Friday 16th June – 09:00
Now that E3 is drawing to a close, I decided to task the team at Studio Diva with a near impossible question – pick one thing from E3 that you’d call your stand our moment. It’s a difficult question considering the huge week it’s been for gaming but I though it would be a great way to wrap it up. Check out what the team said below!
After such an eventful week of incredible news from all of the major players in the games industry it’s time to reflect on everything we’ve seen and heard. From incredible advancements in gaming technology to new IPs and returning old favourites. It’s certainly been one of the most exciting E3’s in recent years, maybe even since the launch of the next-gen console. The announcements from both PlayStation, Xbox and the major game publishers has created such an amazing amount of buzz both in the gaming, tech and entertainment community but also reached a much wider audience. Along with live streaming throughout the week on Twitch, YouTube also allowed E3 to feature heavily across its site with constant advertising and an actual E3 branded YouTube logo to allow the everyday user to be engaged with what was going on. It’s great to see gaming at the forefront of the entertainment news and it only goes to show that video games are continuing to go from strength to strength – and doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of slowing down
Not only does E3 mark the start of a year of anticipation for us as avid gamers to get playing all of the great games announced, but it also brings another level of excitement for the year ahead. We will have the absolute honour and pleasure of being able to work on some of the world’s most popular titles with the market leaders in the games industry. Make sure you stay up to date with us on our blog, Twitter and Facebook page to check out what we’re working on and what we’re getting up to. It’s sure to be a lot of fun.
As we sign off from E3 week – I’ll leave you with the favourite moments from team Diva. We’d also love to hear from you about what your favourite moment was – get on over to our Twitter page to let us know!
Sony’s VR games launching in October.
The thought of actually immersing yourself physically as well as mentally into the game definitely appeals to me. As a fan of Star Wars I would love to have a go on Star Wars Battlefront using VR. The fact that your friends will be able to see what you see on a screen makes it a sociable bit of kit.
Console: As much as I love my PS4, I can’t wait to see how much creativity the new Xbox One S Controllers will give people in terms of it’s design. Self and company Branded ones will be everywhere – could be a great tool for freelance game journalists and designers.
Games: Sony VR games (especially Batman as it could potentially get more people into self defence martial arts!) and Dishonored 2 – even though I’ve never played this series, I’m a massive fan of the Assassins Creed franchise and can see some great similarities in the landscape architecture to the more recent Assassins Creed Games.
As a huge fan of the Star Wars franchise, EA’s plans for Star Wars, particularly the unnamed Visceral title really stood out for me. From their continued development into Star Wars Battlefront to finally getting a new gen Star Wars game with a 1st person campaign. It’s really exciting to see them putting so much time and effort into turning Star Wars into a leading force in the video games sector as well as in the film industry.
As an avid Fifa fan (the game that is), I am very much looking forward to experiencing the full story mode as well as the usual the graphics boost and gameplay additions. But lets face it – I would have bought Fifa 17 even if it was exactly the same as 16!!!
Days Gone. As a PS4 owner and a undead fanboy, I was jealous to see not just one but two Xbox One exclusives – Dead Rising 4 and State of Decay 2. Then out of nowhere comes the amazing looking Playstation exclusive Days Gone, an open-world survival adventure which features huge hordes of feral humans called ‘Freakers’. A Zombie by any other name.
I can’t pick…Sony’s whole conference was a highlight, they proved that PlayStation really is for the players and stayed true to their brand messaging by showcasing their stellar lineup of incredible titles.
I thought I’d find this question more difficult than I did. But there was clear winner for me and that was God of War. The combination of its incredible visual style, brutal combat, engaging story and Kratos’ new beard made this a foregone conclusion from within the first couple of minutes of the action packed gameplay trailer. Being a fan of the rest of the franchise, I’m eager to find out where this story goes and follow Kratos and his Son in what’s set to be another incredible chapter.
Honourable mention – Crash Bandicoot. Hello childhood memories!
My favourite announcement was Project Scorpio, and although it wasn’t mentioned during E3, PlayStation Neo. I’m excited to see what more powerful consoles will bring to the table, especially as everything will still fully work with the current hardware and games this generation. Leave no man behind!
Wednesday 15th June – 10:00
So yesterday I speculated a little bit about Project Scorpio, and what it means for console ‘generations’ going forward. Well, it seems like lots of people had similar thought to me, and WIRED have sat down with Xbox’s Phil Spencer to discuss it a bit further. The key quote is below, but give the full article a read!
