Features & News

E3 2013 Round-UP: How it went down for the big 3 at E3

June 14, 2013, Author: Olly Jones

Every gamer knows that when a new console era arrives, E3 powers up into an even more hype filled thunder-dome than usual. What will the new systems do and what will we be playing? How much will it cost and who ultimately “won”? The only difference this year was that it was always going to be a 2 horse race between Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

So how was E3 for the major players? Whilst both presentations managed to contain plenty of fluff, let’s instead take a point by point look at the event’s …er, events.

Microsoft

With details on Xbox One already out there, Microsoft sensibly focused on the games the system will deliver. The impressive line-up was clearly the high point of Microsoft’s E3 with plenty of hi-level surprises and console exclusives.

However, with litigious ‘digital rights’ blocks and 24 hour online check-in enforcement ringing in everyone’s ears, Microsoft’s questionable ethics weighed over their presence like a head drilling hangover.

Basically, everyone’s pissed off with not being able to own their own games, fully enjoy their console offline or use their console without being surveyed through an always functioning omnipresent Kinect camera. So yeah, that’s M-soft’s own silly fault for not caring enough about what the public might have thought.

Anyway, on with the headlines;

  • Xbox One will be £429 making it by far the most expensive next gen console, out in November
  • Halo 5 will be out in 2014. You know the drill.
  • TitanFall is an Xbox exclusive IP from Respawn Entertainment. Did you guess what type of game it was? Correct, it’s a Sci-Fi based first person shooter, you win an egg cup that reads “no shit”. The founding Infinity Ward dudes are behind this one though so expect their Halo pretender to be awesome.
  • Sunset Overdrive sounds like a driving game doesn’t it? Well guess again dumb-dumb, it’s an open-world shooter for Xbox One from Insomniac Games.
  • Dice brings Battlefield 4 to the gun show. Looks nice running in 60fps at 1080p.
  • Classic Rare fighter Killer Instinct is back, exclusively on Xbox One. FPS C-c-c-c- combo breaker.
  • Kinect Sports Rivals is a game featuring those Xbox (don’t call me Nintendo Mii) avatars and will be available at launch on Xbox One.
  • If the idea of a world inhabited by tanks excites you then free-to-play World of Tanks will blow your face clean off. It’s free. It’s literally ‘a free world’…of Tanks.
  • Ryse: Son of Rome, is Crytek’s take on a Roman based God of War with quick time aplenty (“This is SPARTAAAAA- I mean- ROOOOOOOOOOME!!!”). The game looks ace and you may cry over how good Crytek’s CryEngine cry-ated cry-game looks.
  • Dead Rising 3 is an Xbox One exclusive. Battling the undead hordes with artillery strikes makes for impressive use of Xbox SmartGlass.
  • Platformer Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and world creating Project Spark shows that Xbox does have games for kids, see?
  • Forza 5 burns a donut into an ASDA car park on Xbox One. A cloud network tool will study driver’s gameplay and construct a ‘Drivatar’ to race against. Microsoft calls this “the end of AI”. I remember calling for the end of A.I. in 2001 half-way through that Steven Spielberg movie about a robot Haley Joel Osment. So boring.
  • Dark Souls II prepares you to die on Xbox One while an Xbox One version of Minecraft is also on the cards.
  • Crimson Dragon brings Yukio Futatsugi’s Panzer Dragoon brand dragon riding action to Xbox One. For dragon fans.
  • D4 is an episodic mystery for Xbox One from Deadly Premonition developer Hidetaka “Swery65″ Suehiro.
  • Microsoft’s Quantum Break looks like Bernard’s Watch, only this time Bernard is a time freezing hard-boiled cop with a receding hair-line and not a smug little pocket watch twirling brat fucking with people’s shit.
  • A redesigned Xbox 360 will be imminently hitting stores.

So that’s some of the Microsoft stuff.

In other news, Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business boss Don Mattrick responded to the fall-out surrounding the online dependent Xbox One debacle by saying (almost in slow-motion);

“We have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity – it’s called Xbox 360”.

Oh boy. Queue a mexican wave of E. Honda style hundred hand slap facepalms across the world.

Can’t help but feel a liiiddle bad for team Xbox. Everyone hoped they’d win us over but instead they were dismantled by their own ridiculously selfish approaches to ownership and Orwellian ideas on privacy. Being outclassed by Sony was just the stepped on garden rake to the face. E3 may have hit them hard but not as hard as gamers wallets are going to get hit with that £429 price tag and additional DRM charges – Booyah!

