My 10 Favourite Reveals From E3 2015

And so another year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone, and I have to say this one was a real peach. Despite an astonishing number of pre-show leaks, there were still some real megaton surprises on show, while known titles just got better and better in prospect. Here are my picks of the event.
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10. I Might Actually Be Into Fallout 4

I’m not a Western RPG guy. I’ve tried to get into them over the years, but for one reason or another, it just hasn’t happened. I knew Fallout was a big deal, but the hype around and New Vegas came at exactly the wrong time in my life. The extended gameplay reveal of Fallout 4 at Bethesda’s E3 press conference, however, has my interest well and truly piqued. The customisation options are off the charts, and man, those base building mechanics alone…


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9. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros Looks Fantastic

I’ve made no secret of my affection for Nintendo’s “Mario RPG” franchises on this blog in the past, so to see both of them merged into one incredibly crazy 3DS game is a bit of a treat to say the least. The opportunity for the kind of quirky, often hilarious banter both series are known for is clearly ripe. The game is coming this year, too, which is a very nice bonus even if there are so many games oh my goodness so many games TOO MANY GAMES TO PLAY.

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8. The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes Coming This Year

I loved me some The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords back in the day, not to mention its Gamecube cousin Four Swords Adventures. So to see Nintendo returning to the idea of a co-op Zelda is a real win for me, and it’s even better that this one makes an effort to stand apart from the last two. By transplanting the expressive Four Swords Link design into the Link Between Worlds engine, then adding a stat-boosting “fashion” system and a shared hearts mechanic (minimising the temptation for your teammates to betray you), Nintendo ensured they could bring out a Zelda game that both feels unique and doesn’t require a lengthy development cycle. A day one buy for me this year.


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7. Backwards Compatibility For Xbox One is a Thing

When Xbox head Phil Spencer dropped this announcement at the top of the Microsoft conference, you could feel the waves reverberating through the conference room, Twitter and beyond. It’s just such a shot at Sony to address one of the average consumer’s most commonly voiced objection to current gen systems in such a straightforward manner. Regardless of how much practical use I will get out of it personally, it’s definitely reassuring to know I might be able to play the likes of Castle Crashers, Braid and the Banjo Kazooie games again. This will be a huge ticked box for Xbox 360 owners who are on the fence about upgrading. And speaking of Banjo Kazooie…


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6. Rare Replay is One Hell of a Nostalgia Trip

No doubt a reality made possible with its new backwards compatibility initiative, Microsoft’s announcement of a 30-game Rare collection for just $50 AU, coming in less than two months time mind you, hit all the right notes for me. Sure, there’s no Goldeneye, DK Country or DK 64 due to licensing problems, but everything else is here – Jetpac, Battletoads, Killer Instinct, both Perfect Dark games, all three Banjo Kazooie games, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Viva Pinata, the works. The whole collection is jazzed up with theatrical presentation, developer commentaries and, in some cases, even cheats. I may finally end up playing Jet Force Gemini because of it. Oh yeah.


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5. Horizon: Zero Dawn is Impossibly Exciting

Guerrilla Games is certainly one of Sony’s most technically capable first party studios, but the makers of Killzone Shadow Fall look to have outdone themselves with their “post-post-apocalyptic” new IP Horizon: Zero Dawn. What’s not to like about a skilled female protagonist wielding a tribal weapon set with sci-fi flourishes? Or robot dinosaurs that roam a truly open world ready to be taken down and harvested? Non-linear combat options? Stunning visuals? A 4-year development cycle aiming for a 2016 release? Yeah, I’m excited. Horizon: Zero Dawn looks the goods.


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4. Another South Park RPG is Coming

Chalk this one up to the single biggest surprise of the show, at least in my eyes. Never in a million tries would I have predicted another South Park RPG from Matt Stone and Trey Parker so soon after the last one. Ubisoft’s decision to open their conference with South Park: The Fractured But Whole was a masterstroke, because its very existence was a shock to the system. A good shock. The first game received quite a bit of praise, and I rated it too, so I expect this superhero-flavoured follow up to deliver the laughs and fun gameplay once again. Hopefully this one doesn’t face as many delays as last time around, though. Eugh.


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3. Star Wars Battlefront Looks Incredible

Oh my goodness gracious. DICE’s Star Wars: Battlefront looks so good it gave me goosebumps every time I saw new gameplay footage throughout E3 2015, and even when I rewatched the footage for a second and third time. Both the Battle of Hoth footage and the pseudo “horde mode” co-op gameplay showcase had me rubbing my eyes (and ears) in disbelief at what the Swedish developer has managed to extract from our collective Battlefront memories and Star Wars movie memories alike. Though volume of content remains a sizeable question mark over the game’s head, I am positively salivating at the prospect of getting to play this game in November.


