This game will release June 29th. This game follows and endless list of cross-play indie games that are coming soon including Cuphead, Yooka-Laylee, Outlast II an Deliver Us The Moon. 

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We Happy Few – don’t be a downer.

One of the more interesting titles was then revealed to us which was called: ‘We Happy Few‘. It takes place in Britain in 1964 and has a psychological 1984 feel to it. Characters have white faces and take a drug called ‘joy’. Those who don’t take it are called ‘Downers’ and it seems that this isn’t allowed in this totalitarian world. Definitely one to look out for.

A Witcher card game was announced called ‘Gwent‘ which is based off of the card game that was played in taverns in the Witcher series of games. Fans repeatedly requested CD Projekt Red and their prayers were answered. Like Hearthstone and Elder Scrolls: Legends we have a new card game.  It is a cross-play title which which has four factions of cards. Players will begin with ten cards and through campaign the player will be immersed into the game as well as the cards. Seeing as there’s only ten, players will have to think smart and bluff their way to victory. The beta will be available soon if fans register.

We were then treated to one of my favourite game series’ Tekken and Tekken 7 their new game coming early 2017. Gameplay which also jumped to and from cinematics depicted two characters ‘Heihachi’ and ‘Akuma’ fighting it out.  There will be a new story mode and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is available for free download to Xbox Live Gold users.

One of the games I have been waiting for was finally shown after leaking the other day. Dead Rising 4 returns with war photographer Frank West whose camera appears to have turned into a smart phone. Oh yeah, the game is also at Christmas in the holiday shopping mall season. There is a big Christmas theme to weapons and will definitely be a favourite when it releases this holiday on PC and Xbox One. One of the most interesting weapon combinations was a triceratops head which was also a flamethrower.

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An interesting new concept mixing man’s relationship with dragons.

Probably one of the most interesting games to come about in a long time and one of the most exiting for next year, ‘Scalebound‘ takes on the relationship between dragons and humans to fight against huge beasts like a crab-like creature in the gameplay shown.The game from platinum games has multiple weapons such as bows, lightnings and bombs. Players can ride their dragons in a four-player co-op experience to take on beasts. More info will definitely be coming soon.

A company that hasn’t made a real game in a long time, Rare are back with ‘Sea of Thieves‘ that was revealed at last year’s E3. A favourite company of mine shows off what a real multiplayer should look like with a neat pirate theme. There are endless exploring opportunities where players can find treasure and be attacked by other players. It was shown with gameplay from their fan base how players can attack other ships with cannons, steer ships and explore open seas in a real pirate experience.

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Following this came two sneak peaks at State of Decay 2 and Halo Wars 2 both coming in early 2017. Halo Wars will have new enemies Banished with leader Atriox who has a massive army. The beta is live to play on Xbox One right now.

And to round off, Xbox are working on a new console called ‘Project Scorpio’ which has plenty of high-powered specs which incoporates 4K graphics and VR techonology. It will surely be a phenomenal experience…but don’t  PC’s have better technology?

 

Bethesda: A mixture of disappointment and awe?

What everyone was hoping to see at Bethesda’s conference was obviously some appearance of The Elder Scrolls VI. However, we didn’t see such thing and that doesn’t mean Bethesda are not working on plenty of content as last night proved they’re still a company with plenty of great experiences waiting for fans. So we didn’t see the next Elder Scrolls title, what did we see?

I guess we were disappointed from the offset with another poor panel once again before the conference even started. We were constantly shown content from last year’s E3 and commenters consistently say that it was a cringey experience.

However, we didn’t remain disappointed for long because the first clip of the conference was the announcement of a new Quake title! It has been a long time since a Quake title was released and there’s no doubt the popularity of Doom last month increased the need for a return to arena shooters.

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All the characters shown in the trailer look like absolute tanks.

