We also saw a brief snippet of Tacoma, the new space-station exploration game from the developers of Gone Home, and DayZ creator Dean Hall arrived on stage to discuss his new project Ion, a multiplayer space pioneering game influenced by Space Station 13. Sadly, we saw nothing other than a brief CG announcement trailer. We did see a more substantial segment of veteran developer Rare's new project, a multiplayer pirate game called Sea of Thieves. From what we could glean from the trailer, players work together to sail their own pirate ships, explore desert islands for buried treasure, and battle it out with other player crews on the high seas. No idea how all that's going to work, but it certainly looks like a yo-ho-ho and a bottle of fun (sorry).
Microsoft capped off its show with a look at the Hololens, the augmented reality system that, amongst other things, lets you play Minecraft on your tabletop. Without being able to try it ourselves, the footage shown could easily be the fevered dreams of a madman. But if it works how Microsoft claims it works, then it's going to be quite special.
EA's conference saw long stretches of painful monotony that not even Pele could rescue. But amid the tedium were sparks of greatness, and it concluded with a truly brilliant looking game.
EA also started strongly by unveiling Mass Effect 4. Officially titled Mass Effect: Andromeda, it brings us a whole new galaxy to explore, and going by the footage shown, will see players exploring large environments similar to those seen in Dragon Age: Inquisition. EA sure does love the Frostbite engine. Oh, and the Mako is back in speedier, less unwieldy form, which will make a welcome change of pace from slogging everywhere on foot. Hopefully.
Need for Speed came next, showing us all of the graphics. Cancel the videogames! We've officially run out of graphics. After that EA demonstrated Unravel, a gorgeous side-scrolling platformer about a little knitted man who uses his little knitted body to traverse pretty environments. He flies a leaf kite and gets chased by a spectacularly angry hamster. D'aww.
Then the tedium began in a relentless torrent of sport. Now, I have nothing against sport, and I like a lot of sports games. But good grief, when you start banging on about face-scanning systems and ultra-realistic animations on an E3 stage where I just want to see videogames, not even a vial of sulphuric acid would stop my eyes glazing over. I also have no idea what the guys presenting the next NFL were talking about. It was like watching people speak Mongolian. There was a man called Hoop Gawd on stage at one point (sadly for the sake of Basketball rather than hula) And EA even wheeled ball-god Pele out to shill the new FIFA, which in a shocking twist, looks like FIFA. Not an FBI raid in sight either. Missed a trick there, EA.
Eventually the sport ended, and EA moved on to the new Mirror's Edge, which is actually a reboot of the first Mirror's Edge. It tells a similar story, but expands the free-running out to an open world. There are no guns either, which is great because the guns were bloody terrible. Colour me excited for this.
EA's grand finale was Star Wars: Battlefront, and what a finale it was, showing a huge multiplayer battle of Hoth from multiple angles. We saw desperate blaster skirmishes, stomping AT-AT assaults, daring X-Wing/TIE Fighter dogfights, and a concluding clash between Darth Vader and Luke. All of this appears to be playable in one form or another, and it looks (and more importantly sounds) absolutely fantastic.
With American comic actress Aisha Taylor commanding the stage, Ubisoft undoubtedly had one of the slickest presentations at E3. Not only that, it had the most consistently impressive roster of games on show.
The conference commenced with a big, sweary bang, as Matt Stone and Trey Parker stepped out to reveal a new South Park RPG, the Fractured But Whole. Continuing on from the Stick of Truth, But Whole will see the kids parodying superheroes rather than fantasy RPGs, focusing on your character's Origin Story. The folks at Obsidian aren't working on this one, though. Presumably they're too busy rubbing themselves down with sweet Pillars of Eternity money.