And so a week has passed since the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo, and needless to say, a lot happened. New games were announced, titles were given release dates, and surprises were littered throughout the week. At the center of these were Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo’s E3 Press Conferences. Each had their own time to showcase what was coming to their platforms. Each had the ability to show why they were the best, but which one actually showed the most and wowed the fans the most? Well, I watched all three conferences, and I’m here to breakdown who I think won E3 because of what was revealed.
Note: I’ll be doing the breakdowns based on the order of the E3 Press Conferences, not best to worst or worst to best.
Microsoft was in a very curious position going into this year’s E3. Last year was more or less a recovery year, trying to prove they were more than what they first announced they would be and that what would follow for them would cast even more of a dispersion on their name (see Halo: The Master Chief Collection). However, despite all this, they’re currently second in the console war, so they were clearly doing something right. I went into this press conference with an open mind, willing to let Microsoft wow me and show me what they had planned. Honestly, while it was good in some ways, it was very safe in others.
I find myself being conflicted about the Xbox press conference because of what they said at the beginning of it, that this was the “greatest lineup of titles on Xbox ever,” meaning all past generations included. That’s quite a claim, and as I look back on it, I don’t think that’s what they showed.
True, they showed off the epic looking Halo 5. They showed a trailer for a new IP from the creator of Mega Man in ReCore. Dark Souls III was officially announced. Rise of the Tomb Raider got some gameplay footage shown. And of course, there’s going to be a Gears of War 4. All were very impressive, except when you start looking at them closely.
Of the games I mentioned, only two of them are coming this year: Halo 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Add that to Forza 6 (which had a really weird moment at the press conference) and that’s only three “big” titles. Dark Souls is coming next year. ReCore is also 2016, and we don’t know much about it. Gears 4 is set for holiday 2016, which is roughly a year and a half plus from now.
I’ll be fair, Microsoft did show off other titles, including a bunch of indie games and the now fan-favorite Cuphead. Also, there was Rare’s new title Sea of Thieves, but it just seemed to lack that impact that many fans were expected. In addition, they had real down moments that seemed to slow things down, such as the reveal of the Elite Controller, Peter Moore talking about the EA vault, or that backwards compatibility was coming to the Xbox One. Yes, I get that’s a big feature, but for some of us, we expected that day one. Also, there’s only (currently) 22 games from the Xbox 360 library that are now playable, 22 out of thousands. That’s not a good start.
A surprise for me was the demo of the Hololens. I honestly forgot Microsoft was working on this, and to see the demo play live in front of me? It was cool, and I’m not even a Minecraft fan!
Overall, the conference wasn’t bad, far from it actually. It just felt like we knew a lot of what was coming. Gears 4 was nice because many fans thought we were just getting the remaster (which was also announced), so having a new title in the franchise is great. However, aside from that, it just didn’t feel as good as it could’ve been.
For Sony, they were riding a wave of momentum that in some ways can’t be stopped. The PS4 is the leading console in the current generation, and though they lost a key game for 2015 in Uncharted 4, it didn’t seem like they were any worse for wear. That being said, they still needed to prove they were up to maintaining their lead and beyond… and they did just that.
Whereas Microsoft happily talked about a lot of their titles before revealing them, Sony went straight into the “here are the games you’ll be playing” mode and showed off title after title after title. For nearly an hour, all we got were short bursts of dialogue followed by game reveal after game reveal, and that was awesome.
The Last Guardian? Oh yeah, it’s back. Want new titles? Here’s Horizon: Zero Dawn. New game from your favorite franchises? Here’s Hitman, Final Fantasy, and Street Fighter. Wait, that wasn’t the Final Fantasy game you wanted? OK, we’re doing a remake of Final Fantasy VII. Want an interesting new game? Here’s Firewatch and Dreams.
It was a constant bombardment that just left numerous fans in awe, myself included. Now to be fair, there was a downward slope after the Dreams reveal. Though interesting, the Kickstarter launch of Shenmue 3 was oddly placed, though the intent was there to be clear. In addition, they went into some more generic titles like Batman: Arkham Knight, Call of Duty, No Man’s Sky, and more. It’s not that these titles were bad, it’s just after all those reveals and new trailers, it felt out of place.
