E3 2015 was a good year for third party developers to showcase what they have on tap for the later part of 2015 and earlier half of 2016 in addition to showing what new IPs will be on the way much later in 2016. The bulk of the third party developers’ presentations were of titles that were expected with new IPs and unexpected titles sprinkled in. As for the console/first party developers it was a different series of showcases entirely and varied wildly.
While Microsoft could’ve benefited from showing more in-game footage in their presentation, it was the first party company with the best showing. The company showcased a lot of what would be shown by other companies during their presentations in addition to its first party stuff.
Stars of Microsoft’s presentation were Gears of War 4, Dark Souls III (also for PC and PS4), Fallout 4 (announced during Bethesda’s first presentation), and Halo 5: Guardians. Also getting a good pop from viewers was backwards compatibility for Xbox One—which people wanted at launch. Overall, Microsoft’s presentation was extremely tight but didn’t really pop or dazzle since everything was expected and Microsoft’s Xbox One console isn’t exactly known as a first party machine.
Sony had a presentation that was roughly the same as Microsoft’s: third party heavy with first party stuff featured as well. The amount of in-game content featured was the same as Microsoft’s as well with cinematic trailers being shown.
Between Microsoft and Sony, there were a few more surprises showcased in addition to games that garnered bigger reactions. Stars for Sony’s presentation included the remake of the incredibly popular Final Fantasy VII (also showcased during Square Enix’s presentation), and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. The biggest reaction came from news of Star Wars: Battlefront, the remake of Final Fantasy VII being announced, and Sega Dreamcast classic Shenmue potentially getting a third entry. It would turn out that the game would succeed in getting its funding thanks to Kickstarter—which Sony partially funded.
Nintendo’s presentation saw the company take the Digital Event route again as opposed to going on stage. This has been Nintendo’s chosen method for three E3s now due to the performance of the Wii U. The company had the weaker presentation compared to the other two for several reasons. One is that Nintendo didn’t have the third party power to showcase during the Digital Event. As a matter of fact, it was the heaviest when it came to pushing first party titles in development. The other reason is that the company had already showcased some titles in the weeks prior on its Nintendo Treehouse series. This left its E3 presentation looking light.
The presentation also suffered from a lack of Zelda Wii U and the expected new entry in the Metroid series. Instead, viewers got a Metroid Prime in Federation Force. The lightness of the Digital Event aside, the presentation was a bit more interesting than the live discussions of a lot of presentations—such as Square Enix’s extremely long and dry presentation. Nintendo’s week as a whole wasn’t bad given the excitement of the Nintendo World Championships that saw Earthbound Beginnings announced for Wii U’s eShop. That said, the showcase’s stars were Star Fox Zero, Fire Emblem Fates, and Super Mario Maker.
In this case, it’s all about which of the big three took advantage of the large stage that is E3 to showcase their wares. That mainly goes to Microsoft and Sony since they were actually in the house to showcase their upcoming titles to the consumers and viewers. Plus their presentations allowed for some third party developers to get double showcases. Meanwhile Nintendo went its own route in a presentation that is mainly geared towards Nintendo fans mainly and if they get folks who might want a Nintendo console or handheld, it’s a bonus.