Wednesday, June 11, 2014

E3 Breakdown and Thoughts

E3! What a 48 hour period it has been! I love this time of year, and there was an awful lot going on in the gaming industry. Below is some insight on what the Big Three have talked about over the past two days. For metrics sake, I have broken the three conferences down with a written analysis with some of my opinions and then afterwards broke down the amount of games talked about by all three. 
Exclusives is the game is specifically releasing for that company on it's platforms ONLY. This includes any DLC announced.
Gameplay is the game was actually played on stage.
Trailer is that a trailer was shown, whether the game was older or newer.
Mention is that the game was simply mentioned, either in a montage or by name by an announcer.
Reveal is that the game is newly revealed at E3. For arguments sake, I have also thrown in any DLC announced and this ONLY includes the announcements made during the conferences of the Big Three. 


Microsoft has definitely learned from last E3. After a brief talk about E3 and the celebration of games, Phil Spencer jumped into the 90 minute presentation of over 38 games. Of the 38 games shown at the conference, only seven of the games included actual gameplay footage, including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Halo: Master Chief Collection and Sunset Overdrive. Though the Halo gameplay was really short, the extended look at Sunset Overdrive more than made up for the lack of Master Chief time, and really showed off just how fucking wacky and awesome looking Sunset Overdrive is. This is one console exclusive I really want to not be an exclusive. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt also had an impressive gameplay demo.

Though there were plenty of games to see, only seven new games were revealed, including Inside, the newest game from Play Dead studios (the guys behind Limbo!) and Scalebound, a new action game from Platinum games. All of the games revealed were exclusives, compared to Sony, which had some third party game reveals as well. Scalebound could be interesting, but the CGI trailer was meant only as a tease, so I'm cautiously waiting to see more, but Inside looks like it's going to be a lot of fun. Retaining the same aspects as Limbo, but in full 3D with a more sci-fi bend, I can't wait to see more on this game. 

Only two Kinect games were mentioned at the conference, and both were from developer Harmonix. This was smart on Microsoft's part, as it made sure that the conference retained its momentum, unlike Sony's (more on that below). As Microsoft is seeing the disconnect of the motion control device and players, it seems smart for it to disconnect themselves with the peripheral. I wouldn't be surprised to see the device slowly fade away to obscurity by next E3. 

Microsoft did show off quite a few exclusives to prove why the Xbox One is the gaming console to be at, though comparatively, I think the exclusives are on the same level as Sony's. Fables Legends, Project Spark and Crackdown all made an appearance, though only Fables Legends showed off any gameplay. Everyone of them seemed strong, except for Project Spark, which had a weird Conker tie in at the end that seemed more like a slap in the face to Conker fans than an exciting idea. 

Microsoft is retaining a lot of the time-exclusive deals from the last generation, including Call of Duty DLC, but nothing as interesting as what Sony seemed to whip up with developers. I'd like to see more interesting approaches to getting third party developer support, because waiting a couple of months for DLC really isn't that big of a deal. 

Overall Microsoft came off strong. Phil Spencer said there would be games, and the conference was nothing but games. Despite a smaller amount of reveals, it's good to see Microsoft really approaching hardcore gamers, the people who keep its console alive. With less fluff and more information, I think Microsoft was a step ahead of Sony this time around.

Here's the breakdown of Microsoft's Event:

Exclusives Shown: 12 games
Gameplay Shown: 7 games
Trailers Shown: 13 games

Games Revealed: 7 games
Games Mentioned: 21 games
Total Games: 39 games


Sony approached E3 this year with quantity over quality, talking about over 35 different games. Just like Microsoft, only seven had gameplay shown, including Batman: Arkham Knight, No Man’s Sky and Far Cry 4. However, these gameplay trailers showed between three to seven minutes of gameplay, which is exciting, but still feels a bit empty. 

15 games were revealed, including plenty of Sony exclusives like Ratchet and Clank Remastered for PS4, Bloodborne, Entwined and Magicka 2. These reveals were great and varied, showing off the different games that Sony supports, from small indie games to the franchises you expect from Sony. Other non-exclusive games include Dead Island 2 some smaller games, such as Titan’s Souls and Not a Hero.

Other surprises include standalone infamous: Second Sons DLC involving Fetch, Grand Theft Auto V for PS4, LittleBigPlanet 3, a remake of the classic game Grim Fandango and a release date for The Last of Us Remastered. 