Anyway, talking about that classy Sony self-pimping…

Sony

What you've all been waiting for, a picture of the PS4 hardware. Yay, another black plastic box! Didn't see that coming...

Like a silver suited middle-aged boy band of Just-for-Men edition Tony Starks, the Sony team blew the house down with what they brought to the table as well as winning cheers with what they left out.

  • Playstation 4 unveiled as a region free system with an upgradable HDD and no system set DRM, basically everything the Xbox One isn’t. The system comes with a headset and HDMI cable.
  • PS4 will be £349. £80 cheaper than Xbox One and out by Christmas.
  • As for looks, it’s a shiny slim trapezoid. Incidentally, Trapezoid is a secret lizard Pokemon that plants traps (that’s a lie, don’t bother looking it up).
  • PS4 will use Sony owned cloud streaming service Gaikai to stream a limited number of PS3 games. The feature will be available from the beginning of 2014 starting in the US, but not will not be available at launch.
  • There are currently 140 games in development for PS4. 100 of these will be available in 2014 and at least 40 will be PS4 exclusives. Wowzers.
  • Existing PS plus accounts are transferable to PS4 (Hooray!) but there’ll be a charge for Multiplayer ( Boo!). Single player games unaffected.
  • PS4 will launch with a PS plus edition of Drive Club for members. KillZone: Shadow Fall and Knack will also be available at launch.
  • INFAMOUS: Second Son and Beyond:Two Souls (still) Look good.
  • New IP The Order 1886 from Ready at Dawn brings steam-punk rifle knights to the victorian werewolf patrolled streets and zeppelin filled skies of London.
  • Mad Max adaptation marks a surprise appearance for the road warrior on PS4.
  • Bethesda reveal The Elder Scrolls Online out spring 2014 on PS4.
  • Bungie and Activision’s Destiny gets an on stage demonstration. The multiplayer space shooter looks great, may be a serious contender for the FPS crown.
  • Adam Boyes showcases a ton of indie talent featuring Don’t Starve, Mercenary Kings, Secret Ponchos, Octodad: Deadliest Catch and Oddworld Inhabitants, as well as an Abe’s Odyssey remake, titled Oddworld: New N Tasty.
  • Super Giant Games show of their big boy indie game Transistor. Nice art and cool character but are all ginger haired female leads still doomed to be lazily nicknamed “Red”, SMG says yes. Imagine if Samus Aran was instead called ‘Yellow’. Hmm, bit shit isn’t it? Come on guys you’re on that stage to represent original thinking, guh I don’t know.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins out Oct 25, will have exclusive Playstation content, as will Diablo III on PS3 and PS4. Jazzy 60′s TV show era Adam West Costume for Batman: Arkham Origins nostalgically reminds SCE America boss Jack Tretton that some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.
  • GTA V gets a PS3 bundle and themed headset.
  • iNFAMOUS: Second Son and Beyond: Two Souls still look good
  • And a big “The Last of Us is out on PS3 this Friday guys!” to you too.
  • Gran Turismo 6 looks better on PS3 than DriveClub does on PS4 somehow. Too bad they took too long to make it, almost making it an outdated game on a soon to be irrelevant console.
  • Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton skims through an autocue full of movie, TV and music guff that no-one gives a shit about. It’ll be easier for Sony to beam Sony owned highlights like Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Resident Evil: Retribution into your bleary bloated uncaring face, or something.
  • Sony royally take the piss out of Microsoft with the subtlety and grace of a neutron bomb with a video of sexy execs Shuhei Yoshida and Adam Boyes ‘explaining’ how to share games. Hilarity ensues.
  • Since the Sony presentation, Amazon pre-orders for PS4 have overtaken that of Xbox One.
  • It hasn’t all just been good news and victory laps for Sony however, in a stumbling admission it appears online DRM charges might still be worked into third-party games (eeep).

In other less grandstanding news, absent spectacle The Last Guardian was said to be ‘on hiatus’ according to SCE America head honcho Jack Tretton. This was later rebuked by Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida who stated the game was still in development. Who knows what’s with that game – does anyone actually care anymore? If you care, why not send your thoughts on a postcard to ‘P.O. Box – I live in 2009′.

