Thousands of games journalists and, for the first time, members of the public descended on LA this week to attend the annual E3 games expo. There were a number of excellent games on show this year from all the major publishers, and it would be unfair to pick a top 5 ‘best games’ (we’re Nintendo’s UK PR agency so that’s only going to go one way) …so instead, we’ve picked our 5 biggest surprises of this year’s show.
- Metroid Prime 4
One of the biggest surprises of Nintendo’s annual Spotlight livestream (as opposed to the traditional press conference format), was the misty reveal of the Metroid Prime 4 logo against the darkness of space.
Little much else was revealed about the game and nothing more was really needed to drive Nintendo fans across the world into overdrive.
Somehow, it’s been almost 10 years to the day since the last Metroid Prime game came out, the critically acclaimed Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, but it’s a big statement of intent from Nintendo that they are bringing the much loved franchise to the Switch so early in it’s lifespan.
- Xbox One X Price
We learnt two main things from the Xbox press conference on Saturday. Xbox Scorpio is now called Xbox One X (that’s XOXO for all you Gossip Girl fans), and that it’s going to cost a whopping $499.99 (probably around £450 when released).
There’s no arguing that it’s the most powerful games console ever built, and certainly the hardcore Xbox gamers will find the money, but the price could be a turnoff for many this Christmas – especially as you can play the same games on your Xbox One already.
You know what could convince people to fork out? A game as utterly beautiful and breath-taking as Anthem. Revealed as the big finale to Xbox’s press conference, BioWare’s latest game looks a unique take on the space exploration / RPG genre – with the gameplay mechanic focusing on customisable space suits that you use to explore new worlds with up to three other friends/strangers.
Space games can be a little hit or miss, but you have to trust BioWare who brought the world the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect franchises. Watching the video of the game’s protagonist soaring through strange-looking jungles a la Superman is a view to excite any game fan – and it’s these impressive visuals and graphics that have been missing from BioWare’s recent offerings.
They are the kings of story-driven RPG, and if they can also nail the addition of a co-op third-person action/shooter, they could be on to a masterpiece
- Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
There’s no denying that many people were sceptical about the forthcoming Nintendo/Ubisoft marriage of Mario and Rabbids. Leaks ahead of E3 were met with hesitance from many in the games press – and perhaps rightly so with how little was known about the game. But following Tuesday’s Spotlight livestream, opinions are shifting. Assumptions that the game might be a Mario Party or Mario + Sonic at the Olympics type were off the mark, instead we’re seeing a turn-based, gun-toting, tactical RPG, similar more in style to XCOM.
It’s certainly been one of the bigger surprises this year – and we’re eager to see more ahead of the August release.
- Lack of New VR IP
Yes, there have certainly been some big announcements this year in the world of VR: Skyrim, The Inpatient, Bravo Team to name a few. But compared to the furore around virtual reality at E3 2016, there’s been a huge drop in excitement or announcements.
While VR did feature in Sony’s press conference, there was almost no mention of it by Xbox or the other big companies, and as a result there really aren’t enough new games that are being announced.
It’s risky to create a brand new IP, with all the associated costs, if the install base of VR is still relatively low – but will virtual reality versions of games that are now two to three years old, e.g. Fallout 4, Skyrim etc. be the thing that pushes gamers over the edge?
This is certainly not a death knell for VR – anyone who has powered through Ready Player One will be eternally optimistic of VR’s potential – but it will be interesting to see what the catalyst is that pushes VR into the mainstream (and when that may appear).