E3 2016: A cultural phenomenon

Md Wahid Hasib writes about the latest reveals at E3 2016, after staying up late to catch all the press conferences by major names in gaming over the internet

COURTESY – E3 2016

pe01Every year video gaming enthusiasts look forward to Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the premier video gaming exposition where video gaming companies gather and showcase their creation to video gaming professionals and aficionados.
Initiated as far back as 1995 in the USA, the annual event has grown with every year, with each year game developers coming up with even more games with ambitious storylines, graphics and other details.
pe02The number of gaming platforms have also been increasing with the recent E3 of this year featuring VR among the already popular platforms from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.
This year, E3 took place at Los Angeles. From big budget AAA games to small indie projects; every game had a great presence throughout the show.
The giant names in the gaming world showcased their efforts in the world of gaming. That basically means they showcased all the titles that may be released over the next one year or so along with latest updates to their already existing platforms and services.

This generation has been pretty rough for Xbox One as it is always over shadowed by its competitor PlayStation 4. To even the odds, Microsoft played their trump card through the ‘Xbox Play Anywhere’ programme under which gamers who purchase a game on Xbox One console can also play it on a Windows 10 PC.
And Microsoft bought a plethora of games to compliment this programme. From awesome ‘Gears of War 4’, open world racing ‘Forza Horizon 3’, ‘Sea of thieves’ to ‘Scalebound’- these games can be played on Xbox One console and Windows 10 PC.
A slimmer and slicker ‘Xbox One S’ was also revealed which is 40 per cent smaller than the current version. Xbox One S will release in August and will retail for $299.
And the biggest surprise came under the announcement of a completely new hardware through which Microsoft aims to bring true 4K gaming in console arena. Dubbed as ‘Project Scorpio’, this 6 teraflop monster is expected to be released in 2017 holiday season. Microsoft aims to keep this system backwards compatible and keep Xbox ecosystem unified.

Sonys E3 conference has been the centerpiece for last few years. With many unexpected game announcements and surprises, Sony usually shows off their PlayStation 4 console first party exclusives in a grand manner.
They started off strong this year with the new ‘God of War’, which is now based on Norse mythology. They also showed ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’, a post-apocalyptic open world game where robot dinosaurs rule the earth.
Long awaited games like ‘The Last Guardian’ has a release date and a new IP, ‘Days Gone’ was demoed. ‘Resident Evil 7’ was also announced and the franchise is ditching its action elements in favour of returning to its horror roots.
Hideo Kojima revealed his upcoming game ‘Death Stranding’ featuring Norman Reedus. ‘Call of Duty’ went to space with Infinite Warfare and showed ‘Modern Warfare Remastered’ with next gen visuals.
Sony also highlighted their upcoming PS VR games as well as Skylanders featuring iconic mascot ‘Crash Bandicoot’. PS4 exclusive Spider-Man game and ‘Detroit Become Human’ were nice touches in the show. Despite being an hour long, Sony’s presentation was consistent and enjoyable.

Unlike the previous E3s, Nintendo has been really quiet this year. With their next generation console NX on horizon, Nintendo has opted to show few key titles during this show. The next Zelda game now has a title and is named ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’. This cell shaded open world adventure game had several gameplay demos where exploration, puzzle solving and combat was featured. The game will be released early next year in Wii U and NX.
Nintendo has a new Pokemon game for 3ds this year. Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon will come out on November 18.

Third Party Publishers:
Among big third party game publishers, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Bethesda had their own separate conferences.

Ubisoft presented an in-depth look into ‘Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands’, an open world adventure which takes place in Bolivia where a Mexican drug cartel has corrupted the government. They also showed the gameplay of singleplayer portion gameplay of ‘For Honor’. ‘Watch Dogs 2’ was also presented which showed new protagonist and new usage of gadgets in the gameplay.

Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts developed a massive following by gamers through their world war one-themed shooter ‘Battlefield 1’. Titanfall 2’s single player campaign looked promising, which is dated to be released later this year.
Perhaps the biggest change was inclusion of story mode in ‘FIFA 17’. Powered by Frostbite engine FIFA 17 looks gorgeous.

Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda revealed various updates, game modes and VR expansion for ‘Doom’ and ‘Fallout 4’.
‘Quake Championships’ was announced which will feature key Quake characters fighting each other in multiplayer mode arena. They also revealed long-awaited game ‘Prey’ which looks spectacular.
‘Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Special Edition’ was also announced for PS4, Xbox One and PC. They ended their press conference with ‘Dishonored 2’. With brand new story mode and powers this stealth RPG is expected to be released later this year.

PC Gaming Show:
Unlike other big conference PC gaming show did not get much limelight this year. It’s probably because many PC titles have already been presented in the shows by various big publishers.
Still the PC Gaming Show had quite a few notable games including ‘Dawn of War 3’. Gears of War veteran Cliff Bleszinski showed his game ‘Lawbreaker’. Action game ‘The Surge’ also had a gameplay trailer.
AMD announced budget friendly yet VR ready graphics cards- AMD RX 470 and AMD RX 460- which will be launching on June 29 this year.

E3 is a show where there is literally something for everybody. The growth of E3 proves that video gaming has evolved from a electronic entertainment machine for children to a cultural phenomenon.=

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