The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014 is wrapping up, and this would be a good time to sift through the many announcements for the true gems of the convention. Overall, it has been a year of more sequels, prequels, and remakes; with little new ideas to show for it. There has been some good news, and E3 was not entirely a bleak landscape devoid of new ideas.
Therefore, we should celebrate the good, and the bad, that will be the gaming scene for the coming months.
Developer Ubisoft brought out the big guns for E3 this year and announced a number of AAA titles. Most of which look interesting enough, at least from the trailers. Assassins Creed Unity promises co-op assassinating gameplay with up to three other players; an option that will definitely provide a new dimension for the game. Maybe even provide it with an Italian Job feel with players planning their approach to the target. Speaking of Italian Job style planning, Rainbow Six Siege is promising the old school planning and preparation phase that was part of the charm of the original games.
Other Ubisoft title to watch out is the evil Chef Wan infused, Far Cry 4. The latter of which promises to provide a co-op experience for players where only one person has bought the game. This actually translates into one player ferrying the other around the map, but it should an interesting feature to try.
GTA V For PC
Rockstar Games announced that Grand Theft Auto V will be arriving on the PC later this year. Steam already has a product page up teasing the release date as fall 2014. As one of the most demanded PC ports on the planet, GTA V for the PC fulfils a promise from Rockstar to update their game for more platforms. Oh, and it will also be arriving on the Xbox One and Playstation 4 around the same time.
No Man’s Sky
This game cannot possibly exist. The trailer shows an open world sandbox game with dinosaur like creatures roaming around. It then showed players the option to get into a space fighter and travel to other planets while dog fighting through asteroid fields. As a game that combines Minecraft and Star Citizen, it may just promise too much to deliver; however, we will wait patiently for what might be the last game we will ever want to play.
Impressively, No Man’s Sky is not from an established developer but is the work of indie studio Hello Games. It’s set for a 2015 release for the PlayStation 4, but will eventually reach the PC platform (where it belongs).
Diversity in Games
A great deal has been written about having more diversity in games to make them more inclusive. This happened because gaming protagonists are traditionally white and male. Games at E3 featured a larger variety of protagonists, with female characters like Fiona from Tales From The Borderlands, the Trapper and Medic from Evolve, and the continuing reimagining of Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series.
It may not sound like much, but a greater inclusion for anyone who isn’t a white male goes a long way to making games more enjoyable for everyone; which is generally the whole idea to begin with.
Ubisoft might have won with the number of actually exciting games that were announced, but it also managed to fail at the same time. This was mostly due to the company being at the centre of the women in games discussion which arose when the publisher decided to mention that it did not include female assassins for multiplayer due to time and budget constraints. The argument exploded across gaming sites as multiple points of view began pouring out.
Whether the exclusion of a female assassin was warranted or not, it has managed to overshadow a large amount of E3. This kind of development is not the kind of publicity that any publisher wants.
Another Mario game, a Sonic reboot, and the absence of a keynote. Nintendo hasn’t done much to repair their waning brand, and the absence of more AAA games only makes it worse. Sure, it did have a new IP for the Nintendo 3DS and some news about crossover between Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright, but those are not exactly going to help the Wii U. Add the fact that Ubisoft went on to announce the existence of a finished game that would not be revealed unless the Wii U userbase expanded and you have a company that still has a long way to go before catching up to the competition.
To be clear, there were no JRPGs demoed at E3 this year. Not even a hint of anything from Square-Enix about the upcoming Final Fantasy 15. This lack of Japanese content could mean something about the lure of E3, or it could be that the Japanese developers are saving their big announcements for Tokyo Game Show later this year. Either way, this absence left fans of the genre feeling left out as there really was nothing at the show for them.
Of course, this would be different if you counted Bayonetta 2 as a JRPG; which it might if you want to stretch the definition a little. Either way, it looks like we will have to wait for TGS to see anything new.
One would think that gamers would be excited for all the announcements made at E3 this year; and we mostly are. However, there is the problem of the AAA titles all being released in 2015 at the earliest. This means that we will be waiting for more than six months before the first wave of the E3 releases appear. Borderlands the Pre-sequel may be one of the few exceptions to this rule, but it is one title in a sea of announcements.
Then there is the large number of remakes and HD versions of old games. The Halo collection updates all past Halo games with modern HD graphics, but doesn’t add anything new. Fable Anniversary Edition is the original Fable with nicer graphics too, and there is still no news about any of the sequels coming to other platforms. GTA V is welcome news, but is still a very recent game that was going to have a next generation console version anyway. At least we still have Evolve to look forward to.