E3 Highlights from the Show Floor

photo 2 photo 5 photo 4 photo 3 photo 1I know, I know, no post last week. I had fully intended to, but E3 was very very busy. I barely had time to sleep, let alone write a blog post (I’m not even kidding, between jet lag and a busy schedule I barely slept that whole week)! Luckily I’ve just about recovered now, so it’s about time I wrote something about my E3 experiences.

Well, my experience was this – mostly meetings and night-time networking/work events. In fact, I probably only spent about a total of 2 hours on the actual expo floor and I was mainly zipping in and out of there between meetings (which mostly took place at the hotel bar across the road), I didn’t really get to try anything as the lines were pretty much all incredibly long. So, to be honest, you guys checking out the news and watching the conferences online were probably caught up on all the highlights before I was. However, I did go to the Sony and Ubisoft press conferences and did see a bunch of cool stuff on the floor that I can share with you. Apologies about not having too many great pics – I’m no photographer and during the conferences I was more focused on listening than snapping blurry images of trailers and people walking around on stage as I’m sure you can understand.

photo 2Same as always, I have to watch what I say about the big publishers, but I can talk to you guys about the games I’m most excited about from the conferences I attended and the ones I didn’t and had to look up afterwards. First of all, I was genuinely and absolutely blown away by the Ubisoft press conference. And no, not just because it was awesomely flashy with all the smoke, lights, flashing bracelets and all the stuff that good press conferences have. That side of the conference was definitely fun and being around so many like-minded people who are all as excited is you is an amazing experience that I think you really have to experience to get. It definitely beats watching it from home, although there’s of course nothing wrong with doing that either. But really, it was all about the games. The Ubisoft line-up is possibly the strongest I’ve ever seen from them and got me seriously excited about some of their upcoming games.

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’ll probably know that I have a great love for Far Cry 3. I constantly gush about it in the context of open world gameplay, story-telling and interesting villains (I’m mainly talking about Vaas obviously). So it probably doesn’t surprise you that Far Cry 4 was what really had me whooping and clapping until my hands hurt. It looks beautiful of course and aesthetically, it’s undeniably Far Cry with its expansive vistas and graphical attention to detail (as soon as the trailer came on I was pretty sure that it was going to be a FC4 announcement), but it also has a distinctly unique flavour – as it should considering this game takes place in the Himalayas, not a lush, tropical island. I was intrigued by this new setting and the distinctly non-white protagonist. I’m also looking forward to seeing the new villain as I loved their multi-layered treatment of ‘bad guys’ in Far Cry 3. At the Sony Conference it was also announced that there will not only be two person co-op, but you’ll also be able to play with people who don’t own the game. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how this works, even I’m mainly a single player person for any sort of story-based game.

The other announcement that got me extra excited at the Ubisoft conference was for Assassin’s Creed Unity, which interestingly will also feature co-op, although this time for up to four players. I love the idea of playing my own customised assassin alongside friends and am definitely going to keep on top of the news to see how this is going to play out. I was also impressed by the apparent scale and depth of the world and variety of activities offered. To be honest, the Assassin’s Creed games never really seemed like my kind of thing and I’ve only ever played a little bit of the first game, although I could definitely see the appeal. However, I’m definitely planning to pick up Unity to see what I’ve been missing out on. As for the other games, I’ll also most likely be checking out The Division for what looks like unique gameplay and Valiant Hearts: The Great War.

photo 3 photo 2 photo 3The Sony press conference took place in the LA Memorial Sports Arena and it was absolutely massive. In fact, it looked more like a festival or concert with buses taking you to and from the stadium and tons of food stands outside. There were a bunch of new first party games that look pretty solid like Uncharted 4, LittleBigPlanet 3 and a reimagining of the first Ratchet & Clank. They also announced exclusive access to the Destiny ‘first look’ alpha for PS4, which people have already been playing and that the full beta will open on 17th July. I didn’t jump on the alpha, but I’m definitely hoping to check out the beta, because you know I’m a sucker for sci-fi games and although I generally don’t play a lot of multiplayer games due to time restraints, Titanfall managed to suck me in, so who knows?

Other games that looked cool were Batman: Arkham Knight by Rocksteady (and not just because I’ve been a huge Batman fan for decades). It seems to be keeping the fluidity of combat and movement that everyone loved from their last games, but also massively expanded the world and added a new way to travel – the Batmobile. Yes, the Batmobile! I also saw a giant replica of the Batmobile from Arkham Knight at the expo and if I could have found some way to drive away in it, I totally would have. Ok, so definitely playing this one, although obviously after I finally get around to playing Arkham City (urk, that backlog is looking pretty intimidating right about now).

photo 4 photo 2Rockstar’s GTA V is coming to PS4 and you can transfer progress from 360 and PS3 to PS4 and I have to say, the graphics look AMAZING. I’m always up for more GTA V! There were also a bunch of cool indie games announced and I encourage you to check them out. There too many other announcements to go through, although I’m also looking forward to seeing new version of Grim Fandango (I’ve been meaning to play that for a long time).

I didn’t see the other conferences, but did see some cool trailers and demos around the show floor, as well as online. In terms of gameplay, I was completely mesmerized by Sunset Overdrive on the show floor.  I’m of course still excited about The Witcher 3 by CD Projekt Red and the demo only confirmed how deep and expansive the world will really be. I unfortunately haven’t had time to check out the Nintendo Direct video presentation yet, but I did see the new Super Smash Bros being played on the expo floor and it looked chaotic, competitive and imaginative – basically all the things you want out of that game! Also, hello? New Zelda game? Yes please!photo 5 photo 1 photo 1 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

So unfortunately, this is coming a bit late and you’ve probably all watched the trailers online and made up your own mind on what you personally find exciting. This was mainly a list of what caught my eye (yours will probably be quite different) and what it was like as an attendee. Coming up soon – the difference between trade shows like E3 and GDC and consumer shows and whether non-industry people should try to attend the former. Until next time!

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2 responses to “E3 Highlights from the Show Floor

  1. It sounds like E3 was a lot of work, but also that there were some real highlights to be had. I think you’re in for a treat once the Destiny beta drops. I got to take part in the alpha and I couldn’t pull myself away from even the little slice that they showed us, and I normally hate these sorts or open-world, borderlands-y kinds of games!

    Meetings aside it sounds like it was an enjoyable experience, is that correct?

    • There were definitely some great highlights to E3 and some of the announcements have got me very excited. Destiny has been on my radar ever since it was announced, but I’ve been really looking forward to seeing how it actually plays. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the alpha! I can’t wait to get my hands on it, especially since I actually love open-world borderlands-y games! 😀 I sense an addiction on the horizon…

      Hmm, I’m not sure if I could say E3 was very ‘enjoyable’. I’m definitely glad I went and there were some fun times, but honestly I was working basically 24/7, averaging a few hours a night of sleep and severely jetlagged and mainly spent my time running from one meeting to another or attending meetings, so I really was completely shattered. There wasn’t too much E3 aside from meetings for me! But yeah, it was definitely worth going, business-wise and it was a good experience to have.

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