The title is named: ‘Quake: Champions‘ and id Software executive Tim Willits says more content will be shown at Quakecon in Dallas in August. What we know so far that the game is for PC and will be a competitive arena style first-person shooter before online and offline.It aims to be fast and will run on 120hz unlocked frame-rates and has a catalogue of badass characters, all with their own attributes and attitudes. There was also mention of Quake being an eSports game. Quake: Champions looks very promising as it is a series I very much enjoy and are glad to see back.

Following this game, Global UP and PR of Bethesda marketing, Pete Hines and he gave us a look at the Elder Scrolls card game ‘Legends‘. The title which looks similar to Blizzard’s Hearthstone has been described as a ‘deep strategy experience’ with a compelling story from the perspective of the Moth Priest – Kellin. It revolves around him and is the story of a forgotten hero who changed the very course of history. The game will be coming to open beta for everyone who creates an account at Bethesda.net. The game will also be coming to tablet and mobile.

Next up came Fallout 4 and the series is still being kept alive. The game recently saw a DLC update: ‘Far Harbour’ and that is not the only thing being added to the game. There will be additions to the Workshop including: elevators, conveyor belts, sorting machines and gun racks. Players can also build their very own vault which sounds interesting and is basically like playing Fallout Shelter on the big screen. The update is due in July

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Fallout Shelter will also be coming to PC.

The other Fallout title: ‘Shelter‘ released for mobile and tablet upon the end of Bethesda’s E3 conference last year was an incredibly popular release with around 50 million downloads. The game was announced to be getting updates including: new locations, new characters, sending dwellers on quests, new enemies and a new combat system. The game will also be coming to PC which is very exciting.

Then came the big reveal. We all thought that it must be Elder Scrolls VI. It had to be right? Wrong. It was announced with that nostalgic theme that for current-gen consoles, Skyrim (Elder Scrolls V) would be getting a remaster with majorly enhanced graphics. I do not know where I stand on this announcement because obviously people will be over the moon for this special edition announcement, but mods have already made Skyrim look great on PC. The game itself was pretty solid to begin with. To be fair it’s only fair that consoles get to use mods like Fallout 4 and enhance their gameplay which is seeing enhanced shaders and in depth detail. I’m wondering if there could be alterations to controls, who knows at this point to be fair?

Skyrim
There is a striking difference between the previous and current console graphics.

The final Elder Scrolls addition was updates to their Online game which will see a Japanese release on June 23rd and DLC based off of Oblivion called ‘The Dark Brootherhood‘. No one is safe apparently and the trailer portrayed a lot of stealth and melee action. Another update is coming called ‘One Tamriel‘ which means once completing the tutorial, players of all levels can group freely with whoever they want and go wherever they want. A really nice edition to a positive series which has never been done before.

Now we already had Quake, but Doom was not left out of the mix. Snapmap, a tool in the new game will be getting a free update including new weapons and items. There will also be weapon reel style selection in single player and two new multiplayer maps known as Exodus and Sector. The game will also be seeing its first DLC release called ‘Unto the Evil‘ which sees three new multiplayer maps added, new guns and a playable character known as the ‘Harvester Demon’. Some may have been a bit disappointed at the repetitiveness of certain enemies, but DLC can stop that with the addition of more characters. Everyone who owns a PC, Xbox One and PS4 this week will also be able to download freely the first level of the new Doom game and try it for themselves this week only.

Bethesda did have another new title to announce however and this was from Arkane Studios (Dishonored). Raphael Colantonio said that they were working on another immersive psychological thriller. PREY is set in the year 2032 and you play as Morgan who in a futuristic world has been part of an experiment to change humanity forever that goes horribly wrong. The film is set in a space station and one of the interesting features is that for weaponry and tools, you have to use whatever you can on the space station.

The game is set to release next year on Xbox One, PS4 and PC with further information coming at Quakecon.

morgan
Morgan is part of a test to change humanity forever…but it goes very wrong.

There was a quick mention that Bethesda would be working on VR with demos at E3 for Fallout 4 and Doom which sound exciting.

