PlayStation E3 2016 Press Conference Highlights

Sony is the final Press Conference of the year, and like last year they saved the best for last.  There were a few lowlights in the conference, like Skylanders inclusion, so I’ve taken the big moments from the presser and condensed them below for you.  But that’s enough blabbering by me, let’s get started!

1. Kratos is back and in a Norse setting in God of War

Sony opened the press conference with a long and impressive demo for a new God of War game, simply titled God of War.  This demo follows Kratos and a young boy whom calls Kratos his father as they hunt for a deer and are attacked by Trolls.  Kratos no longer wields the Blades of Chaos, instead opting for an axe that is imbued with an ice rune by the look of it.  No release date or window was given for this title.

2. Last Guardian is launching this October!

Finally.  It’s finally happening.  The Last Guardian is actually going to be releasing this October.  Sony dropped a two minute long trailer during the presser and revealed the game will be coming exclusively to PS4 this October 25th.

3. Horizon: Zero Dawn wows with another massive demo

Guerrilla Games showcased a brand new demo of their upcoming action adventure game Horizon with a long extended gameplay demo.  In the demo, Aloy uses her hunter’s vision to determine enemies weak points to find new parts for crafting for her weapons and gadgets.  The demo showcased branching dialogue as well, with Aloy being able to ask a scared villager different questions.  On top of all of that, we saw Aloy tame a wild beast to ride and use in her fight against a Corrupter.  Horizon: Zero Dawn comes out on February 28th.

4. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare looks so much better than could be anticipated

When Infinity Ward announced the futuristic sci-fi setting for Infinite Warfare, they received a lot of flack.  Thankfully, this game looks like it is going to deliver as the team premiered an extended gameplay demo for the game during the Sony press conference.  During the demo, the player character Captain Reyes decided where to travel to with his crew, opting to attack an enemy frigate.  Reyes and his team took to their fighters, the Jackals, and put on an almost Ace Combat style demo.  Following that, we witness some zero-G gunfights that look so much better than I anticipated.  Infinite Warfare is coming to consoles and PC on November 4th.

5. Insomniac is making a Spider-man game!

A new Spider-man game from the creators of Ratchet and Clank and Sunset Overdrive?  I’m so in.  Sony revealed that their long time collaborators at Insomniac have taken the reins on the Webhead and will be making a game that is exclusively on PS4.  No release window was revealed, but one could guess it will be near either the July 2017 release of the film, or when it (presumably) releases on Blu Ray (Holiday 2017).

6. Sony Bend is taking us to the zombie apocalypse with Days Gone

Syphon Filter developers Sony Bend have created a new IP set in the zombie apocalypse with Days Gone.  You will play as a survivor “Deacon St. John, a Drifter and bounty hunter who rides the broken road, fighting to survive while searching for a reason to live.”  Sony Bend describes the game as an emotional tale about survivors and what makes them human.  No release window was spoken of, but below is an extended gameplay demo.

7. PS VR is coming this October with 50 games

Sony took a brief pit stop to talk about the PlayStation VR during the conference and to confirm that it will be launching this October 13th for $399.  It will have 50 games available for it, though they did not confirm how many will be there for launch.  Their defintion of games is also potentially suspect, as two of the games they showcased for it (Star Wars Battlefront: VR Mission and Batman Arkham VR) seem like tech demos rather than full games.  They did show off an internally produced game called Farpoint that did get me excited though.

8. Resident Evil 7 is real, first person, in VR, has a demo out right now, and coming out in January.

Holy crap did Capcom go big with this one.  With an absolutely terrifying trailer, Capcom revealed Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.  Capcom is taking the game into first person, with a photo-realistic art style that can also be played through fully in VR.  The game will follow the events of RE6 “taking place in modern day and revolving around a foreboding, derelict plantation mansion in rural America. Players must explore and survive the horrors within the mysterious, sprawling estate.”  Their is a demo available exclusively for PS+ owners right now on PS4, and the game will be coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on January 24th.

