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E3 2013 Press Conference Wrap-up

E3 is the biggest gaming event of the year, and it’s near impossible to find out everything that’s going on in the few days the expo lasts. If you didn’t have time to watch every announcement flowing from E3 last week, here’s your chance to catch back up with everything your friends already know. Here are the highlights:

Microsoft

Microsoft started relatively well, presenting multiple exclusives for the Xbox One, and showing us what to expect in the upcoming generation from their side of the fence.

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Dead Rising 3 was announced as an exclusive for Xbox One, and looked a little drearier than I would have liked for a sequel to such a silly franchise. Everything was dark, and the humor didn’t find it’s way into the demo that was shown onstage. The game still looks nice, and there are tons of zombies roaming the streets, waiting to be destroyed with the customizable weapons.

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The teased announcement from the Rare catalog ended up being a new Killer Instinct for the Xbox One. Was anybody really looking forward to this? With Rare’s catalog of creative titles, I was hoping to see a new Viva Pinata or Banjo-Kazooie. Better yet, why not something brand new for a new generation? In lieu of a new IP, I’ll dream of Viva Pinata 3 until it sees the light of day. The reboot of Killer Instinct isn’t even being headed by Rare, so hopefully they’re off crafting something special.

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Quantum Break made a gameplay debut on stage, and is looking positively excellent. Remedy, the developer behind Max Payne and Alan Wake has always been able to tell a good story, and this doesn’t seem like an exception. Side note – Remedy really enjoys slow motion, don’t they?

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Capy Games showed off Below, which was a highlight of Microsoft’s conference. After Swords and Sworcery, I’ll eat up anything they’ll give me. Along with a beautifully minimalistic art style, it’s being described as a rogue-like with atmospheric adventure. Jim Guthrie is also back for the soundtrack. I’ll take two.

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Swery 65’s newly announced title D4 got a small amount of screen time, but still was one of the more interesting things in the show. It’s an episodic drama from the developer of Deadly Premonition, so it’s guaranteed to be really, really, weird. It’s another one of the several exclusive Xbox One titles shown off.

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Respawn Entertainment, the newly formed developer who split Activision after making Modern Warfare 2, showed off their Xbox One exclusive Titanfall. It’s a first person shooter (really, what else would it be?) that involved a little bit of everything. Giant mechs? Yeah. Small bits of parkour? We got some of that. Jetpacks? Why not? There’s also some shooting, if you hadn’t guessed. It actually looks pretty interesting, and seems to be doing more to mix up the FPS formula than most, so I’m excited to eventually get my hands on it and see if it’s more than a beefed up Call of Duty.

The show ended with the announcement of a November release date and a $499 price for the console (which comes with the new Kinect).

EA

EA’s conference followed, showing off a few more unannounced titles.

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The show began with Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. It’s a co-op first person shooter based in the PvZ universe, and everyone runs around as plants killing zombies. I’m not sure why it exists, but it does. After this was shown, a man walked onto the stage and screamed “PEGGLE 2” and ran away. So Peggle 2 was announced.

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Star Wars: Battlefront was teased, a long-awaited reboot of the franchise.

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The show ended with the surprise reveal of Mirror’s Edge 2. It looks like Mirror’s Edge, and that’s a good thing. It’s one of EA’s most requested sequels, and I’m glad they’re finally giving it a chance. The trailer ended with a release date of “when it’s ready”, so expect it on the Xbox One and PS4 sometime in the future.

Ubisoft

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Ubisoft’s conference included a couple surprises, the first of which was Trials Fusion, a new Trials game for Xbox One and PS4.

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The show ended with a pretty huge surprise, the first announcement of The Division, a next-gen third person tactical shooter that seems to be doing some pretty interesting things.

Sony

Sony took the floor at the end of the night, ending with what was probably the best conference I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing at E3. Let’s start with the beginning.

After a bit of a rough start and a little over a half-hour into the show, Sony finally starts talking about the purpose of the show – the PS4.

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First off, they showed the box. It looks a lot like an Xbox One.

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The Order 1886, is a sci-fi tale set in the past, looks really neat, and will be exclusive to the PS4.

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SuperGiant games’ Transistor was shown, and was excellent as always. After making Bastion, that team can show off whatever they want. It will be bought. Transistor will be a timed exclusive on the PS4, following the trend of Sony getting indies to release on the PS4 first.

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Square Enix brought some of the heaviest hitters of E3, finally showing off Final Fantasy Versus 13, which actually turned out to be Final Fantasy 15, coming to PS4 and Xbox One. And it’s an action game with no sign of JRPG. Yes it was really weird, but that’s still not the craziest part.

