Some thoughts on E3 2017.
E3 is one of the biggest events of the year in the gaming calendar. I particularly enjoy seeing the different industry giants trying to outdo each other and getting a feel for what the general direction of the industry is going. Without much deep thought on the matter, here are some things that stood out to me as an initial reaction.
EA's showing was largely as expected. Another crank of the handle of their great big, unstoppable franchise machine. Clearly a catalogue of extremely high-polished games and they make efforts to add interesting new features (story mode for example), but I do struggle to find excitement in the annual revisits. The EA Originals segment, however, did grab my attention.
A Way Out
A New IP, great. Prison escape theme, nice. Co-op, split screen, awesome!
What was pleasantly surprising about the Microsoft showing was whilst all eyes were on Scorpio, MS didn't rely on this as a crutch and delivered a fantastic amount of games orientated content as well.
Although we already knew a lot about Microsoft's upcoming iteration of the Xbox console family, it was good to see a release date and pricing confirmed. Price seems reasonable to me, definitely enthusiasts orientated but a good starting point that will undoubtedly drop post-Christmas.
Sea of Thieves
I've been excited about SoT since it was first announced. Every time they show off a bit more I get more sucked into the hype train. The world looks beautiful, the array of gameplay styles seems well-considered and definitely doesn't take itself too seriously. My main concern, which is the same with many multiplayer games, is the time commitment and organisation required around the dependency on a "crew". My time spent actually playing games is very sporadic and to fit that around other people is difficult. As such I tend to stick with single player titles or lean towards "pick up and play" online games rather than clan orientated titles.
Anthem has been described as somewhere between Destiny, Horizon Zero Dawn with a dash of Titanfall. Works for me. The playthrough demonstrated showed an amazing world to explore and some nice Sci-fi goodness to play with. If there's some compelling narrative to boot I'll be very happy to pick this up. Same concerns re multiplayer as Sea of Thieves but Anthem does seem like it might also be well-suited to lone-wolfing.
Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the finest platforming games there is. More of this incredibly beautiful game can only be a good thing in my book.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm
Life is Strange was a great episodic narrative adventure game. Since it's climatic fifth episode there's been relatively little information about the franchise until E3 where a prequel was announced. Interestingly, this is being developed by another studio whilst the original developers Dontnod focus on their upcoming game Vampyr and also a Life is Strange sequel. Whilst I'm most interested in the sequel, I'll definitely be checking out Before the Storm.
With their quirky tour of "Bethesdaland", there were some interesting announcements to share. Much like EA, these were largely propped up by existing IPs but it was good to see some slight variance with VR getting a look in as well as a revisit to Wolfenstein.
DOOM was one of my favourite games of 2016, such a good return to form for the series. I'm also a big fan of VR and really keen to see it take hold and make the jump into the mainstream. Whilst I don't think this DOOM VFR will be the catalyst for that shift, it does look like a lot of fun and I'm looking forwards to giving it a go.
Ubisoft had an incredibly strong showing this year which was a pleasant surprise. On the face of it, they seem to be really focusing on shaking things up with what seems like a fairly substantial overhaul of a tried and tested IP and some brains out, high octane effort going into another IP revisit.
Assassain's Creed Origins
I'm a big fan of the AC series of games but they do definitely have their ups and downs. However, what has been shown so far of Origins looks very encouraging. The setting of ancient Egypt is an interesting departure going back way further in time than any of the previous incarnations and also mixing up the gameplay mechanics is a brave and welcome move.
Beyond Good and Evil 2
So this was just a cinematic trailer so absolutely no indication of gameplay. But what a great trailer! I never played the original game but will definitely be checking it out in preparation for this.
Overall, I thought Sony delivered a solid showing but nothing particularly unexpected being pulled out of the bag. It's encouraging to see some strong PSVR focus as they're still somewhat the linchpin for consumer gaming VR at the moment and it would be a shame to see that fade into the background.
Being unashamedly biased towards one of our clients here, but it was great to see a whopping three new titles revealed from Supermassive. Particularly encouraging to see them playing to their strengths of strong narrative and leading the way with newer tech ideas such as PSVR and the newly announced PlayLink.
I'm a sucker for a good comic book franchise and what was shown of Spiderman looks set to deliver. Lots of great looking, fast and fluid gameplay potential here but hopefully not too much reliance on interactive cut-scenes.
As the week progressed, I got busy so didn't get to catch up on Nintendo's announcements as they happened. But by all accounts, they certainly delivered some interesting stuff. As well as showing some promising titles they also teased further afield developments such as a new Pokemon game that will undoubtedly do well when it eventually arrives.
No one can accuse Nintendo of churning out the same old stuff. A particularly impressive achievement considering how long the Mario universe has been around. Surely there's nothing more they can... oh right, you can throw your hat onto a T-Rex and take control of it. Well then, fine.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Technically, this is an Ubisoft title but I'm including it here because Mario. What this will be like I have no idea, but I'm a huge fan of the risks and weirdness Nintendo are prepared to take with their beloved IP. Not quite the same worries for Ubisoft's Rabbids but still very interested to see how this plays out.
I've undoubtedly missed loads of cool stuff but these are the things that have stuck out to me so far. Anything you think I should be checking out that's not mentioned above? Let me know on Twitter