E3 2016 Shows Vision of Gaming’s Future
Stephen Lunsford, left, and Brennan Mejia play For Honor at Ubisoft E3 2016 – Day 1 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for Ubisoft/AP Images)
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, an event held last week in Los Angeles, shows gamers a glimpse into what they can expect for the upcoming year, marking the beginning of video game preview season. E3 offers video game publishers and developers a chance to showcase their biggest products to both press and consumers alike.
However, some of those announcements were undercut this year due to an abundance of information being leaked to the press a week before the show.
Developer Bethesda Software gained premature news of the game “Prey,” as well as a remaster of popular role-playing game “Skyrim.”
NetherRealm Studios, makers of the popular “Mortal Kombat” series, a sequel to 2013’s “Injustice: Gods Among Us,” suffered their newest game being leaked, and they responded by dumping a substantial amount of information, including multiple trailers, all before E3 had even begun.
Possibly the biggest single leak was the reveal of Ubisoft’s “Watch Dogs 2.” Everything from the game’s setting and protagonist to full gameplay video was leaked prior to Ubisoft’s June 13 press conference.
Microsoft was hit the hardest due to leaks of the developer’s biggest press conference surprises being revealed days before. Games like “Forza Horizon 3,” “Halo Wars 2” and the announcement of the “Gears of War” character General Raam appearing in “Killer Instinct Season 3” lost their element of surprise.
Once E3 began, however, the common theme was a large focus on virtual reality integration. With the recent release of VR platforms like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, console makers are making a significant effort to corner the market.
Numerous new titles were shown that take advantage of the new technology. Actress Aisha Tyler, while hosting the Ubisoft press conference, called VR the perfect technology for making gaming more accessible.
While showing off a new Star Trek themed VR game, actor LeVar Burton summed up his enthusiasm for the new medium.
“We have been waiting in anticipation for so long for the technology of virtual reality to catch up with where we imagine we should be and where we want to go,” Burton said.
Just played Star Trek Bridge Crew and it is all the joy. Social VR is gonna be HUGE.
— Jeff Cannata (@jeffcannata) June 16, 2016
Playstation manufacturer Sony has even gone as far as to create their own VR hardware called—what else?—Playstation VR.
A large section of Sony’s press conference was devoted to showing off games such as the newly announced “Resident Evil 7″ and a Star Wars flight simulator that would support the new hardware.
“2016 is a seminal moment in virtual reality,” Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Shawn Layden said. “The time has finally come for everyone to enjoy VR in their homes.”
Although there was substantial excitement for VR’s possibilities, not everyone is convinced.
Unpopular Opinion: I dont think VR will take off. I am wildly disinterested.
— PSN: KrystiPryde (@KrystiPryde) June 16, 2016
Not to be outdone, Microsoft unveiled the newest version of their Xbox One console. Dubbed the Xbox “One S”, the new console will be 40 percent smaller as well as be capable of output in 4K resolution.
Xbox’s Phil Spencer also announced that Microsoft is already working on the next iteration of Xbox consoles.
Known simply as ‘Project Scorpio”, Spencer stated that Microsoft believes it will be the most powerful console ever built.
“Project Scorpio is ultimately the next step in delivering our vision of gaming beyond generations,” Spencer said.
Nintendo chose to be the nonconformist of E3 once again, concentrating the majority of its presentation on a single game.
Viewers were treated to a lengthy and in-depth look at Nintendo’s newest “Legend of Zelda” title: “Breath of the Wild.”
Combining open-world sandbox titles like “Grand Theft Auto” with more traditional “Zelda” elements, Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime called the changes an entirely new format for a “Zelda” game.
Despite the amount of information and access to the game, there was disappointment with the lack of any information about Nintendo’s yet-to-be-revealed NX console.
Thus, another year of announcements and promises has been made to the gaming public. Only time will tell if these promises are kept, but one thing is for sure: delays will be announced, excitement will be met with disappointment and E3 will come around again next year.
All that’s left is waiting.