E3 2016: Here's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Video Game News
Thousands of people flocked to Los Angeles this week for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, aka E3. And while the event is only open to industry pros and press members, the public spectacle surrounding the presentations and announcements captures the attention of the gaming public across the world.
As new games and hardware info begins to trickle out to the public, we have gathered all of the juiciest bits into one place so you can learn what’s lit, what’s shit, and what needs to crawl in a pit of development hell never to be seen by the public again.
Good: The Last Guardian
Team ICO kinda sat out the entire PS3 generation, though details for what was called Project Trico leaked as far back as 2009. For half a decade, gamers wondered if the project was vaporware or if Team ICO had transitioned to anything else. That ol’ adage about "good things," "waiting," and other stuff may have some merit, because Sony announced that The Last Guardian will finally be released this October, more than 11 years after the release of Shadow of the Colossus.
Play as a child teaming up with a giant griffin, solve environmental puzzles, explore, and do cute stuff like pet the creature’s fur. The art style retains all of the mystique and charm that made ICO and Shadow of the Colossus enduring classics. And despite rumors of designer Fumito Ueda’s involvement being cut down, we’re finally looking at a release date.
But still, with so much time between this and the last game, we’ll refrain from jumping for joy until the damn thing is in our hands.
Bad: Capcom Exclusives
Capcom, it’s time to cut the shit. No, this isn’t another angry tirade about how badly the company is fucking over the Mega Man franchise, but a plea to cut this B.S. exclusivity game you’re playing with Playstation and Xbox.
The company announced two new installments in their popular zombie-killing franchises: Resident Evil 7 and Dead Rising 4. However, Resident Evil 7 debuted during Sony’s presentation and Dead Rising 4 during Microsoft’s, both touting exclusivity to each platform.
Dead Rising 4 will begin life as an Xbox One exclusive game, possibly being ported to PS4 next year. And Resident Evil 7’s VR features will be exclusive to Playstation.
This needs to stop. Maximize the user base across all platforms and quit making these short-gain exclusivity deals. You assholes need cash? Make a card-game app for mobile devices and charge microtransactions like the other successful game developers.
Ugly: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
The space stuff seems slightly intriguing, but that’s not typical of a Call of Duty game. As anyone knows, these are practically on-rails set-piece shooters tagged onto a robust multiplayer experience.
That’s why it’s so disappointing to see the potential of technologically advanced warfare squandered on generic space marine designs that look aped from Starship Troopers.
The annual-ization of non-sports video games is among the worst thing to happen to big-budget game design, resulting in shitty franchises like Assassin’s Creed and Guitar Hero. Activision, publisher of the Call of Duty franchise, should probably take a break for a bit and allow developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch to recharge and refresh.
Would work on a new IP kill you? Just look at Blizzard and their new game Overwatch! It’s okay to try new things.
A look at Link battling a new foe. The new art style for Breath of the Wind retains the same charm the Zelda franchise is known for while pushing the graphical power of the Wii U.
Good: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
You can nearly determine the age of any gamer by finding out their favorite Legend of Zelda experience. It speaks volumes about the franchise's popularity that it has endured for decades now. The announcement of the newest installment and the subsequent information dump about the game caused some excitement.
Nintendo again sat out from a typical E3 presentation like Ubisoft, EA, Microsoft, and Sony, but they’ve seemed to learn it’s not important to make a splash. They instead focused on their “Treehouse” event, showcasing live gameplay demonstrations and interviews with the developers who made it happen.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks to be an innovative step forward for the long-running series, if not derivative of more contemporary games. Hey, we’re all for that, but only if it makes for another kick-ass game like we’ve come to expect from the Zelda team.
Bad: Nintendo NX
It’s not exactly the worst thing, but after the rushed Project Scorpio announcement from Microsoft, we were kind of expecting something.
Maybe this will pan out in the long run, because all tech can benefit from a little more time in the kitchen, but when you announce that your new Zelda game is going to be cross-platform with the next-gen console you’re developing, we’re going to expect some details on said console.
Ugly: Pokemon: Yungoos
Look at this disgusting piece of shit.
Good: New IP
Death Stranding! Sea of Thieves! Steep! These are just a few of the new games being developed at E3, giving hope that there are still free-thinking, creative individuals working to create unique experiences. We were a little worried for a second there.
Hideo Kojima, infamous creator of the Metal Gear franchise, finally escaped the Konami death grip and is teaming with bromate Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead to make a weird-as-fuck video game called Death Stranding.
Rare, made famous for their Donkey Kong Country franchise and the goddamn greatest N64 game of all time, Goldeneye, are making a co-op pirate game.
Steep looks to give a unique extreme-sports experience that’s not solely restricted to one sport but instead one locale: a mountain. Snowboard, ski, or wind glide to the finish line.
Each of these games look to take classic elements from gaming history with an innovative approach. We want to see more of this, please.
What don’t we want to see? No more Watch Dogs. No more God of War. No more Resident Evil, Tom Clancy, or Battlefield. Give us some new and original shit. Please.
And PLEASE quit rereleasing games from the last console cycle for PS4 and Xbox One. WHY DO WE NEED A REMASTERED SKYRIM? OR FINAL FANTASY XII? OR FUCKING BULLETSTORM?
All right, we admit, those remastered Crash Bandicoot games sound legit, BUT NOTHING ELSE.?
While the last few E3’s have presented VR like a mystical unicorn just on the cusp of reality, this is the first year where units are in consumers' hands. Finally, we get a preview of VR software we’ll actually be able to experience at home.
Fallout 4 will be playable on the HTC Vive, Rocksteady Studios are making a Batman: Arkham VR experience, Star Wars Battlefront will sport an X-Wing mission, and many more announcements regarding the budding technology were made.
It seems like this is the year that VR experiences will stop being proof-of-concept demos and become more like the video games we know and love.
But seriously, for a technology that doesn’t have the largest user base yet, it seems like every fucking company was frothing at the mouth to present their VR tech.
We get it, it’s likely to be The New Thing everyone will want, but not everyone has a device capable of playing any of this shit. Keep it in your pants.
Ugly: 4K Systems
Project Scorpio, Playstation 4.5, and quite possibly the Nintendo NX. What the fuck. Why do we need these stop-gap systems?
The PS4 hasn’t even been on the market for three years and Sony is already working on another beefed up system for VR and 4K purposes, while Nintendo’s NX has been rumored to be in development since the Wii U was classified a flop.
Meanwhile Microsoft made the only actual announcement of their Project Scorpio, which has left us shaking our heads. There’s not even a release date or a real name for the product. Are consumers really so thirsty, so eager to upgrade a perfectly capable console ecosystem? We hope not.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Phoenix art and theater scene.