E3 2014 Wrap-Up: Tons of new video game announcements, most for 2015
Last week, from June 10 to June 12, most of the video game industry was concentrated to the Los Angeles Convention Center for this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3. Ever year, big game publishers like Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft show off the latest in interactive entertainment, with many games making their first debut to the public.
Somehow, despite being a press-only event, hundreds of thousands of normal everyday video game fans look forward to modifying their schedules and calling off of work just to see these video game giants present their products. It’s an insane fanaticism, as fans at home argue and bicker about “Who won E3?” Publishers play into the madness, directly targeting and pandering to those watching at home, thanks to the advent of live streaming over the Internet via services like Twitch. It’s crazy to think that so many people could get riled up over press conferences, but at E3, that’s definitely the case. Even the weeks leading up to E3 are rife with excitement, as the Internet becomes flooded with “accidental” news leaks and rumors. Some turn out to be true, and others are obvious fabrications. It really is a thrilling time for video game fans everywhere.
“Who won E3?” is always a silly question to ask, but, in the end, everyone wins, because the games shown off this year look to be incredible. Just don’t expect them to actually come out this year, as many of the announced games are slated for 2015.
I, too, was following along at home. Three full days of video game announcements and demos means there’s so much to cover. So, instead of listing out every single thing that came out of the LA Convention Center this week, here are a few personal highlights from the show. Be sure to click on the appropriate links to check out the game trailers!
Phantom Dust (Trailer)
Coming to Xbox One – 2015
Industry legend Ken Lobb took the stage at the Microsoft E3 press conference to announce the rival of an Xbox classic. The game turned out to be a remake of Phantom Dust, a Japanese card-based strategy game for the original Xbox. It’s a very surprising announcement, which makes it all the more exciting.
Coming to Xbox One – 2015
When fame Japanese game designer Hideki Kamiya (the man behind the likes of Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 2 and Okami) stepped on stage, he began his reveal with a pun. “Prepare to see action at a whole new scale.” Scalebound is a new game from Platinum Games, creators of insane action games like Bayonetta, Vanquish and Metal Gear Rising. Do you like dragons? Do you like slaying dragons? How about growing them as armor? Check out the insane trailer and get excited for this Xbox One exclusive.
Dance Central: Spotlight (Trailer)
Coming to Xbox One – September 2014
Finally, Dance Central is coming to the Xbox One, and I’ll finally be able to get some use out of my Kinect. This downloadable-only game comes with 10 songs, with 8 different dance routines for each song. Additional songs will be purchasable a la carte through an online store. Better yet, any songs previously purchased from older Dance Central games can be imported into Dance Central: Spotlight.
Coming to Xbox One and PC – 2015
Now, personally, I think this game was the best-looking game of the show. Cuphead is a 2D platform shooter, but the most interesting thing about the game is its art style, which is reminiscent of 1940s animation. The definitive look is brought home thanks to excellent execution of the chromatic aberration effect that gives off the authentic feel of an old cartoon. It looks incredible. Seriously, check out the short trailer to see what I mean.
Coming to Xbox One – 2015
A new entry in the “original” open-world super hero crime-fighting genre is coming, and this time development is being lead by David Jones, the director of the original 2007 Crackdown. The CG trailer hinted at not only the co-operative multiplayer that has been a Crackdown staple, but also new destructible environments. There seem to promises of leveling building to take down deadly kingpins. I have high hopes that this new game will wash out the bad memories of Crackdown 2 and replace them with familiar feelings of the open-world crime-busting fun I had with the original Crackdown.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Trailer)
Coming to Xbox One – November 11, 2014
Halo 5 might have been delayed to next year, but Halo fans will have a lot on their plate in the mean time with this collection of Halo 1, 2, 3 and 4, all in one package. Halo 1 will be the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary edition, and Halo 2 will receive the same HD remaster treatment. All the games have been updated to run at 1080p and 60 frames per second.
The biggest news is that every single multiplayer mode from these games will be playable online with their original gameplay kept intact, determined by the source of the map. Halo 1 maps will play like Halo 1, and Halo 2 maps will play like Halo 2. This means you’ll be able to revisit the quirky vehicle physics of Halo 1 or exploit whatever glitches and tricks you used back in the days of Halo 2. And, yes, every single map from Halo 1-4 will be in the game, including the PC and Vista-exclusive maps from the PC versions of Halo 1 and 2. In addition, 6 maps from Halo 2 will be remastered for a more modern style of play, playable separately from the original maps. And for those who care about achievements, this package will feature 4000 earnable Gamerscore.
The Master Chief Collection also includes access to the Halo 5: Guardians Beta.
