E3 is done and dusted for yet another year, and now we can reflect upon what was a quite spectacular show. There were some great titles on display, and much good news in terms of new game developments, but what was your overall favorite thing about E3? Was it a specific game? A particular personality? Perhaps a company made some announcements that really resonated with you?
While you decide how you're going to answer the question, here are the USgamer team's favorite things about E3.
Simply put, what I enjoyed most about this year's E3 was the reassuring sense it gave me that the industry still makes games for me.
That may sound like a strange (or worse, entitled) opinion, but I don't mean it that way. What I do mean is that, as a person who enjoys video games, I have pretty wide-ranging tastes. I love classic platformers, Japanese and western RPGs alike, third-person action games, single-player FPSes, and many other kinds of games. Yet despite enjoying a pretty broad array of genres and styles, the industry collectively seems to have shifted away from practically everything I enjoy about games over the past few years, and I've frankly found it discouraging. I really expected to come into this year's show and experience the same weary sense of isolation that recent E3s have left me with… but that's not how it went at all.
This year's show may have featured fewer individual titles than in previous years, but more of those games were right down my alley than I've seen in years. The Square Enix booth alone was practically a buffet crafted specifically for me, and games I dearly want to spend more time with were spread all across the show floor. I didn't go hands-on with a single game I didn't sincerely enjoy.
Horizon: Zero Dawn looks incredible. Zelda was stunning and left me hungry to play more. The Last Guardian and Bloodstained were quietly surprising in just how well they managed to be not surprising, if that makes any sense. ReCore is fast-paced, maniacal fun. Everything with the name Dragon Quest attached made me happy, and the Final Fantasy XII remaster is giving my favorite Final Fantasy the highest-quality overhaul imaginable. There were plenty of great games at smaller publishers' booths, too, including Shantae, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, and Yakuza 0. And those are just the games I played! There were probably a dozen more I didn't have time to try out for myself. But man, do I want to.
And it's not like the show was short on games made for people with tastes different than mine! Publishing doesn't have to be all or nothing, and I'm happy E3 2016 managed to cover a wider spectrum of tastes than it has in recent years. Good going, industry. Now hurry up and ship some of these games.
Although I'm highly tempted to wax hyper-enthusiastically lyrical about Forza Horizon 3 once again, I think if I take a step back, my favorite thing about E3 was E3 itself. This year was a truly great show - which I wasn't exactly expecting. There were so many game leaks and rumors in the run-up to E3 that it seemed like the whole show was being spoiled, and I wondered if there was going to be any surprises left for us. Turns out that there weren't that many - but what did end up surprising me was the volume and sheer quality of the products on display. Even games I already knew about, or that were an inevitability - such as the aforementioned Forza Horizon 3 and Gran Turismo Sport - still blew me away because they were just so good. Horizon Zero Dawn: Another game that I knew about going into E3, but still managed to get me really excited. Same with ReCore, Bloodstained, Detroit: Become Human, Yooka-Laylee, FIFA 17, and a myriad of other titles that I could just keep on listing. I just came away from E3 buzzing with excitement. Tired too, but buoyed by the fact that there are so many brilliant games coming out that I just can't wait to play.
The other aspect of the show that surprised me this year was the crowds. To be perfectly honest, it was a real pain in the ass having to negotiate the huge lines of people that seemed to be everywhere, and trying to get hands-on time with games I didn't have an appointment for was exceptionally difficult - by far the most challenging show I've ever been to in that respect. But now that I'm away from E3 and have had some time to reflect, I must say that the crowds really helped elevate the excitement of the show. You could just see the passion that people had (and patience too - some folk waited hours and hours just to play Legend of Zelda). Indeed, it makes me believe E3 should have public days, but I've already talked about that, so no need to repeat myself.
Ultimately, E3 2016 was a great show for gamers everywhere. It had something for everybody - and that's what gaming should be all about.
There was no one game that really blew my mind this year (though Horizon: Zero Dawn was certainly really good). I guess my favorite thing about E3 2016, or any year, is just the raw excitement built into every show. You can feel the thrum of energy as you walk into your first press conference, which steadily builds until just before everyone hits the showfloor for the first time.
Then, after the day is done, everyone gets together and talks about video games. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. It was so great hanging out with the USG crew, the Eurogamer crew, my friends from Italy, New York, Australia, and a dozen other places around the world. You get a drink, you gossip, and you talk about what games excite you the most. Then you get up the next day and do it all again.
By the end of the week I'm always exhausted from writing, streaming, and being out late meeting people. Our final team dinner from last night was mostly quiet because we were all bone tired and we had already talked about all of the games from the show. But exhausting as it is to cover E3 every year, I never get tired of the hype, the energy, and the bright lights. And as it does most every year, E3 brought all of that in spades.
2016's E3 couldn't possibly surprise us as much as 2015's, which brought revivals of The Last Guardian, NieR, Final Fantasy VII and Shenmue. Still, Capcom's reveal of a revamped Resident Evil ranks up there with last year's out-of-nowhere announcements, even if a new entry in this popular series is in inevitability. And Capcom went with an incredibly smart choice to calm the anxieties of those who fear change: If you're a PlayStation Plus subscriber, you can keep yourself busy for at least 30 minutes with what amounts to a free prototype for Resident Evil 7. To be brutally honest, there's no way another take on Resident Evil 4 could have possibly kept the series relevant, so I'm glad Capcom went with the unexpected choice of a first-person spook-em-up. Whether or not the final product will be too scary for this babyman to play, though, remains to be seen.
Observational USGamer readers who’ve seen me yapping to and fro in the comments of our stories already know what I want out of the new Legend of Zelda game. Namely, a beautiful Skyrim-like world powered by Nintendo’s vision and Zelda’s history (I’m also counting on Nintendo to deliver an open-world experience that’s not riddled with immersion-breaking bugs. Once, while playing Skyrim, I inexplicably encountered a frozen, open-mouthed model of a horse. Its empty stare and silent scream still haunt me).
But I was dreaming of an open-world Zelda game long before I even knew what one was. When The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time first delivered its promises in the late ‘90s, I would walk the family dog to the hydro corridor we lived beside, look off in the distance, and imagine a Hyrule that went on forever in the same way.
Ocarina of Time couldn’t deliver that fantasy for obvious reasons. Neither could Wind Waker, or even Twilight Princess. Breath of the Wild, though? It might. It just might. Too bad I have to wait until 2017 to find out for sure. Le sigh.
I'm agreeing with everyone else, in that this was a really good year, considering all of the doom and gloom that preceded it. Sure, publishers were stepping off the showfloor to run their own events. Yes, there were a ton of leaks in the weeks and month prior to the show. But once I was there, none of that mattered.
The press conferences were solid. EA offered up expected titles, Ubisoft surprised me at the end, Bethesda did a great job, Microsoft offered up a decent lineup, Nintendo gave fans a new Zelda (and a Waluigi Amiibo!), and Sony completely knocked it out of the park with a minimalist press conference. From the pressers alone, you have some great titles: Titanfall 2, Steep, Watch Dogs 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wind, Dishonored 2, Prey, Sea of Thieves, Horizon: Zero Dawn, God of War, Resident Evil 7, and Days Gone.
Beyond that, there were other riches hiding on the show floor or in meeting rooms. Persona 5, King of Fighters XIV, Battle Chasers: Night War, Furi, Aragami, Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice, Gwent, Attack on Titan, and Agents of Mayhem. There were also a number of VR titles I got a taste of, including Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Wilson's Heart, The Unspoken, Batman Arkham VR, and Farpoint.
The future feels bright and most of these games are releasing this holiday season or early next year, in contrast to last year's E3, with showcase titles that still haven't released. E3 was good this year. The shape of the show may change, but the spirit remains strong.
And I'm choosing Steep because "open-world SSX plus wingsuits" gets a big "Hell yeah!" from me.