If you were like me, and I suspect many of you were, you didn’t get to attend E3 or at least not in person. Though you may have sat at a computer or mobile device and gobbled in as much as you could from various online sources the last several days. It is truly wonderful that we -the masses- can have this kind of access to a convention like that. All conventions, most especially the bigger ones that have gotten “too big for their britches” should be doing this and that’s right I’m looking directly at you #SDCC we want to see those panels streamed online or at least recorded and posted daily.
So what follows is a list of things that caught my interest from some of the webcasts that I watched early in the week and I’ll do my best to include links to videos and more info on the items. It is not a complete list of the things that went on at E3, just the things that stood out for me, and if you were busy this week or just didn’t have the time or interest to sit through the hours of presentations that were made there, hopefully this will provide a quicker and easier way to skim through many of the things that were shown there so you can experience same kind of awe and then agony that I shall be in over the next several months while I wait for many of these items to be released. (And while I say quicker, I feel I should also mention that this is by no means a short list, but I’ll put things in alphabetically so that if you are looking for anything specific that will make it easier to find.)
Batman Arkham VR (PSVR)
I have said since the first time I sat down and played Mirror’s Edge that we needed a 1st person Batman or Nightwing game, and that with a little tweaking, that engine could provide that. Now all these years later it looks like either somehow someone heard me, or more likely had the same dream I did and they’re now going to make that a reality, virtually speaking, on PSVR.
Battlefield 1 (Windows, X1, PS4 – Oct 1st 2016)
Lace up your boots, strap on your helmet and don’t forget to bring your folding combat shovel because you’re going into the trenches of World War 1 with this one! I’ve yet to pick up and play a Battlefield game recently, (that I can remember), and while the game looks gorgeous I’m not convinced yet that this will be the one to get me back into the series.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Windows, X1, PS4 – Nov 4th 2016)
I have to say it, I really don’t get the hate pouring out towards this game. Granted I’ve not kept up with the Call of Duty series in a while, but even watching the first trailer weeks ago I have been excited for this one. FPS on the ground as a grunt hoping in and out of vehicles some of which can fly into space and then you have space combat in and out of those same vehicles and it all looks to happen seamlessly? What they hell is there not to like?
Days Gone (PS4)
Just another Zombie game…or is it? Days Gone is being listed as an action-adventure game where you play as a biker in a post-apocalyptic setting. The look and tone of the game appeals to me and it brings back fun memories of Dying Light. I don’t know if this game will have the same freedom of movement that Dying Light did, and I kind of doubt it, but it appears that I could spend plenty of hours playing this one.
Now I hesitate to bring this up, but part of me feels the need to. Hideo Kojima is considered a legend by many in the game business, I get that. With series like Metal Gear Solid under his belt his next project definitely deserves our attention. So what is it that makes me debate this as mention-worthy? It is because I don’t like it when someone shows me a teaser trailer that leaves me questioning what the hell I just saw with no clue how to form an answer to that question. The trailer for all the glorious rendering in CGI -and I love CGI movies and trailers- showed us nothing other than a naked Norman Reedus crying on a beach blackened by something vaguely oil-like with a bunch of dead sea life. That doesn’t tease me, it frustrates the [expletive deleted] out of me because that doesn’t tell me anything about the game you’re developing other than Norman Reedus will be a part of it. If you want to tease me you have to at least tell me something about the game you’re making. I don’t need or want the whole story or any kind of spoilers, but at least give me something about the kind of story you’re trying to tell and what type of game genre you’re going to use to do that.
Detroit: Become Human (PS4)
After watching the trailer for this one I wasn’t moved in any one direction really. It is an interesting idea, but I did have one big question, is it just the one scenario? I can see how some folks might have fun going and trying different things over and over to get different results, and I find it amazing that they’ve put that much thought into a single scenario and the many things that can change based on split-second decisions, but for myself I think once I had successfully finished it once or twice I don’t know if I’d go back to it again.
Dual Universe (Windows)
[Said in a booming voice] “Minecraft in Space!” Though really it is much more than that but I couldn’t resist. It is not the first game of it’s kind for sure but it looks rather neat. You can build on the planet, build a spaceship and then fly into space and build space stations or fly to other planets. Interaction with other players and the factions that you or they create could provide for some interesting areas and role-playing.
For Honor (Windows, X1, PS4 – Feb 14th 2017)
We’ve talked a little about this one on the show before. Play as either a Knight, Samurai, or Viking and take on members of the other factions as you play either online multiplayer or in either single or two-player coop through the story missions. They’ve got kind of a new take on the combat system that will be used for your encounters in this game and I’ve got to say that I think they’ve hit the pretty good balance between the pace of the overall encounters and the combat that you experience as you play. I’ve already signed up for the alpha and I’m eager to get my hands on this one and check it out further.
Forza Horizon 3 (Windows, X1 – Sept 27th 2016)
It has been a while since I’ve delved into the racing circuit of games and although I have played a few others, mostly I’ve scratched the racing itch from time to time with Mario Kart and most recently another member of the group introduced me to the Table Top Racing Simulator which is a blast as well. I have to say that after looking at the trailer for this game I was pleased with just how gorgeous the game looked. I can’t speak to the mechanics of it just yet but if you’re looking for a new racing game this is probably the one for you.
