PTBN’s E3 2013 Report

E3-logo Welcome to Place to Be Nation’s official E3 2013 Report! We are going to first take a look at the big three (Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony) and what they announced during this years E3. Following that, we’ll cover big-time publishers Electronic Arts’ and Ubisoft’s press conferences. We will wrap up each segment with an overall grade on how the company did.

For those that don’t know, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as E3, takes place each year in June out in California. The event is the place to be for video game publishers and developers, as it gives them the chance to show off their work to the gaming masses. It’s basically a big preview show along similar to the Tokyo Game Show (or TGS) that takes place later in the year. Keep in mind we won’t detail everything announced, as that would take a few different articles to complete and, quite frankly, there’s not a lot of information out there at present about most of the newly announced games. We’re also going to go in the order in which the companies took the stage from June 10th to June 11th.

xboxoneconsole
The Xbox One console

Microsoft

Microsoft started their press conference by reassuring Xbox 360 owners that hundreds of new games are still set to be released for the system. The big name games still include Grand Theft Auto V, Battlefield 4, Batman: Arkham Origins and Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Xbox Live Gold members, starting today, will get two free retail games per month to download, until the launch of the Xbox One in November. Microsoft kicked off the promotion with Fable III, which is currently free to download. The next two games in the promotion will be Assassin’s Creed II and Halo 3. Each month, two new games will be available. You must be an Xbox Live Gold member to get them. No word was given if the promotion would continue past the launch of the Xbox One.

World of Tanks, the free to play PC title, it coming to the Xbox 360. The game has been retooled to work with an Xbox controller and will take advantage of the more then forty million Xbox Live Gold members. The game will be free, similar to Happy Wars which is currently available.

Finally, Microsoft announced a re-design of the Xbox 360. The new console has a look similar to the Xbox One, and is currently available in stores. Presently, many retail outlets do not have the console in stock, so it could take a week or so for the consoles to start flooding the market.

Moving onto the Xbox One, Microsoft announced a slew of new IPs for the system. First up, RYSE: Son of Rome, an action game set back during the Roman Empire days. The game looks to take a lead from Assassin’s Creed, as you fight your way through waves of enemies while commanding people to attack and fall back when needed.

Sunset Overdrive is a new IP from Insomniac for the Xbox One. The game has a very cartoon-ish look to it, but don’t let that fool you, the game is all about shooting zombies and other monsters in a giant open-world setting. The game is over the top with it’s kills and characters, which can be expected from an Insomniac game.

Project Spark was shown off, and it looks to be a more mature version of Minecraft, however with more action elements. The game allows you to alter the landscape and build villages while fighting off hordes of Imps and Ogres.

Forza 5 was announced, along with a partnership with McLaren to bring their cars into the game. The game looks beautiful, and since we’re getting a new console we naturally need a new racing game (racing game are synonymous with console launches). Racing games typical help sell consoles because they can show off the power of the console, and Forza 5 did just that.

Metal Gear Solid 5, which we knew about before E3, was detailed. The game is a mash-up of MGS and Grand Theft Auto, putting Snake in an open world setting but retaining the stealth aspect that made MGS such a popular franchise.

Dead Rising 3 was announced and shown off, and this one looks to be a must-buy. The game puts players into an open world with hordes of zombies to fight off. You’ll have to make weapons out of all sorts of items laying around the world, and you’ll also have the ability to jump in a car and mow zombies down as well.

Minecraft for the Xbox One was announced, but the game wasn’t shown off. Microsoft promises the game will have larger worlds and have a new multiplayer component.

Microsoft also announced Killer Instinct for the Xbox One and demo’d the game on stage. Jago and Saberwulf are back and the game is filled with crazy combos just like the original games. The first fighter will be free for Xbox One owners (Jago), with the rest of the fighters having to be purchased. There’s no word yet if this means the game with be a strictly digital game or if it’ll hit retail shelves.

The big game announcement from Microsoft this year was Halo. The game is being made by 343 Industries, who said two years ago that they were working on a new trilogy. If you remember, the first Halo game was actually titled Halo: Combat Evolved, so 343 Industries is getting away with calling this new one just Halo. There’s no word if the game will continue the story in Halo 4, but it’s still enough to get Halo fans excited.

Xbox One owners will also be able to live stream their games through Twitch. Users will also have access to Upload Studio, where they can edit, record commentary and share their work with everyone. Microsoft also made the announcement that Microsoft Points are also going away, with users being able to use real world currency. Along with this, Microsoft announced  Xbox Live Gold Sharing. As long as one person’s account on the Xbox One has Gold, then everyone can use the online features.

