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This year’s E3 was easily one of the best and most energetic conferences that I’ve seen in a long, long time. Like most of you fellow Xbox fans, we went in to this year’s presentation knowing full well that Phil Spencer and Microsoft were going to show off Rise of the Tomb Raider, Halo 5: Guardians, Forza 6, and Gears of War 4. But we got much more than that. It wasn’t just games this year, it was a full-on evolution of the Xbox One console as a whole–and that’s far more exciting than any game could ever be.

We had Xbox announce backwards compatibility, PC mod support, an Early Access program, a new controller, and a brand new UI. This is Xbox taking fan feedback and turning it in to the console we, the consumer, want to support. It feels awesome knowing that our voices matter and is what shapes the massive black brick sitting next to our TV.

Being the first console to announce a Steam-like Early Access program is huge, and could potentially lead to Xbox One users having faster access to major PC releases like DayZ, or ARK: Survival Evolved. And let us not forget the HoloLens presentation that blew our minds with an older game like Minecraft. Even Sony’s president, Shuhei Yoshida thought it was awesome.

We saw Mega Man’s creator pair with the developers of the beloved Metroid Prime series to deliver a brand new IP, ReCore, exclusively to the Xbox One. Although I dubbed it “this year’s Scalebound“–since it was just a CGI trailer confirming a new IP from an awesome Japanese developer–I’m truly excited, purely based on who is at the helm.

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We also saw Rare’s new IP, Sea of Thieves, which was my personal Game of Show pick. A DayZ-like MMO with cartoony pirates? I’m sold. Just thinking of all the fun stuff I can do with a group of friends, our own pirate ship, and the open water.. it’s easily at the top of my list right now.

ID@Xbox had a huge presence at E3 as well, dropping 42 brand new game trailers on the Xbox YouTube page. Cuphead had a great reveal. There was a huge montage video showing some major indie exclusives, like Below, and Goat Simulator: MMORE GOATZ Edition.

It’s obvious we’re in the Xbox crowd, but we’re all about games. We’ve never cared what console people prefer, and try to avoid fanboy wars at all times. We can easily admit that Sony had a pretty great presentation as well, finally confirming The Last Guardian, Square confirming the development of a Final Fantasy VII remake, and.. some odd plug for the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter, which kind of sat funny with us. But hey, Shenmue 3 is officially a thing now, and we’ll take it.

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Final Fantasy VII was never my favorite, and knowing how long it takes Square Enix to develop anything, it’s hard to get excited about something we probably won’t see until 2017-2018 after it inevitably gets stuck in their notorious delay hell. I feel the same way about Shenmue 3. E3 is all about building excitement though, and I’m glad that a lot of people got what they wanted, but I just can’t get excited about something that far out. It’s the same reason that I’m not jumping for joy over Gears of War 4. I love what I saw, and I’m a huge fan of the series, but a “holiday 2016” release window kills my buzz a bit.

Guerilla Games of Killzone fame showed off their new PS4 IP, Horizon, which looks pretty incredible. It’s like a mix of Monster Hunter meets Transformers, and I’m excited to check it out at some point. I’ve never really been a fan of Killzone at all, but Guerilla Games has my attention with Horizon. There were a few other gems shown, like Dreams, a playable version of No Man’s Sky (although I feel like we saw everything there is to do in the game in that brief presentation, which is a little disheartening), and a dead sexy Uncharted 4 gameplay trailer.

Nintendo’s showing of Fatal Frame 4 is definitely my favorite moment from their show, alongside Star Fox Zero. Platinum Games working on anything usually gets me excited. Even as a Zelda fan, I’m not really interested in the new co-op Four Swords-ish game. From what I hear, they’ve already confirmed that voice chat won’t be available either. That seemed to be unpopular in comment sections and social media services around the internet, but another odd decision was to not allow players to upload their Super Mario Maker creations to YouTube, since that worked out really well with Mario Kart 8. And then there’s the new Metroid that really isn’t the new Metroid we’ve all been hoping for. Definitely not their best showing.

I’m sure I forgot to mention a few things, but that’s what the comment section is for. So what about you? What were your favorite E3 moments? Let us know down in the comments below!

Bio Card Brad

Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling reviews, public relations, and our social media communications on Facebook and Twitter. He’s no stranger to sinking an absurd amount of time in to an MMO, but also has a deep seeded love for quirky indie games, pro wrestling, horror films, and his hometown of Baltimore, MD. Get in touch with him by e-mail at the address above, or follow him on Twitter.