Gears of War 4 (Windows, X1 – Oct 11th 2016)
While I can’t remember at the moment if I played GoW3 or not I do remember enjoying the first 2 games, especially when I got to play coop and while there is only two player coop in the game I expect this one to be just as much of a blast as the previous titles. In this one you’ll play as new heroes, with one member of the group being the son of Marcus Fenix, one of the original games protagonists.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands (Windows, X1, PS4 – March 7th 2017)
Have you been playing the Division and thought, “man I’m tired of running around in the city, it would be refreshing if we could leave the city and go into the surrounding countryside”? Don’t worry, Ubisoft has got you covered with Ghost Recon: Wildlands! Jokes aside, I had lots of fun playing the Division though admittedly my time with the game ran out before I got a chance to do much of anything in the Dark Zone post-beta. Wildlands is also supposed to support drop-in/out coop throughout the entire game which is a far-sight better than other Ubisoft games lately, [cough] Far Cry 4 [cough] Assassin’s Creed: Unity [cough], where you could only play coop in certain missions. The game itself looks like it should be fun, though it has been getting mixed reviews from some folks in the industry due to a lack of tactical mechanics and the AI not acting very intelligent. That being said, the game itself is still in pre-alpha so there is still time for changes or improvements to be implemented.
God of War (PS4)
Having only recently acquired a PS4 (and never owned a Playstation before), I’ve not played any of the games from the God of War series, but seeing some of the gameplay from E3 on the new title has me itching to step into that world and play as the mighty Kratos and I’m even more excited for this since it is based in and around Norse mythology which I have always had a soft spot for.
Halo Wars 2 (Windows, X1 – Feb 21st 2017)
When it comes to Strategy games I can either “take it or leave it”, so to speak. I find them enjoyable at times and at others I just don’t want to deal with managing base construction, defense and research while also dealing with unit spawning/deployment and combat. But I would put this on my list of games to play because I think it would be fun to watch and play an RTS in the Halo world.
Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4 – Feb 28th [US]/Mar 1st [EU]/Mar 3rd [UK])
Other than the new Zelda game, this is probably one of the ones that I’m anticipating the most. I couldn’t really what exactly it is that appeals to me the most about this one, but I do find stories that are based in the distant future after some apocalyptic event where humanity has worked back up to the dark ages as something to fun to explore. Horizon Zero Dawn has you playing as a human woman of mysterious origins in a world apparently now run by massive machines made to look like animals. Watching the videos from E3 it almost had a crossover vibe of something between the life outside the Matrix and Skyrim.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Wii U & Nintendo NX)
I’ve always been a big Zelda fan. I only purchased a Wii so that I could play Zelda and Mario Kart on it and even though there has been a new Mario Kart for the Wii U it wasn’t enough to get me to upgrade to that console. But that is about to change. A new Zelda game is on the horizon for the Wii U and the NX consoles and you guessed it. As soon as the NX is out I’ll likely be picking that up with my copy of Zelda. This new game is still very stylized and animated looking, but the style of animation seems to have grown up a bit from previous titles and I really like that.
Mages of Mystralia (Windows)
As an old-school D&Der I’ve got a soft spot for Dungeons & Dragons based RPGs and things that are created by the folks that have had a big influence on those worlds. While this one isn’t based in any of the D&D worlds, Ed Greenwood -who is basically the Grand Wizard of the Forgotten Realms himself- was in on the development. You’ll play as a young girl learning to cast magic through the use of runes that you learn to create as you play. The game itself has a distinctive artistic and somewhat cartoony style but I like that it helps it to stand out from the crowd in that way.
Mass Effect Andromeda (Windows, X1, PS4 – Q1 2017)
Being a fan of the Mass Effect series and having played all of the previous titles this one was a bit of a no-brainer for me. This time we’ll be playing as a n ew group of folks that haven’t yet earned any fame or warranted any special attention just yet. The developers have said that as opposed to when you played as Commander Shepard, who was a hero when you met (him or her) and later became a legend, this time around you play as someone who can potentially become a hero but who hasn’t yet taken their first steps in that direction.
Razer’s VR Headset (HDK 2.0 Ships July)
A VR headset that costs about half as much as the other two main brands and is built by Razer? Sign me up! If nothing else I pray this will help to lower the cost of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive devices, but I will definitely be considering this device for VR.
Quake Champions (Windows)
Wolfenstein got a shot at new game not that long ago and Doom recently released a new one, it was only a matter of time until the dusted off Quake. Only this time it appears as if this one will be a PC exclusive, or at least for the early part of release. With few exceptions, I’m not a big fan of exclusive titles to any one platform. I really like what Microsoft is doing with many of their upcoming titles, but I’m getting ahead of myself and there will be more on that further down the article. Quake Champions is not a MOBA as the title might lead some to believe, but instead is being called a “Fast-paced Arena Shooter”, and it appears to harken back in many ways to the old style of gameplay.
