The Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, took place last week, providing us with our annual dose of gaming news, announcement trailers and viral gifs. Now that everyone has had a chance to wake up from their nerd comas, we present to you our E3 Takeaways: 2015 Edition.
It’s no shock to veterans of the gaming community, but a majority of the announcements centered on furthering brands that already existed (or even updating nostalgic games from our past to modern consoles). Games such as Uncharted 4, Halo 5, Forza 6 came as no surprise, while some highly anticipated (and not to mention long-awaited) sequels were highlighted, including Fallout 4, Star Wars Battlefront and Kingdom Hearts 3. Games we thought we’d see no more are also being reawakened, such as Final Fantasy VII, Star Fox, Shenmue 3, Nier 2 – even another Doom. Rare, the company that made Perfect Dark, is also jumping on the bandwagon and releasing Rare Replay – a collection of 30 of its most popular games for modern consoles. But the biggest announcement came from Xbox, when they finally gave gamers what they’ve been asking for: backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games. Now we can actually play those games sitting on our shelves (and not have to stack our 360 on top of our Xbox One).
2) Girl Power
Female gamers are starting to get their due, and with issues such as Gamergate in the news this past year and the lack of women representatives at E3 last year, it’s about time. Companies and game announcements were headed up by more women on stage this year, and more games announced playable female characters, such as Fallout 4, Dishonored 2, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – even FIFA will let users to play as the women’s teams. New IPs such as ReCore and Horizon Zero Dawn also feature female protagonists. As two female gamers, we’re obviously excited to see this change and we’re not the only ones – every “you can now play as a girl” announcement we watched was met with thundering applause from the E3 audience members (and the internet).
3) New Styles of Play
Creative gameplay has always been a staple in the game industry, but this year’s E3 was home to some new additions. First was Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker, which is exactly what it sounds like: you can create custom Mario levels that you can then use to test your friends’ skills (and patience). This looks interesting, but we’re more the “you make it and we play it” type so this may not be for us, personally. Along the same lines, Media Molecule, who brought us Tearaway and Little Big Planet, are embarking on their latest adventure: Dreams. Another PlayStation-specific experience, Dreams allows the user to create seemingly… anything? We honestly have a lot of questions about how you use this and what it is, and so far everything says we will get more info this fall. In other styles of gameplay, Virtual and Augmented Reality continue to garner oohs and aahs from the gaming community. Oculus is the most familiar and household name so far, but Sony continues to develop Project Morpheus while Microsoft’s HoloLens is staking its ground in augmented reality. The HoloLens Minecraft demo was admittedly very impressive, albeit misleading – but it’s undeniable that these devices will soon have their place in gaming and, someday, our living rooms.
Now, we couldn’t end there. Here’s our list of games that caught our eye (and are now in our Amazon Wish Lists):
- Cuphead – An indie game does it again – this looks awesome, featuring a 1930s, Silly Symphony-style of animation and retro gameplay.
- Firewatch – Set in the beautiful Wyoming wilderness, with nothing but a walkie-talkie (and we think we are flirting with the woman on the other end?)
- No Man’s Sky – They’re promising us endless open-world exploration, and it’s gorgeous.
- Unravel – A side-scrolling puzzler utilizing the main character’s unraveling thread as a consistent mechanic. Honestly, this game is just. So. Cute. And it’s made by EA.
- Wattam – From the maker of Katamari Damacy, you run around, hold hands and make friends!
- Sea of Thieves – A pirate MMO complete with pirate ship battles and pirates, because pirates.
- Fallout 4 – Set in Boston, this long-awaited successor to Fallout 3 has a few of us throwing money at our computer screens.
- The Last Guardian – Originally announced in 2009, it’s finally been confirmed for a 2016 release after years of delays and difficulties – we can’t wait! Well, technically I guess we can…
- Rise of the Tomb Raider – Lara Croft is back and we. Are. So. Excited. Plus her hair animation looks better – SORRY I CAN’T LET THAT ONE GO, XBOX 360 EDITION.
- Kingdom Hearts 3 – A caption is not needed. It’s Kingdom Hearts 3, and that’s all you need to know.
- Planet Coaster – It’s from the makers of Roller Coaster Tycoon, otherwise known as “all my weekends in middle school.”