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…

 

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.

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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.

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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!

Sony: How to steal E3 and make everyone else your bitch in 60 minutes

Sony’s conference was music to my ears, literally, they had an orchestra playing the music of every game live. There’s no doubt that Sony’s conference has been the best yet, straightforward game previews and little to no tomfoolery. With only one more conference left, Nintendo, it’s going to be hard to beat what the Playstation 4 has to offer. What went down?

First off we were revealed that Kratos is back, this time in Norse mythology as there is a reboot to the God of War series. It shows Kratos teaching his son to hunt with the hunting knife given to him by his deceased mother. The son has much to learn at the beginning due to being impatient and misfiring. Kratos isn’t ready to give up and the two go to find the dear but come under trouble from enemies and a troll. Here Kratos’ gameplay is revealed with the use of an electric bow and spartan rage to attack enemies. There’s plenty of fighting in store that’s for sure. Following this, Kratos and his son find the dear and the boy shoots it (oh he also shoots his father and not the troll as well). To finish off he needs to end the deer’s life with the knife and the two do it together with Kratos uttering: “now you are ready.” Like farther, like son, the two will have plenty in store in this new open world title.

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Kratos’ big reveal.

Next came a new zombie title that mashes up Sons of Anarchy and The Last of UsDays Gone showcases another zombie title but this time with a lot more raw emotion. The main character’s wife is deceased and there are hoards of zombies to be fought against. The gameplay revealed fast motorbikes in a world stripped of human resources, bunkers, wolves and horrifying creatures. The protagonist is seen parkouring through a bunker area shooting zombies with multiple weapons before being cornered on a tall metal canister with zombies at the foot of a bridge. This looks like to be a respectable zombie title which you can really get stuck into.

Following this we were treated to a short cinematic trailer of The Last Guardian from Team Tri. It is a game that has been in the works for a long time and one I have anticipating for quite some time. You play as a boy with a an animal which combines many species and the two develop a connection in which the boy uses Trico through speaking to it. Like other Tri games, this one looks set to be emotional with footage showing fighting against enemies and other huge beasts like Trico and ends with the boy asking the creature if his wings are broken. Oh yeah, we finally have a confirmed release date. October 25th is the date you cannot miss.

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The feels: The boy looks to be comforting Trico who is hurt.

One of the most exiting and interesting games for 2017 was up next with Horizon Zero Dawn. The title appears to be a fantasy adventure type which instead of animals has creatures that are robotics. In a post-apocalyptic world the player can harness electricity from these creatures to benefit from and use as weapons. These creatures can be manipulated into being ridden like a bull-type creature (a broadhead) the female protagonist rides on and they can also be ‘corrupted’. This means the creatures are seen to be red and attack villages and other creatures. The player can identify the weakness of the creature such as fire and then use that against them. There are tons of weapons and traps to choose from and players can use grapples to tie down enemy creatures before finishing them off.

Carrying on with technology, the next title shown was ‘Detroit: Become Human‘ which continues with a similar theme I am seeing in other games where you can change the way you play and repeat moments. This has been seen in South Park: The Fractured But Whole and Dishonored 2. You play as an android called Connor who in the game is in a conference building after people have been murdered by a woman’s mad husband who also appears to be an android. This crime game lets you choose the fate and build your own stories. You face the consequences of your actions and reoccur through the same scenes. Targets could die, live or kill more (even you). One of the interesting elements was that these androids who are supposed to serve and seem to have emotions also have blue blood.

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A new main series Resident Evil title, will we see a return to the quality of IV?

Playstation have been working on a new VR headset which is looking to be a big player in this ever expanding virtual reality scene. The next list of games were said to be compatible with the headset and they’re not just small indie titles, oh no, these are some huge names.

The first started with a very eerie house and a man receiving a phone call telling him to get out or ‘they’ will kill him. The man slowly walks through the darkened house before having multiple flashbacks of how he got there and horrifying events occurring. It looked terrifying to watch at half 2 in the morning but all we know is that we have the seventh Resident Evil title set to release January 24 2017.

The headset will sell at $399, very pricey. Next keep a small preview at a rock/dust world in space which looked like one of the screenshots from Mass Effect: Andromeda. However, it wasn’t. It was a title called ‘Farpoint’ which had huge tarantula-like creatures and two protagonists called Eva and Grant. More information will come about as it happens.

Next we found out that Star Wars: Battlefront and Final Fantasy XV will be VR compatible. The trailer showed characters wearing the headset and also riding on well-rendered Chocobo’s. Adorable. Adding to the VR roster, it was announced that a Batman Arkham title would be coming October this year and you can finally see through the eyes of the bat and say “I’m Batman.”

Finally on the VR list was an interesting space title which had space vehicle battles and the infiltration of an enemy base which included opening hatches to send people flying and plenty of gun fire. There also appeared to be anti-gravity games to use on enemies which seemed highly beneficial. What is this game I hear you ask? It was Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The footage shows there might be hope for the series, especially with the sneak peak at the remaster of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Then the news everyone has been wishing for a decade, and finally no more teasers, Crash Bandicoot, 2 and Warped are getting remasters. Crash will also be coming to the next Skylanders instalment: Imaginators.

The fun didn’t stop there because a new trailer for Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens was revealed and the title will be releasing at the end of this month. It is typical Lego humour with plenty of cuts from the movie and lots to make fun of Kylo Ren a lot. Perfect.

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Our lord and saviour Hideo Kojima is back.

Mr Kojima walked out and fans went wild. The former worker at Konami and creator of Meta Gear Solid revealed that he had a new title in the works. And no it is not a new Metal game sadly.

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The sweet rendering of Norman Reedus’ buns. Will he be fighting zombies this time?

Death Stranding was as spooky as a typical Konami Silent Hill title with tons of dead fish and crabs. Normal Reedus is the star of the show and appears to be holding a recently birthed child on this grey beach. The child disappears and Norman’s hands are covered in black and black hand prints appear on his legs and walks up the beach. Norman stands up and looks up at five mysterious figures in the sky. This looks very exciting indeed and with a great ambient soundtrack from Low Roar.

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Spiderman has a white spider on his suit…why?

Finally, Insomniac games revealed that they are releasing a new Spiderman title which is separate from the series. I really hope this title is good and will like any typical Spiderman game with plenty of fighting and swinging. I really hope this is a throwback to good 90’s PS1 Spiderman titles. Fingers crossed.

Well Sony didn’t need much description and just got on with the show and really that is all you need. There are so many great titles coming our way and the show was just shock after shock. I think I know which console most of you will be playing this year.