“Consumer expectation is that, if you wanted to, you could go buy a new cell phone every year. I don’t want to get into that mode with a console. I see the next inflection point as 4K, and I want to make sure we have a console there to support that, and Scorpio will do that. We’re not on a hardware tick-tock that says I need to put out a console every two years or every one year to get people to upgrade. That’s not the console model.”
Monday 13th June – 02:00
Once again, PlayStation went on to completely dominate E3 with a combination of nostalgia, new IPs, sequels, fan favourites and incredible technical advancements in gaming. Take a bow. Watching the conference as an avid PlayStation fan it felt as though the entire presentation was catered directly to me. PlayStation knows its fans and they know what they want. 2016’s conference was about what makes PlayStation such a dominant force in the industry – their passion for games and the importance in putting this at the forefront of their focusses throughout the year.
There are so many stand out moments from PlayStations conference this year so I’ll do my best to condense this into a manageable amount.
Let’s just get this out of the way quickly. CRASH IS BACK. And to be completely honest, he’s back in the best way possible. When I think back to my first memory of PlayStation, it’s hard to think of anything other than Crash Bandicoot. A game so incredibly simple in its format yet so challenging. Back when getting past a difficult level meant replaying it over and over and over until you had memorised the exact movements necessary to complete it. The internet had been quite vocal about bringing Crash Bandicoot back and after the announcement of Crash in Skylanders we witnessed a couple of naysayers that were surprised he wouldn’t be coming back alone. Well PlayStation put a stop to those mutterings by announcing the remaking of Crash Bandicoot 1, 2 and Warped. PlayStation have given the fans exactly what they wanted and I’m personally very excited to start collecting all those apples again.
Another huge surprise from PlayStation was the announcement that Sony had acquired the rights to make a new Spider-Man game. Working with the team behind the beloved Ratchet & Clank, Insomniac, we’re sure that the latest instalment of our favourite web slinging super hero will not disappoint. The trailer they showed looks fast paced and fun – everything that Spider-Man should be. Some of my fondest and earliest memories from the PS2 are playing Spider-Man, so I’m looking forward to picking this up and swinging through the mean streets of New York to battle Spidey’s biggest foes.
God of War made its presence clear at E3 with its classic and much loved brutal fighting style. But there’s one big difference which we need to mention, it could even be a game changer, but Kratos has a beard. The trailer we’re shown allows us to meet Kratos’ son as they go on a bonding trip to hunt deer in the snowy terrain. The graphics of this game look incredible. The lighting through the trees and the footprints in the snow add an additional level of detail we’ve not seen in a God of War game before. This is helped by the new camera angle that brings you closer to the action than before – providing you with the best seat in the house for all the blood and gore that Kratos leaves in his path. Very exciting.
Resident Evil is back with their 7th instalment. The trailer has a very different style to the previous games, the main reason being that it’s first person and it has a lot slower pace than usual. The game has a very dark and creepy vibe – with scuttling cockroaches, phones ringing and creaky floorboards. The demo they showed gives us a small glimpse of what’s to come from Resident Evil 7 but there’s certainly a strong P.T. feel about it. The other big news about the latest instalment in the franchise is that Resident Evil 7 will be coming to PlayStation VR on January 24th.
The Last Guardian finally got a release date of October 25th. Much to the joy of the audience in attendance and I’m sure the millions watching too. The trailer once again showed off its beautiful visual style with wonderful scenes between Trico and his companion. This has been a long time coming and in just a few months time we’ll finally be able to get our hands on one of the most anticipated games in recent years.
Another game that PlayStation showed off yesterday was Days Gone – we didn’t get a great idea of exactly what’s going on in this game. But it looks like it could be a lot of fun. The rumours are that it’s some type of post-apocalyptic, zombie action adventure on a motorbike. I don’t think I can remember another game with so many zombies coming at you at one time. It looks like it could be a lot of fun so I’m looking forward to seeing what else we see from this new IP throughout the year.