Despite Sony covertly sweeping any bad news under the carpet, their stage show boasted enough crowd-pleasing headlines to prompt a mic drop and a moonwalk off stage, leaving Microsoft’s mascara to run.

Nintendo

 Wii-U

Showing up to a Royal Wedding in jeans and trainers, Nintendo were never making a play for ‘Best in Show’.

That said, they had a fairly strong showing, despite a Nintendo Direct that was only 37 minutes long and an array of titles that had already been announced.

  • Pokémon X and Y gets a worldwide release date of October 12. The new game features a new nintendogs style mode called Pokémon-Amie where you can feed and play with your Pokémon making it easier than ever to forget about your real pets. A new Pokémon type was also unveiled; Fairy.  Shoots powerful jets of washing up liquid at enemies to make their hands cripplingly fairy soft.
  • Super Mario 3D World features additionally playable Princess Peach (yass!), Luigi, Toad and a cat suited upgrade for Mario. Looks like a 2013 version of Super Mario Bros. 2 in a Super Mario 3D Land style environment. I’m excited to play as Peach. I’m also excited at a potential dampening of embittered, self serving, A-level theorising on how misogynistic Mario games are.
  • Mario Kart 8 burns motors onto the Wii U. This game will literally drive you up the wall…and under water and through the sky and into your heart!
  • Wii Party U and Wii Fit U announced. The Mii based party game and fitness sim are currently in development.
  • Art Academy Wii U takes touch screen sketching to the tablet gamepad. Is drawing a game?
  • The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD heads out to sea in October. Send and receive Miiverse messages thanks to Tingle’s message in a bottle feature. Throw them into the sea and find bottles on the beach.
  • Monolith Soft shows off ‘X’. The fantasy title looks set to continue the trend for Nintendo consoles housing quality RPG’s. A trend that propped up the Wii in it’s later days and included Monolith’s own Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • DK returns with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. I was surprised to learn that ‘Tropical Freeze’ isn’t a flavour of Lilt, Fabreeze or Lynx deodorant.
  • Bayonetta is back exclusively on Wii U in 2014, but you knew that already didn’t you? Bayonetta 2 will see a made over Bayonetta, Gamepad screen playability and a 2 player mode.
  • Mega Man infused Super Smash Bros. lands on Wii U and 3DS in 2014. Capcom’s mascot makes the headlines but Animal Crossing’s Villager avatar and the Female Wii Fit Trainer (yes, really) also enter the ring. Producer Masahiro Sakurai will be posting daily updates in the Smash Bros Miiverse community board.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds is the official title of the 3DS bound Link to the Past sequel.

As for Zelda Wii U? No news yet, but Nintendo may reveal details later this year in a Nintendo Direct.

According to Miyamoto, Nintendo have enough material from Zelda U’s ongoing development to show off the game at E3, but instead chose not to. Yep, that’s how hands in jorts (jean shorts people) pockets casual Nintendo have been about E3. Casual like their games.

For more in-depth views straight from the developer’s mouths, check out these video interviews from Nintendo.

Brief and Honourable Third Party Game Mentions

  • Capcom showed off Dungeons & Dragons, Lost Planet 3 multiplayer and their DuckTales remaster alongside that Xbox One exclusive Dead Rising 3.
  • EA had Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare on show along with Star Wars:Battlefront, Dragon Age Inquisition, Need for Speed:Rivals and the previously mentioned Titanfall. Those sporty ones return too with Madden NFL 25 ,  NBA LIVE 14 and FIFA 14 in full effect. Finally, EA pulled out a show stopper by closing their conf with Mirror’s Edge 2.
  • Konami nearly steal the Microsoft presentation by showing off Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for Xbox One, PS4 as well as Xbox 360 and PS3. PES 2014 and Castlevania:Lords Of Shadow 2 were also present.
  • Ubisoft unveil Tom Clancy’s The Division for Xbox One and PS4 while showing off more of cross console titles like Watch_Dogs and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, amongst others.
  • Square-Enix unveil Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, both games are in development for Xbox One and PS4.

So there’s the headlines. No doubt plenty more went on and plenty more will be going on in the weeks to come following the expo.

It will be interesting to see what back-tracking, news bombs and controversies take place between now and the end of year release for X1 and PS4. Afterall, it’s a long time to November, and anything can (and invariably does) happen.