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2. The Last Guardian Re-Revealed

The last five years or so of The Last Guardian‘s stubborn lifetime have rendered it as somewhat of a running joke within gaming culture. Supposedly in development since 2007, there were very real fears that the poetic successor to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus would never come out, so to see Sony not only confirm its very real character but open their conference with it was a sight for sore eyes. It left people all over the internet reeling, and to think it wasn’t even the biggest bombshell of the conference…


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1. Finally a Final Fantasy VII Remake

Without question the most consistently entertaining thing I did during this year’s E3 was browse YouTube for reaction videos to the most titanic announcement of the 2015 show. That video was just so well-paced, so teasing. If there was one thing that Sony’s press conference could have shown to top the reappearance of The Last Guardian, it was a remake of FF VII, and they did it. I just can’t believe they did it. Sure, it’s Square Enix, and Tetsuya Nomura is involved, so we probably won’t see the game for years upon years, but I mean, it’s happening. It’s finally happening!


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And as a bonus, here are five interesting trends I noticed between all the conferences/show floor demos:

Actual Game Announcements For This Year!

One of my biggest disappointments of 2014 was the amount of E3 announcements that weren’t going to come out that year, leaving fans slightly deflated at their largely unchanged holiday plans. Not so this year, as a significant portion of the games that saw a lot of focus at E3 2015 are, in fact, coming in 2015. The second half of this year looks outrageously full, and for illustration of that you need not look much further than this August. With the likes of Until Dawn, Gears of War Remastered, Rare Replay, Devil’s Third and Dishonored: Definitive Edition releasing in that traditional dead period, when was the last time you saw an August quite this busy?

E3 2015 Loves Dogs

The new Keiji Inafune-led Xbox One game Recore and Sony’s Horizon: Zero Dawn both showed off some variation on the idea of a robotic dog, joining the strong German Shepherd focus of Fallout 4‘s full gameplay reveal and the much-anticipated reappearance of the bird-dog-thing in The Last Guardian to ensure that dogs and dog-like creatures were a running theme throughout the E3 reveals. Anthropomorthic dog Isabelle from the Animal Crossing series also appeared in two games at the show, and Yoshi even got to ride on a yarn dog in one of the demo levels from Yoshi’s Wooly World. Not just man’s best friend, then.

Japanese Companies Are Doubling Down on Being Japanese

I’d say there was a much stronger Eastern influence on the events of E3 2015 than there has been in recent shows. Despite the market at home gravitating increasingly towards smartphone gaming, Japanese developers seemed quite keen indeed to show off some proudly and unashamedly Japanese console stuff this year. The launch of the Shenmue III Kickstarter took up a sizeable portion of Sony’s conference, and much of Star Fox Zero‘s full debut focused on Shigeru Miyamoto’s explanation behind the gigantic kanji symbol in the game’s logo. Not to mention the insanely Japanese trailer for Nintendo’s new Wii U JRPG “Genei Ibun Roku FE (Working Title)”. And then there was Square Enix, who despite owning quite a few awesome Western franchises spent half their press conference talking about games like Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, a new Platinum-developed sequel to Nier, the chibi-fied World of Final Fantasy and a brand new JRPG from a brand new studio literally called Tokyo RPG Factory. Bravo.

December Is No Longer a No-Release Zone

In one of the weirdest trends of the show, quite a few notable games saw release dates far beyond what conventional wisdom would say is a smart time to hit. Usually big-name games are done coming out by the last week of November, with December resembling a figurative (if festive) ghost town on the gaming calendar. And yet if you’re a fan of the likes of Just Cause 3, Xenoblade Chronicles X or the new Hitman, that’s exactly when you’ll be picking those games up. It may just be a case of said games running away from Fallout, Battlefront, Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed, but if the experiment works then a wider release target for publishers to hit can only be a good thing for gamers.

The 3DS is Pretty Far From Dead

When Nintendo’s 3DS handheld had a solid, if not spectacular, 2014, I began to get the feeling that the console was entering its twilight hours. Despite the company’s fairly recent redesign of the platform in the form of the “New Nintendo 3DS”, I thought it foolish to expect anything in the ballpark of the quality landslide that was 2013. Then that Nintendo Direct happened at the beginning of this year, and long story short I’ve been playing more 3DS than anything else in 2015. But even after Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, Puzzle & Dragons SM Edition, Code Name S.T.E.A.M, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D and, yes, Pokemon Shuffle, I figured come E3, Nintendo would be leaving it behind to focus more on Wii U. Wrong, wrong, wrong. New Mario & Luigi crossover with Paper Mario, new Animal Crossing, new Hyrule Warriors version, new co-op Zelda, all this year. And when you factor in next year’s arrival of Fire Emblem Fates, Yo-Kai Watch, Bravely Second and Metroid Prime: Federation Force, it seems I’ll need to keep the ol’ clamshell around for a while yet.

Of course the flip-side of this is a little worrying for Wii U owners. Sure, there’s plenty of good stuff still coming this year (more even than in 2014), and titles like Splatoon and Super Smash Bros will continue to evolve and entertain over the coming months as well, but the “Codename NX” platform may be closer than many, myself included, had previously thought.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Shannon on June 22, 2015 at 12:57 am

    I agree. I am pretty hyped for Horizon: Zero Dawn. It’s just a unique world and story!

    Reply

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