Every year there is an expo in Los Angeles California there is a show called the Electronic Entertainment Expo (e3) and it brings the best video game developers to the forefront to show off their recent offerings. This one covers my thoughts on the 2015 presentations.
Microsoft had a really strong conference to open up E3 I felt, Microsoft announced several cool things including a new controller (pictured above) and backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games coming to the Xbox One.
First lets talk about the new controller, because that is the most expensive piece that Microsoft announced on June 15th. It will cost $150 and will have the following included when you purchase it:
- Xbox Elite Wireless Controller
- Carrying case
- Set of four paddles
- Set of six thumbsticks: standard (two), tall (two) and domed (two)
- Set of two D-pads: faceted and standard
- USB cable
- AA batteries
The four paddles, six thumbsticks and two directional pads are all interchangeable to make the controller your own as you see fit. The press release also mentions a premium design and you can use the Xbox accessories app to customize the controller to your liking. I must say for a new controller the $150 price tag is very steep, but it does look like a premium piece to add to your controller collection. The company is saying it will offer premium accuracy and precision with the controller function. Which is important, because without that there is no way that any gamer would pay $100 more just for a premium design and a few extra paddles.
Another major thing that drew my attention was Microsoft announcing that Xbox One will be adding backwards capabilities to play Xbox 360 games in the fall. Because of this Ubisoft is going to be offering a code to those who buy Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege for their two Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas games, and if you have not played the games, they are stellar. That reason alone will be the reason I buy Rainbow Six Siege on Xbox One.
Overall the Microsoft show stole the event for me, those two announcements and the trailers that were shown were really good too including Halo 5: Guardians and Gears of War 4. A lot of good coming to Xbox One this year and beyond, and I look forward to it.
Conference Score: A
Ubisoft this year did not really hit me with a wow factor, don’t get me wrong it was a decent conference, but nothing jumped out at me as stunning. I did like several of their games including games we knew about such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, and Tom Clancy’s The Division and then there were new games such as Trackmania Turbo and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands that also caught my eye. As I said though nothing caught my eye that I was not already excited for, and none of the games I was excited for to begin with, made me even more excited about the game. Ubisoft showed off a new South Park game, a new Just Dance game, and a few other games but nothing major. And my guess was wrong, there was not a Watch_Dogs 2 announcement, which was disappointing.
I think the game that I was surprised that I liked the most was a city builder game called Anno 2205. And that is because it looks like fun, but really who knows what the game will actually be like once it drops.
Conference Score: B-
Credit: To Youtube user GolemDE
Electronic Arts to me was the most disappointing conference that I watched, I felt bored while I watched the conference, there was a lot of crap on it, I mean seriously, there was nothing that really blew me away. In fact I came away from watching that press conference feeling like I wasted my time. Very few games did anything for me. But with that said I did come away with a favorite which surprised me, but I felt really good about Star Wars Battlefront, a game of which I had no interest in going into the event. Other games from the event that did not fall into the sports category I am about to write about include a new plants versus zombies game, Mirrors Edge: Catalyst, and a Minions mobile game. The two Star Wars games had me the most interested. Which is scary to me, since I am usually into at least one of their non-sports games.
From a sports game perspective, there was really not much shown. One of the only things I found even remotely interesting, and of note, was the face scan app that will be coming to NBA Live 16 this year. I mean it is nice, but if NBA Live 16 is not a good game than it is kind of pointless. That isn’t to be mean, it is just the truth. NBA 2k15 had a similar feature last year and it was the better game going into last years release window, and still is the better of the two games from the little I have played of both games.
NHL 16 only got a trailer and a brief mention of the EASHL which was absent from NHL 15 as many will recall, but also slipped in when EA was talking about Ultimate Team mode across their line up of EA Sports games is a small glimpse of NHL 16 gameplay showing a break-away goal which can be watched here starting at the 1:46 mark (the blue highlight above the player is part of the new tutorial system added into the game and can most likely be turned off.) I have read a lot of positive stuff about NHL 16 coming out of E3, and despite not getting a lot of air time on the web sites thus far, there is a lot to like coming from EA Canada from the sounds of it. And as a hockey fan I cannot wait to try the game in a couple of months.
— EA SPORTS NHL (@EASPORTSNHL) June 18, 2015
I cannot really comment on Sony’s conference since I did not watch it as it was on the same night as the Stanley Cup Finals and hockey takes priority over a video game press conference. However according to what I have read Sony had a really good conference, so I will have to take people at their word.
Score: N/A mainly because of my inability to watch it.
Games That I Am Looking Forward To
After the conferences that I saw, I felt like it would be a good time to evaluate what games I am looking forward to either thanks to the conferences or in addition to what I saw at the conferences.
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
- NHL 16
- Tom Clancy’s The Division
- Fallout 4 (E3 Presentation: https://youtu.be/1t_YHgo_HN4)
- Star Wars Battlefront
Number 4 on the list is important because I am far from a Star Wars fan, but I remember how much fun one of the old games was when I played it with my younger cousin several years ago, and the new one looks just as fun. I am genuinely excited to play this game, which is pretty cool considering the fact that my interest in Star Wars is not there from a movies standpoint.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege was probably the best demo of any of the shows, it didn’t really show anything new per say, but just seeing the game and the carnage you can cause to the interior of homes and such is pretty cool. The biggest difference between this demo and others is that it showed off a little of the single player campaign, which to me was exciting as I am primarily an offline gamer. But I think even the online component of this game can be a lot of fun to as long as no douches ruin the fun for everyone.
NHL 16 did not get a lot of media coverage but the overall feeling about it is that the game is better and runs smoothly. Which isn’t the biggest deal in the world but reports also indicate that Be a GM has faster load screens and so on, so that is a reason for optimism. Because while I play NHL 15 a lot, it is not EA’s best work, so to hear that NHL 16 is better in many ways is reason for optimism, and hopefully moving forward the series can become sports game of the year material again like it was when 2K was still around. EA had let the NHL series kind of fall off in recent years, and last year I think was the last straw for fans with all that happened. Hopefully EA now realizes how important the NHL series is to gamers, despite not being its biggest seller, it is probably one of the most royal fanbase the company has, and it took the players for granted. Hopefully EA makes it right moving forward.
Ubisoft added a couple of games to my radar during their event including but not limited to Anno 2025 (PC) and Trackmania Turbo. These games just look like fun to play, in particular Trackmania Turbo looks like a blast. We’ll see how the games fair when they release, but they are worth keeping an eye on in my opinion.
I think e3 2015 had a down year this year personally. I think from what I was hoping for and what we actually got were two entirely different things. However with Microsoft adding backwards compatibility to the Xbox One it gives more incentive to buy an Xbox One over a PS4 if you are still on the fence. But overall the added functionality of backwards compatibility is a nice addition to the landscape of gaming, especially at a time where groundbreaking games seem to be reserved for next year (2016) and beyond.
We’ll see though, I would love to think that this is the start to really tapping into the technology of the PS4 and Xbox One.
It will be either that or these consoles were really over-hyped machines. The jury is still out on the consoles so far, I think they have failed to really capture that next generation feel. At least in comparison to what the generation started with with Battlefield 4 and Watch_Dogs being the leaders of the hype train with insane graphics and innovative ideas even if Watch_Dogs ended up being pretty underwhelming. The feeling of “wow that was awesome” was lacking this year, there was only one time where I said anything like that was during the Fallout 4 presentation (which I linked above in the countdown of games I was looking forward to) where they featured mods to your home and weapons (a la The Last of Us).