E3 2014 The Biggest Announcements This Year in Video Games
The Electronic Entertainment Expo or (E3) is one of the biggest events in the video game world. This year’s event has come and gone and there were no shortage of exciting announcements and cool news. If you were too busy to sit through the press conferences and 3 days of news and impressions coming from the LA Convention center last week then here’s a snapshot of some of the biggest news as well as summaries for each press conference and Nintendo’s pre-made announcement video.
Microsoft started things off with a press conference that was intent on making the core fan-base happy by showing and talking about literally nothing but video games. No Kinect, No Smart Glass, No TV, and No Celebrities, just %100 games and it was awesome.
Halo The Master Chief Collection:
Coming November 11th of this year to the Xbox One, The Master Chief Collection will package all 4 main story line Halo games onto one disk for $60. If that wasn’t enough of a surprise, Halo 2 will be given the anniversary edition treatment with completely redone graphics and redone cut scenes with the ability to push a button and toggle between the old version and the new one to really see how far it’s come. What’s more is each game’s multi-player modes will be preserved in their original engines with enhanced visuals and will be playable online. Making Halo 1 playable online for the first time on consoles.
Crackdown 3 was announced.
Phantom Dust, a reboot of an original Xbox cult classic game was announced.
Sunset Overdrive, an exclusive Xbox One 3rd person shooter by the Ratchet and Clank dev team, Insomniac Games, got a release date of Oct 28th.
A Tomb Raider sequel “Rise of the Tomb Raider” was announced and scheduled for Holiday 2015
Scalebound, from Platinum Games, the devs behind Bayonnetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengence, and Vanquish, was announced as an Xbox One exclusive
EA (Electronic Arts)
EA had a somewhat unconventional conference, though they have a ton of new games that are already known about in the works, it seemed as though very few of those teams had anything to show. So we got multiple developer diary type videos with the teams behind Star Wars: Battlefront, Mass Effect, and Burnout Paradise, (DICE, BioWare, and Criterion respectively) showing us prototype designs for levels and features but nothing concrete in the way of a game. Their sports titles all looked to be very well under way especially UFC which will be the first incarnation from the studio.
Game-play was shown for the long awaited Dragon Age Inquisition, and it looked stunning, 4 fantasy characters took on a huge dragon that spit amazing looking fire and seemed to react realistically based on specifically where it would get attacked.
Sports Sports and more Sports, Madden looked great with a new emphasis put on making playing defense more fun. NHL looked gorgeous, FIFA looked gorgeous. PGA Tour looked fun showing off a fantasy course that had a battleship crashing into the green as you tried to hit over it. UFC looked very impressive with a demo of pre-order bonus character Bruce Lee kicking the crap out of some guy’s face. NBA Live was nowhere to be found.
Battlefield Hardline was officially announced after tons of leaked info hit the internet the week before. They’ve turned the previously military focused first-person shooter into a cops and robbers simulator. A ridiculously over the top heist was shown off with players on both sides being shown driving, shooting, flying helicopters, and tearing down buildings, it was crazy. I don’t think that much destruction would result from a robbery but it looked fun nonetheless, and the closed beta for the game began right after the announcement so tons more game-play can be found online at this point.
Ubisoft has been on sort of a roll the past few years in terms of hyped up new IP and highly anticipated sequels; with that being said they delivered another very entertaining conference that makes me excited for the coming year but nothing too mind-blowing.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Siege was announced, and a lengthy multi-player game session was shown off. A team of 5 Swat members were helicopter dropped onto a suburban home tasked with rescuing a hostage from a team of 5 terrorists. The visuals were extremely impressive with transitions from Black and White in very dark locations to color in better lit areas. The windows, walls, and floors of the home were fully destructible and both teams had access to high tech gadgets in order to try and get the upper hand on the other side. What was most interesting about this announcement is that this game seems to be the new idea for the Rainbow 6 series ever since “Rainbow 6 Patriots” was announced several years ago and never saw the light of day.
The first footage of Far Cry 4 was shown off which seems to follow the footsteps of Far Cry 3 by showing off a charismatic and unpredictable antagonist who violently stabs to death one of his own soldiers then complains about blood on his clothes.
The Crew, Ubisoft’s team focused racing game taking place on a scale map of the entire U.S. gets a release date of Nov 11th.
Assassin’s Creed Unity showed off its first look at game play and you’ll now be able to have up to 4 friends do co-op missions with you in revolutionary era France. This title will only be on the new consoles, sorry PS3 and 360.