Finally, Dishonored 2 took to the stage and there was plenty of information and gameplay revealed.  Harvey Smith, the creative director at Arkane Studios, walked through different elements of the game and the different attributes Emily Kaldwin and Corvo Attano have. The game is based in a Victorian district with an exotic style of characters. Smith says they wanted a strong sense of place and so extra detail was added to the characters and the city itself. It’s a game that makes you think about people’s lives and the history of a city.

The game has been made in a custom game engine called ‘Void’ to help create a painting in motion and create custom tools to give the best stealth experience. The game centres around the anniversary of the death of Emily’s mother with a now grown-up Emily who is leader.

Viewers were shown gameplay from the Dust District and demonstrated all the moves and skill-sets you will have when playing as Emily. The game also showcased how there are many different ways of completing the game as you can favour one side or none at all, which gives a strong replayability factor. Some of the moves include the shadow walk which demonstrates the mixture of stealth and combat, the power to mesmerise players and connect them together so that they all share the same fate and the timepiece which enables Emily to visit somewhere and jump through to the past to alter timelines. The timepiece was definitely one of the most interesting aspects for me personally.

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The throne room.

The architecture is beautiful and this will be a game to play over and over with new surprises every time. A high recommendation in my book. If you haven’t played the original, you can always pick up the special edition of Dishonored 2 when it released on November 11 which includes Dishonored.

Now we may not have received a follow-up to Skyrim, but for a big fan of Bethesda like myself, there is still plenty of content to get stuck into. Dishonored 2 looks like it is going to be one of the biggest games of the year, there’s plenty of add-on content to Doom, Fallout and Elder Scrolls and we have two new exciting games on the way. I think I might have to get my Nintendo 64 out and crack on with a bit of Quake/Quake 2.

Stay Tuned for further conference news today from Microsoft and Ubisoft!

 

 

 

EA Play: New Experiences, New Stories & Breathtaking visuals

EA Play kicked off E3 like no other with two separate conferences streaming from both London and Los Angeles and demonstrated a lot of interactivity between the two via satellite feed. We were treated to a lot of predictability, but also a lot of new insights into the world of EA (Electronic Arts). EA really stole the show with some promising titles coming up this year, so what happened?

The introduction provided watchers with the phrase ‘It’s time to play’ which really relates to the amount of games that are already here and coming our way. They want people to play and want people to join the 2.6 billion gamers out there.

Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA, said 60 minutes is just not enough to showcase everything they wanted to and so was the real influence for hosting their own event.

First up was Titanfall 2 with Respawn Entertainment CEO Vince Zampella. The series will be coming to PS4 and the trailer showed there will be plenty of first-person shooter content, lots of stealth, plenty of melee including grappling hooks and also moments that looked like anti-gravity was used.

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Your Titan compadre ‘BT’ in the single-player mode

What is new to the series is six new titans all with their own traits and abilities. There will be more customisation but the real show stealer was that this game will have offline single-player gameplay. Players will be able to delve deeper into the world of Titanfall and learn about the connection between humans and titans and how it developed. The game will release on October 28th on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Next up was sports with Madden NFL 17. The focus was on eSports and competition. Coinciding with EA Play comes three new tournaments. The first is ‘Challenger’ which is where players can create their own tournaments. Secondly, there is Premier which is large scale live events and finally EA Major Events which will be huge events up for grabs on a global stage. In all competitions there will be up to $1 million prize money.

Fifa 17 will be run through the Frostbite engine which is a reoccurring name in the next couple of titles. The game will have a strong single player mode called ‘The Journey’ which takes the life of upcoming footballer ‘Alex Hunter’ and places them in real world football. Football managers will also play a role from the sidelines and upon this mention there came the ‘special one’ José Mourinho who had a bit of banter with Peter Moore in London about the lack of managers in the game.

EA also mentioned that they will be hosting charity events for five charities: Special Effect, Code 2040, Code.org, He for She and Women Information. In games such as Battlefront, Battlefield: Hardline and Fifa 16 players will be able to compete in missions and give donations to charities.