9. Hideo Kojima reveals his next game: Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima revealed himself at the press conference and showed off a trailer for his upcoming game from Kojima Productions.  What the game is actually about is anyone’s guess, but the trailer does feature a naked Norman Reedus (who is the game’s star) holding a baby fetus that transforms in black blood.  Yea, it looks absolutely bonkers, but I am completely onboard.  The game will be a PS4 exclusive, but do not expect to see this game anytime soon.

And that was the massive Sony presser for E3 2016, and I even left out the awesome Detroit Become Human trailer.  What was your favorite moment of the press conference?  How do you think their show stacked up with Microsoft or other publishers?  Let me know in the comments below!

by, Bobby Marquardt

 

Microsoft E3 2016 Press Conference Highlights

Microsoft opened this Monday with their big E3 press conference and they had quite a few big announcements and gameplay demos to show off.  I’ll once again be trimming out the brief lowlights of the conference in favor of just giving you the meat and potatoes of what we gamers love.  So without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Forza Horizon 3 is heading to the Outback!

Playground Games’ third entry into the Forza Horizon series was showcased heavily at the conference, as they revealed that the game will take the Horizon festival to Australia.  Naturally, this new aesthetic has added many new types of vehicles, including off-road buggies, to the game to compensate for the new landscape.  Horizon 3 will feature four player co-op across Xbox One and PC, and it will launch simultaneously on both platforms on September 27th.

2. Playdead Studio’s new game Inside is still kicking, and coming to Xbox later this month.

Inside was showcased at last year’s E3, and has been radio silent ever since.  Today, Playdead reintroduced the game and revealed that it is very much alive and practically done.  The game will be coming first to Xbox One on June 29, and PC on July 7th.

3. Two new Zombie games announced: State of Decay 2 and Dead Rising 4

Microsoft had two brand new zombie games to show off this year, with the announcements of both State of Decay 2 and Dead Rising 4.  State of Decay 2 was revealed with a partially cinematic and partially gameplay trailer that revealed it will come out in 2017.  Dead Rising 4 was revealed with a primarily gameplay trailer showcasing Frank West’s return to the lead role.  The game will take place at Christmas time, and probably not coincidentally, Dead Rising 4 is coming Holiday 2016.

4. Scalebound shows off 4 player co-op battles reminiscent of Monster Hunter

Platinum Games returned to E3 to show off Scalebound and it’s foru player co-op mode.  The gameplay featured the biggest boss battle that Platinum has ever created, with the players swapping between ground and dragon combat to fight the massive crab creature.  The gameplay wasn’t the quick action that Platinum is known for in games like Bayonetta, but appears more methodical like games like Monster Hunter.  Scalebound is due out on Xbox One and PC in 2017.

5. Halo Wars 2 gets delayed, but cools the sting with an Open Beta available right now

343 Industries’ Dan Ayoub took the stage to announce that Halo Wars 2 is being developed by both 343 and Creative Assembly (devs of Total War series), and will launch on February 21st of 2017, a delay from there initial Fall 2016 release window.  To cool the sting of the delay, 343 announced an open beta which is available right now on Xbox One.  The whole game will launch on both Xbox One and PC and it, along with all Microsoft Studios games revealed at the conference include cross-buy when bought digitally for play on both Xbox One and PC.

6. Gears of War 4 reveals a new co-op demo, special edition controller, and General RAAM in Killer Instinct

Rod Fergusson of the Coalition  brought out the big guns with an extended gameplay demo of the upcoming Gears of War 4.  The demo showed off the new swarm enemies and dazzling weather effects, including crazy lightning strikes, and a new weapon called the Buzzkill which shoot saw blades at enemies that can ricochet off walls.  The Coalition also showed off a limited edition Gears of War elite controller for Xbox One, and Iron Galaxy revealed that General RAAM, the antagonist of the first Gears, is available now for Killer Instinct.  Gears of War 4 launches on October 11th.