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Written by CheapBossAttack

Freelance games writer for cheapbossattack.com and news monkey at switchplayer.net. Podcast contributor at counterattackgames.com. Sewer-dwelling console heathen that mostly dabbles in RPGs, adventure, and horror games. I have a passion for game reviews, horror, and cats, but my blog is purely game focused. Follow me on Twitter @cheapbossattack.

8 comments

  1. I thought both Microsoft and Sony had excellent shows. Sony delivering what Sony fans have wanted for years – although I agree with you about the oddness of the kickstarter, it just seems a little strange to do it in that way.

    A lot of people are saying Sony ‘won’ simply because of the holy trinity being shown, but I think they were pretty even really.

    Backwards compatibility is pretty huge and I’m sure if it had been Sony that announced it, they would’ve got a little more praise. But haters gonna hate or whatever.

    Early access is a great announcement, I buy in to it on PC already, so its great to see it make the jump. I wonder if this means the console version of DayZ will head to XB1 first? As it was looking likely (last year) it would be PS4 first, but this could change it?

    I’m a little sad we didn’t get to see more of Below, or even a release date.

    All in all, one of the best E3’s for a long time.

    1. We kept hounding ID@Xbox about Below info prior to E3 and we were only met with “E3 is coming soon” lol, but they never revealed a release date, or even a release window.. so who knows?

      I’m truly happy that Playstation fans finally got the announcements they’ve been waiting for, but none of those games are coming out any time soon and Sony did very little to show much of anything coming out in the near future. It’s still the “more powerful” console to play cross-platform games, but exclusives has been their downfall and it seems that trend isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

      Xbox, however, showed off a ton of games coming out before the end of the year, on top of new IP and other games releasing in the first half of 2016.

      Xbox definitely seems to have this stigma, where it’s just so easy to get angry with them or hate them on the internet. If Xbox were the ones to announce a Shenmue 3 Kickstarter, I think the internet would have reacted differently. On the positive side, I do notice a new trend of more people excited by the Xbox after their E3 presentation, and that’s great news.

      1. Interestingly a gameplay video and chat with the devs on Below popped up on the gamespot YouTube a few hours ago. They said hoping to release this year but could be early next year.

  2. Every year there is a debate over whichever company “won” the conference. I don’t know if anyone truly wins, but I do think Microsoft probably had the most excitement around them. They did a lot of things they needed to in order to try to gain some ground in the marketplace. The backward compatibility with 360 (Downloading converted code) is a boon for anyone who hasn’t bought one of the new systems yet, and also has a collection of 360 games. It’s also nice for those who might have an XB1, who happens to want to buy old games they missed. Both are smaller groups of customers in the grand scheme of things. But important groups anyway. As for the games, again, they realized they needed to use their first party portfolio, as a differentiator. It’s strange that the big two ignore this a chunk of their time on store shelves. 90% of the third party games on these systems also come out for computers. Without differentiators there are no reasons to pick one of these boxes over another. Or at all, as computers become even easier for the non tech savvy person to play games on.

    So Microsoft showed us Halo, and Forza which made many go, “Okay. Neat. Not unexpected.” But then they showed that they’ve gotten Rare’s catalog out of rights hell. That collection looked amazing. Then they showed off Rare’s new pirate game, which honestly looked pretty cool. At least the little shown did. But the biggest thing they did, though they should have closed with it, was Hololens. Nothing else in any of the conferences looked as cool as that did. They gave a demo that screamed “This is why you might be interested in an AR visor.” Now, long term one may think it was a fun parlor trick gimmick. But ultimately it got everyone talking Microsoft, and hypothesizing all of the practical uses it could have. Even outside of games. Then there was the Gears remake, and sequel news. Which is great if you love that series, if not, you might have gone “Eh.”, and shrugged. It was also cool they revealed a modicum of PC Gaming news, partnering with Valve, and Oculus. Killer Instinct, and GoW remake for Windows. Of course the DX12 stuff coming from developers in other conferences was exciting.

    I wasn’t really feeling the Early Access stuff though. As it stands, a lot of stuff on Steam Early Access has been there for eons. There’s a huge risk that you’ll buy into a game early, and it won’t be finished. Or it will come out poorly. True they’re doing a demo thing, with it. But even with that in place, there’s a chance we could see a lot of the same buyer’s remorse. That isn’t to say every Early Access title will be bad. Some will undoubtedly be great. But I can’t help but feel a little bit skeptical.

    One game that could be a sleeper hit in my opinion is Beyond Eyes. It has a great look, an interesting premise, and the footage makes me want to at least try the game. It’s something a little bit different, and everyone seems to cry there isn’t enough variety. So I hope it comes out well, and if so, does well.

