Next, Ubisoft revealed For Honor, a multiplayer swordfighting game that looks genuinely fascinating. I'm a bit of a swordfighting nut, and even in the short live demonstration I was impressed by the game's detailed representation of swordplay. That said, I still saw swords being used against opponents wearing plate armour, which is about as effective as opening a tin of beans with a spoon. But I guess you can't have everything!
After some minor expansion announcements, Ubisoft moved on to showing more of The Division, its open-world multiplayer military survival mouthful. Honesty, I'm slightly concerned that The Division's time has already passed. The mixture of survival, scavenging, banditry and betrayal that was popularised by DayZ has already begun to feel old hat, largely due to the endless survival parade clogging up Steam Early Access like mistakenly flushed baby-wipes. There's another nine months to release as well. Troubling.
Next, things got strategic with the reveal of Anno 2205, which will see players building a futuristic city and then navigating to the moon to build another futuristic city, with trading and migration going on between the two. Then Ubisoft gave an extended demonstration of one of my most anticipated games of this year: Rainbow Six: Siege. Turns out Siege will have a singleplayer and co-op component after all. These come in the form of TerroHunt, letting players square off against larger groups of AI terrorists, infiltrating buildings and taking them out one by one.
A nice surprise arrived in the form of a new Trackmania. It's basically more Trackmania, and that's good enough for me. Then came the inevitable showing of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, taking place in London this year. Despite having played enough Assassin's Creed to actually join a guild of assassins, I'm quite looking forward to this, with its Victorian brawling and carriage chases and cor blimey guvnor street gangs. Just...maybe dial down the "content" splurge and focus on making less
engaging to play.
Ubisoft drew the event to a close with a surprise reveal of a new and extensively rethought Ghost Recon. Wildlands is the subtitle, and it sees up to four players exploring a massive open-world based on a large chunk of South America, dismantling drug cartels using whatever approach they choose; be it stealth, trickery, or good old fashioned explosives. It's a massive change from previous entries in the series, but since Advanced Borefighter was horrendously dull, and Future Soldier proved a bit of a flop, maybe it's just what it needs.
This year, Sony's motto appeared to be "Give the people what they want (even if they won't get it for ages)". It immediately grabbed everyone's attention with a six-minute demonstration of the long-awaited The Last Guardian. The footage saw a small boy navigating a crumbling ruin with the aid of a giant bird/dog creature. Like Fumito Ueda's first game Ico, The Last Guardian appears to revolve around co-operating with a detailed AI character. The demo was fairly limited in scope, but it looks spiffing nonetheless.
Sony followed this with a more extensive demonstration of an entirely new game called Horizon: Zero Dawn. This casts the player as a female hunter in a post-apocalypse landscape (yes, another one), using stone-age tools to hunt giant robot dinosaurs. Because the only thing cooler than a dinosaur is a giant robot dinosaur. Despite having an utterly meaningless name, Horizon definitely has potential. The detailed combat system and protracted fights for taking down larger lizards look especially fun.
The games kept coming. Hitman, Street Fighter, No Man's Sky (more on that later). The excellent looking Firewatch got a short trailer, showing more of its narrative-focused wilderness mystery. Then Media Molecule revealed a truly bizarre title named Dreams. Here, players create and share their own eerie dreamscapes with thousands of other players. It's very strange and very cool.
Then came two massive announcements. The first was a full on remake of Final Fantasy VII. In a way, it's a little sad that remakes of twenty year-old games are considered announcement-worthy on an E3 stage. Then again, it is Final Fantasy VII, so fair enough.
Even bigger news arrived moments later with the reveal of Shenmue III, a game I don't think anybody truly believed would happen. Sony slightly spoiled the announcement with the news that it was crowdfunding it, asking for an amount that is nowhere near sufficient to actually finish the project. Instead they appear to be seeking a gesture of good faith, offsetting some of the "risk" of building a sequel to a fifteen-year old game that was the flagship title of a long-dead platform. Regardless, the Kickstarter has already rocketed past its initial goal, so I think it's safe to say that Shenmue III is happening. It's even getting a PC release alongside PS4, which I was particularly surprised by.