E3, the world’s most anticipated video game trade show, took place June 10 – 12. Game developers big and small came to Los Angeles to showcase games coming out this year, as well as projects to be released in the future.
Nintendo once again opted not to hold a traditional press conference. Instead, the company prepared a “digital event” that focused solely on the struggling Wii U and featured “Robot Chicken” clips of Nintendo staff and characters. The digital event revealed new information on “Super Smash Bros” 3DS and Wii U. First was the reveal that Mii characters will be playable with fighter, sword fighter and gunner setups, with customizable move sets.
This was soon followed by the introduction of Amiibo, Nintendo’s new toy line of near field communication figures that will allow players to have custom characters in “Super Smash Bros.” These figures will also be used with other games.
“The Legend of Zelda” series was featured twice in this digital event. First in Nintendo’s announcement of a new addition coming out next year that will return to the series’ roots and feature an open world that the player can freely explore. The new world and art style were shown in an epic chase where Link ran from a robotic contraption shooting lasers. Eiji Aonuma, the producer of the game, later stated the footage used was captured from gameplay, though he could have meant it was simply engine rendered.
The second appearance of Zelda was in “Hyrule Warriors,” a hack-and-slash action game featuring Zelda, Midna, and Impa as playable characters. “Hyrule Warriors” comes out Sept. 26.
Nintendo also unveiled a new third person shooter called “Splatoon.” Releasing next year, gamers play as squid children and compete to see who can cover the walls in the most ink. “Splatoon” will be played in 4v4 online matches, though no local multiplayer was shown.
Microsoft gladly announced that “Halo 5: Guardians” will be released in the fall of 2015, alongside Steven Spielberg’s “Halo” television series. To tide Halo fans over until then, Microsoft is releasing the “Halo: The Master Chief Collection;” a collection of the first four games with new HD textures and online featuring maps from each of the games. “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” launches Nov. 11.
They also announced “Forza Horizon 2” for Xbox One and Xbox 360. It will feature a dynamic 24 hour day-to-night cycle complete with changing weather and lighting. The game is set at the Horizon Festival in Europe, and features rivals generated by the data gathered from your friends’ driving styles. The game will launch Sept. 30.
“Sunset Overdrive” was also shown and given the official release date of Oct. 28. The game is from Insomniac, creators of “Spyro” and “Ratchet & Clank,” and will feature fast paced shooter action in a vibrant, colorful world.
EA showed off “Battlefield Hardline,” the next game in their “Battlefield” series, where players assume the role of police officers and criminals. The game will be available Oct. 21 for all major platforms excluding the Wii U.
EA also offered information on their role-player games (RPGs) “Mass Effect 4” and “Dragon Age: Inquisition.” “Mass Effect 4” is still some time off so no platform or release date information was given, but EA did reveal that it will feature a new story with new characters and occasional references to the original games. “Dragon Age: Inquisition,” however, will be a sequel to “Dragon Age 2” and will be released on all major platforms except the Wii U on Oct. 7.
Also announced was “The Sims 4,” coming Sept. 2. The trailer featured Barack Obama in sim-form, a love story told through a pair of sims and the promise of smarter sims that the player will have more control over.
Ubisoft presented gameplay for “Assassin’s Creed Unity,” introducing the games 4 player co-op, a first for the series. The game will be available for next generation consoles and PC Oct. 28.
“Far Cry 4” was also displayed and given a release date of Nov. 18. The game will feature a single player campaign as well as online co-op. The co-op feature does not require the other player to own the game, as PlayStation Plus subscribers will be given 10 vouchers of a co-op only “trial” version to give to friends.
Ubisoft surprised the audience with the announcement of “Rainbow Six Siege.” The trailer showed a team handling a hostage situation and demonstrated the new procedural destruction that allows players to realistically destroy walls and cover, leaving the enemy open to attack. The game will be on next generation consoles and PC, but is in its early stages and is expected to be released next year.
Sony finished out the day with a hardware reveal: the PlayStation TV. The device is a small box that allows users to download PS Vita, PSP and original PlayStation games and play them on their TVs using a PS3 controller. The device will also allow players to use local Wi-Fi to stream their PS4s to the device, allowing them to play the PS4 in a different room than it actually is. The PlayStation TV will be able to access PlayStation Now services in the future, as well as support unspecified video streaming services.
While the PlayStation TV already released in Japan last November, westerners can expect to see it in stores by the end of the year. It will cost $100 on its own and $140 in a bundle that comes with a controller, memory card and game.
Sony also unveiled the continuation of its first party series “Little Big Planet 3” and “Uncharted 4.” “Little Big Planet 3” will be available sometime this November for the PS3 and PS4 and feature new characters. “Uncharted 4,” subtitled “A Thief’s End,” will be coming out for the PS4 next year.
By Noah Young
Mace & Crown