Speaking of zombies and motorcycles, Walking Dead fan favourite Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) made an appearance with his partner in crime Hideo Kojima’s new IP – Death Stranding. Since P.T was shelved last year, there have been rumours of the 2 working together since then. We didn’t get a glimpse of any of the gameplay but the initial teaser trailer is more than enough to capture my interest. With a combination of melting babies, dead whales, floating people and invisible hand-prints. I think Kojima has given us enough to talk about for a little while to come.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare stormed into E3 with another explosive trailer and gameplay demo showing us a Call of Duty like we’ve never seen before. The trailer that was presented to us shows absolutely stunning graphics as the fighters make their way into their fighter spaceships. Following this is an adrenaline fuelled space combat sequence that takes Call of Duty to another level of warfare. It’s an exciting premise for the franchise which I’m eager to explore. The combat in space looks fluid and polished, everything we can expect for such a well established franchise. The hand to hand fighting seems a lot smoother than we’ve seen before – it almost appears to feel like a cut scene at times because the gameplay is just that smooth. As a huge fan of the Call of Duty series, especially with the latest instalments and their focus on moving to the future, I can’t wait to jump in a spaceship and get into a good old-fashioned(?) dog-fight. After Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III, I think people wondered where the franchise could go next – well Activision have given you an answer. Get ready for the future of Warfare.
As I mentioned before, PlayStation have made a clear point of focusing on games rather than hardware. But even so, the PlayStation VR could not be ignored. As I spoke about earlier, Resident Evil 7 will be available for PlayStation VR and another of the world’s most popular super-heroes will making it’s way to VR. Batman Arkham VR will be launching this October exclusively on PlayStation VR. Little is known about this, other than that it’s PlayStation, Batman and virtual reality – so I think it’s safe to say that this is going to be pretty great.
Monday 13th June – 21:00
Ubisoft kicked off their conference with a bizarre, psychedelic dance routine to start the show. Complete with dancing candy canes, giraffes and pandas – it was a lively start to the evenings show to promote Just Dance 2017. The fun didn’t stop there as Ubisoft announced new IP’s, DLCs, sequels and an incredible cross-over that the gaming world never saw coming. Here’s a catch up on my highlights from Ubisoft’s E3 conference.
First up – a gritty, crime ridden, illuminati conspiracy, Purge-esque trailer. It is of course – South Park: The Fractured But Whole! I was not expecting that….The introduction had enough F bombs to make up for the entire conferences allowance. There looks to be a lot of in-jokes including one where you play as the gay fish trying to get his mother into heaven. (look up Kanye West to find out what on earth I’m talking about). I must confess that I actually haven’t played the first South Park game but definitely feel like I should go back and give it go. The premise of the game is that you play as the South Park characters everyone knows and loves, in a super hero environment. There is a backstory centred around walking in on your parents during….marital activities…that changes your characters life forever as you become a super hero to stop this happening to anyone else.
Also…Time Shifting farts.
A final important announcement was that if you pre-order South Park: The Fractured But Whole – you will receive the first game completely free. Great news for people like me. December 7th.
Ubisoft brought us back in to the world of AAA game titles with the new Viking Warrior epic – For Honor. We were shown a truly Hollywood style blockbuster trailer that really set the scene for the type of brutality that we can expect to see from this new IP. We were then shown actual gameplay where we saw The Viking in battle as he worked to storm a fortress. The in-game graphics looked incredibly detailed and the combat sequences seemed exciting and vicious. The hard hitting weaponry and bloody and gory finishers made this look like a very satisfying game to play. The graphics in both the fire and the rain looked amazing. I always look to the fire as a gage of how good the graphics really are – this game passed the test. The in-game demo continued to show us the variety of different obstacles and foes you will face along your way, and the use of the environment to take down your enemies in a number of brutal executions. This comes out on Valentines Day next year.
In classic Ubisoft style the presentation took a weird turn as the creative directors of both Trials Fusion and Blood Dragon emerged in leopard print tracksuits. They were here to announce the cross-over of the century. TRIALS OF THE BLOOD DRAGON – wait, what? We were treated to an incredible trailer filled with horrendous gradients and cheesy lines straight from a toy advert from the late 80’s/ early 90’s. Trials of the Blood Dragon looks to have all the chaos and frustration from Trials Fusion combined with the insanity that is Blood Dragon. Jump and race over explosions, communist regimes and monsters and dragons and lasers and fire…wow. Trials of the Blood Dragon is Out Now!
Right, moving on. After a brief trailer and chat about the new Assassin’s Creed movie starring Michael Fassbender we move on to the main event – WatchDogs 2! I’m a big fan of the franchise so was happy to see a second instalment. Although the first received a lot of negative press from critics, I found it to be a really enjoyable game so will definitely be picking this one up. The introductory trailer had a similar style to those from the Purge film series combined with visuals from hacktivist group, Anonymous. It looks like Watchdogs 2 is taking an edgier tone to this latest instalment. In this game you play as a member of DedSec, intent on taking down the regime and government that is tracking your every move. It’s definitely a lot less gloomy than the original game and should be a lot more exciting. The game features stunning visuals, an open world to explore and a new style of gameplay that appears to borrow from the Assassin’s Creed parkour play book. They’ve also added in drones that you can use to get to areas previously unattainable. You can then hack into CCTV cameras to monitor the situation before you use your stealth tactics to get in and collect the intel or set up your latest hack.
WatchDogs 2 comes out Nov 15 this year and DLC will be available to PS4 owners 30 days early. One other thing they mentioned – WatchDogs movie! Excited to see how this turns out.
Ubisoft had one final announcement to make. A new IP called Steep. Inspired by their office view of the Alps – the team at Ubisoft have been hard at working creating an extreme sports game set in the snowy and dangerous landscape of the Alps. With a variety of multiplayer sports to get involved in such as Snowboarding, Skiing, base jumping and hiking, there are plenty of ways to keep players busy as they hone their skills and race against each other to become the best. The scenery of this game looks incredible with amazing amounts of detail in every aspect. The game centres around the idea of being able to go back to record and share your experiences with the rest of the community. I think this game could be something really special so I’m exciting to see how this turns out as we here more about it throughout the year.
Some honourable mentions.
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildLands – a gritty single player or 4 player co-op where you play as an elite group of soldiers working to take down the drug lords of Bolivia and collect the intel. The initial trailer and gameplay promises to be something very different. With 4 player co-op options and a variety of different combat approaches.
- Oculus VR demoes featuring both Star Trek and the world’s fist PvP VR demo in the fast-paced aerial experience in Eagle Flight. It’s still difficult to get an idea how this game would really feel unless you experience it yourself. I can’t wait to have a go.
- The follow up to Grow Home was announced as Grow Up…the popular Ubisoft game that was released for free on PlayStation Plus earlier this year.
- The Division new DLC – Survival. New enemies, landscapes and struggles for your character to survive against with an added outfit bonus for Ubisoft Club members.
Monday 13th June – 17:30
Microsoft, it seems, is trying something new in the games console business.
Gone are the days of the “Xbox Exclusive” – pretty much every game announcement last night was “Xbox and Windows 10 Exclusive”, and this will be the future of Xbox. To further combine Xbox and PC, if you buy the game on one platform, you can play it on both, with automatically synced saved games and achievements – a feature called Xbox Play Anywhere. Coop modes will also support Xbox/PC Cross-Play, presumably avoiding competitive cross-play due to the advantages of a mouse and keyboard. I get the feeling Microsoft are focusing on Xbox as a service now, rather than the traditional – and perhaps outdated due to the speed of tech development – concept of a console.
This is emphasised by the official announcement of “Project Scorpio”, a new version of the Xbox One due next year. Phil Spencer described it as the “We Heard You Console”, boasting vastly superior power, 4K gaming, high-fidelity VR experience, and compatibility with all existing XB1 games and accessories. In that sense, it’s not a next-generation console, and it seems like Microsoft want to do away with the idea of generations altogether. Perhaps they’re thinking about an upgrade cycle similar to iPhone, which would sit alongside an ever-upgrading PC market. You could argue that console generations halt progress for 4 or 5 years, so perhaps this will push it forward. PlayStation seem to be on a similar wavelength with their pre-E3 announcement of 4K-ready hardware due later this year, but not to the same extent I don’t think.
Other things which stuck out to me included:
- I’m a big racing fan and I loved Forza Horizon 2, so I was excited to get a first look at Forza Horizon 3. The Australian landscape looked stunning, and great fun to drive around. The cars also looked amazing, as you’d expect from a Forza title. There was a lot of bigging-up seamless online integration, but that’s getting pretty standard these days.
- ReCore is a new IP that looks like it has potential, but I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen more gameplay. I like the concept though, and new IPs are getting hard to come by!
- Dead Rising 4 looks exactly the same as Dead Rising 3 to me, and I find the series generally frustrating, but I do enjoy the idea of running around destroying hoards of zombies with ridiculous weapons. If only they could bring the gameplay mechanics a bit more up-to-date – here’s hoping!
- Gears of War 4 is yet another sequel, but one that looks particularly impressive on this gen’s hardware. I’m not a massive follower of the series, but I have dabbled and I’m sure it’ll be a great fun splatterfest!
- Minecraft is still Minecraft, but now you can play with your friends on Xbox, PC, iOS and Android. Hoorah. Actually, that’s quite a big deal, and Microsoft also mentioned that it’s looking to enable online play with “other platforms” too…
- Custom-designed Xbox controllers. Now everyone can make what I think is the nicest-looking controller on the market, look disgusting!
- Xbox One S – a smaller, whiter version of the console with 4K video playback and HDR. No Kinect port though, fancy that!
All in all I’d say it was a good show for Microsoft. Not a great one, as new IPs were lacking, but they did come out with a potentially industry-changing vision and a solid, if fairly expected, line-up.
Sunday 12th June – 04:00
Next to take the stage was Bethesda. As a long standing Bethesda fan girl, I was over the moon when I heard they where taking stage and knew we would be in for a treat and they did not disappoint.
Fallout Shelter is a fantastic mobile game, starting slow upon release but building a huge following after some fun little updates to bring it in line with Fallout 4. Bethesda are now launching a huge update in July and bringing this fun game to PC, allowing players to take their Dwellers and travel across the wasteland to new locations such as abandoned Vaults, Super Duper Marts and even the Red Rocket Fuel Stop.
Fallout 4 can do little wrong in my eyes and the new expansions look so much fun. The Contraptions workshop let’s you build all sorts of new doo-dads for your settlements, Nuka World allows you to build a post-apocalyptic theme park and the Valt-Tec expansion allow you to become your very own Overseer with the option of experimenting on your Dwellers, now will you use this power for good or evil?
Prey is something I knew little to nothing about but watching the trailer gave me actual goosebumps. Rather than a sequel to the original game, this is apparently a reimaginging of the the IP which the Developer at Arkane Studios describes as a “first-person immersive game set in a dangerous universe”. I am looking forward to finding out more over the coming months.
I fell in love with the Elder Scrolls world a long time ago, and Skyrim was no exception. This was a game I had built up countless hours on and unashamedly got a tattoo of an arrow through my knee, why? “Because I used to be an adventurer like you”. Knowing this is coming back with the added bonus of console versions now supporting PC mods is just brilliant. Skyrim Special Edition looks beautiful and with upgrades such as dynamic depth of field, snow and water shaders to name but a few I am hugely looking forward revisiting Tamriel.
Dishonored 2, I loved the first game and have been waiting for more information on this one for a while. One of personal favourite game franchises of all time is Bioshock which the developer Arkane obviously played an important role in during BS2, so for me it is incredibly exciting to see that influence coming through in Dishonored 2. It is also great to see the same variety of choices as it’s predecessor in terms of play styles but more importantly to me, this time giving players the chance to play as Emily Kaldwin.
Also, not part of the conference, but Troy Baker is voicing Batman in the Telltale Games series, I love him, swoon!
Sunday 12th June – 23:00
First up with their conference was EA. There weren’t many massive surprises, but a few things did stand out for me.
- FIFA 17 will feature a single player story campaign called “The Journey”. Following the career of a new football player, you’ll get to experience life behind the scenes, as well as action on the pitch, with decisions and performance affecting the story. This has been made possible by DICE’s Frostbite engine, which EA is transitioning to for all their franchises. This also brings a nice graphical boost!
- Titanfall 2, which will be available on PS4 this time around, now has a full singleplayer campaign that sits alongside the action-packed multiplayer. The campaign in the first game felt like an afterthought so this could be a welcome addition.
- They’re still making Mass Effect Andromeda, now due early next year. It’s shaping up nicely and we got a good look behind the scenes. Again, this is the first game in the franchise to utilise the Frostbite engine.
- Looaaads of Star Wars games are being worked on, including a particularly impressive one by Visceral Games, due out in 2018.
E3 is finally upon us, and we couldn’t be more excited to board the Hype-Train to LA. We’ll be adding short posts to this page over the course of this week, talking about what announcements excite us the most, what we can’t wait to find out more about, and generally getting giddy at the prospect of all the great gaming experiences to come our way over the next 12 months.