Last but not least, the Xbox One console itself. Microsoft announced it’s price at $499. The Xbox One will come with a 500GB hard drive, a new Kinect, one controller, and will launch in November 2013. No word was giving on a set date for the console, but early November sounds ideal for the launch. Those who do buy the console on day one get a special achievement for doing so, along with a graphic on their controller that reads “DAY ONE 2013”.

Overall: Good show. No mention of used game policies though, and that’s a pretty big deal. We got a release window, and a launch price, along with plenty of launch titles and future IP’s, so there’s plenty to be excited about. The future for 360 also looks bright. Grade: A

PS4
The PlayStation 4 console

Sony

The Walking Dead was announced as coming to the PlayStation Vita, and would include the new “400 Days” episode as content.

Killzone: Shadow Fall was announced as a PlayStation 4 launch title. The series has been a mainstay of the PlayStation brand, and will help launch the console in November.

Also announced was a special Grand Theft Auto V PlayStation 3 bundle. The bundle will retail for $299, which includes a PS3 console, a special GTAV branded headset, and a copy of Grand Theft Auto V.

Redbox Instant, Flixster and Live Events Viewer were announced as coming to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. This gives PlayStation owners more ways to watch their favorite shows and movies via their console.

Batman: Arkham Origins will be getting exclusive “Knightfall” content for the game along with a 1960’s Batman outfit for players to swing around Gotham in. The game will be available for both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

The Order: 1886 is a PS4 exclusive. The game was showcased in a brief debut trailer which was set in a Victorian yet futuristic-seeming London, complete with zeppelins, a monorail and an array of advanced-looking steam-punk weaponry. The Order: 1886 is being developed by God of War: Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta developer Ready at Dawn.

Sony revealed that a remake of Oddworld Inhabitants’ PSOne puzzler Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee will make its console debut on the PlayStation 4. Titled Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New ‘n’ Tasty, the remake was previously announced for PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and PS Vita. There’s no word on a release date for the game.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch, a game about an octopus posing as a human father is coming to PlayStation 4.  The game comes as part of a big indie push from Sony, which includes the ability for independent developers to self-publish on PlayStation 4. Octodad: Dadliest Catch will make its “exclusive console debut” on PS4, alongside several other independent games.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was announced as coming to consoles and will be exclusively available on the PS3 and PS4.  The PS3 version of the game will be available later in the summer.

Ray’s the Dead is announced. The self-billed spiritual successor to Stubbs the Zombie recently took to Kickstarter to fund a launch on PC, Mac, and Linux at the end of this year. The fundraiser was canceled in May thanks to the company getting “great” news. Getting a release by Sony was that good news.

Sony announced a new ‘partnership’ with Bethesda to bring The Elder Scrolls Online to PS4 in spring 2014. Sony also revealed the console will be the exclusive first to receive a beta of the Zenimax Online Studios MMO.

Also announced was Mad Max, based on the cult classic post-apocalyptic film series. The game is being developed by Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios. No release date for the game was given.

Kingdom Hearts 3 was finally announced, and will be coming to the PlayStation 4 (and Xbox One) sometime after the consoles launch.

Now onto the PlayStation 4. The console was given a price of $399, and has a design similar to the PlayStation 2 slim. The console will also be region free, according to Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida, which is just awesome news.

Jack Tretton confirmed that a PlayStation Plus membership would carry over and continue when the PlayStation 4 arrives. Tretton promised that users could pay one price for a PlayStation Plus membership on the PS4 and the PS Vita. A PS Plus membership will be required for multi-player on the PS4, but single-player content won’t require a Plus membership. A membership will also include free access to a beta version of Drive Club and other betas, and give players one free game per month.

Tretton was also quick to make the announcement that the PlayStation 4 will have no restrictions on used games and will not require an always-on internet connection for single-player games. This was of course great news until the next morning when he clarified that this announcement was for first party games only. Third party games may have DRM restrictions as that will be left up to the publisher’s discretion.

Overall: Great showing by Sony this year. They’ve learned from their high-priced mistake of PS3. They’re also giving gamers what they want: used games, offline games, and less of a launch price. New IPs looked good. The system itself could use a makeover, but Sony did a great job selling the PS4. Grade: A+

WiiU
Nintendo’s WiiU console

Nintendo

Nintendo hosted their own conference with some demos of games around various Best Buy stores for the E3 event. Basically, they’re done going to E3, but will still represent themselves through their Nintendo Direct Events.

