I may not have gone to E3 this year, or any year, for that matter, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get all hyped up when I experienced all of the press conferences, demos, and trailers. Ryan and I already broke down all of the press conferences in some special edition podcasts you can listen to here: Part One/Part Two, but now I want to go over the games shown at this year’s E3 that got me the most riled up.
12. Kanye West
I’m not actually sure anyone is capable of answering the question “why the fuck was Kanye West at the Electronic Entertainment Expo,” most of all not even Kanye West. The most reasonable answer is: “Kanye West once played an impromptu concert on a lake in Armenia, so why wouldn’t he do pretty much everything else while he was at it?” He arrived at the show, unexpectedly and with no spectacle, with no sponsor on his badge. And then he played Street Fighter V. Apparently, Kanye West is a big Street Fighter fan. Stay tuned for July 7th, when they announce the winners of the official E3 Awards, and Kanye West interrupts them, shouting about how Uncharted 4 has the best graphics of all time. Man, I bet that joke would have killed it like four years ago.
Unravel was probably the last game I was expecting to see at the Electronic Arts press conference. When Martin Sahlin, the creative director for the game came out on stage, reached into his jacket with trembling hands, and showed the audience his prototype Yarney doll, I lost it. I took the bait, hook, line, and sinker. EA is a monstrous company that everyone hates, so once in a while they pull this “indie developers are our future” emotion appeal thing, and I fell for it. Jokes on them, because in spite of the fact that Unravel is described as a puzzle platformer, it looks like it has the heart and the art direction to outshine some of those big $100m games. I look forward to Unravel 2 coming Q1 2017.
I have watched the newest Cuphead trailer multiple times, and every time I still find myself sitting, mouth agape, saying “how the fuck can games EVEN look like that?” and looking around for someone to answer my question. Studio MDHR, the developers of Cuphead are obviously so dedicated to the 1930’s cartoon art style as to hand draw and ink all of the art, and use original jazz recordings from the era for the soundtrack, and their dedication really shows in the final project. This game looks like no other.
9. World of Final Fantasy
Listen, I don’t know what World of Final Fantasy is. I watched the trailer and I can’t quite figure it out. At the very least, however, I know that it is a Final Fantasy game that is not part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series of games (FF13-FF13-2: Lightning Returns), and it’s not a shitty mobile game free-to-play piece of shit. Coming to PS4 and PSVita first, it looks like it may actually like like a final fantasy game, without all of the flashy stuff and “story telling” of the most modern titles. Hype level: Tentative
Hitman. Not The Hitman. Just Hitman, is a game in development by Io-Interactive and being published by Square Enix. The latest in the Hitman series, neither remake, nor sequel, nor reboot, Hitman is a new game taking a look at the most fun parts of the Hitman series. The idea is that the new game will be a sandbox type experience, where you can kill your target any of the numerous ways you’d like, with the game challenging you to find all the different ways to accomplish your mission, and tasking you to get creative. They said the game will also feature daily-type missions where you only get one chance to do it. I’m a bit of a fair-weather Hitman fan, but from what they’re describing, it seems to me like they might be onto something with this formula.
7. Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
A game that, for the most part I was convinced would never get localized in North America. Imagine my surprise when I tune into the Nintendo Treehouse Live at E3 stream and find them showing off a gameplay demo, and discussing how the story of the game revolves around suicide, a subject that Nintendo of America would previously refused to even occupy the same building as. A horror action game and the latest in the Fatal Frame series, Maiden of Black Water takes us to a forest full of the spirit of those who have traveled there to take their own lives, turning your gamepad into a camera so that you can reveal the ghosts’ true forms. Seems like a perfect application for the gamepad, and with those few and far between, I’m looking forward to trying this game out.
6. Project Setsuna
Square Enix announced this year that they had established a small studio called Tokyo RPG Factory (great name, no fluff, we know what these guys are all about) and that they are working on a game code-named Project Setsuna. While it’s a little bit strange that the game is coming out next year and the only thing they showed us was concept art, I am still very excited by the notion of a tradition JRPG being developed by Square Enix internal. As I mentioned before, the old-school JRPG is dead, and those responsible for creating it have also destroyed it, and now Square Enix is making amends. I hope.