This of course brings me to Project Morpheus, Sony’s VR system. Unlike Microsoft, they didn’t do a demo, they simply talked about it, which did not gel with what was shown earlier. Hopefully, Sony will be able to show off what the Morpheus is capable of soon, or it may find itself in some trouble.
After a nice little bit for Disney Infinity, they ended the show with Star Wars Battlefront and Uncharted 4, which had a tech glitch ironically enough. Both were nice and showed what fans can expect from both games. While I know that many fans are eagerly awaiting Uncharted 4 to launch, I feel it didn’t have the impact that could’ve ended the show. Then again, it would’ve taken a big title to end it, so maybe they should’ve swapped the order.
Regardless, Sony truly shined here, revealing comes both new and familiar, and proving they have a variety of games that’ll make the PS4 the system to play going forward. Yes, they had some hiccups, and it was noticeable. But overall, it was a great press conference.
Nintendo Wii U:
It could be argued that Nintendo had the most to prove at E3. Last year, it was widely believed that they won E3, when they showed off Xenoblade Chronicles X, Zelda Wii U, unveiled Splatoon, and much more. Add to that, Nintendo had a special Smash Bros. presentation on Sunday along with their Nintendo World Championships. Many fans thought that because of this that Nintendo would have numerous big announcements for their Digital Event. Sadly, that’s not what happened.
To be fair to Nintendo, they did exactly what they said they would do. They talked and unveiled games that would be coming either this year, or early next year. No “2016” games or beyond. We’d get them in the early spring at the latest. They showed all the games that we can expect from now until then. Some will call this safe. Some will call this a travesty. I call it Nintendo.
Nintendo started off great with the official reveal of Star Fox Zero, showing what fans can expect when it arrives this holiday season. It looks like a classic Star Fox title, and that’s what I’m taking away from this.
As the digital event went on, there were both reveals expected, not expected, and loathed. Personally, as I went into this, I wanted to know when I could play Super Mario Maker, Yoshi’s Wooly World, and Xenoblade Chronicles X, I received those release dates. However, Nintendo did threw in some surprises in the form of Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes and Mario & Luigi: Paper for the 3DS, along with Metroid Prime: Federation Force. The first two I’m very excited for. The second? Well, it’s Metroid, but it has nothing to do with Samus…so…
Nintendo also showed a pair of Animal Crossing Games, a new Mario Tennis game, provided a good update on what to expect for Super Mario Maker, and the pair of Fire Emblem games coming out. And that was it.
Now a lot of people are saying it was terrible. Some even say that it’s “The worst Nintendo conference ever!” I believe most of that hate is directed at the fact that there was no “bombshell” reveals, and many thought Nintendo was trolling us with Federation Force (seriously, look up the Youtube video of the trailer and see all the downvotes). Also, they seemed really focused on Mario Maker and Amiibo’s rather than fresh titles or IP’s. Thus, the event received the “worst conference ever” title.
Personally, I don’t think it was. What it was was average. Yes, if they combined it with the Smash Bros. presentation, it would’ve been better. Some things they revealed in a Nintendo Direct Mini would’ve spiced things up a bit, but for me, what it really lacked was that “New IP” that could’ve wowed us. Remember, last year we had Splatoon, which is now a bonafide hit. Where was that?
Also, though they showed support for Wii U, there wasn’t a “heavy hitter” that was teased to show we should continue to support it outside of this year. Yes, Zelda is coming, but it wasn’t shown, nor referenced, leaving many to believe that Nintendo is telling developers to wait until the NX to arrive to make games for it.
Again, this wasn’t a terrible conference. I smiled a lot at some of the reveals (especially Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam), but I can understand people’s frustration with Nintendo based on what they showed. Last year was epic, and this year wasn’t. True, they do a lot of Nintendo Directs so we could get new information soon. But E3 is something we look forward to because of big announcements and impacts. Nintendo honestly didn’t have that.
So as I wrap up, what can I conclude about the Big Three’s E3 2015 Press Conferences? Well, each had their highs and lows. Each had reveals that made gamers happy, or had them scratching their heads. However, in the end, if we look at what was revealed, how it was revealed, and how it made gamers react? The winner is clear…