Right now, Sony is sitting on top with the PlayStation 4 selling so well. Their E3 presentation this year wasn’t as mindblowing as last year’s (in which they gained critical acclaim by simply keeping the status quo), but they showed off some solid games. There were a few known quantities, such as The Order: 1886, and brand new installments in existing franchises, such as Uncharted and LittleBigPlanet. Of course, they had a few more exciting surprises in store.
Coming to PlayStation 4 – 2015
Following the Internet leaks that started massive interest and speculation on video game forums everywhere, the game formerly known as Project Beast has officially been announced as Bloodborne. Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, will be heading this project, which looks to be very similar to those two games.
The CG trailer shows off a Victorian setting as opposed to the medieval trappings of the Souls games. The gun and blade-wielding protagonist is shown cleaving through his enemies, resulting in crimson baths of arterial spray. The name seems to suit the game very well.
I’ve never really been a fan of the Souls games, but Bloodborne is definitely one of my most anticipated games for the PlayStation 4.
Coming to PlayStation 4 and Vita
This was sort of an odd one. There was no game to show and no trailer to announce it. Sony is working with Double Fine and Disney to bring the 1998 classic PC adventure game Grim Fandango to the PS4 and Vita in a remastered format. Not much else is known about the project, but I’m excited to have more adventure games on the Vita!
Remember the Vita TV that was announced last year for Japan? Well, Sony is finally bringing it overseas. Rebranded as the PlayStation TV, this microconsole is Sony’s own streaming box solution. It plays music and video from various streaming service, and it can play games as well! It can play some Vita titles (but not all), PS1 and PSP games downloadable off the PlayStation Network, PlayStation 4 games via Remote Play, and PlayStation 3 games using Sony’s PlayStation Now game streaming service (which goes into public beta July 31).
The PlayStation TV will be available in two SKUs: $99 for the PlayStation TV itself and $139 for a bundle that includes the PlayStation TV, a DualShock 3 controller, a download voucher for The Lego Movie Videogame, and an 8 GB memory card.
Despite Nintendo forgoing an actual live press conference for the second year in the row, Nintendo’s presence at E3 was incredibly strong. They opted to for a pre-recorded “digital event” and live programming from the show floor, which brought some much-needed excitement for the Wii U. While third party offerings are still lacking, Nintendo’s own first-party efforts were just dripping with hype that fans were eager to lap up in anticipation. Heck, I actually ended up buying a Wii U as a result of the Nintendo’s hype machine. Too bad most of it won’t hit the market until at least 2015!
Zelda Wii U (Trailer)
Coming to Wii U – 2015
Zelda director Eiji Aonuma showed off the new visual style for The Legend of Zelda on the Wii U. It’s cel-shaded, but definitely a departure from the tired Wind Waker aesthetic. Aonuma promised a huge world to explore at your own leisure, harkening back to the days of the original Legend of Zelda, but with a world that seems as big an Elder Scrolls game. Link rode upon his horse through a lush green environment, with large mountains in the vast distance, and Aonuma promises you’ll be able to explore every inch of the world. The short trailer was just a small teaser of how incredible Link’s next outing could be next year in 2015.
Amiibo is Nintendo’s NFC figure brand, similar to Skylanders and Disney Infinity products. These small figurines of Nintendo characters, like Mario and Samus, contain small data chips that store personalized game data and allows for interaction with compatible Nintendo games through the Wii U’s NFC feature.
Compatible games include Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8 and Mario Party 10. Smash Bros. capability was specifically detailed as using the figures to create computer-controlled assist characters in the game that you can train and customize to your liking.
3DS compatibility will be introduced next year with an external peripheral that will allow Amiibo figures to interface wirelessly with the 3DS.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Trailer)
Coming to Wii U – 2015
It took 9 years, but we’re finally going to see a sequel to the DS classic Kirby Canvas Curse. Like Kirby’s previous yarn outing on the Wii, this brand new game brings a whole new adorable visual style in the form of claymation. Like the original Canvas Curse, this game has you utilizing a stylus to draw rainbow trails to guide Kirby through a series colorful levels.
Yoshi’s Wooly World (Trailer)
Coming to Wii U – 2015
Originally known as “Yarn Yoshi,” this charming title finally has an official title. Yoshi’s Wooly World borrows the fuzzy yarn graphical style from Kirby’s Epic Yarn and applies it to a brand new Yoshi platformer with 3D graphics. This time there won’t be annoying baby Mario crying for rescue! Oh, and there’s two-player co-op. We might actually get a good Yoshi game after all this time!
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS
Coming to Wii U and 3DS – 2014
Oh boy, where should I start with Smash Bros. at E3? Smash Bros. had such a huge presence at E3. Their digital event started by revealing Miis as a playable fighter in the game. It ended by introducing Palutena from the Kid Icarus series. Then they announced that Pac-Manwill be chomping on Mario and friends! The roster for this all-star battle royale is just getting grander and grander.
