So how did day one of E3 2013 go for the big studios? As expected, really. Microsoft launched a game centric presentation—as they should’ve—for the Xbox One and Sony had a good presentation for the PlayStation 4. There were some shared titles as expected, but for the most part this wasn’t a terrible day of presentations but not a truly eye popping one.
Let’s start with the console with the most to make up for. On the games front, Microsoft kicked off with a trailer for the anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain which will be an Xbox One exclusive at the moment. The game could very well hit PlayStation 4 much later in the generation when the whole HD remix thing kicks in. That said, Konami’s offering looks tremendous and is a win for the Xbox One. Microsoft also scored the Insomniac title Sunset Overdrive which is an open world zombie shooter, you could say.
Microsoft has been very week on the first party front compared to Sony and especially Nintendo so they’re bringing back Killer Instinct which will have its own fightstick by MadCatz. Racing franchise Forza 5 was announced as was the LittleBigPlanet-esque Project Spark where players can make their own game maps and the like. They’re also trying to get people to use SmartGlass for this. The biggest in the first party arena announced for the company was Halo 5 which had a very impressive trailer. I’m not a big fan of first person shooters bar Far Cry and the 90s classics, but this looked great.
While Microsoft has always been dry when it comes to first party games, they’ve been big on third party and it won’t be any different for the 360 this time around and for the One. Ryse: Son of Rome was the big out of the gate from Crytek—Crysis series—for the Xbox One. The best comparison for this title is Dynasty Warriors or maybe even Kessen—both Tecmo Koei titles—where you lead troops into battle in ancient Rome. In bid to have gaming cross over into TV in the same way that Defiance did earlier this year, Remedy Entertainment gave more information on Quantum Break. The goal is to have the events that happen in game effect the TV series and the TV series’ events effect the game—like Defiance.
Capcom trotted out another Dead Rising title in Dead Rising 3. I do enjoy this series, so no snark from me about it. Well, it will use the SmartGlass to allow for other actions. Another title making use of the SmartGlass with will be another Witcher game. The open world RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will use the SmartGlass for menu stuff—think of the Wii U pad, basically.
Microsoft also assured everyone that they hadn’t abandoned the Xbox 360 by introducing mostly sequels with World of Tanks: Max, Dark Souls II, and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood—what a subtitle cobbled together for that one. Also, the pricey Xbox Live Gold on the 360 will be competing with Sony’s friendlier PS+ which gave free games to subscribers.
XBL Gold will give two free games monthly to subscribers and the first two are Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed II. So there’s a little incentive to get a Gold account…even though these games are pretty cheap by now for the smart shopper. It’s certain they’ll bring the thunder with titles in coming months.
To tie up everything with the Microsoft games presentation—guns. FPS coming to Xbox One includes Battlefield 4 from EA DICE which will be on the 360, PS3, PS4, and PC as well this fall and Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall which will be on 360 and PC as well next year. The price tag on the Xbox One will be $500—which was the price for the PS3’s base 20GB unit. For the technology it offers and the size (500GB) the price is solid, but for the restrictiveness of the console elsewhere, the price is a turnoff.
Overall it was a stronger showing for Microsoft than their TV, sports, TV, TV, sports presentation last month. Of course this time it was more guns, guns, graphics, guns, graphics—that aside, this is the presentation gamers wanted and Xbox fans got it.
With the price and the nature of the Xbox One’s restrictions and requirements gamers have said that this is Sony’s generation to lose and their E3 to take as far as consoles go. Is that true? Let’s start off with the price tag of $399. That’s lower than the PS3’s launch price for the larger unit and lower than the Xbox One. It’s off to a good start right there. It won’t include the PlayStation Eye at launch and the HDD size wasn’t mentioned. Those two aren’t as important as the price come the holiday launch window.
As expected the price got a tremendous ovation. It falls on the friendly end of the “friendly-to-hostile” scale for your wallet with the Wii U and the Android consoles. Applause was also given for the fact that not only would the PS4 play used games, but it wouldn’t be required online to authenticate games. You simply play the game. Like Nintendo, Sony is keeping everything simple.
Jack Tretton of Sony mentioned that some 140 games are in development for the PS4 at the moment and that 100 will be released in the first year alone. Of the first party wave there’s Killzone: Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son, Knack, and Driveclub which were mentioned earlier. Infamous: Second Son won’t be available at launch.
Third party offerings include Final Fantasy Versus XIII is done and will be in as part of the launch window as Final Fantasy XV. Also from Square Enix is Kingdom Hearts III. From Warner Brothers Interactive is Mad Max which will be an open world post-apocalyptic title. Ubisoft will be bring Watch Dogs which will also be on Wii U, 360, PS3, and Xbox One, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, there will be sports titles in 2K’s NBA 2K14, and of course the highly anticipated Bethesda Softworks and Zenimax Online Studios developed and produced The Elder Scrolls Online for PS4 exclusively.
It was a strong showing for Sony and PS4. They kept it about the games and delivered some huge titles. While Ubisoft is really throwing out the Assassin’s Creed franchise very closely together from the last edition, it looks wonderful but the stars of the PS4 showcase for me were The Elder Scrolls Online and Mad Max. The Final Fantasy series has lost its charm a bit—which is a shame.
It’s no secret that E3 has lost a lot of its luster in recent years. It’s not that the games aren’t quality and that they don’t look great or the consoles aren’t “powerful” enough, it’s that a lot of the games look similar and the event as a whole seems like “Oh…shooters and multiplayer.” It’s mostly the direction the industry went with genres and what the focus is now. E3 has gotten to the point where if a company believes it’s a great idea to showcase their sports title—something that is annual—on the biggest stage is a good idea they should just do it every two years or so. It’s the same with shooters.
Of course that would take out what is shown at E3 and make a lighter show.
What stole the show for you in day one?