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After that, another trailer came up with a Disney logo. Kingdom Hearts 3. Total surprise, and after asking about the game for years, fans were finally satiated. Who knows how far off it is, but plenty of folks are just appeased with Square acknowledging the game’s existence. KH3 is coming to PS4 and Xbox One.

They also announced that Final Fantasy 14 (yes, the MMO one) is coming exclusively to the PS4. Not a single person cared. Not one.

Everything pales in comparison to what happened next.

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Jack Tretton takes the stage, seemingly about to end the show. He proceeds to announce that, unlike the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 will support used games. The crowd loses their minds. He continues, says that the console will never check to see if you’re online, and you can trade games with whoever you want, anytime, be offline, whatever. Babies had to have been conceived as the crowd went into an uproar, chanting “Sony, Sony, Sony.” This was released before the show even ended.

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Does Sony deserve as much praise for doing literally nothing different than what they’ve been doing for years? Maybe, maybe not. Microsoft was changing the status quo, and Sony could have easily followed suite. They didn’t. That’s great for everyone, and Microsoft’s console is going to be a tough sell when compared to how laid back the PS4 policies are.

While attendees were planning their post-show Sony themed orgies, a small slide appeared onscreen that hinted that PS Plus would be required to play games online with the PS4. Since then, that’s been confirmed, but Sony garnered enough positivity in those previous moments to sneak that detail in with little backlash.

To add insult to injury, Sony also announced that the PlayStation 4 would launch at $399, a full $100 less than the price of an Xbox One. Twitter erupted with “That’s the ballgame” and “Goodnight sweet Xbox” and other quips referring to what was deemed by some as a “finishing blow” to Microsoft. Microsoft has yet to respond with any changes in plan for the Xbox One, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that price fall, or the console requirements to become significantly more relaxed in the next few months. In the meantime, Microsoft has not been doing much to ease people’s minds about the future of the Xbox One. No matter what happens, consumers are going to buy both consoles.

Nintendo

The next morning, instead of holding a press conference, Nintendo held another of their online Nintendo Directs and discussed some new announcements for E3.

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A new Fairy type was announced for Pokemon X and Y, along with the ability to pet and feed your creatures.

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Super Mario 3D World was announced as a Wii U exclusive, bringing 4-player co-op to a brand new 3D Mario. The game brings the character selection from Super Mario Bros. 2 (Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad) along with the characters respective abilities from the 2D classic. A new cat costume was also shown off, allowing you to run around, pounce on enemies, climb walls, and generally be a cute kitty forever, starting this December.

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Mario Kart 8 was also shown off, now with anti-gravity segments where you can ride along walls and ceilings, along with everything else from other Mario Karts.

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The new 1080p The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD was shown off, and it’s not going to be a simple remake of an old title. New improvements are being made to the game, such as the ability to increase the speed of sailing while in the ocean. I’m incredibly excited to see what changes are in store for my favorite game, and really anticipating seeing what Nintendo decides to change/improve/ruin.

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A new Wii U title from Retro was announced, and it wasn’t a new game, a wild variation of Zelda, or anything else that Retro should probably be experimenting with. It was, of course, Donkey Kong Country Topical Freeze! I’m a fan of the first game, but Retro is one of the most talented game studios out there. I don’t want them tied to a franchise and playing it safe. But I guess I’ll take what I can get.

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Bayonetta 2 was shown. It was just a trailer for a game I already knew about, but it’s Bayonetta 2. Bayonetta 2 is a good thing.

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The Xenoblade Chronicles dev, Monolith, is working on a new Wii U game known only as X. It’s got plenty of mechs, flying, and is coming sometime in 2014.

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Finally, Nintendo closed down the show by showing the new Smash Bros. games. These are two separate games, one for Wii U and one for 3DS. So far, three new characters have been announced. Villager from Animal Crossing, Mega Man, and the Wii Fit Trainer. All three of these are fantastic choices, and any other opinion is invalid. Also Bowser stands upright now for some reason.

Bear in mind that all of these events happened in around 24 hours. That’s a lot of stuff hitting at once, but it’s pretty much the coolest overload to have. So much game news, and that was only the first day and half of E3. There’s plenty of more news afoot, and you’ll be able to find the best of it right here on HippoChippies. Thanks! Let’s do all this again next year.

– Zach

Image Sources: rocketchainsaw.com.au edge-online.com gamespot.com pressedgames.com nerdreactor.com pcgamer.com capsulecomputers.com.au theverge.com pokedit.com worldsfactory.net vg247.com

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