7. Sea of Thieves wows with insanely fun looking co-op.

Rare revealed the first gameplay for Sea of Thieves and it looks immensely fun.  The team at Rare invited community members in and split them into three teams to play the game.  They were given no tutorial, no instructions, and simply told to play.  What follows is an amazingly fun looking gameplay demonstration.  No release date or window was announced, but Rare did reveal they want to get fan feedback on the game as early as possible, so expect some sort of early access or alpha for the game.

8. Project Scorpio is real, and it is “the most powerful console ever made”, and Microsoft reveals a slimmer Xbox One, called Xbox One S

There have been rumors for months that Microsoft is building an Xbox 1.5 of sorts, that is more powerful than the Xbox One while not a new generation of consoles.  It is code-named Project Scorpio, and was confirmed to be real by Microsoft today.  It features of six teraflops of computing power, and the most powerful graphics processor in a console to date.  Microsoft also revealed the Xbox One S, a slim version of the current Xbox One console, that will feature 4K resolution and full HDR output (as will Scorpio).  Everything that works on Xbox One will work on Scorpio and One S, and likewise for anything that works on Scorpio will work on Xbox One.  “No one gets left behind,” Phil Spencer declared.  The Scorpio will launch in Fall 2017, and the Xbox One S this August.

And those are the big highlights from the Xbox One press conference, and I even left out a trailer for the upcoming game ReCore, which looks phenomenal.  The press conference was, in my opinion, the best Microsoft has put on in years.  What were your highlights?  Let me know in the comments!

by, Bobby Marquardt

Bethesda E3 2016 Press Conference Highlights

Bethesda presented it’s second ever E3 Press Conference this evening, and continued on the strong press conference they put on during E3 2015.  The press conference was tight and concise, but it had a moments that threw off the pacing (Mostly the Elder Scrolls Online and Doom DLC).  I’ve pieced together a few highlights of the press conference below, and overall it was a good conference with a few new game announcements and some deep dives into some of their biggest upcoming games.

1. Quake is back!!!!!!

The Maryland based publisher opened the show was a big time revival: Quake is coming back.  The below CG trailer was used to revealed the new upcoming Quake game titled Quake: Champions.  No further details were revealed for the game beyond that it will be the fast-paced arena shooter that Quake is known for, but id said they will be showing off more gameplay at QuakeCon this August.

2. Fallout 4 is  taking a trip to NukaWorld and Skyrim is coming to PS4 and Xbox One

Todd Howard came to the conference via video to reveal three new DLCs for Fallout 4.  The first two DLCs are additional workshop DLC which will allow players to create crazy contraptions, or create entire Vaults for their settlements.  The contraptions DLC will launch next week, and the Vault DLC will launch in July.  The Third DLC will feature a trip to NukaWorld, a Disney World inspired amusement park that the player will explore.  It is coming in August.  Todd Howard also confirmed one heavily leaked bit of information that Skyrim is being remastered and coming to PS4 and Xbox One this October.

3. Arkane Studios reveals a Prey reboot which feels inspired by System Shock

Another horribly kept secret in this industry is Arkane Studios’ reboot of Prey.  This game does not look at all tied to the 3D Realms 2006 shooter, as it looks to be more of horror/thriller sort of game.  The official description reads “You are Morgan Yu, the subject of morally dubious experiments designed to improve the human race. You awaken aboard the Talos 1 in the year 2032 and must uncover the secrets hiding in the depths of the space station while being hunted by the mysterious alien force that has taken over. You’ll have to rely on the tools you find on the station – along with your wits, weapons and mind-bending abilities – to combat the growing threat and, hopefully, survive”.  It is coming to Xbox One, PS4, and PC in 2017.

