While the E3 presentation all got the full streaming treatment, it's not quite the same as being there. Fortunately, RPGamer's away team members in Los Angeles are here to give their impressions direct from the conference seating.
Microsoft started out strong with the announcement of backwards compatibility and a fancy, if pricey, new controller. They showed off plenty of games, though very few of them were RPGs and with the one that had the naming credentials, Fable Legends, it wasn't entirely clear what the game was. The other new, interesting games they had to show off were mostly CG trailers, which doesn't give much to work with.
EA opened with a minor Mass Effect announcement, nothing beyond that a new game is in the works, has a title, and will be about exploring a new universe, which is probably the proper direction for it to go as a series. The Old Republic is also getting a new expansion, supposedly one that mimics the old BioWare style, but I doubt this will be enough to draw in new players to the game. For the rest, too much time was spent on sports titles, but Battlefront and Mirror's Edge helped ease that pain.
Sony showed off a game called Dreams but that game's title could also be a reference to the conference itself. If someone had told me a week ago that Final Fantasy VII and Shenmue III would not only appear at E3 but also be announced within minutes of one another I would have laughed you out of the room. But here we are. Now, time to keep expectations in check, VII was given no release date and is being directed by the guy who has his hands full with Kingdom Hearts III and Shenmue III was a Kickstarter announcement, but it was still a bit of a magical moment regardless. Though light on content for the rest of this year, Sony is shaping up to have a great 2016.
On a personal note unrelated to RPGs, seeing The Last Guardian back on stage again is like seeing a friend you thought was dead alive once again. Sony could have ended the press conference there and I would have been satisfied.
Here are my thoughts on the E3 Press Conferences I attended from favorite to least favorite. Overall, it was a good year for press conferences with very few disappointments to be had all around.
E3 2015 may have peaked too early for me. The Bethesda Press Conference stole the show on Sunday night. It started with a loud double-barreled bang with some Doom gameplay footage before we got to the real megaton reveal of the night, Fallout 4. Todd Howard did a wonderful job presenting all of the upgrades and changes to the latest installment of the Fallout series and happy to see that it's coming out so soon after its reveal. The Fallout Collector's edition with it's ridiculous replica PIP Boy was equally as fun and exciting. The best part was that when the night was over, we all got to go home and play a brand new Fallout game, Fallout Shelter.
I enjoyed Microsoft's presentation mainly for its platform announcements rather its game announcements. Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility is a big deal and was a real surprise. The Xbox Elite controller is boon for serious gamers and even gamers with disabilities. I got to try it out and it feels just as premium as it looks. Todd Howard once again dropped a huge bomb revealing that Fallout 4 mods would be coming to Xbox One. The indie games on display were also really impressive. Seems like everyone is in love with Cuphead.
Sony had a good solid showing. Lots of announcements that people, especially RPGamers, really care about. Personally, the only game that intrigued me and that I want to see more of is Guerrilla Games' new action RPG, Horizon: Zero Dawn. I want to know what that game is beyond the hunting and, most importantly, why are there robot dinosaurs?
With EA, I'm sold on the idea of an open world Need for Speed set in fake Los Angles complete with full motion video. I also interested in giving Mirror's Edge a second chance now that its an open world game as well. I was also happy to finally see Star Wars: Battlefront in action. But truth be told, I regret going to the EA Press Conference. It was mostly boring and the parts I cared about were far too short.
Microsoft: After a Day -1 press conference showing by Bethesda that basically told folks to download an iPhone game and get hyped for Fallout 4, Microsoft kicked off Day 0 with their presser. Their show was pretty decent, but only contained a few high points for an RPGamer. Early on we got another plug for Fallout 4. The Division was shown, seemingly to prove it still exists, though apparently minus its tablet tie-in function. Fable Legends gave us a lore trailer that nobody wanted. And then finally, Dark Souls III got its real announcement. A gameplay-less trailer that was still enough to instill the viewer with "You Will Die" hype.
Microsoft Winner: Cuphead. Yeah, you try looking at that game and telling me it doesn't win everything.
Sony: OK, so let's get it out of the way. The Last Guardian is real and still happening. That's awesome. Final Fantasy VII is being remade, really this time. That's also awesome. And Shenmue III has already been funded on Kickstarter. Now, beyond that, RPGamers get a new Destiny expansion this fall, this time taking down Oryx himself. World of Final Fantasy is apparently a real RPG with characters that alternate between chibi and realistic forms, coming next year. RPGamers are urged to be cautiously optimistic as it appears to be a "my first rpg" sort of experience.
Sony Winner: John Vignocchi. Seriously, go watch the Disney Infinity segment. This guy was having the most fun at the show. He loves his job.