With Sony’s and Microsoft’s excellent conferences having already worked E3 attendees into a frenzy, Nintendo took to the virtual stage Tuesday to deliver their annual E3 non-conference. As is becoming tradition, Nintendo opted out of the standard live press conference and instead offered a canned video presentation, essentially an hour-long Nintendo Direct. Did Nintendo keep the hype train rolling, adding to the momentum created by Bethesda, Microsoft, Sony, and other E3 presenters? Did they deliver an impressive, jaw-dropping presentation that would earn them a stream of coveted “Nintendo Wins E3” tweets and headlines?
Nintendo’s presentation this year was, in a word, underwhelming. Even disappointing, at least for Wii U owners. Big 3DS fans, and especially fans of Japanese games, might have found more to like, but the presentation did not bode well for Nintendo’s home console. So before we get into the Wii U announcements and start dissecting Nintendo’s performance, let’s take a look at the 3DS games Nintendo unveiled.
(Also, let’s take a moment to wonder why the presentation was hosted by Muppet versions of Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Reggie Fils-Aime. Muppet Miyamoto’s dressing room looked like some weird, Nintendo-themed plush love nest. I briefly entertained the thought that Nintendo was building to the surprise announcement of a Muppets or other puppet-themed game, but no, they weren’t. They just decided to transform their executives into puppets for some reason. Idea: a Kinect game that you control by holding your hand in the air as if it were inside an imaginary sock puppet.)
Games. Games games games games games. Lots of games. All of the games. That was the message of Microsoft’s press conference yesterday. Microsoft has been calling this the best games lineup in Xbox history, and while I haven’t gone through year-by-year and compared them, yesterday’s conference certainly made a strong argument.
The show of course featured all of Microsoft’s heavy hitters: Halo, Tomb Raider, Gears of War, Fable, and Forza. The show opened with a montage of characters (and cars) from these franchises, and each franchise popped up at some point during the conference. But in addition to these big, predictable titles, Microsoft dropped a number of surprises. Let’s take a look at the blow-by-blow.
The show kicked off with a trailer for Halo 5: Guardians. I’ve never been much of a Halo fan – I’ve only played Halo 3 – but the game looks impressive. With a couple of people onstage holding controllers, we were treated to a (presumably) live demo – the first of many throughout the night – of co-op Halo 5 gameplay, which we’re told is “seamless drop-ion, drop-out co-op.” Microsoft also showed off the multiplayer, announcing a new Warzone mode with huge arenas and 24-player battles. Without really knowing what I’m talking about, I would say that Halo 5 looks like a pretty good bit of fan service.
Then, with no fanfare, a trailer for a new Xbox One exclusive game started up. The game is called Recore (or ReCore or recore) and might be my favorite moment from the conference. This is a new IP, and while there isn’t really any information in the trailer, it does look pretty cool. The trailer begins with a woman walking through a vaguely post-apocalyptic desert landscape with her robot dog. The dog’s design is centered on a glowing orb – a “core,” if you will – and our heroes soon encounter a bunch of four-legged, spider-like robots with cores of their own, albeit a villainous red as opposed to the dog’s heroic blue. The heroine collects cores from the slain robots, and when her dog is dies, she takes its core and slots it into a giant, inert robot, bringing it to life. So obviously the game is going to center on these cores and your ability to move them from host to host. I’m hoping for more details later in the conference, but so far I’m excited for this game. I love to see new IP, I love robot companions and blowing up robot enemies, I love seeing female protagonists, and I love the visual style of this game. I can’t wait to learn more about Recore. Continue reading Microsoft E3 Conference Impressions→
We’ve had some little news drops over the last week or so, like the Fallout 4 trailer and the Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct, but with Bethesda’s press conference last night, E3 2015 has finally started. And what a start! Bethesda threw a lot of footage at us, a lot of which looked pretty great, and a few little surprises, too. So let’s take a quick look at what we saw.
First of all, Bethesda employees get a lot of cool t-shirts. I want all of them. But anyway, the games.
The show kicked off with a pretty in-depth look at Doom, and it looks like a lot of fun. Doom is not looking to reinvent the wheel; this game is aimed straight at people who loved the original Doom and Doom II in the early 90s. Doom is a game about flying chunks of flesh, geysers of blood, double-barreled shotguns that reload in a fraction of a second, slicing through demons with a chainsaw, and exploding barrels. The trailers Bethesda showed us – there were four of them – had buckets and buckets of that goodness.
It’s easy to criticize a game like Doom for not bringing anything new to the table, for not really innovating. But there are tons of shooters every year. Let someone else come up with bold, innovative gameplay mechanics that give you a first-person shooter experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Doom is a game for when you want to rip the arms off a demon and then beat that demon to death with them. What Bethesda showed off last night looks like it’s going to nail the gory, comically over-the-top, fast-paced gameplay that Doom fans are thirsting for. Continue reading Bethesda E3 Conference Impressions→
After a surprise countdown showed up on Bethesda’s website yesterday and sent the Internet into a tizzy of Fallout 4 anticipation, the game’s official trailer dropped this morning. It hits all the familiar notes, has a next-gen level of polish (kind of), and shows off a post-apocalyptic Boston. There are a lot of fun little nuggets buried in this trailer, and now that I’ve had almost two hours to pore over it, here are my first impressions.
First, here’s the trailer, in case you missed it somehow:
This first thing that struck me is the vibe of the trailer. It reminds me quite a bit of the excellent trailer for The Division that Ubisoft showed at last year’s E3. That trailer had a camera sweeping through an unpeopled New York while a cool time-lapse effect showed the unfolding of some catastrophe through insinuation:
The Fallout 4 trailer achieves a similar effect, albeit with more conventional filmmaking techniques, cutting back and forth between the pre- and post-apocalyptic versions of Boston. You see an empty crib in a dirty, abandoned bedroom, and then you see parents cooing over a newborn in that same crib. I like getting these glimpses of the pre-apocalyptic, retrofuturistic world, and I wonder if we’ll get to visit that world in the game. Continue reading Fallout 4 Trailer Impressions→
Back in March, Nintendo announced that they were working on a new “dedicated game platform,” with the codename “NX.” No other details were offered other than to say that the NX will be a “brand-new concept” and that the company “[hopes] to share more information” in 2016. The announcement came during a press conference in which Nintendo announced its plans to develop games for smartphones, so the point of this reveal was to reassure stockholders and/or fans that the company is not abandoning dedicated gaming hardware. And, for now, that’s all we really have to go on: a codename and a vague notion of when we will learn more. Well, that and our infinite capacity for unfounded speculation!
There are two big, obvious questions: What is the NX? And when is it coming out? To the first question, there are really four potential answers: a home console, a handheld, some sort of home console/handheld hybrid, or something else entirely, a genuinely “brand-new concept.” For now, let’s set aside the “something else entirely” category, as that’s a bottomless pit of speculative potential and there’s only so much Internet to go around. Continue reading What’s NXt for Nintendo?→