Going into E3 Sony has been top dog, outselling their competitors by a significant margin in terms of new consoles, so it was pretty much their ball to drop, which they did in my opinion. Unlike Microsoft who promised for weeks that E3 would be all about games and kept their word; Sony for the last year has claimed to be all about gamers and then for what seemed like half of the 2 hour conference they talked about figures, (how many times the share button has been pressed.) Original TV content coming to PlayStation Network (a show called Powers based on a graphic novel nobody seemed to be familiar with), and then showed a movie trailer for the upcoming Ratchet and Clank CG animated feature film. There were some cool games showed off but nothing that surprised so the whole thing ultimately ended up feeling disappointing.
More of Bungie’s game Destiny was shown off, the public beta will begin on July 17 which will be available for Sony systems first, as well as a special limited “Alpha” just for PS4 owners which started on the 12th of this month. Destiny’s release date is September 9th. There will also be a Destiny PS4 bundle which will include the game a white PS4 and controller as well as a 30 day free trial of PlayStation Plus.
Infamous Second Son is getting DLC that can be purchased and played independently of owning the game. “Infamous First Light” is coming later in the Summer.
LittleBigPlanet 3 was announced for PS4 and will be available this November.
A new PS4 exclusive title named Bloodborne, by From Software, the developers of the Dark Souls series, was announced.
FarCry 4 will allow players to invite friends into their game to play co-op even if they don’t own the game, this will be a feature exclusive to Sony systems.
Dead Island 2 was announced
A new Sony exclusive IP was announced “Let it Die” by No More Heroes creator Suda 51
The game streaming service PlayStation Now will launch as an open beta on PS4 on July 31st with over 100 games available.
The new PlayStation TV device which allows you to play Vita games on a TV or Remote play PS4 games to a second TV will be $99.
Grand Theft Auto V was announced as coming to PS4 in the fall, (it’s actually coming to Xbox One on the same day as well).
Nintendo has had a rough go of it lately, after the unprecedented success of the Wii, the release of it’s successor the Wii-U has been an outright failure with less consoles sold over the last year and a half than the PS4 in the last 6 months. Aside from consumer confusion that the Wii-U is just a tablet controller for the Wii as opposed to a brand new console, its biggest problem is the complete lack of games. Nintendo didn’t show up to E3 to do a conference just like last year, instead they released a pre-made video detailing what to look forward to. In just those 30 minutes Nintendo blew my mind and made me genuinely excited for the Nintendo brand for the first time since I sold my Wii to GameStop for $100 in 2009.
A New Legend of Zelda for Wii-U was teased, the game is still early in development but already it is stunningly beautiful. Series director Eiji Aounuma, sat in front of an image of Link on horseback in a gloriously sun lit field and explained how in this new iteration everything visible in the distance, like the large mountains, are locations that can be traveled to and explored, in an open world fashion. The video then shows Link being chased down and attacked by a giant mechanized enemy firing lasers upon him and setting fire to the surrounding landscape. It ends with Link jumping from his horse and priming what looked to be some sort of technology infused arrow to fire at the monster and the entire showing was nothing short of outstanding. (skip to 1:35 to get to the scene described above)
“Mario Maker” was announced and is a game that lets you create 2D Mario Brothers levels in the style of either Mario Brothers 3 or New Super Mario Brothers to share as well as play what the undoubtedly genius community will come up with.
A brand new IP “Splatoon” was announced. It’s a 3rd person shooter with half squid half children armed with paint guns with the goal of covering more of the map in their team color than the opposing side. As silly as it sounds it actually looked really fun and charming.
A brand new game featuring Toad was announced, called Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
Bayonetta 2 will be released this October along with a special edition of the original Bayonetta that includes Nintendo themed costumes.
Super Smash Brothers for 3DS is coming October 3rd, while the Wii-U version is scheduled for Holiday 2014
Hyrule Warriors was given a release date of September 26th.
A New StarFox title for the Wii-U is in the works, it’s still very early in development but it appears to want to make significant use of the Wii-U game pad functionality.
There was of course a lot more news from each company and tons of news coming out from smaller developers that don’t get to present on a stage. E3 is done, but as always the ripple effect of what happened there will spread throughout the gaming community for the next year and after several months of new hardware and not much to play on them what’s coming later this year and next looks to finally justify the purchase for early adopters.
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