Once again another E3 comes and goes, elevating the way we as an audience interact with the digital landscape. Every time we ask where the ceiling on awe-inspiring, action-packed, and completely revolutionary experiences could be, the gaming industry proves to us that not even the sky is the limit.
So where do we start in our look back on this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo?
Each of the ‘Big Three’ proved this year that the focus has, and will always be, on the core experience, which is a welcomed adoption of philosophy where games will always be the focal point.
Xbox just unveiled their new Xbox One X system
Xbox’s press conference this year made good on the promise of their claims of a transcendent console experience as the Xbox One X made its debut on the main stage, boasting a monolithic six teraflops of computing power and liquid cooling in a console that is wildly smaller than any Microsoft console to date.
The One X’s challenge to the gaming world is it’s focus on 4K gameplay that remains prolific throughout even the most dense of worlds.
Right out of the release window for the One X will be games that truly capitalize on the capabilities that the One X can provide such as Forza Motorsport 7, Microsoft’s premier racing game, Metro Exodus, the sequel to the 2013 best seller Metro Last Light by 4A Games, and the next entry in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ digital franchise Middle Earth: Shadow of War.
The next generation of Xbox One X games will be visually insane
Of course, fan-favorite, stand out titles were abundant. Fans weren’t sure if Dragonball Fighter Z, a 3v3 hyper-fighter brought to us by the Guilty Gear team Arksys Games, would actually be good, or Bioware’s new IP Anthem would provide stellar visual fidelity.
Obviously the usual suspects made their appearance at Xbox’s press conference, with Assassin’s Creed taking a year off to bring us a reassuring return to character with Assassin’s Creed Origins and Minecraft’s announcement of 4K (which is the dumbest thing ever in my opinion). In any case, no one can deny the strong return to form that Xbox has had this year.
In Sony’s defense, this year (and frankly almost every year after E3 2015) was lukewarm, but the Japanese juggernaut proved that it knows how to stay the course with its focus on strong titles backed by their partnerships with third party developers.
What essentially boiled down to an hour and a half of trailers showed a pretty impressive line up for the coming year.
Marvel showed that their future is now
Marvel’s had a great presence at E3 on Sony’s stage as Spiderman showed us that it actually is possible to make good Marvel franchise games. The webswinger has never looked better (not since Spiderman 2 anyway) in a cinematic open world foray through the streets of the Big Apple, and their cross-universe promotion with fighting game legend Capcom in Marvel vs Capcom Infinite proves that simplicity can be interesting if approached correctly.
God of War made an appearance, yet again displaying more of Sony Santa Monica Studio’s development within the tragedy that is Kratos’ existence, transitioning over from Greek to Norse mythology has actually proven to be an interesting take on the origin tale.
Sony is stepping up their VR experience
Surprisingly, Sony has shown dedication to their journey into VR, displaying what seems to be competent attempts into making good games for this new medium. Titles such as the surprisingly fun first person shooter/mindtrip SUPERHOT, smaller-than-life indie adventure tale Moss by Polyarc, and the curious Monsters of the Deep expansion for Final Fantasy XV by Square Enix show Sony’s intent in this space.
Though the true standout (in my humble opinion) would have to go to the amazing remake to Team Ico’s Shadow of the Colossus, which brings the emotional PS2 sleeper hit on to new grounds and the nostalgic trip down memory lane with the reboot of everyone’s favorite, Crash Bandicoot.
All in all, Sony put up a good show, but noticeable absences like Final Fantasy 7 remake, and Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding proves that age old adage of unsustainability of hype over long periods of time.
Nintendo showed that they’re committed to the Switch
And last, but certainly not least, was Nintendo’s half hour montage of its newest additions for the Nintendo Switch, which launched earlier this year.
The Nintendo Direct, shown by semi-approachable Nintendo executives, provided a look at titles such as Pokken Tournament DX, the update to the decent Pokémon fighting game, the announcement of the internet sensation Rocket League coming to the Switch, and brand new entries into their long running series such as Kirby, Yoshi, and surprisingly Metroid with Metroid Prime 4.
The big money ticket of their lineup was undoubtedly Super Mario Odyssey with its impressively catchy theme song, familiar open world platforming gameplay, and beautiful environments, which comes out later this year on October 27th.
Of course, as much happened off the main stages as on them. It’s nearly impossible to document the amazing things that were on display, but E3 never fails to reignite that familiar feeling of exhilarating fun, and passion for digital experiences.