4. Dishonored 2 garners a long showcase

Arkane Studios got the premier slot in this year’s press conference and debuted about twenty minutes of footage for their upcoming first person stealth action game Dishonored 2.  As they announced, players can play as either Emily or Corvo in the sequel and it will take gamers to a new city, while beginning and ending the game in Dunwall.  Arkane showcased new abilities, new environments (including dust storms from the local mine), and new devices that the player can actually use to travel back in time.  Dishonored is coming to Xbox One, PS4 and PC on November 11th, with a limited Collector’s Edition that comes with a Corvo mask as well.

That’s it for Day 1 of E3 press conferences, what were your favorite moments?  Let me know in the comments below, and get hyped because tomorrow we have four press conferences: Microsoft, PC, Ubisoft, and PlayStation.

by, Bobby Marquardt

Highlights of EA’s 2016 E3 Press Conference

E3 is here again ladies and gentlemen, and kicking it off this year was Electronic Arts.  Their (not) press conference this year was titled EA Play, and it had quite a few strong moments, and some not as strong.  For this post, I’m just going to focus on the highlights of their presser; what that amounts to is that I’ll be skipping over the sports, mobile, and DLC talk.

1. Titanfall 2 get’s amazing trailers for both it’s singleplayer and multiplayer modes

Titanfall was a big success when it launched in early 2014, and Respawn is looking to improve upon its strengths for the game’s sequel that is coming this fall.  Vince Zampella, one of the founder’s of Respawn and original creator of Call of Duty, took the stage to first give gamers a brief look at the game’s multiplayer.  Zampella announced that the sequel would feature six additional titan classes, and the trailer showcased many new additions to multiplayer including grappling hooks, magnet grenades, teleportation pads, and new titan abilities including a ground pound and a massive laser attack.

Next, Zampella spoke about the singleplayer that they have added for the sequel.  He said it will expand the narrative of Titanfall and explore the distinct link between Titan and it’s Pilot.  The campaign will follow Titan BT-7274 and rifleman Jack Cooper, who link together based on battlefield necessity rather than choice after BT’s original pilot dies.  Respawn announced their will be a multiplayer stress test later this summer, before the game launches on October 28th for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

2. Mass Effect Andromeda looks great, but still seems far off

Bioware took the stage at the conference to talk about Mass Effect Andromeda, the long in development next entry into the Mass Effect franchise.  The team didn’t have much to share, but gave eager fans a two minute long trailer that was partially gameplay, partially cinematics, and partially behind the scenes work.  EA said they will reveal more about the game this Fall, but the lack of a gameplay demo or cinematics puts serious doubt into my mind that this game will launch in it’s current March 2017 launch window.  What we saw however was great.  The player will explore new worlds on their ship, The Tempest, that are filled with new races and seemingly some familiar ones as well, with an Asari and Krogan being visible in the trailer.

3. A lot of EA studios are working on Star Wars.

EA has the Star Wars license for the foreseeable future and are making the most out of it.  Next year, EA revealed we will see a sequel to Battlefront, and the following year we will see the release of Amy Hennig’s long in development title from Visceral Games (developers of Dead Space and Battlefield Hardlines).  Respawn is also working on their own third-person action adventure game of Star Wars that has God of War III director Sitg Asmussen in the lead.  It looks like, if the mo-cap footage was saw was any indication, that it will focus on Jedi.  Jade Raymond (former Assassin’s Creed lead developer) and her studio in Canada, Motive, are assiting in development of Visceral’s Star Wars title and next year’s Battlefront which is being developed by DICE.  On top of all of that, Criterion, best known for the Burnout franchise, are apparently working on Star Wars Battlefront VR missions for Playstation VR.  Below is EA’s video on their Star Wars games, including a brief glimpse at gameplay from Visceral’s game.

4. Battlefield 1 wows with massive battlegrounds and Zepplin crashes.

DICE closed the show by showing off their WWI shooter, Battlefield 1.  In the trailers and gameplay sessions that followed we were shown new footage of some incredible spectacle moments including dog fights in single engine “Red Baron”-esc planes, tank and artillery in action, and zepplins being flow and crashed.  The level-ution that was so highly touted in Battlefield 4 seems to be back to a certain degree, as the zepplin crashed in the sleepy French village around which the two teams were fighting.  My descriptions do not even do it justice, so watch both the trailer and gameplay footage I was able to find below.