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An Asari was shown in the trailer, how many new alien species will we see?

Mass Effect: Andromeda which is being made through the Frostbite engine showcased spectacular visuals of space, creatures of all sizes (some huge) and ships. Andromeda is a whole new adventure in an aim to find a new home for the humans. CEO of BioWare Aaryn Flynn said this game would let imaginations run wild. Players will be treated to a whole new cast and plenty of freedom with the trailer depicting a women waking up from deep sleep in a spaceship and saying: “we made it.” We did not get to see too much from the trailer or be told much in general and for a game releasing in a few months it is a little disappointing to say the least.

One of the most popular games from last year’s E3 was Unravel which showcased one of the most beautiful graphical side-scrollers to date. Patrick Soderlund of EA informed us of how the company is working with indie developers to support, fund and provide security. He said that all profit made will go back into the hands of the developers.

The first title to come out of this programme is ‘Fe‘ by Swedish company ‘Zoink.’ For me personally, this title takes home the biscuit and shows that we haven’t done everything in video games. The idea of the game is that you wake up as a cub and the idea behind it is to develop a relationship with nature due to our longing aim to be one with the world. The most interesting part of this game is that there is no dialogue and the game is not going to spoonfeed you the answers. You have no idea of who you are or how you got here. Every creature you find is connected by their own language and this is where sound is incorporated and is used as the mainframe of the game.

Throughout the game you can learn about this communication and use it for its purpose with those species. In the end the character will learn the secrets of its  own kind, but not without learning about and defeating the enemy: ‘the silence’. The game has an ambient soundtrack, mixtures of dark colours and tons of creatures you can ride on, but you can even fly yourself. A must to check out in my books.

Star Wars
Behind the scenes development on a new Star Wars game.

One of my favourite franchises, Star Wars, has a ton of video games and the train keeps rolling because it was revealed by EA that multiple companies including Respawn, Dice and Bioware are working on titles. One example is that we have a new Battlefront in the works. I was said by Jane Raymond that EA is listening to the fans, adding what the fans want and this includes content from the new films.

Visceral will be creating an original narrative with new characters and Respawn are looking at a different Star Wars era to create a third-person action adventure title. All of these companies are working with Lucasfilms and are aiming to do what hasn’t been done before to create a authentic Star Wars story. The trailer also showed the use of the Playstation VR which leaves endless questions for the potential of these games.

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Actual Battlefield 1 gameplay with striking early 20th century architecture getting a real feel for the time.

Finally, it’s the one game that we’re all waiting for Battlefield 1. This and Titanfall 2 could cause the end of Call of Duty.

Battlefield is a series with 60 million players and the company knew they could not make an ordinary game. In one late night in Stockholm it was decided that a World War I concept would be their next main series title.

Patrick Bach of Dice said that no battle will be the same as there will be dynamic weather which will be unpredictable causing players to have to adjust their gameplay to the conditions, more intricate destruction and more natural gameplay. To show off the game, viewers of the Twitch stream were treated to the new online deathmatch campaign which has a total of 64 players in a 32 v 32 team at any point. The teams included famous YouTube gamers such as Achievement Hunter’s Gavin Free along with popular music icons such as Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa.

There was a look at vehicles including the new behemoths like blimps which when brought down, can fall anywhere and cause plenty of destruction. The carcass of the blimp does not de-spawn and so players have another obstacle in the vast surroundings. There are plenty of gun classes, weapons to use against tanks such as special grenades and airplane battles. Basically, there is a ton of stuff going on in this game – no two games are alike. There are rocket guns for assault, signal flares for snipers and syringes for medics. The game has plenty of content.

The main message in the trailer sates: “We’re gonna change the world” and in terms of gameplay, Battlefield might do just that.

EA look to have a lot of promising ideas and titles in the mix for the rest of this year and have set themselves as a strong contender for the rest of E3. Their EA Play has proved a fun idea and it wouldn’t be surprising if during E3 next year we see more personal conferences by other companies.