In addition to traditional character reveals, Nintendo rented out the Nokia Theater, the venue where they used to hold their press conferences, and dedicated it to a Smash Bros. invitational tournament with hundreds of fans in attendance and thousands watching online. It literally resembled a real-life version of the movie The Wizard.
The tournament was seriously a big deal. Nintendo invited 16 known competitive players, including recently sponsored players EG PPMD and LiquidKen. These fierce competitors played to both show off the game’s newest features and take home the trophy. Known community commentators such as Wynton “Prog” Smith and D’ron “D1” Maingrette entertained the crowd with impressive and incredibly “hype” match commentary for a game that has yet to be released. While the format of the tournament was unconventional for competitive Smash Bros., this was the first time Nintendo has officially acknowledged that competitive Smash Bros. community, which hopefully is only the beginning of a beautiful bond to propel Smash Bros. to the become the next big “eSports” sensation on the levels of League of Legends and DOTA.
In addition to all the madness in LA, Nintendo brought the insanity to certain Best Buy locations for the public to check out Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Fans lined up at Best Buy stores for hours just to get a few minutes with the game, and people are still making their own detailed write-ups on the ins and outs of the demo. Smash Bros. fans are truly one of the craziest fandoms out there, and it’s beautiful see their hard work and dedication. We’ll see them all rewarded when the new Super Smash Bros. comes out later this year, with the 3DS version landing on October 3 and the Wii U version coming out this holiday.
Codename S.T.E.A.M. (Trailer)
Coming to 3DS – 2015
Of course there would be at least one new 3DS game announced at E3. Codename S.T.E.A.M. is a new turn-based strategy game from Intelligent Systems. The game features a cel-shaded steampunk aesthetic with character designs inspired by Silver Age comic books and Lovecraftian monsters. What’s the setup for all this? It takes place in a fantasy steampunk version of London in which Abraham Lincoln founds a group of skilled soldiers to combat aliens. Of course. It sounds rather unique, to say the least!
Mario Maker (Trailer)
Coming to Wii U – 2015
For years, people have been hacking Mario ROMs to make their own weird Mario levels, and, in 2015, Nintendo will finally provide an official tool for it on the Wii U. In Mario Maker, you’ll be able to use the Wii U GamePad to create your own side-scrolling levels for everyone’s favorite Italian plumber to run through. You’ll even have two graphical styles to choose from: the classic 8-bit Super Mario Bros. style or the more modern tilesets of the New Super Mario Bros. series. I look forward to making Dark Souls-hard Mario levels soon.
Coming to Wii U – 2015
Splatoon is Nintendo’s unique spin on a third-person shooter. You’ll play as a team of anthropomorphic squids equipped with water guns with their own brand of ink in the chamber. Two teams of four compete to gain map dominance by claiming territory with their team’s color of ink. Your own ink will assist in map traversal, allowing you to quickly swim through your own ink, while stepping into your opponents’ ink will impede your movement. It looks like a lot of fun, and it’s great to have a shooter that doesn’t actually involve shooing at your opponents!
There was a myriad of third-party multiplatform games announced this year at E3. There’s a new Rainbow Six game that seems to hang its hat on elaborately destructible environments. The new Assassin’s Creed game will have you taking part in the bloody French Revolution with three other friends! You’ll be able to revisit an even more gorgeous Los Santos in Grand Theft Auto V for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. All these games are gaming experiences to look forward to, but what I am most excited for is the latest gruesome fighting game from Netherrealm Studios.
Mortal Kombat X (Trailer)
Coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 – 2015
This year’s E3 was the debut of the first gameplay footage of Mortal Kombat X, which was originally announced one week prior to the show. The demo featured six playable characters: two returning classics, Sub-Zero and Scorpion, and 4 brand new characters.
The game looks to play completely different from the previous Mortal Kombat. MK X takes a few features from Injustice, Netherrealm’s previous game, which was based on DC super heroes. Interactable backgrounds allow fighters to use background elements for projectiles or evasive maneuvers. A new stamina bar governs the use of interactables and the new running mechanic. Each character also will have three different variations, adding or removing abilities to the character, which could potentially be used to overcome bad match-ups without having to learn an entirely new character.
Perhaps most important of all, with the power of this new generation of consoles, the “gore tech” of Mortal Kombat X will be providing the next level of video game violence. Violence so shocking that it might even disturb the most hardened Mortal Kombat fans. I guess that’s pretty much what one should expect from the series that brought about the need for ESRB rating system. I guess Netherrelam had some pent up bloodlust from their last game, which prevented them from doing anything too macabre to the likes of DC heroes Batman and Superman.
By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra