Best Conference/Favorite Memory:
The picture you see above? That’s the expression of a man (after leaping up out of his seat) hearing rumors of Final Fantasy VII, The Last Guardian, and Shenmue 3 being announced at the Sony conference. Yu Suzuki had teased an image of a forklift earlier in the day but, when the game didn’t make an appearance on Microsoft‘s stage (Shenmue 2 was only on Dreamcast and Xbox), I felt it’d be just another year of disappointment concerning that title.
When it comes down to it, I couldn’t even imagine Sony or Nintendo topping Microsoft up until this very moment. They hit us with haymaker after haymaker with game-play for their staple franchises, Rare‘s Replay and upcoming new title Sea of Thieves, other new IP teases, and a surprisingly impressive showing of the Hololens on stage. Not only that, but they decimated Sony’s Playstation Now with the backwards compatibility announcement.
What could anyone do to top it?
With the knowledge that Sony had already forfeit 2015 as far as first party goes, a strong 3rd party presence was expected (and somewhat feared) as well as some cg trailers for some stuff for the following years. They dropped Destiny‘s Taken King, some Star Wars Battlefront footage, and some surprisingly interesting Batman: Arkham Knight exclusive content as well. Morpheus and Playstation Vue content was limited to small parts, thankfully, and PS Now was nowhere to be found.
Otherwise, they over-delivered. Final Fantasy VII has been craved by its audience for a long time and the new CG trailer even played upon that excruciating wait. The Last Guardian, which opened the show, looks as good as it did when originally revealed. There are some embracing the complaint culture when it comes to that, but I wonder what their thoughts are on titles that look nothing like their original trailers…a conversation for another day I suppose.
My two favorite moments from the Sony conference, one that elicited a high pitched *yelp* that some may have heard over the live-stream, were Shenmue 3 and Horizon. Horizon was a cool concept on its own and the opening CG captured the interests of many, but one of the biggest reasons it impressed me is because Sony and Guerrilla kept it under wraps for the most part and showed up on stage with actual game-play. With so many leaks dropping left and right, actually being able to surprise this hungry audience is to be applauded.
Lastly, Shenmue 3. The Shenmue franchise is a personal favorite for me that I always felt executed on a high level way before its time. The development cost alone ($47 million for the first title) expresses how ambitious the ideas were when putting the game together. Ambitions such as that come at a cost also, with the game having to undergo a Kickstarter first to garner interest. It’s understandably a risk for Sony: They had zero ties to the franchise to start and, if they plan to execute the intricate detail of the first in this day and age, the cost to make the game could be in the higher tiers. Nevertheless, the initial goal was met and fans will be receiving the game in the coming years.
Best Gameplay Demonstration/Most Anticipated Game:
There were a few really impressive demos shown throughout the E3 week, but it was not difficult to narrow down who wins this category. Warhorse Studios got their idea of an authentic medieval experience off the ground with crowdfunding and has been developing and polishing Kingdom Come: Deliverance for 3 years now. “Authentic” isn’t thrown around lightly either: Players must layer on gear with respect to the different types of weapons they’ll encounter and how collision affects the human inside the armor, the true history of the setting plays a big role in in-game events, and areas in the game are even recreated down to the color of chickens during that time period.
This year, all of those things were shown but the cream of the crop was their combat system. There’s no button mashing to be had here as every single step and strike must be managed carefully. The simplest misstep or mistaken choice of armor could mean death. Deliverance is the baby of a truly passionate and meticulous team and gamers will reap the benefits around Summer 2016. Stay tuned to TheKoalition.com for the full preview soon.
With all these incredible things going on, I can’t forget the huge connections I made in LA as well. It was my first time meeting some of the Koalition team (Stephanie, JJ, Tony, David, Garret), but it felt like family. I can’t wait to see them all again as well as re-connect with many others. Emilio Lopez, Kahlief Adams of Spawn On Me podcast (the man responsible for that pic of me up top), Pariss of Gamertag Radio (keep on walkin bruh), and many others: I look forward to seeing you all again.