As usual, there were some huge announcements at E3 this year. Master Chief is getting the HD treatment; Star Fox is back for the Wii U; and Sony has officially revealed Nathan Drake’s return in Uncharted 4. In reality, there were way too many to adequately discuss here, so we here at 5Why have taken a different approach. Two of our gaming experts, Eamonn Warner and Andrew Toledano, have trawled through everything E3 had to offer, and each have returned with 3 highlights and one lowlight from gaming’s grandest show.
No Man’s Sky (PS4, 2015)
The promise of an “infinite universe to explore” is an incredibly enticing proposition. Starting on your own unique planet, you set out across the surface to discover as much as possible before jetting off into the stars in search of something even more unique (no two planets in the game are the same). The gameplay trailer showed glimpses of space combat against either AI controlled ships or other players, with dogfights between ships a real feature. This could lead to some very interesting story possibilities, even if they become secondary to the exploration, which would be a nice change when compared to many of the heavily scripted adventures on the market at the moment.
Evolve (PC/PS4/X1, October 2014)
No surprises for guessing what Liam Neeson will play as. Evolve continues to impress with the unveiling of its second monster, the Kraken. Also with the announcement of 12 hunters in total (3 different variants on each of the 4 classes) and a 3rd as yet to be determined monster to hunt (control), Evolve is showing more and more that it will possess unmatched depth in terms of tactics and abilities within co-op play. The 12 dynamic arenas are full of secondary dangers and creatures which you can avoid, or hunt to gain XP to make the battles with the monsters more of an even fight, as it looks like you’ll need all the help you can get once the beasts evolve into their more powerful forms.
Arkham Knight (PS4/X1, 2015)
Rocksteady look to be one of the first studios really pushing the next-gen hardware to its limits. The gameplay footage debuted during the Sony conference was amazing. Gotham looks absolutely massive and just as interactive and detail packed as Arkham City. But the scope of Gotham is simply immense when compared to previous titles in the series, with new levels of verticality added for good measure. Fluidity of movement between the different elements is something that makes these Batman games so well renowned, and Rocksteady appear to have upped the slickness of movement in both combat and the traversal of the environment. Exclusive “Scarecrow Nightmare” missions for the PS4 are a nice bonus as well for those who still haven’t picked up a next-gen console.
The Last Guardian (???)
Or should I say, no Last Guardian. The cynic in me saw all the chatter about it being cancelled, and then not cancelled, and then in active development in Japan as a sneaky marketing ploy to get the game right back to the top of everyone’s thoughts going into the convention. It was shaping as a perfect show stopper for Sony, and a release date or gameplay trailer would have arguably ended the presentation with a bigger bang than the reveal of Uncharted 4. I can’t really help but be disappointed. I’m aware that might be mainly my own fault for misreading the situation, but I know I’m not the only one who was expecting at least something from Team Ico.
Sunset Overdrive (X1, October 2014)
Sunset Overdrive, the newest exclusive for the Xbox One – a third-person shooter from the esteemed Insomniac games – took the stage with both an entertaining trailer and interesting piece of gameplay.
The game sports a cell-shaded, cartoony art direction, full of bright orange and blues that oddly wrap up the nature of the game, accompanied by comic book styled onomatopoeia splashing across the screen when taking out the enemy. It’s 2027, and after the contamination of a new Energy Drink that has turned the population into terribly disgusting mutants, which meet somewhere between The Last of Us’ Clickers and the Amnesia Monster, it’s up to you, a previous Nobody to become a somebody. Using amazing parkour mechanics that see the protagonist grinding, wall running, and zip lining while firing an array of weapons like bowling ball cannons and teddy-bear bazookas, there’s so much to be excited about when Sunset Overdrive arrives this October.
The Legend of Zelda (Wii U, 2015)
There was one thing I wanted to see specifically out of Nintendo’s E3 digital event – The Legend of Zelda Wii U, and although it was very short on details and footage, it was officially revealed.
Series producer Eiji Aonuma introduced us to the first glimpse of the game. The small piece was Link on Epona (his trusty steed), as they sat looking out at what we can assume is the land of Hyrule. The small detail we were given was similar to last year’s 3DS title A Link Between Worlds, where the player was able to travel to dungeons in any order they want, and approach them in multiple ways. Aonuma went on to discuss that in this iteration of Zelda, you may be sitting in a quiet plain when a monster comes out of nowhere and attacks you, which was then demonstrated on screen. The game boasts a familiar looking art style in the vein of both Skyward Sword and Wind Waker, which has become almost a staple of the game.
Interviews with Aonuma in regards to Link’s feminine portrayal have also been mentioned from the conference, with a laughing Aonuma replying: “No one explicitly said that was Link.” Interesting information as we wait for the release in 2015.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege (PC/PS4/X1, 2015)
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, a series that debuted back in 1998, was always commended for feeling realistic, using planned strategy before even touching a gun, and the use of perma-death. The trailer demonstrated the amazing pre-alpha footage of a team of operatives planning to intrude and take down terrorists holding a women hostage. Team planning is key. A sleek HUD shows the amount of allies and enemies in contention at all times and health and shield systems. Combined with gameplay ideas like shooting out drywall to flank the enemy, or leaning around corners, the sheer destruction and game mechanics alone had me hooked. Get your friends together and put Counter Strike on the back burner for a while, the next team-based shooter is coming in 2015.
EA’s Press Conference
EA probably had the worst idea for the conference, in deciding that if they had nothing to show for games that they wanted to announce were in development, they’d show a behind the scenes look at the teams and development of the titles instead. Mass Effect, Mirrors Edge 2 and Star Wars: Battlefront got this treatment; we were shown little to no gameplay or pre-rendered cut scenes, and no major details on titles or mechanics. To be fair, Mirrors Edge 2 did reveal the most information out of the three, but all in all, if you’re going to show something at least have something small thrown together – particularly for E3. Announcing a game and not showing anything new or of detail is not announcing anything at all.