Aside from software, Sony announced the beta release for PlayStation Now on PS4 for late July and a release of the PS TV, which will launch at $99. Project Morpheus was briefly mentioned and will be demoed at the booth at E3, but not too much time was dedicated to the VR headset. Free to Play was also emphasized with a montage of games, but the montage lacked game names, so it was a little hard to see what was being shown off. I have included what games the new CEO talked about, but that was only 3 games. 

With all the upsides to the conference, there was still some slow parts. The announcement that Powers would be coming as one of the first exclusive programming for PlayStation was interesting, but way too drawn out and sucked a lot of the momentum out of the conference. Also, the quick breeze over PS Vita felt rushed and way underwhelming, without a single new game announcement (Unless you include Tales from the Borderlands, which wasn’t announced but assumed to be coming to the handheld). As an avid PS Vita fan, it’s extremely frustrating to see this. Hopefully at Gamescom and Tokyo Gameshow we will see something from the ‘100 developers’ who are creating games for the handheld. 

Sony also seems to have grabbed some interesting exclusive content. Aside from the traditional extra DLC, such as extra Scarecrow missions in Batman: Arkham Knight , PS4 owners are getting exclusive access to betas for both Destiny (available in July) and Battlefield: Hardline (available now). Sony also grabbed some interesting functionality from Ubisoft with Far Cry 4, which allows players to invite friends to join in on their game, even if their friends don’t own the game, which is incredibly interesting bonus. 

Overall, Sony did what it needed to do: show games. There seems to be plenty of big, triple A games heading our way this fall as well as into early 2015, including some big name exclusives. In the meantime, there are some great games, mostly small but great none the less, to fill the void in the meantime The fluff in the middle was a bit hard to swallow, but  ending with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was perfect.
Here’s a breakdown of Sony’s Event:
Exclusives Shown: 12 games
Gameplay Shown: 7 games
Trailers Shown: 8 games

Games Revealed: 15 games
Games Mentioned: 16 games
Total Games: 35 games

Nintendo took a very different approach to E3 than Microsoft and Sony. Not only did the company not do a live press conference on the first day, but Nintendo took a smaller time slot and focused on less games, but more detail about each game. Focusing on 12 games, Nintendo spent time doing mini developer diaries for a number of them, including Yoshi’s Wooly World, The Legend of Zelda for Wii U and Splatoon. These developer diaries including a lot of small clips of gameplay, which I have scored under gameplay in the stats below.

Aside from these inside scoops to these games, Nintendo released some reveal trailers for games we haven’t seen before, including Mario Maker and Captain Toad Treasure Tracker. These games look like smaller, download games to be released on the Wii U.

A major focus of the conference was Super Smash Bros for both systems, thought mostly Wii U. The company revealed the Mii Fighter, which allows players to turn their Miis into 1 of three types of fighter (brawler, warrior and gunner). A trailer for each game was also shown.
During the opening with Super Smash Bros for Wii U, the company showed off amiibo, the new NFC toy line that will interact with many Nintendo games. The figurines act similar to Skylanders and Disney Infinity, except that each figurine will be usable in multiple games, including Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros Wii U. 

The only downside to this conference from Nintendo was the lack of anything for 3DS. Other than Super Smash Bros. and Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (both of which we knew about), there is nothing new. This is probably smart, as the 3DS is still selling well and the Wii U is not, but a little trailer or two would have only added 5 minutes to the conference and given something to the handheld enthusiasts.

I definitely think this conference was the best of the Big Three. It was short, but packed with relevant information. There was no fluff about stats or services like Sony and more in depth on the games shown than Microsoft. Nintendo only showed Exclusives, and I think that's what helped them top the other two. I know it’s personally gotten me excited about getting a Wii U. 
Here’s a breakdown of Nintendo’s Event:

Exclusives Shown: 12 games
Gameplay Shown: 2 games
Trailers Shown: 10 games
Games Revelead: 7 games
Games Mentioned: 1 games
Total Games:  13 games

All and all, though I loved Nintendo's conference, I don't think there is a single bad conference this year. Lots and lots of new games, which is exciting for everyone, especially early adopters of the new consoles. But what do you think? Anyone disapoint you? Excited about these new games? Tell me down below. Don't forget to take a

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