E3 2016 has been and gone, leaving a string of promises, hype, and broken hearts in its wake.
Games were revealed, new hardware was shown off, remasters got everyone in a tizzy, and demos gave us all a better taste of the action to come – but how was it compared to E3 expos gone by? Let’s break it down.
Obviously we can’t talk about every single thing that happened, so in the interests of brevity, we’ll be going over the biggest and best news from each publisher.
Bethesda had a pretty solid – if predictable – showing. Compared to the company’s first E3 show last year, 2016 offered very little in the way of surprises. Still, there were a few stand out moments for the publisher.
Dishonored 2 continues to look fantastic, and the first gameplay footage was pretty great, showing off all kinds of new ways to take out our enemies with a variety of cool supernatural powers. Quake Champions and the all-new Prey also look like projects worth keeping an eye on.
Meanwhile, a remastered Skyrim might not have been the Elder Scrolls game anybody asked for, but it seems to me that the introduction of enhanced graphics and mod support has really got the console gamers excited.
The Fallout 4 DLC reveal didn’t exactly amaze, although I’ll admit I’ve long since lost my passion for that game. Still, I’ve got high hopes that the newly announced VR edition could offer a fresh perspective on the open world adventure.
What really sucks is that pretty much all of Bethesda’s major news managed to leak out before the conference – although there really wasn’t anything that I’d personally describe as show stealing.
Like Bethesda, EA didn’t really rock the world, but there was a lot of cool stuff on display. The more I see of Titanfall 2, the more I’m convinced it’s gonna be an absolute blast.
We got a good look at the single player campaign for the Titanfall sequel, and it’s looking different enough from the multiplayer to really warrant an awesome solo experience that’s complemented by an excellent multiplayer mode.
Meanwhile, FIFA 17 is getting a story mode, which is… not why anybody in the history of the world has ever played FIFA, and the publisher teased all the Star Wars games they have coming out over the next few years, but still didn’t really reveal anything about any of the projects.
But of course, EA could have farted into a microphone for the entire show and still have pleased everyone with their in-depth demonstration of Battlefield 1.
We finally got our first good look at the gameplay thanks to a 64 player livestream, and while the celebrity guests felt a little bit forced in some moments, it was still fun to see Snoop spark up a spliff during the Battlefield 1 demo. Doubtless EA wouldn’t have been thrilled about that, but it gave the rest of us a good laugh.
Still, I can’t quite forgive the publisher for holding back any really meaningful info on Mass Effect Andromeda. A brief trailer just isn’t cutting it at this point, guys.
Ubisoft had a strong showing. Rather than blow everyone with any massive reveals, they mostly opted to show off some of the cool offerings they have coming out over the next year or so.
For Honor is also looking like a ton of fun, but I can’t help but feel that the company could easily have cut down on the length of their conference – especially considering how little they showed off, relative to the time of the show.
All in all though, Ubisoft established at their conference that the next few years should be good for them and their fans. They’ve got some great looking titles coming out, and I especially can’t wait to be let loose on Ghost Recon: Wildlands to cause some chaos.
Although come on Ubisoft, where the hell is my new Rayman platformer?
Nintendo skipped the traditional conference (once again) in favour of showing off the new Legend of Zelda title and… oh wait, that was pretty much it.
Okay, so they did demo some other cool stuff, including a look at Pokemon Sun & Moon for the 3DS, but The Legend of Zelda was the only thing the Big N had on offer that was really worth writing home about.
Luckily, they shared a shit ton of info on the new Zelda (called Breath of the Wild), and it’s looking incredible. They dedicated an entire booth to the open world Zelda, and asked attendees to put at least an hour aside as they delivered an in-depth stream that answered pretty much every question you might have had about the title.
Would it have been cool to see some more announcements from a company who have been lagging a bit in recent years? Certainly – but a massively open world Zelda adventure is what the fans have asked for for years, and proves Nintendo are currently moving in the right direction, even if it is one step at a time. Next stop, an open world Pokemon game? We can only hope.
I feel like the overwhelming consensus is that Sony “won” E3, but I’ve never been a fan of looking at the event through that lens. Different folk expect and hope for different things from the show, after all.
Still, it’s hard to deny that they came out with the most crowd pleasers. A heady mix of old favourites, welcome remasters, and some very promising looking new titles established the PlayStation 4 as a great console to own for the remainder of the year and throughout 2017.
An exclusive Spider-Man game from Insomniac (the team behind Ratchet & Clank) could just be the next big superhero game, while a new open world survival game from Sony Bends called Days Gone really impressed.
Throw in the mental first trailer for Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding, God of War 4, and the promise that the first three Crash Banidcoot games are being rebuilt from the ground up for PS4, and it’s clear that Sony were singularly focused on delivering for the fans.
Sony’s conference was undeniably all about the games – and that’s what E3 is all about for most of us.
For a lot of gamers, the reveal that the console they currently own is about to become the least effective one on the market isn’t great news.
The Xbox One S is definitely a tempting prospect for anyone who’s yet to buy an Xbox, while the Scorpio should please purists, but I can’t help but feel there’s a large portion of fans who are happy with the consoles they have who have just been left in the cold.
It didn’t seem like there were many exclusives to brag about either. Dead Rising 4 looks like a hell of a lot of fun, and We Happy Few is shaping up to be one of the most interesting games in years (see below) but they’ll both also come to PC.
That’s great for Microsoft, but PC gamers clearly aren’t gonna be in a hurry to pick up an Xbox any time soon.
If the point of an E3 press conference is to get fans excited about the console they own, or convince those on the fence to jump in – I feel like Microsoft didn’t quite hit the mark this year.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.