E3 2013 has come and gone. By many standards it was what we’d come to expect from the expo: new game announcements, news on all kinds of projects, and some exclusive trailers, demos, and videos. But just about everyone can agree that this year’s E3 went above and beyond the expectations of most in attendance. It wasn’t just about the games this year: it was about the consoles and how they affect the gamers. It was about a change in the way we game and how our hobby will change moving forward. It was about publishers making games that gamers wanted to play. And above all, it was about glorifying our hobby and giving us an undeniable outlet to look at and say without wavering that we’re proud to be gamers. These ten announcements are just the tip of the events that made E3 2013 so memorable, and what you should be most excited for.
10. Sony has no idea what’s going on with The Last Guardian
Team Ico’s The Last Guardian has become a bit of a joke in the industry. The game was first announced at E3 2009, where it was touted as the next must-play game from the developer’s of PS2 favorites Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. And then it kind of went away, not to be heard from again, missing E3 after E3. Fearing the title may become the next Duke Nukem Forever, many gamers were wondering if they’d ever see The Last Guardian materialize into something more than hopeful screenshots and videos. At this year’s E3, when asked about the status of the game, Sony’s Jack Tretton said the game was on hiatus. Gamer’s hearts sunk worldwide. Shortly thereafter, Sony released a statement saying Mr. Tretton was incorrect, and the game is actually in “active development.” If we’re to garner anything from this it’s that Sony has no idea what’s going on with The Last Guardian. (source)
9. Rare brings back Killer Instinct
“Brings back” is a loose term to describe the revival of one of gaming’s most unique fighters. The original Killer Instinct and it’s sequel were highly regarded as some of the best combo-oriented fighters out there, and certainly one with it’s own sense of style. Ultra combos, hyper stylized visuals, humiliations, a music CD that was actually awesome!!… Killer Instinct was where it was at. And then Microsoft bought Rare, the developers of the series, and we hadn’t heard from the likes of Glacius, Fulgore, and Jago since. Then the Xbox One was revealed, and at this year’s E3 Microsoft surprised us all by announcing Killer Instinct, a reimagining of the series exclusive to Xbox One. A drastically different art style, pay per character approach, and modified game engine might sway some gamers away, but it’s wonderful to have the series back, for better or for worse. (source)
8. The reveal of the PlayStation 4 console
It’s black, it’s sleek, some people think it’s the Xbox One italicized. Any way you look at it, the PS4 console looks, well, like a game console. It’s what we’ve come to expect from video game consoles: it played it safe with overall design, it can lay flat or stand up, it’ll look nice sitting under a huge TV… you know, the normal stuff.
7. Nintendo keeps giving fans what they want
Nintendo gets heat all the time for releasing sequel after sequel. Every year there’s another Mario game. Every year there’s another party style game. Every year there’s another Metroid game. Alright, that last one’s not true, but the point is Nintendo has been steadily releasing games in existing franchises for decades. And that’s fantastic! Even with dozens of games under their belt, I’m still excited for a new Mario game. Super Mario 3D World has 4 player co-op and a cat suit. I’m down already. The new Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is essentially a sequel to a game released in 1992 and I can’t wait to play it. The newest Mario Kart game is supposedly the best one yet and I’m already regretting not buying a Wii U. Not to mention a new Donkey Kong Country, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Wii Party U, and, oh yeah, Pikmin 3. Nintendo has a proven track record for releasing quality games that are fun; something other developers can only dream of achieving. (source)
6. It was a great week for RPG lovers
The RPG fan received an extra bit of love this year, with a bevy of new game announcements that should keep them excited for months. Square Enix dropped a few bombs at the expo, announcing both Kingdom Hearts 3 as well as Final Fantasy XV (which originally started out as Final Fantasy versus XIII). Microsoft demoed a portion of The Witcher 3, which is shaping up to be a stellar role playing experience. The Elder Scrolls Online is coming to the consoles (PS4, at least). A spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon will be releasing on Xbox One in the form of Crimson Dragon. And perhaps most exciting of all is Monolith’s new RPG in the works (the creators of the Wii’s Xenoblade Chronicles). Throw in teasers of the new Dragon Age, Square Enix’s iOS title Bloodmasque, and screens of Lords of the Fallen and RPG fans will have plenty of levels to grind and stories to tell in the upcoming year. (source)
5. Sony is letting publishers handle used games on their own
Sony was on the offensive at E3, directly attacking Microsoft and the Xbox One’s used game policy as well as other aspects (which we’ll get into later). A bit of confusion however arose when discussing the used games policy on the PS4. It is true that the PS4 console itself does not intrinsically block the use of used games, and that first party titles (games created by Sony) can be played, traded, and given to others to use on their PS4 console, but Sony has left it up to the publishers of other titles whether they support used games. Basically Sony said, “look, other game developers and publishers; our box won’t block used games. If you want your titles to have a used game lock, you have to add it in yourself.” This is a smart move for Sony, putting the pressure and possibly backlash by the consumer on someone else (i.e. the publisher), but there’s no telling yet what it will mean for the PS4, its sales, and how games will work. But for many, this is much better than Microsoft’s wacky used games policy. (source)
4. Xbox One: $499, PlayStation 4: $399
After the reveal of the Xbox One Price of $499, many people were expecting the PS4 to be priced similarly. Then Sony said the price would be a steep $100 less the Microsoft’s box. And many people started fearing for the Xbox One’s future. But let’s look at things in perspective. The PS4 at $399 is great comparatively: you get a brand new, next gen console and controller for one hundred dollars less than if you got the Xbox One. But with the Xbox One you get a brand new, next gen console and controller, as well as a super powerful and nifty camera in the form of Kinect, which comes packaged with every Xbox One console. The PS4 will support a camera, and it will be an additional cost. Granted, the PS4 likely won’t require the use of the camera and the Xbox One will, this is likely the main reason for the disparity between the two price points. Since you’re not getting the same experience on the two consoles, one can expect to pay differently as well. (source)
3. Super Smash Bros. on Wii U and 3DS
My blatant fanboyism aside, there is a lot to be excited for when it comes to the newest iterations of Nintendo’s mascot filled brawler Super Smash Bros. Aside from Mega Man being included as a playable character, two new faces were shown off, the Animal Crossing villager and the Wii Fit Trainer. All three came as a surprise, but none as big as the Wii Fit Trainer, although she has since come off as being one of the most interesting characters in the series. Reworked visuals (aka HD) means the game will look better than ever on the Wii U. The game’s director has also stated how he’s avidly working on the game to make it the best one to date. Smash fans can rest assured; the wait will definitely be worth it. (source)
2. New games abound
You might be thinking, “Well duh there’s new games, it’s E3!” But this year was an exceptionally good year for gamers. Dozens of new games were announced that will please every type of gamer out there. Nintendo will be releasing new games for several of their core franchises including Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Pikmin 3, and Pokemon X and Y. Microsoft teased a new Halo and showed off the enticing Titanfall from the creators of the Modern Warfare series. More info was given about The Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid V, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, The Wonderful 101, Yoshi’s New Island, Super Smash Bros, and Donkey Kong. Huge surprises include the announcement of a sequel to Mirror’s Edge as well as Final Fantasy XV and Killer Instinct. Indie games got a lot of love too, with Contrast, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, and Hohokum standing out nicely. And let’s not forget Popcap’s strangely intriguing Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. There are so many titles to look forward too (more than in some past years) that it’s hard to deny this year’s list as being anything short of exceptional. (source)
1. Sony threw down the gauntlet
Man, I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like that at an E3 press conference. Usually, when all is said and done, gamers and industry folk like to rate or grade the major press conferences, assessing what they did wrong, what they did right, and generally how much they appealed to the consumer. For the most part, these ratings tend to stay in the middle, with the general consensus being that neither party did particularly good or particularly bad.
Not this year.
Sony came out guns blazing with their press conference (which was after Microsoft’s, for clarification). Their presentation seemed designed to directly counter any claim that Microsoft made with their Xbox One.
Xbox One has to connect to the internet every 24 hours? Not the PS4
Xbox One won’t allow you to trade and swap games with friends (DRM issues)? Not with PS4
Indie developers aren’t loved by the Xbox One? The PS4 loves you
Xbox One too expensive at $499? The PS4 is $399
That’s not to mention the games shown on stage, nor the demos on the floor. In a truly unique instance, E3 2013 will likely be remembered for being the one expo in which there was a definitive “winner.” Sony’s direct attack of Microsoft was the biggest showstopper of E3 and easily the top story from the floor. (source)