And those are the best moments from EA’s E3 press conference.  What was your favorite moments?  Anything you wish we would have seen but didn’t?  Let me know in the comments below!

by, Bobby Marquardt

 

Destiny’s newest expansion, Rise of Iron, announced. Coming to Xbox One & PS4 only this September

Bungie took to Twitch today to reveal their heavily leaked expansion to Destiny, titled Rise of Iron.  The expansion will feature a new “cinematic” campaign, taking Guardians to the Plaguelands, a section in Russia that was sealed off by The Wall, the location that player’s began their adventure near.  Player’s will be under the command of Lord Saladin, whom Destiny players will recognize as the vendor the Iron Banner crucible variant.  Saladin will send players on mission to face the new enemy The Splicers: a variant of the Fallen whom are infected by the Sivo plague that has stricken the Plaguelands.  Players will learn the fate of the Iron Lords, those who stood against the Sivo plague when it first appeared, and of whom Saladin is the sole survivor.

On top of new story missions, Bungie has promised the Plaguelands will give players a new social location in the form of Felwinter Peak.  Players will complete missions to clear out the former fortress of the Iron Lords before it can be used as a social space, a first for a social area in Destiny.  The Splicers they face are Fallen Devils who have fused themselves with the SIVA plague, as it is a self replicating nano-technology from the Golden Age of the traveler.

DEstiny ROI Gear

Bungie’s tease of the new gear available in Rise of Iron, complete with a Hunter with cat-ears.

Destiny fans have an all new six person raid to look forward to.  In the official press release, Bungie describes it as follows: “Deep below the earth lies the true source of the SIVA outbreak, guarded by the most zealous and powerful Fallen Devil Splicers. Six Guardians will plumb the depths to stop the threat at its source. Should they emerge victorious, they will return to the surface wielding powerful new SIVA weapons and armor.”  No video was shown of the raid beyond an enemy that Bungie described as a “Death Zamboni” that was chasing players in a brief clip of the raid.

The expansion will feature new gear, new crucible maps, new and revamped strikes, as well as a “significantly increased” light level.  It is coming to PS4 and Xbox One only, a first for Destiny.  Progression, which previously was shared on Xbox One and 360 and the PS4 and PS3 respectively, will now diverge at the launch of Rise of Iron.  Bungie promises players who make the jump to new consoles a way to port their last gen character to current gen as well.  Those who pre-order Rise of Iron will recieved an exclusive Iron Black Gjallarhorn rocket launcher.  The expansion will be available on September 20th, and will cost $29.99.  Bungie has promised the expansion will include more content than both of the year one DLCs, House of Wolves and The Dark Below, combined.  No word on if the content will be greater than last year’s expansion, The Taken King, but the decreased price point suggests otherwise.

by, Bobby Marquardt

Watch Dogs 2 revealed, coming November 15th

Today, Ubisoft officially revealed Watch dogs 2 with a live-stream as well as multiple trailers for their fans.  Watch Dogs 2 will leave Chicago and Aiden Pierce behind for the city by the bay, as the sequel moves sunny San Francisco and the surrounding area of Silicon Valley and Oakland, what the writer Lucien Soulban calls “The Wild West of Technology.”  Ubisoft promises the new world will be more alive and larger than the first Watch Dogs (twice the size according to the game’s director).  Their goal is to make the city feel alive even when the player isn’t interacting with it, with dogs barking at actions of NPCs and police being called on others besides the players.

