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.

cropped-spidey.png
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.

forxa
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.

Eminem-solo_E3
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.

lego
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.

E3 Expo 2015 - Day 2
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…

 

Advertisements

Capcom announces Mega Man Legacy Collection 2!

After the success of the Mega Man Legacy Collection which launched on Xbox One, PS4 and PC in August 2015, Capcom has announced there will be a follow up featuring some of the series’ rarer titles!

The original collection release saw the six main Mega Man titles from the Nintendo Entertainment System but in the 8-bit era of the little blue guy there were other titles during the X period and later on in life.

megs
Some of the series’ rarer titles all in one affordable collection

This new collection introduces 16 and 32 games bringing Mega Man 7 (Snes) and 8 (Playstation) and the virtual titles from the Xbox 360, Mega Man 9 and 10 to next-gen consoles. The earlier two titles saw a fresh pallete in comparison to the rest of the numbered Mega Man games and almost had that fresh feel that Mega Man X had but still feeling true to its 8-bit origins. The latter were a major throwback to the original games with a look that was made ever-so famous by Mega Man 2. All of these titles mixed the mainframe of the series up a lot giving Mega Man a lot more attributes and spicing up the levels to keep you on your feet.

The Mega Man series is renowned for its difficulty and no doubt fans will be trying to prove their skills with some of the harder titles to be released. On the contrary the game will feature an armour pack to ease players into the games. That’s not all though as the games have remixed stages adding to the difficulty and content. Unlike previous games there will be savepoints which are a blessing in disguise with these difficult games. You would hope that with there only being four titles instead of six that you would get extra content as well. With this style of Mega Man games complete we can only hope for a new title or even an X collection as all of the games in both series prove to be some of the priciest collector’s items.

mega
If these games weren’t hard enough already…

The game will release on August 8 and will also feature a look at Mega Man’s history with the art design and character lists. The game will also feature the four title’s soundtracks with some of them having some really nice tracks that will make you feel incredibly nostalgic. The physical and digital release is priced in America at $20 so will no doubt be around a similar price in the UK.

Get your blasters at the ready for one of the best game packages you wil receive this year! I very much look forward to playing as Rockman this Summer!

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.

xbox
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.

recore
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. 

happy
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.

Scalebound
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.

sea of thieves

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?