E3 2014: PlayTM's Highlights
Well. That's it. E3 is done for another year and what a good year it has been. Everyone seemed to be on top form and while there was a bit of an air of caution from some the overall feeling of the show was a great sense of optimism.
So much went on this year and even just in the Sony E3 press conference that we'd like to take a minute to share some of our favourite moments from this year's show, starting with this:
That's right. You read it correctly. But it's not quite as it seems. Nintendo invited Robot Chicken to create some entertaining interludes for their Digital Event this year and it added a necessary dash of silliness to Nintendo's E3 presence this year.
It one of the later interlude a claymation Reggie Fils-Aime takes offence with a heckler who's constantly asking for Star Fox and fries the guy with his hex vision.
It almost won E3 for Nintendo.
On the slightly more serious side of Nintendo's E3 Digital Event was the unveileing of The Legend Of Zelda's first proper outing on the Wii U.
Eiji Aonmua sat down in front of a beautiful vista of Hyrule with Link sat atop his horse Epona and Aonuma stated that Link would be able to keep going to the mountains off in the distance and approach and area from any direction bringing truly open world interactivity to the Zelda series for the first time.
It looks a bit like Zelda meets Skyrim but that is a dream come true for most Zelda fans and it was probably the most welcome announcement of the whole of E3 2014.
Ubisoft's surprise announcement really was a decent surprise. CEO Yves Guillemot joined host Aisha Tyler on the stage at the end of their E3 press conference to unveil the first gameplay footage of the new Rainbow Six game Rainbow Six: Siege.
After numerous problems with the Rainbow Six: Patriots concept Ubisoft scrapped the idea and went back to the series roots with Rainbow Six: Siege with good solid tactical FPS play. The PC footage shown was of a multiplayer match between the a team of four Rainbows and four criminals who've take a hostage inside a house. Beginning with the return of the tactical planning stage it showed a tense and dynamic multiplayer battle between the two sides.
Fully destructible environments played a huge part with bullets shredding the house's inner walls and one of the Rainbows even breached a locked room through the ceiling. This plus an array of gadgets like a small remote-controlled drone promise some interesting tactical options for team multiplayer. Rainbow Six: Siege is coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One next year and it should be good.
Let's not pretend that it has been a difficult year for EA. They've taken a lot of flack for releasing Battlefield 4 in a bug-ridden state which has made life quite tough for new CEO Andrew Wilson.
With that in mind Wilson took the bull by the horns to show a new side to EA, one that is passionate and honest about the games they are making. Instead of showing CGI trailers for some of the games they have in development for 2015 and beyond they brought behind-the-scenes videos with the devs talking about their new games, concept art and early gameplay footage. This approach was taken by DICE with Star Wars: Battlefront and Mirror's Edge, BioWare for Mass Effect and their brand new sci-fi IP [video above] and Criterion's interesting new first-person extreme sports title tentatively named Beyond Cars.
There was another concession to Battlefield fans who were let down by Battlefield 4's bugs. Visceral's Steve Papoustis announced a PC and PS4 beta for Battlefield: Hardline that, instead of launching in October, a few weeks before the game's full launch, launched that very moment. It's currently running and we'll have our impressions on the PC beta for you next week.
Phil Spencer taking over the reigns of the Xbox division from Don Mattrick seems to have breathed all kinds of new life into a console that has had a fairly rocky launch due to numerous policy changes and some downright arrogant comments from now former Microsoft personnel, Mattrick included.
Spencer fronted the Xbox E3 press conference and he actually looks more like a gamer and a developer than Matrrick and his used car salesman-like sports coat. It instantly made the conference a much warmer experience.
Of course, even with the announcement of Crackdown 3 being developed again by the series creator Dave Jones, this was the Master Chief's show with The Master Chief Collection being revealed for release in November and the Halo 5: Guardians beta dated for December the 27th. It was a good day for Xbox One gamers and betas. Fable Legends and Evolve are both getting betas in the autumn on top of the Christmas Halo 5 beta.
It was entirely possible that Sony managed to show off more games in their E3 press conference than Microsoft, Ubisoft and EA did in their shows combined.
Sony had a quickfire press conference that began with Destiny and the white PS4 and ended with possibly the final Nathan Drake adventure Uncharted 4: A Thief's End takign a detourt through a host of indie, free-to-play and triple-A titles in between.
Grim Fandango was revealed as being remastered for the PS4 and PS Vita and the new Yager-developed Dead Island 2 which is set in a quarantined California will shamble onto consoles and PC early next year.
LittleBigPlanet 3 came up as well with Sackboy getting some new friends to play with. It will also be fully compatible with all of the user-generated content from previous games when it arrives at Christmas time.
The Last Of Us once again brought a tear to our eye in its spectacularly remastered form. It will hit teh PS4 next month just over a year after it launched on the PS3.
It was a truly breathless experience but it was stunning to see the sheer volume of good content that Sony has coming to the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita over the next 18 months.
E3 2014 was absolutely wonderful and the true winners of this year's show are the gamers. There's so many great-looking titles from small indie titles like Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number and Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty to big blockbusters like Destiny, The Legend Of Zelda Wii U and Halo 5: Guardians coming that gamers can't possibly lose out here.