    Sony showed off some great stuff, and yet I was a little bit disappointed because a lot of it seemed glossed over. Last Guardian, No Man’s Sky, and Uncharted were the demos I could really get behind. But after Microsoft’s Hololens demo they should have done something more with Morpheus. We got a snippet of supposed game footage running on it, but that’s it. Even a “Hey! we’re not very long in development, but when we’re finished it will be ace!” would have helped get people a bit more excited about it. A lot of the rest of the conference tidbits amounted to “Hey! this third party game has exclusive content/early release/timed exclusivity on our machine!” Which is good for die hard fans or people who own everything, as they can pick that version. I don’t see most people rushing out to get a PS4 for that reason. It’s a great machine, and they’re going to get it for the Sony games, or the marginally better performance. Or because it’s what all of their friends or relatives play online together on.

    The biggest news that came out of the conference was that we will see a remake of Final Fantasy 7, and a sequel to Shenmue 2 provided it reached its kickstarter goal. Which it did in mere hours. Great news for fans, but at the same time I think that could also be perceived that a lot of people weren’t impressed with everything else they had to show. When a remake of a game that came out almost 20 years ago gets the biggest pop? It doesn’t make the other stuff look good, even though it probably is.

    That isn’t to say I think they had a terrible conference. They had a pretty decent one overall, but it could have been much better.

    Nintendo’s could have also been better. But at the same time they did what was expected, and what they needed to. Showed owners of the Wii U, and 3DS that they’re going to support their products. And most of the games they showed honestly looked really fun. Star Fox looked amazing. The stuff they’re apparently carrying over from the unreleased Star Fox 2 is pretty cool. It looks like a return to mainly arcade rail shmupping, and with Platinum working on it the expectations are high.

    Xenoblade looked gorgeous. We got a bit more story details this time around, and the whole life after Earth blows up thing can make for a great tale. I’m also curious to see how the mech stuff ties in. Fire Emblem looks like it will be great, as does Mario Maker. Having a full blown Nintendo utility to make platformer stages could potentially lead to some great user content. I can already imagine someone porting over all 32 stages from The Great Giana Sisters (Commodore 64) over. Or making speed run maps. Or tweaking existing Mario content into something entirely different. While it won’t be anything near a PC’s ability to do mods, it could be enough to help someone with an interest in making games, better understand the concept of level design. Of course, we didn’t see the full extent of what it will allow you to do with it. But it certainly looked interesting.

    Even Yoshi’s Wooly World looked cool. I found the developer discussion video pretty interesting too, how she turned a crocheting hobby into an idea for the game.

    The amiibo news was great too, for collectors. The anniversary edition pixel Mario is going to be popular, along with the yarn amiibos. Hopefully they’ll get the ball rolling on getting the production up though. I can already see people plotting to camp out in parking lots for a month. Of course then there were the crossover toys for the new Skylanders game. Neat for kids who play those games, and want to use their figures with a Nintendo game too.

    The one thing Nintendo really got ire for is the Metroid 3DS game they showed. I’m not sure why they thought going with a super deformed look was a good idea.

    Nothing that blew anyone’s minds, but not completely terrible either.

    I also watched the PC Gaming conference, and while I thought the host was a little subpar, there was a lot of news coming out of it. We got to see a bit of Cliffy B’s new project from Boss Key. We saw a lot of new hardware from AMD, and how it takes advantage of DX12, and multiple form factors. We got to see a bit more of Beyond Eyes, No Man’s Sky, Gears Of War remake, Strafe (If you haven’t seen this, and you loved Quake 1&2 you’ll want to look it up), Deus EX, more Tacoma, more Gigantic, and more.

    Then we had EA, and Ubisoft’s showings, and I was certainly impressed with the Star Wars Battlefront footage. Mirror’s Edge 2 looks like it could be as good as the first one. Rainbow Six Siege still looks like it could bring the series back to the days of Raven Shield, and even the Ghost Recon reboot looked cool. Of course after the botches these two had last year I’m not going to mark out right away. But I do want these things to come out well.

    Overall, a pretty good E3 though. There will be plenty of stuff to check out, and far more than I can afford to.

    1. I’m honestly surprised that with such a great showing of Horizon, and such an awesome Uncharted 4 gameplay trailer, that a majority of viewers were more excited about remakes and a kickstarter for games that they won’t be seeing for at least 2 years. Sony’s conference showed why PS4 will be awesome in the long run, but Xbox showed a lot of games coming out in the next 6 months–plus others landing early in 2016.

      As for Devil’s Third, I suppose they just confirmed a release date and released a new gameplay trailer online a week or two ago, so I’m not surprised it wasn’t discussed at E3.

    2. And speaking of Beyond Eyes, I just sent out a Q&A interview with the developer, so we should have a spotlight on the game soon with some interesting tidbits and such.

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