The world will be populated by many different factions, including the largest tech companies in the world, various criminal groups including bikers, and rival hackers trying to hack into the city wide OS from the first Watch Dogs, ctOS.  The hacking available in Watch Dogs 2 will be wildly expanded from the first title, with the player now being able to hack every single inhabitant of the city and the majority of vehicles.  Players can can cause whole groups of individuals cell phones to ring as a distraction, move vehicles that enemies are hiding behind, or hack into pursuing police vehicles to draw them off your tail.  Ubisoft promises the different gameplay styles of players, like stealth, guns blazing, or hacking will all be available to the player.  So if a player wants to complete the majority of their missions just by hacking, you can do that.

 

Watch Dogs 2 MarcusThe star of Watch Dogs 2 is Marcus Holloway, a brilliant hacker from Oakland who was gentrified out of his family home, and accused of a crime he did not commit.  Marcus is a quicker character than Aiden Pierce, with a strong base in parkour than Aiden had as well as his weapon of choice.  Marcus uses a billiard ball attached to a rope as his melee weapon for quick, decisive strikes.  Their is still guns of course, which Marcus 3D prints for himself, along with a 3D printed tazer which can allow the player to play through Watch Dogs 2 in a pacifist route.

Marcus is not the lone wolf that Aiden Pierce was, as Watch Dogs 2 emphasizes hacking as more of a group effort than the first title.  Marcus’ early life struggles draw him toward DedSec, which returns from the first Watch Dogs.  This new dedsec is more based in the hacker culture that exists today, as Ubisoft drew a strong focus onto the more troll was of hacking that existed from groups like Lulzsec and Lizard Squad.  There is still a more serious side to DedSec as well, drawing it’s inspiration from real life hacking collective Anonymous.  These different ideals will clash through the story, as certain members of DedSec want the group more militant and others are more idealist.

 

Watch Dogs 2 Hacking peopleThe seemeless multiplayer from the first title returns as well and is expanded to the point that all missions can be completed in co-op.  As you explore the Bay Area, you will find other players organically, and can party up with them to complete missions or other activities cooperatively.    Ubisoft promises to show additional details of co-op in the coming months.  On top of all these other improvements, Ubisoft said they have taken fan feedback into account and especially have worked on the driving mechanics.  The first title’s driving was sluggish at times, and drew large frustration from players.  Ubisoft has promised a far more responsive experience this time around.

Ubisoft has promised to show even more of Watch Dogs 2 at E3 next week, with a gameplay demo very likely during their press conference on Monday 6-13.  The game will launch this fall on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on November 15th.  For more on Watch Dogs 2, watch Ubiblog’s video which is full of new gameplay and reveals about the game. For more information on the first Watch Dogs, take a look at my review where I called it a ” cocktail of fun that we’ve not yet seen on this generation.”

by, Bobby Marquardt

image credit: Ubiblog and Gamespot

 

XCOM 2 coming to consoles this September

 

2K Games and Firaxis have announced that the second chapter in the revived XCOM franchise will come to PS4 and Xbox One on September 6th.  The console version is being developed by The Workshop, a studio who has worked on the current-gen versions of The Evil Within and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, as well as Sorcery for the PS3 and the Borderlands 2 DLC  Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage.  IGN reports that the reasoning for the third party studio working on the port is that 2K did not want to divert the resources of Firaxis, who are still working to patch the PC version that currently suffers from issues.

The console version will launch at $59.99, with a digital deluxe edition available for $74.99 that includes the Reinforcements pack (i.e. season pass).  The reinforcement’s pack  will be $19.99 as a standalone product.  XCOM 2 was acclaimed upon release, with Gamespot giving it a 9/10, GameInformer bestowing it a 9.5/10, and IGN rating it 9.3/10.  XCOM: Enemy Unknown was released simultaneously on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, making XCOM 2’s PC only release a bit of a surprise.  While Firaxis did not rule out the console release at the time, they sighted the low sales on consoles as a cause for the PC exclusivity.

This reporter’s opinion: I played XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Within on Xbox 360 so being able to pick up 2 for my console is going to be great.  I’ve held off on picking up XCOM 2 as of yet for financial reasons, so this is an awesome announcement for me.

by, Bobby Marquardt