Sea of Thieves (Windows, X1 – Q1 2017)
This looks like it could be tons o’ fun with a group of friends and some rum! Play with up to 3 other friends online and encounter other groups of pirates on the open seas! It has a bit of a cartoony vibe to it but I feel that just adds to the fun as I don’t think the game was meant to or should be taken super seriously.
Skyrim Remastered (Windows, X1, PS4 – October 2016)
If you haven’t seen just how gorgeous this looks, do yourself a favor and jump to the link right away. When the game came out I thought it looked great and while I wasn’t wrong at the time, it pales in comparison to how it looks in the remastered version. Plus if you alread own the game and all the add-ons or the legendary version (on steam), you’ll get a free upgrade the end of October to the remastered version!
Spider-man PS4 (PS4)
A new Spider-man game is on the way exclusively to the PS4 and appears to be (unsurprisingly) heavily influenced by the most recent Captain America: Civil War movie, or at least the costume does. It is said to be an open world game with its own “completely original story and universe”. So whether or not the similarities end at the costume design or if there will be some kind of tie-ins to the upcoming Spider-man Homecoming film from Sony is as of yet to be seen.
Steep (Windows, X1, PS4 – Dec 2016)
A new open world sports game, think Winter X-Games with paragliding and wingsuits. It’s been awhile since I’ve played a game like this, come to think of it the last one was a Tony Hawk game for the Wii. While it isn’t something I will be chomping at the bit for, if I get my hands on a copy of this one it looks to be able to deliver a fun experience with a variety of event types. Having coop featured as a big part of the game is a huge plus for me as well.
Titanfall 2 (Windows, X1, PS4 – Oct 28th 2016)
Finally they are going to have a story mode! It is the biggest thing I felt was missing from Titanfall and it is what kept me from purchasing the 1st one. I find some fun in an arena shooter, but playing the same maps over and over again, (and let’s be honest getting trounced by kids only slightly older than half my age), can get old somewhat quick.
Vampyr (Windows, X1, PS4 – 2017)
Vampyr seems to have some very interesting game mechanics. They make it sound as if the entire game world is more connected under the surface than you might imagine. It sounds as if you play as a newly turned vampire that struggles with the choice of who to eat, and those choices can affect the game world in surprising ways that might make it harder to complete the game. The funny things is that while you are supposed to be trying to avoid feeding on people they throw in a really diabolic twist, you get far more XP to advance your character from feeding on innocents than you do with combat.
Watchdogs 2 (Windows, X1, PS4 – Nov 2015)
If you watched any of the videos from E3 (that had advertisements) then it was hard to miss the trailer for this one. I swear that 8 out of 10 videos I watched showed the “Spaz if you want to” music/trailer. I enjoyed the first one, or at least I enjoyed what I played as I never got around to finishing it but it was certainly fun. In this one you play young hacker in the city of San Francisco who’s been wrongfully accused of committing a crime and now wants to hack the system responsible and shut it down for good. They’re boasting that you’ll be able to hack just about anything in the game. Oh and one other thing, after the Assassin’s Creed movie they are supposedly looking to make a movie based on this title next.
Xbox Design Controller
Ever wished you could change up a few things on your Xbox controller and change some colors around? With this new initiative Microsoft is allowing folks to design their own controller and they’re boasting up to 8 million different combinations.
Xbox Play Anywhere
Finally MS stops all but ignoring their PC gamer-base! Now I understand that is a pretty bold statement and it isn’t entirely true, though it has felt that way for a while now. Ever since they decided to make Halo a console exclusive all the way to when they got a hold of the Tomb Raider license and then delayed the PC release by a few months after the Xbox release. (I know you may think I’m crazy for ranting about a few months on a release date but it to me it speaks volumes about how they were viewing PC gamers as more or less a non-priority imo.) But, and I’m guessing this has a lot to do with X1 vs PS4 sales and how Sony is basically running away with the market, many of the games coming out over the next year and hopefully continuing on will be playable on both Xbox and PC. And the good news doesn’t end there, if you buy a game on one of those platforms you can play it on the other for free. So you no longer would need to purchase two copies of the same game to play it on the PC and again on the X1. Your move Sony. We’d love for you to give us a game client we can install on PC that will allow the same thing for PS4 games.
Xbox One S (Early August 2016, $299)
Not to be outdone by Sony’s rumors and release of info on a new slimmer PS4, Microsoft has released info on their slimmer, newer X1 S.
XBox Scorpio (Sometime 2017)
In a move that caused me to scratch my head, Microsoft has announced a brand new console set to be released next year. It isn’t the announcement itself that caused me confusion but the fact that they are announcing a slimmer X1 and also announcing a newer more powerful console as well. Uhm…why would I even bother with the X1 S then? The only thing I can guess is that at launch the X1 S will be significantly cheaper than when the Xbox (code named) Scorpio releases.
So that’s my list for E3. If you think I missed something important feel free to let me know in the comments section below.
Drac just wants to play games on his PC (and occasionally a console), but somehow found himself roped in writing and talking about them as well. Don’t expect anything high-brow though, Drac is just your “common man” gamer and he speaks from that perspective.