5. Destiny: The Taken King
Leave it to me to get all hyped up about an expansion for a game that many say disappointed them more than any other last year when it was released. Fuck the haters, I think Destiny is fun and The Taken King, an expansion for the game, is more Destiny. Each class is getting a new subclass (which is basically an entirely new class you can switch to whenever you want) which means more character customization and class utility without creating any new characters. The price everyone is expecting to pay is $40, and considering Destiny is an MMO with no real money shop (yet) or subscription fee, that seems like a pretty reasonable cost to continue enjoying the new content.
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
I like Call of Duty games. There, I said it. There’s a certain ring of basement dwellers who have chosen Call of Duty to represent everything wrong with modern AAA, annualized franchise game development, and while Activision can sometimes act like an eight-hundred pound gorilla, Call of Duty doesn’t necessarily deserve all the hate it gets (did you know that people are still talking about the dog and fish fiasco from before the release of Ghosts?) I have a lot of fun playing Call of Duty, and I think there are some people out there who should do the same: sit down, have fun, and shoot some god-damn guns. Black Ops 3’s multiplayer trailer was shown off at E3, and boy does it look exciting. They’re improved the movement systems, but also they seem to have removed the double jumping and air dashing that made Advanced Warfare a stick-clicking twitch-fest clusterfuck. Seems like an improvement on some of the old formulas instead of a reinvention of the wheel, and considering Black Ops 2 was the last Call of Duty game that wasn’t terrible, the prospect of playing an improved version of that is very exciting. Also, did I mention you can play as a robot? Fucking finally.
3. Persona 5
Persona 5 was hidden away on the show floor at E3 this year, no fanfare, with Sony not interested in showing it at their press conference because they needed to take up everyone’s time talking about Kickstarters and vague promises about remakes of PS1 games. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5 was already slated for a 2015 release in Japan, but as E3 began, Sega (Atlus’ parent company) announced that the game was going to be released globally before the end of this year. They didn’t even prepare a new trailer for it (which, thinking about it now, may be why Sony didn’t put it on stage). A next generation Persona game is something I’ve dreamed of for a long time, the limitations of the Playstation 2 always hindering those games’ wonderful style. Maybe I’m overestimating how much The West cares about the Persona series, but hopefully we’ll see plenty more of it at Tokyo Game Show. RIGHT?
2. Genei Ibun Roku #FE
Genei Ibun Roku #FE is the Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem crossover that no one thought would ever really happen. I, just figured it would be some kind of Fire Emblem Tactics game where Marth slayed demons and recruited them to fight for him to close some kind of trans-dimensional portal or some shit. BOY WAS I WRONG. GIR#FE is a batshit crazy Japanese Idol computer simulation where you sing until you turn into a Fire Emblem character and then ride a motorocycle all over a bunch of demons faces OR SOMETHING I DON’T EVEN KNOW. They have a new trailer, and it doesn’t clear a god-damn thing up. The art style in this game looks so cool. I am absolutely obsessed with the multi-color silhouettes of the people using the cross-walk, it looks so good. I can’t wait to see more about what this game is.
1. Dark Souls III
It’s no secret that I love Dark Souls. The original game is my favorite game of all time, for real. The sequel was good in its own right, but was missing something. Namely, director Hidetaka Miyazaki, who worked only as a consultant on the second game so that he could work more closely on Bloodborne. I’m glad that he did, because Bloodborne is an amazing game, but now he is back and co-directing the third Dark Souls game, and I could not be more exciting. If you take the improvements to the system they created for DS2 and add Miyazaki’s spirit back into the game, Dark Souls 3 has the potential to be the best game in the series. The game is slated for a release early next year, which is concerning because all we got this year was a cinematic trailer. Another game to watch for at TGS, I’m sure.