Last year having been almost totally overtaken by new console hardware, this is the first E3 of the new generation to focus entirely on games with only a nod given to some new hardware. The showings were strong strong and varied from all camps and there’s a lot to break down. With that being said, let’s dive in.
- Microsoft reminded us why we love them.
- EA reminded us that they make sports games.
- Ubisoft brought their triple A game.
- Sony couldn’t decided what to show, so they showed everything.
- Nintendo… something-something ZELDA!!!
- In the world of press conference spectacle there are no winners or losers, but I pick ’em anyway.
Microsoft has taken a ton of flack since several PR and messaging missteps last year left a bad taste in the mouths of many of it’s once most ardent supporters. They’ve worked very hard since then and have course corrected very deftly leading into this year’s E3. Having listened to the market and made several changes to the Xbox One (doing away with confusing and draconian DRM, removing always-online system requirements, and offering a Kinectless system) Microsoft is in a much better place than they were a year ago.
As many games journalists like to say: day one (and as a result E3) is Sony’s to lose. Last year Sony took full advantage of that fact by putting a hard focus on games announcing that their next-gen console would launch a full $100 less than the competition (remember that Nintendo does not consider themselves to be in competition with either Sony or Microsoft). By putting a hard emphasis on what they knew the consumer wanted and taking advantage of several messaging missteps and quotes taken out of context from Microsoft and Don Mattrick to solidly win that year’s E3.
Ubisoft led with a delightful intro video from the raving rabbids, followed by the opening 5 minutes of Far Cry 4. The conference was hosted by comedian and actress Aisha Tyler for the third year in a row and used that experience for an expert transition to Just Dance 2015. After a short video about the game, we learned that you can play Just Dance 2015 with just your TV and a smart phone.
Nintendo is all about fun and this year’s digital event set that tone with the help of Robot Chicken shorts poking fun at the company’s perceived lack of new IP and led us into coverage of Smash Brothers. For the first time you’ll be able to use your Mii as a customizable fighter and choose from three classes: Brawler, Sword Fighter, and Gunner. We also learned that Smash Brothers will be coming to the 3DS.
EA was the first developer to take to the stage with a lead-in mini dev diary from the team at Dice (currently working on Star Wars Battlefront). Andrew Wilson (EA’s CEO) then started out with a speech that basically boiled down to ‘thank you for not voting us worst company in the world again’ before handing it off to Aaryn Flynn (Studio General Manager) to show off Dragon Age Inquisition.