E3 day zero has officially come to an end, and what a day its been. If you consider yourself a member of gaming culture, be it console, pc, or of the portable variety, you know this week is essentially a weeklong holiday for us. There were some expected reveals as well as some exciting surprises. This is just going to be a quick retrospective of the 2 conferences, so if you want a more in-depth discussion be sure to check out The Catchup Podcast E3 episode this friday.
The day kicked off with Microsoft’s Press conference at 9:30am. Before the show even began a few items had already leaked: The XBox one S & Dead Rising 4 but more on those in a bit. One of Microsoft’s biggest hits in its arsenal of exclusives made its campaign debut. Gears of War 4, now developed by The Coalition, the story takes place about 25 years after the events of emergence day, where you will take control of JD Fenix, Marcus Fenix’s son. The demo was pretty intense, showcasing some old mechanics such as the roadie run and the chainsaw gun, as well as highlighting new weapons. We were also introduced to the Xbox One S, a new slimmer model that’s 40% than the current Xbox one, has an internal power supply (goodbye giant power brick), a streamlined controller, & 4K video output, coming in Aug at $299 for a 500GB model. A 1TB & 2TB will also be offered at $350 & $400, respectively. We also got a look at the return of Frank West in Dead Rising 4, Platinum Games’ Scalebound (pretty cool looking action RPG, a standalone Gwent game from CD Projekt Red, customizable controllers, We Happy Few (Bioshock fans pls watch) and finally, the confirmation of a new more powerful Xbox One. Tentatively titled Project Scorpio, this new iteration has beefed up specs (that I won’t list but trust me, it’s beefy).
Microsoft had a very solid showing, and part of it can be attributed to showing actual gameplay. EA & Ubisoft’s shows were primarily composed of trailers and sizzle reels. They focused on games, where in years past their conferences were made up of media applications and some games. This is a Microsoft that is on the offensive, a company that knows they need to make up ground on their install base, and needs to reinvent itself in a way to get out of Sony’s shadow. Their introduction of Play Anywhere is sure to appeal to PC gamers (buy select titles, receive the WIndows 10 version for free), and the Scorpio is an attempt to “reset” the console war with a new starting point.
Later in the day we arrive at Sony’s Press Conference at 6pm. Right away, Sony brought out one of their heaviest hitters; God of War. The trailer starts with a disembodied voice talking to a young boy preparing to go hunting, & out of the shadows emerges a grizzled bearded Kratos. The camera in the game had a different feel, where it was more of a 3rd person Resident Evil 4 positioning rather than the POV every God of War has had before it. Prior rumors were confirmed with the Norse setting and mention of Valhalla in the demo. It all ends with Kratos helping his son finish his kill of the moose he had just slain. It almost feels like a reboot for 2 reasons: Kratos’ last words were “Now you are ready…for a new beginning”, and the title was simply “God of War”, no 4 denoted anywhere. Interested to see how some of the rpg mechanics will work (certain events yielded a “knowledge gained” prompt,& other attributes. We also got a release date for The Last Guardian after being announced several,SEVERAL E3’s ago. Sony Bend’s last game was Uncharted:Golden Abyss for the PS Vita in 2011, & 5 years later we see what they were working on: a post apocalyptic zombie game in which you’re a member of a biker gang recounting the days when the world seemingly ended. At the end of the conference we got a gameplay demo and it looks pretty amazing. Dense zombie hordes will be one of the obstacles you will encounter, aside from other survivors. A new Horizon:Zero Dawn demo showed new mechanics and the reveal of a conversation wheel, Detroit showed how you will have to make choices that will affect the flow of the game and different ways your choices will play out. Resident Evil 7 premiered and it looked pretty damn creepy and looks to return to its horror roots, full PSVR compatibility, and out early next year. Several games were showcased for the PS VR (out in October), some standouts were Battlefront:X wing missions, Batman Arkham VR, Final Fantasy 15 VR mission, & several others. A quick segue into a sweet looking space battle broke out, which then led into a first person gun fight, & it took me a few minutes to figure out this was Call of Duty:Infinite Warfare, and damn, you guys: say what you will of CoD, this looked fun and I’m looking forward to this campaign and the CoD4:Modern Warfare remastered multiplayer. Fans got a long awaited wish granted, sort of. A collection of Crash Bandicoot games with upgraded visuals is slated for this fall. One of the best reveals of the night was not a game (well yeah it was a game but it happened after this), but one of the most unique talents in the industry: Hideo Kojima yall. Death Stranding is the next game from his studio, collaborating once again with Norman Reedus in a super odd trailer (pls watch and let me know what you think). The final reveal was a game that was rumored and we discussed on a prior podcast: Insomniac is making a Spiderman game! The studio is best known for Ratchet & Clank and the Resistance games, and the trailer looked pretty damn cool.
Not to take away from the solid conference Microsoft had, but Sony had the better lineup and presentation. The pace was fast and plentiful, & the first 5 games were PS4 exclusives, something last years E3 kind of lacked. A few days before Sony had confirmed the existence of PS4.5/ PS Neo but not to expect it to make an appearance at the show. There are a few possibilities: 1)They’re saving it for another show 2)They saw the specs of the Xbone Scorpio early and are going back to the drawing board, & 3)it’s just not ready. Sony let games do all the talking and limited the presence of game developers introducing their games, which helped with pacing.This has been unanimously considered by several other games journalists as one of the best conferences either platform has presented in a long time.
It’s a good time to own a PS4.
Let us know what you thought & if you agree/disagree on our socials or comment below.
If you missed the press conferences, you can find links to them below: