E3 Conferences Impressions

This year’s E3 conferences were quite different than past years, despite being good, there wasn’t one who stood out as remarkable or unforgettable. Without many surprising moments that would make the audience go crazy, most of them felt lukewarm, as if companies were keeping their cards close to their chests, or didn’t really have many novelties to show.

Here I’ll talk about them from worst to best, in my opinion, and some things I noticed about how companies are changing some aspects of how they approach their conferences:

EA

As last year, EA came up with the worst presentation, even though it certainly has improved. Many strange and cringy moments happened, mainly because it feels that the company is striving to look cool, trying to talk with the millennial generation without completely understanding it.

Youtubers that had problems with teleprompters,  feet out of place in a presentation willing to appeal not only to customers but also to stakeholders. Sports games would have overly long presentations at times, and yes, it is an integral part of the company strategy and finance, however, a leaner, more dynamic segment would work better for them. Jokes, long introductions, a trailer focusing on eSports also didn’t help the presentation, making it feel longer than it really was.

Battlefront 2’s multiplayer demonstration felt out of place, especially after EA’s focus on the singleplayer campaign ever since its announcement. Revealing that it won’t have a season pass is nice, and the multiplayer does look interesting, but showing just a little bit of the story would feel like a reward after the unimpressive Battlefront.

A way out

Although there were some problems, not all was lost. Need for Speed Payback looked amazing, with a truly great demo, showing a little bit of its mechanics, characters, mission structure, appearing to be a better game than we expected. And the best moment was A Way Out, part of the EA Originals program, a game that shows real innovation, with an unusual and unique gameplay mechanic. Becoming one of the best games to show at the event, with an effective trailer, and a very enthusiastic developer.

Sony

I might be too harsh on them, but after last year’s stellar presentation, this year’s just felt underwhelming. A repetition of the games seen last year, many still remaining without any release dates, a lack of new and exciting titles, and a feeling that something was missing, marked the presentation. By the way, I’m not considering the sound issues, these things happen.

Starting with Naughty Dog and Guerrilla was a smart move, but an Uncharted stand alone game and Horizon DLC doesn’t really hype up the audience. Destiny and Call of Duty being part of it isn’t a surprise, after all, both are expected to be the biggest sellers of the year, but none had an exciting showing.

The same can be said of Monster Hunter World and Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, that looks very strange, with last-gen graphics, especially when compared with Street Fighter V and the superb Injustice 2. I have to say that I was surprised that they mentioned VR, with a good number of games, although they still feel more like tech demos than full-fledged games. Please, let’s stop releasing Skyrim on every platform, compared to more modern titles, it doesn’t look great, neither graphically, nor mechanically.

The one surprise of the presentation was the remake of Shadow of the Colossus, that looks incredible, but this one is on me, I can’t muster any excitement over a remake or remaster anymore. Detroit: Become Human is on the verge of saturation for me, it feels like I’ve seen this games more times than I needed too, and the lack of a release date doesn’t feel like a sign we’ll see it soon, probably next year.

God of War had a new trailer that highlighted the story and the relationship with Kratos and his son, what seems to be the part that the developers are giving the most attention to. The trailer itself was good, the story indeed looks intriguing, but the way it was cut was a little strange, I preferred last year’s gameplay chunk.

Days Gone

The best parts for me were the first gameplay reveal of Insomniac’s Spider-Man, and Days Gone, that after last year’s lukewarm presentation, they came out with an unexpected demo. Days Gone with a stunning demo finally gave us more on the background of the game, that may be very promising. God of War will be huge, but the prospect of a The Last of Us with an open world is something to look for. What looked like another zombie game that solely focused on action, now appears to one with a soul, highlighting human relationships, instead of waves of enemies. A game that I couldn’t care less about, became one I’ll keep my eye on, although Bend still hasn’t released anything that impressive.

Spider-Man is a beautiful title that based on the pedigree of the studio behind and what we saw, won’t disappoint. The combat is fluid, the world and the animations are beautiful, and the action set-piece was entertaining, reminding an Uncharted with a superhero as the main character. The high number of QTE’s can be troubling, but we’ll only find out next year, earlier than expected.

Bethesda

It started in a great way, with developers and their kids talking about what they did for a living and their excitement over games, something that was quite strange, as Bethesda’s game tend to be very violent, but it was fresh, funny and why not, cute. Then a video presentation started with great animation, showing the lineup of Bethesda, it was short, straight to the point, and very pleasant. However, the more I think about it, the less I like it.

Everything that was anticipated was there, Skyrim is coming out again, now in VR, Doom too, Elder Scrolls online, Legends were part of the presentation, but nothing that stood out. Quake legends appealed to the eSports side of the game. Dishonored DLC looked great, like every Dishonored trailer, with a very cool twist on the story, that may have some serious repercussion in the future of the franchise.

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The 2 surprises that ended up not surprising anybody, were the highlights. The Evil Within 2 had a very curious trailer that focused on the struggles of the leading character, the impact of his past on his life, and apparently, on his mind. With a beautiful soundtrack and a striking visual style, it showed great promise.

Wolfenstein: The New Colossus came with a long trailer that never ceased to amaze. The graphics are mesmerizing, the story fascinating. It’s nice to see that MachineGames appears to have improved on every area. The New Order was a great game, but The New Colossus may take the franchise a step further, with crazy characters, charismatic villains, and visceral action.

Microsoft

Unlike Bethesda, the more I think about Microsoft’s conference, the more I like it. When it ended I was completely deflated, mainly due to the lack of a massive AAA announcement of an exclusive for their new console, but pondering on what was presented, there were some very interesting games. Cuphead finally got a release date and a feature long awaited, OG Xbox backwards compatibility was announced.

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It started with the reveal of the Xbox One X, formerly known as Project Scorpio, that looks very slick in spite of being a lot more powerful than the original Xbox One, actually, it is smaller than the S model. The price is way too high, eliminating any chance to compete with the PS4 Pro, that may have fewer teraflops, but has better exclusives, let’s face it. Especially if multiplatform games don’t run that better on the X.

They promised to show more than 40 games, 22 exclusives, however many were timed exclusives, and others didn’t really impress the audience. Like The Newton Project and Lucky’s Tale, that felt generic and uninteresting. What was curious about the conference was that there were a significant number of good games, with a little bit for everybody, and that’s why I liked it.

First-party titles looked great, but nothing close to the size of a Halo or Gears. State of Decay 2 looks like an AAA title now, with many possibilities, although I would prefer a gameplay demo instead of the trailer shown, it felt a little long. Forza 7 is more beautiful than ever, it just didn’t make a lot of noise because everyone knew it would come out.

We saw Crackdown 3 after years of silence, bringing Terry Crews to the trailer, and the game, the letdown was that we didn’t see much of the title. Sea of Thieves had a much better showing than last year, with a mission that displayed the new features of the game, a little bit of the team aspect, finally revealing more about what it is all about.

Phil Spencer’s trip to Japan really worked out well for the company, a section was devoted to Japanese titles, with Dragon Ball Fighter Z standing out in a completely unexpected way.

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But the highlights for me were clearly The Last Night, an indie game that combines a beautiful world that resembles Blade Runner, using a pixel art aesthetic, attracting a lot of attention for its beauty and mysterious world. Assassin’s Creed Origins brought the franchise back to E3 after a year off, and it looked like that decision paid off, new features were shown, combat has changed, Egypt looks impressive, leaving some hope that the franchise might have a bright future ahead.

A Life is Strange prequel was revealed, and that was the moment in which I really got excited, in spite of the fact that Chloe’s voice actress has changed, it was nice to see the franchise being recognized on a big stage. And to finish things off, Anthem, the new Bioware IP had their gameplay reveal, and it looked amazing, maybe too beautiful at times. But the changes of gameplay that happened seamlessly were impressive, the world hypnotizing, it looked like a Destiny with a more fleshed out world and story.

Nintendo

I was baffled with how much I enjoyed Nintendo’s conference, given that I’m not somebody who really cares about their games or even consoles. The last one I had was a Super Nintendo, and for the first time since the SNES, I’m thinking about buying a console from them.

Their spotlight was short, effective, showed new games, and had a different feeling than the other companies had. The beginning was a little strange with a trailer focusing on the Switch, followed by Reggie Fils-Aime reflected on game and life, something that was funny, quickly proceeding to the games.

And here is where Nintendo always shines, their games don’t really have a story, but they have a trademark style. Starting with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, a huge RPG that is exclusive to the console, looking massive, diverse and beautiful. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle looks like XCOM for kids, with a stunning art style, and a gameplay that genuinely looks fun.

New games of Kirby, Yoshi were shown, with different mechanics that work around the genre they’re in. They talked more about Breath of the Wild’s DLC, shedding some light on what could be expected from now on. Two projects stole the show, a Pokémon RPG is coming to Switch, and we expect for it to be a massive game, and Metroid Prime 4, that appears to be at the very beginning of its development cycle.

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The grand finale was the bizarre Super Mario Odyssey, and how crazy is that game. Taking the approach of bigger worlds, we managed to see the game running for the first time, and it reminds 64 and Sunshine, with open landscapes, a looser experience. And the hat, that we finally understand why was highlighted, allowing you to possess the body of any character in the world, creating endless possibilities for puzzles, representing something new to the genre. As I said, it was short, there weren’t dozens of games, but the ones that were shown were meaningful projects, in an E3 that felt lukewarm.

Ubisoft

I might be biased as I tend to enjoy their conferences, and the company as a whole, they make mistakes but they look honest, and I feel that this year they showed that. What an improvement when compared to last year, instead of overly long demonstrations, we saw a much better-structured show, if it was sports, it would’ve gotten the most improved player award.

Just Dance didn’t have a long dance routine that would bore everybody, it was short and swift. The way it started was brilliant, bringing Shigeru Miyamoto to the stage to talk about Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and to see the emotion and the passion of the developers was truly remarkable. Although the Rabbids can be very annoying at times, the presence of Mario balances that, in a game that looks delightful to play.

Assassin’s Creed Origins had a smaller presence, after appearing with an extended gameplay on Microsoft’s stage. Here was the strangest moment, when we were shown someone playing on a screen announcing a gameplay that would air after the conference, it just didn’t make any sense.

The Crew 2 was impressive, with many different styles of racing, planes, boats, cars, a beautiful world, and an Inception style effect. It feels like a much-improved title, looking like another case of Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs 2 syndrome.

Some moments didn’t land, South Park appeared again, an Elijah Wood project didn’t have a lot of details revealed, Steep has DLC, and a toys-to-life game was announced, long after the genre died.

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A new game based on pirate life, Skull & Bones, surprised the audience, looking like the Black Flag spin-off we were all waiting for. Naval battles with a multiplayer focus, in a beautiful world, and the possibility of creating a pirate squad, that’s not bad. Far Cry 5 continues to look like a significant improvement over Far Cry 4, that felt tired. More options to use NPC’s as part of the missions, hiring friends to help you, a world that responds to your actions, it appears to be a real sequel.

To end things off, they brought Beyond Good & Evil 2 back from the dead. With a new look, characters, feel, working as a prequel to Jade’s adventure. To see Michel Ansel tearing up on stage was truly special, it was nice to see that in such a rich industry you can see love for what they do. Whether we’ll actually play it we’re not sure, but it was great to see such a beloved franchise making a comeback, let’s hope that for good now.

A few things that caught my attention:

  • Every company is crazy to get their share of eSports.
  • Long gameplay demos became more scarce, it feels that companies are preferring gameplay trailers.
  • Microsoft didn’t talk about new features and Game Pass.
  • Companies are looking to make open worlds more responsive, reacting to your actions, like in GTA V.
  • Some are taking the Nintendo approach, making the conferences shorter, usually lasting less than one hour, with minimal presence from executives, like Bethesda and Sony did.
  • Speaking of Sony, it was strange to see that Hidden Agenda, the new Supermassive project, was part of the pre-show, especially when their VR projects, that looked much worse, took the main stage. And it is intriguing to see the downfall of Gran Turismo, that was too a part of the pre-show. We’re talking about the highest-selling franchise Sony has, and it is astonishing that it wasn’t part of the main show.

 

Nintendo Switch Reveal Impressions

Last night Nintendo held a conference in Tokyo to properly introduce the Nintendo Switch to the world, after a trailer that had a great reception in October. It had some cringeworthy moments, with producers talking about their games in a very excited, and strange way at times. The translation was confusing in some situations, such as when Suda took the stage. And the production value felt a lot smaller compared to what Sony and Microsoft did when they announced the PS4 and the Xbox One.

When it comes to the console, there weren’t a lot of surprises, except for the release date, March 3rd, sooner than expected. The price point is good, $299, but it feels expensive if we consider that you can buy a PS4 or an Xbox One, more powerful machines, for a much lower price. There were a lot of ups and downs, and even though the reception seems positive, there were some yellow lights and some reasons for concern, and we’ll talk about the good and the bad.

The Presentation of the Machine

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This time Nintendo explained the concept of the console in a much clearer way than when they presented the Wii U. When a lot of people didn’t even know it was a new console and thought it was an expansion of the Wii, in part because of the horrible name choice.

All modes of playing were well displayed, in videos that only expanded what we saw in the trailer, and it looks like a great design from Mario’s company. It seems easy to use, allowing you to use it as a home console and a portable device, with an acceptable battery life, that can go from 2,5 to 6 hours.

But they ended up spending too much time on the Joycon, that is very surprising because of the high technology it has. It works as motion control, has the NFC technology, but after seeing a bizarre video showing its vibration using a glass of water filled with ice cubes, it felt like they wasted precious time over-explaining its controller.

A Lack of Third-Party Support

A good number of games were presented, but the stars were the already known Zelda: Breath of the Wild, that will be a launch title, and Super Mario Odyssey, that will come in the Holiday of this year. Splatoon 2, Arms, and others were announced, but without the impact expected for a new console. And with all titles releasing months after launch, except for 1,2 Switch and Zelda, and ports coming out later, such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, that will come in April, the lineup for the first few months feels empty.

When it comes to third-party studios, unfortunately, it felt like the Wii U all over again. Many JRP’s being ported and created to the console, but as we all know, it’s nothing more than a niche nowadays, and if the Vita is an example, it doesn’t move units. Some stage presences felt weird, like the one from Sega, that didn’t show anything, and Suda that announced that he was working in a new No More Heroes.

On the Western side, we saw a clear lack of support. With EA’s presence revealing a Fifa, that may end up being an inferior game to the PS4 and XONE iteration. Also, nothing was talked about Mass Effect Andromeda, Battlefield, Madden or Star Wars coming to Switch. Bethesda’s 6 year-old Skyrim being confirmed to a brand new console. Ubisoft was a no-show, what surprised many, given that they were the first company to talk about the console, and the relationship they had during the Wii U generation, releasing exclusives such as ZombiU.

Despite their image that shows many studios working on projects for Switch, very few companies appear to be really interested in doing that. It can change, but it doesn’t look like huge franchises will make an appearance, like COD, Red Dead Redemption, GTA. Showing that maybe Nintendo didn’t learn from its past mistakes, alienating third-party studios, something that has proved to be extremely negative to any company. But in E3 that can change, as we can expect announcements for the Holiday Season.

What To Expect From Switch

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It’s still very early to tell, but in spite of having of having one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises in its release, there are some worrisome signs that this may be another failure from Big N. It doesn’t mean a lot, but the company’s stocks fell more than 5% after the announcement, exhibiting a concern from the market.

Zelda may be adored by hardcore gamers, but it doesn’t drive as many sales as gamers may believe. The biggest one was Twilight Princess, with more than 8 million copies in 2 consoles, the Wii and the Gamecube, less than Halo 3, that was available only on the 360 and moved 15 million. Their last big title, Skyward Sword, sold less than 4 million copies in a console with more than 100 million consumers, with an attachment rate of less than 4%.

It will drive units, but it’s not a system seller, as Super Mario Odyssey would be, that will only come out more than 6 months after the release. Pokemon, another massive franchise of the company, didn’t have any news, another waste of an opportunity of creating an AAA console game that could become a signature game for Switch.

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Nintendo has garnered a lot of goodwill in the past few months from gamers, with an effective trailer that even stole Red Dead’s thunder. But a lineup that looks pale in new titles could create another Wii U situation. And Nintendo can’t afford another failure, or it might become the next Sega, releasing only software.

Especially since the Switch is coming to replace not only the Wii U, but also the 3DS. And the most important distinction, if the market will it as a consider it as a portable that can be used as a console, or a console that can be used as a portable, might define its fate.

If the former happens, there’s a great chance of success, after all, there are no real competitors, and it can work very well as a strong portable with AAA games on the go. If the latter happens, we might witness Nintendo’s last hardware. It is a lot less powerful than its competitors, with a lot more unappealing lineup, and a shortcoming of important franchises that are vital to the success of any console, even if it’s perceived as the second option.

And it can represent its death, as what happened with the Gamecube and the Wii U, unless there’s a consistent stream of attractive games being released and a significant support from third-party studios.

The Game Awards 2016 Predictions

Now a tradition, The Game Awards, the biggest awards show in the gaming industry, is upon us, and we can expect some surprise announcements and an Overwatch/Uncharted domination. And this year, that felt a little bit underwhelming, with some of the biggest titles disappointing, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End with 8 nominations, is leading the pack.

Inside, Overwatch and Firewatch have 5 nominations each, with a total of 63 games being nominated overall. And here I’ll try to guess the winners, and in some cases, talk about my personal favorites.

PS: Some categories are not here because I don’t have enough knowledge of the candidates.

Here are the nominees:

GAME OF THE YEAR

For a game that delivers the absolute best experience across all creative and technical fields.

  • Doom (id Software/Bethesda)
  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Overwatch (Blizzard)
  • Titanfall 2 (Respawn/Electronic Arts)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment)

If I had to guess

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Overwatch took the world by storm, destroyed the competition, and was critically acclaimed due to the successful combination of smooth gameplay, charismatic characters, great maps and a strong community. All of that with 1 game mode, being extremely addictive, with a foundation so firm that the lack of a single player campaign hasn’t affected the game, something that others like Titanfall, Star Wars Battlefront couldn’t. But if had to choose I’d vote for Uncharted 4, and I don’t understand what Doom is doing here.

BEST GAME DIRECTION

Recognizing a game studio for outstanding creative vision, game direction and design.

  • Blizzard (for Overwatch)
  • Dice (for Battlefield 1)
  • id Software (for Doom)
  • Naughty Dog (for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End)
  • Respawn (for Titanfall 2)

If I had to guess

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Again Overwatch is the probable winner again, giving Blizzard another award, mainly due to how all the elements work well, the design of the characters, which is just outstanding. The gameplay is spot on, being fast and easy to understand but hard to master, and the ability to create an addictive multiplayer-only game is something to be praised.

BEST NARRATIVE

For outstanding storytelling and narrative development in a game.

  • Firewatch (Campo Santo)
  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Mafia III (Hangar 13/2K)
  • Oxenfree (Night School Studio)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/SIE)

If I had to guess

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Inside from Playdead is one of those games that you just have to play, the way the complex story is told is simply amazing, without any words. All through smart design, with the world being responsible for it, allied to the use of imagery, being an example that a picture is worth a thousand words. My choice would be Mafia 3, given the importance of the plot especially nowadays, and for making it stand out despite the weak gameplay and repetitive missions.

BEST ART DIRECTION

For outstanding creative and technical achievement in artistic design and animation.

  • Abzu (Giant Squid/505)
  • Firewatch (Campo Santo)
  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Overwatch (Blizzard)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/SIE)

If I had to guess

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A testament to the level of quality that Naughty Dog has achieved, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is breathtaking, with amazing vistas, varied locales. An attention to every single detail, every expression of Nate and Elena, they way they interact with objects, Uncharted 4 is a true example of masterful design. If Inside wins, it is fair, the way Playdead uses design is unique, as it’s an important part of storytelling.

BEST MUSIC/SOUND DESIGN

For outstanding audio, inclusive of score, original song, licensed soundtrack and sound design.

  • Battlefield 1 (DICE/EA)
  • Doom (id/Bethesda)
  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Rez Infinite (Enhance Games)
  • Thumper (Drool)

If I had to guess

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DICE created a Battlefield that has surpassed any expectations especially due to a meaningful campaign. And a significant part of that success came from an exquisite sound design, from the melancholic soundtrack that was simple yet beautiful, to the individual noise of every weapon, enhancing the experience of being in the battlefield. I missed seeing Mafia 3 here, after all, it had an incredible soundtrack, but you can’t get everything.

BEST PERFORMANCE

Awarded to an individual for voice-over acting, motion and/or performance capture.

  • Alex Hernandez as Lincoln Clay, Mafia III
  • Cissy Jones as Delilah, Firewatch
  • Emily Rose as Elena, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Nolan North as Nathan Drake, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Rich Summer as Henry, Firewatch
  • Troy Baker as Sam Drake, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

If I had to guess

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All actors in this category did a great job in their roles, with Uncharted 4’s standing out, mainly due to the “end” of the franchise. And Nolan North is expected to win, not only because it was his last time playing Nathan, but also because he did without ever sounding cheesy, bringing a lot of charisma and quality to one of the flagship characters of recent years.

BEST INDEPENDENT GAME

For outstanding achievement in a game made outside the traditional publisher system.

  • Firewatch (Campo Santo)
  • Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)
  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Stardew Valley (ConcernedApe/Chucklefish Games)
  • The Witness (Thelka, Inc.)

If I had to guess

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In a year filled with indies that far surpassed the quality of many of the most expected AAA titles, Inside brought something unique to the market. An emotional, brutal, thought-provoking game that actually was far superior than anybody expected, especially working as a follow-up for Limbo. Despite The Witness’ superb gameplay ideas and innovations, it didn’t have the same impact as Inside did.

BEST ACTION GAME

For the best game experience focused around first or third person combat.

  • Battlefield 1 (DICE/EA)
  • Doom (id Software/Bethesda Softworks)
  • Gears of War 4 (The Coalition/Microsoft Studios)
  • Overwatch (Blizzard)
  • Titanfall 2 (Respawn/EA)

If I had to guess

titanfall-2

Given the nomination for game of the year, if Titanfall 2 doesn’t win this category it will sure be strange, especially since Overwatch might dominate the show. Bringing a revered campaign, that surprised critics and gamers alike, Titanfall 2 also brought new and creative situations in the tired FPS genre, unfortunately receiving less attention that it deserved because of a strange decision regarding the release date.

BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE GAME

For the best game experience that combines combat with traversal and puzzle solving.

  • Dishonored 2 (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
  • Hitman (IO Interactive/Square-Enix)
  • Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)
  • Ratchet & Clank (Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment)

If I had to guess

dishonored-2

Even though my gut feeling says that Uncharted will win another category, my mind says that Dishonored 2 might steal it from Naughty Dog’s title. Reviews have been praising Dishonored for its world building, characters, story, with many considering it their game of the year. And despite Uncharted 4 quality, it definitely isn’t the best in the franchise, and its campaign had some issues.

BEST RPG

The best game designed for rich player character customization and progression, both offline and online, including massively multiplayer.

  • Dark Souls 3 (FromSoftware/Bandai Namco Entertainment)
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Eidos Montreal/Square-Enix)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — Blood and Wine (CD Projekt RED)
  • World of Warcraft: Legion (Blizzard)
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X (Monolith Soft/Nintendo)

If I had to guess

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In a weak year for RPG’s, with an expansion (that really is incredible) being nominated, Dark Souls 3 was a beautiful finish to one of the most beloved franchises. More beautiful than ever, DS3 took advantage of the PS4 and XONE, to bring a more interesting world, and impressive bosses, maintaining the level of quality and ending this saga in a very satisfying manner.

BEST FAMILY GAME

Best game for family play, including toys-to-life, rhythm/music/dance, and other genres.

  • Dragon Quest Builders (Square Enix)
  • Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TT Fusion/WBIE)
  • Pokemon Go (Niantic)
  • Ratchet & Clank (Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Skylanders: Imaginators (Toy for Bob/Activision)

If I had to guess

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An insanely beautiful game that worked as a reboot, Ratchet & Clank astonished everybody for its capacity to change the story whilst keeping its spirit. Breathtaking places, a funny and compelling cast, Imsoniac’s trademark arsenal of imaginative weapons, bringing color and fun to an industry filled with violence and grit, and being family friendly without being boring.

BEST SPORTS/RACING

For traditional and non-traditional sports and racing games.

  • FIFA 17 (EA Canada/EA Sports)
  • Forza Horizon 3 (Playground Games/Microsoft Studios)
  • MLB The Show 16 (SCE San Diego Studio/SIE)
  • NBA 2K17 (Visual Concepts/2K Sports)
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 (PES Productions/Konami)

If I had to guess

Forza Horizon 3 City Skyline

I know NBA wins every year, and 2K17 is an amazing entry, but Forza Horizon 3 deserves to win this year. Playground Games’ recreation of Australia is just outstanding, allowing the player to cruise through the Outback, Surfer’s paradise in one of the most beautiful games of this generation. And the level of customization, from creating championships and challenges, to the visual of the cars, is unlike any other.

BEST MULTIPLAYER

For outstanding online multiplayer gameplay and design, including co-op and massively multiplayer experiences.

  • Battlefield 1 (DICE/EA)
  • Gears of War 4 (The Coalition/Microsoft Studios)
  • Overcooked (Ghost Town Games/Team 17)
  • Overwatch (Blizzard)
  • Titanfall 2 (Respawn/EA)
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

If I had to guess

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I would love to see overcooked winning, it is one of those special games that reminds me of the days of couch co-op. But Gears 4 also manages to do that, with off and online co-op in the campaign, a great multiplayer, that feels like a greatest hits of the older Gears games, and a revamped Horde Mode that on its own deserves to win this category.

MOST ANTICIPATED GAME

An upcoming game that has shown significant ambition and promise in moving the gaming medium forward.

  • God of War (Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda (Bioware/EA)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)

If I had to guess

red-dead-2

This one seems like the easiest one, given the sheer level of excitement that this picture caused. With commotion around the world, the announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2 was one of the biggest stories of the year, and despite the lackluster reveal trailer, there’s no doubt that this is the most anticipated game of 2017.

 

 

E3 Expectations (Part 1)

It’s the best time of the year for gamers, our “Super Bowl”, “Christmas”, E3 has arrived and it begins today with EA’s and Bethesda’s conferences, and what can we expect from this year’s event? New hardware? The beginning of the end for E3? Surprises? Or just leaks confirmations? We’ll discuss here what we wish we’ll see there.

EA

Known for playing it safe and rarely presenting any surprises, this year seems like another opportunity for the company to show gameplays and possible minor changes in their franchises, what to expect:

Battlefield 1 gameplay: In last month reveal event we had a taste of the game, with a very interesting trailer, but with little gameplay and even though it was in-engine, it doesn’t mean that showed the real graphics capability of the game, and it will be nice to better understand how the close combat scenario will work in the franchise.

Mass Effect Andromeda reveal: After being in development for more than 5 years, it looks like we’ll have a first look of how the gameplay, world, graphics have changed after being built from the ground up to this generation, especially after some leaked videos showing some interesting innovations like a jetpack, and the possibilities brought by a new galaxy and a new leading character.

Fifa 17 changes: The first game of EA’s sports games to use the Frostbite, they’ll probably show how it’s has changed being powered by a new engine, and a possible reveal of the long rumoured reimagined career story mode.

Amy Hennig’s Star Wars: In a recent interview, Jade Raymond, head of Motive, that has been working with Visceral in Amy Hennig’s Star Wars project, said that the game still was a few years ahead, but we can hope that EA will at least show a teaser trailer of the project, expected to be released in Fall 2017, especially due to the high expectations the market has towards the game.

Titanfall 2 campaign: Despite being a great first entry for a franchise, Titanfall suffered for not having a campaign to explain the world behind the maps, and producers of the sequel promised a real campaign, that has been bringing a lot of expectations to it, most notably because of the team behind it, responsible for Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare’s revolutionary campaign.

Bioware’s new franchise: A story that baffled the media happened a few months ago, when a Bioware was wearing a shirt that revealed the studio’s new IP, and to his own amusement, nobody realized it, and even though it may be a long shot, there’s a possibility it could be teased in Sunday’s conference.

IndiEA: After Unravel’s success, getting a sequel, we might see new indie project from the publisher, especially a reveal of the announced game the Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons creators.

New Skate (Please): It’s a long shot but we can alway hope, the best skated franchise in the marked, sorry Tony Hawk, deserves a new sequel produced to this generation that can’t be represented on the skate genre by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5.

Bethesda

After being the surprise conference of last year, being regarded by many as the best, Bethesda surprisingly returns with another conference that despite not having a lot to show in the beginning, in the past week had some very surprising rumours about:

Dishonored 2 world premiere: The game will be shown for the first time after an enticing CG trailer, the sequel to a successful new IP, both critically and commercially, it promises to be even bigger and more impressive than the first one, with 2 protagonists, a bigger world and new ways to go through each mission.

Possible Skyrim remaster: After being longed by the franchises fans, it looks like we’ll finally see a Skyrim remaster to this generation, and this rumour came from a reliable industry insider, and it doesn’t seem too far-fetched, especially because Fallout 4 team remastered the title to become used with this generation machines.

Evil Within 2: Since the release of Evil Within, Tango Gameworks hasn’t released any news regarding a new project, and rumours floated claiming that a sequel might be presented in the company conference.

Wolfenstein 2: With the successful revival of the franchise, it might be a perfect time for a sequel announcement, since it’s been more than 2 years since The New Order’s release, MachineGames has released an expansion pack, The Old Blood, and a possible sequel might be revealed with a date for beginning of 2017.

Prey 2 Rebirth: Revealed in 2011, Prey 2 had an impressive reveal a few years ago presenting a beautiful game with a fast-paced gameplay in an open-world, but as far as we know the project was cancelled, according to rumours because of an impossibility of achieving the same quality in the game as in the demo, but according to an industry insider, the game will come back in this year’s conference, and using a more powerful machine the developers may have finally reached what they aspired at first.

Microsoft

Amidst reports of new hardware, Microsoft still needs to show a strong presentation, specially after Sony’s last year conference focusing on fan service, revealing games long requested by gamers.

New hardware: Still not confirmed by the company, reports claim that the company will show 2 new models of the Xbox One, a slim one with 2TB, and a more powerful one, as the PS4 Neo, codenamed Scorpio, due to release in 2017, as well as a streaming device, under the leadership of Phil Spencer we suppose they’ll have a smoother presentation than the infamous Xbox One reveal event.

Gears of War 4 and Halo Wars 2: The 2 biggest Xbox franchises are scheduled to appear in the conference will a new gameplay o GOW 4, hoping to clear the bad impression left by last year’s demo, and the first gameplay footage of Halo Wars 2, that’s being produced by the studio that produces Total War, regarded as one of the best strategy games of the market, as well as the announcement of an open beta, with both games expected to be part of the Fall lineup of the company.

Forza Horizon 3: Speaking of Fall, a new Forza game will be announced, and if they follow their pattern, Forza Horizon 3 will be announced as another Fall game, with a possible Australian Coast setting, serving as a follow-up to a beautiful Mediterranean setting in the great Forza Horizon 2, as well as new innovations to the franchise.

Rare presence: After a trailer that caught the eyes of long time fans of the studio, Sea of Thieves is set to make a return to the E3 stage, showing gameplay footage of the Pirate open world MMO game, that was highly praised as a possible comeback to Rare’s old days, another possibility, but with a smaller chance is of the reveal of another project from the English studio, possibly a Battletoads revival or a new Banjo game, specially after the latest Yooka-Laylee trailer showing signs that it may happen in the Banjo universe.

Recore and Crackdown: Present in last year’s conference, both games are expected to come back with Recore being shown after a quiet year since last year’s reveal of a CG trailer, with the expectation of the company showing gameplay of the mysterious game, and Crackdown is expected to show more about the its story and the impressive technology behind the game, creating a destructive environment like never seen before.

Red Read 3 and Dead Rising 4: Last week leaks of Dead Rising 4 surfaced with alleged Gamestop posters outing a new entry of zombie franchise being exclusive to Xbox One and PC, and a possibility that has gained force is of a Red Dead 3 reveal in the Xbox conference with a possible backward compatibility announcement attached to it, that has long been requested as one of the most desired by fans.