Man, this year’s banquet of press conferences really told us, as consumers, how big a deal $100 and transparency is.
Microsoft, up until the latter half of Sony’s showing, was really rocking the hot seat… but then Sony wrapped up with a very direct and brutal attack on pretty much everything Microsoft had built as its infrastructure. Coming out and saying “we allow used games” on your stage clearly means more to the consumer than anyone thought, as twitter exploded with excitement. To follow that with the best reveal of the day: $399 US dollars, was quite literally the one-two punch that knocked down Microsoft more than a notch. The combination of Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy XV, a $399 price tag, the massive support for indie games and developers, and the direct support of no always-online/allowing used games made Sony’s conference stand tall.
As I hear word around about how PS4 preorders are outnumbering Xbox One preorders by about 2 to 1, I wonder if Sony may have just laid plans to completely ruin Microsoft’s first year of the new console market. It is clear they are listening, they are learning, and they are not looking to repeat the mistakes of the past.
This isn’t to undersell what I considered Microsoft’s best conference in several years. There were more than 20 games shown, many of them lighting up my interest, and many of them also exclusives. Titanfall looked incredible, and had the exact kind of constant and ever-changing momentum I like in my first person shooters, and seeing Remedy getting an their TV show on with Quantum Break has me pumped. Plus, the rogue-like Below has Jim Guthrie behind it, my favorite indie game composer of all time, and Microsoft’s take on the Create/Play/Share genre in Project Spark looks like a great playground. I honestly think it’s a pity that because of the price-point they put up, they have been all but forgotten by the mainstream audience.
They did exactly what they needed to: showed game after game of exciting content, and then got overshadowed. Not necessarily undeserved, but a pity nonetheless.
As for Nintendo, they continue to show that they are truly in their own world, with their showing of pretty much all of the same franchises regurgitated. I am completely bias when it comes to Smash Brothers, so I was very pumped to see that and its ridiculous/awesome additions. The Villager and Wii Fit Instructor are the exact right kind of stupid, and MegaMan is obviously beloved and showed his NES roots with the form they chose for that game.
It’s just disappointing to see what looks like rehashed 3DS experiences in the form of Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World. I’m sure both games will play well and look great, but where are the more varied experiences? Why am I getting more 3D Land-esque experiences (now with cats) instead of something more akin to Galaxy? Yeah, multiplayer is cool, and it’s good to see the return of Peach and Luigi with different play styles, but I guess I was just expecting more revolutionary gameplay. Not to mention the disappointing revelation of Retro making another Donkey Kong game. It may be great, but they could be revolutionizing another Nintendo franchise like they did with Metroid. Also, no showing of 3DS games during their Direct was very disappointing, especially with a new Zelda game coming out (supposedly) this year on the handheld.
EA and Ubisoft both had great showings, with new things like a new Battlefront and The Division, which looks incredible. They also took a lot of safe bets though, with more Battlefield and more Rabbids. I’d like to see both of them jumping out there are taking risks, and I think Ubisoft gets that idea, and maybe EA does with the return of Mirror’s Edge.
This year’s E3 has me so jazzed because these consoles, being more like PCs, are inherently easier to develop for, meaning less janky launch titles and more incredible experiences like we’ve been seeing this generation. Infamous looks amazing, and I really wish it was a launch game, and Titanfall looks like it could be a system seller for the Xbox One to me. It was a powerful showing on all accounts, and not one system, as far as games go, seems to outmatch the other as far as I’m concerned. All I know is: it’s a good time to be a gamer.