Your McMurray Tech Talk
E3 2014: Back to Basics
Last year I had the opportunity to experience the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) live in-person from Los Angeles in all its video game-y glory! If you didn’t get a chance to read my little review then, it is one of those conferences where, as amazing as it is, there is just too much going on at once. It’s hard for a person to follow all the happenings from the convention floor, especially if you’re from Canada and trying to rely on a roaming signal from your cell phone.
Don’t get me wrong, if you have the chance to go to E3 you definitely need to take it. While being there live gives you the chance to actually get your hands on some of the games in development, there’s also something to be said about following E3 from the comfort of your own home. You are able to watch the live-streams of all the news conferences and be kept up to speed on all the developments as they are happening; a lot quicker than the husky fellow wondering the show floor trying desperately to tweet!
Over the last year, a new group in Wood Buffalo was created called the Fort McMurray Gamers Association (FMGA), a gathering of like-minded individuals who enjoy playing games from video variety to role-playing and the classic board versions. For E3 2014, the FMGA basically watch the E3 news together online. It was incredible to experiencing the news together with fans that were just as exciting, or shocked, as you were. If you want to get involved with the FMGA, visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YMMGamers. So let’s get down to what happened at this year’s E3 if you lived under a rock these past few months.
After a year of playing catch-up, XBOX began their E3 2014 session by saying they will be talking about nothing other than video games. No In-Home Entertainment, No XBOX TV or XBOX Video, just straight video games. This is a complete 180 from last year when the XBOX ONE was announced and marketed as an All-In-One Home Entertainment System which is what attracted me to it. Either way, we got a sneak peek into what’s on the horizon for gamers including HALO The Master Chief Collection. XBOX ONE users will be able to purchase this set that will include Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4 all on one disc (which basically is a key to what has to be a huge download so clear some space now). The Master Chief Collection will also include all multiplayer maps that came with all four games so start getting your slaps and shields from Halo 3 multiplayer ready. Speaking of Halo 2, it’s been 10 years since its release and this fan favourite is getting the Anniversary Edition treatment from Microsoft. It will feature a fully re-mastered campaign and “Classic Mode” to instantly switch between the re-mastered game and the original. Amongst a plethora of other games, XBOX also announced an exclusive game titled SUNSET OVERDRIVE. Set in the not-too-distant future, you control a fully customizable character who is able to wall-jump, zip-line and carry some massively fun weapons while fighting the “OD’d”; humans who have turned into monsters after consuming energy drinks. It looks fun!
From my perspective, Sony was a little quiet this year after taking E3 by storm in 2013. They opened their 2014 Press Conference with probably the most anticipated game, DESTINY. While this game looks incredible and is already set to be a tremendous success, we’ve been hearing about it for several years already and well basically we just want to play it already. Showing a new trailer and then announcing a special white PS4 is going to be available for its release wasn’t really doing anything for me. They did announce that PS4 users will get a special Destiny Alpha multiplayer released right after E3, but since I’m an XBOX user I’ll have to wait until the multiplayer Beta available at the end of July. LITTLE BIG PLANET for PS4 was also showcased which had my 6-year-old son very jumping up and down; looks like another major purchase for this family is on the horizon. The DEAD ISLAND 2 trailer was revealed and this one wins for best presentation at E3 in my view. “The Bomb” by Pigeon John starts off the fantastic looking graphics of a man running down what looks to be Santa Monica. What happens behind him while he has his headphones on sets the stage for a sure-bet success sequel to 2011’s Dead Island, who also had a really cool marketing campaign.
With Sony and Microsoft laying down their cards, there was one press conference left from “the big 3”. Nintendo has been struggling these past few years. The Wii U hasn’t been selling well and the Nintendo 3DS wasn’t the massive hit they were hoping for. With the release of the much anticipated MarioKart 8 at the end of May, Nintendo had a jump-start leading into E3 as sales of the Wii U were on the rise based solely on this game. Nintendo’s E3 Direct started off with a showcase of SUPER SMASH BROS for the Wii U. This popular button-smash game is set to be released for both the Wii U and the 3DS later this year and now includes the addition of “Amiibo” figures. You will be able to purchase an Amiibo figure of your favourite Nintendo character and be able to use the figure in-game via the NFC (Near Field Communication) ports and adapters. Nintendo also reveal a teaser for a THE LEGEND OF ZELDA WII U game fueling all kinds of rumours. Nintendo confirms that this particular Zelda universe will be open world but we didn’t get very many details. As a huge Zelda fan, I’ll be watching this one particularly close. Speaking of Zelda, HYRULE WARRIORS was on display for a release later this year. This game mixes the hack-and-slash gameplay of Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors series of video games with the settings and characters from Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda series.
While I’ve only touched on the games that interested me the most, there was plenty to get excited over for the video game fan in your family. UNCHARTED 4, a new FAR CRY game and MARIO MAKER; a game where you make Mario levels, was explained in-depth and there is plenty of footage online you can witness the exact reason why video games is a billion-dollar industry. At every E3, there always seems to be a “winner” and this year I will have to give the figuratively-speaking award to Nintendo. They had quite a few lackluster years resulting in dismal financial reports, but with some incredibly looking games coming up on the horizon; not to mention the use of the very-adult “Robot Chicken” during their Press Conference; it appears Nintendo is poised to make a comeback! Be sure to grab a Wii U and a 3DS soon, both of these systems together still don’t equal the cost of a PS4 or XBOX One.