Bayonetta 2 was announced officially for the WiiU. The game is promised to have new co-op and be over-the-top like the first game was. No release date for the game was given.

The 3DS is getting a new Yoshi game, titled Yoshi’s New Island. Not much was shown of the game, but what we did see shows a promising platform title. No release date was given.

3DS owners are in luck again, as The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was announced. Now we’ve known about the game for a bit now, but it didn’t have an official title until now. The game is a sequel to the SNES (Super Nintendo) classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. In this new title, Link will have new abilities like being able to go paper thin and sneak around dungeons and other places. No release date was given, but it’s likely going to be a holiday release.

Super Smash Bros. for WiiU and 3DS was announced officially. The company announced the game will launch in 2014. New characters not seen in the series before were The Villager from Animal Crossing and Mega Man has joined the crew. Previous combatants in the series also shown in this new video included Mario, Kirby, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus and Bowser.

Wii FitU, the next entry in the fitness franchise is being delayed. Originally slated for the first half of 2013, the game will now be released in December. As announced at last year’s E3, the game will incorporate a special pedometer called the Fit Meter.

Nintendo revealed a new side-scrolling WiiU game for Donkey Kong, which also sees the return of Dixie Kong. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will land on the WiiU this November.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD remake will hit the WiiU this October. Nintendo also detailed that it’s altering the original GameCube game’s Tingle Tuner functionality with the Game Boy Advance. In the 1080p WiiU remaster, this will be titled Tingle Bottle, and will be compatible with the Miiverse. The tingly feature will see Miiverse messages appear in bottles on the shores of players’ games.

Satoru Iwata revealed Mario Kart 8 for WiiU. This new entry in the series will launch in Spring 2014. Hopefully they’ll get rid of that stupid blue shell!

Pokemon X and Pokemon Y for the 3DS will be launching October 12th.  Naturally, there will be plenty of new Pokemon to catch and defeat.

Finally, Super Mario 3D World for the WiiU was announced. The roster is identical to the line-up of the 1988 NES classic Super Mario Bros. 2. The game will have a 3D World play like it’s 3DS cousin. The game also comes with a cat suit for Mario to use and the same multiplayer gameplay as the New Super Mario Bros. series.

Overall: Nintendo did not announce a price drop for the 3DS or WiiU console, but they did announce quite a few new games for both their 3DS and WiiU systems. The only downside is they played it safe with more first party titles and very few third party games. Wii owners know what it’s like not having third party support, and the WiiU seems to be headed towards that same problem. Overall: B+  

ealogo

Electronic Arts

All of the following games are expected to launch on the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and WiiU unless specified (card subject to change).

Mirror’s Edge 2 was finally announced by EA. The game has been rumored to be in development for over a year now. The trailer gave us the running and jumping goodness we’ve been missing since the first game was finished. The game places you back in the shoes of Faith, and will task you with running, jumping and beating up a whole bunch of guards. The game will launch “when it’s ready” per EA.

NBA Live is alive and well after so many delays. EA announced the game will be making it’s way to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Finally NBA 2K will have some competition. There’s no word when the game will launch however.

Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was shown off by EA. This is the sequel to the popular Plants Vs. Zombies game. No actual gameplay was shown and no release date was given.

Peggle 2 was announced. That’s it, no pictures, no videos and no release date.

Need for Speed Rivals was shown off, and as expected it’s more Need for Speed, with nothing really drastic changing from the formula. As I noted earlier, you typically see racing games launching on new consoles so I expect this to be there.

EA’s big announcement was Star Wars Battlefront. Fans rejoiced over the announcement, thinking the Battlefront series was done for.

Overall: Good show. They announced a lot we didn’t know about or see coming, which is great. It seems like EA is trying to turn their company image around, and all of these announcements may have done the job. Grade: A+

Ubisoft_Logo

Ubisoft

Ubisoft opened their press event by announcing Rocksmith 2014 is coming for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game looks to teach more people about playing guitar and have more current guitar players get in on the fun.

Splinter Cell Blacklist, the next game in the Splinter Cell franchise was featured. The game is slated to launch on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Multi-player will be a heavy focus on the game, and Sam Fisher will have plenty to do now that he’s leading the Fourth Echelon. No release date was given for the game.

We saw more footage of Rayman Legends, which has been ready to ship for the Nintendo WiiU for quite some time now. The game is currently on hold and being developed for the PS3 and Xbox 360. It will finally launch for everyone on September 3rd, 2013.

South Park: The Stick of Truth is coming Holiday 2013, but no actual game play was shown during the press event. It’s good to see the game is still on it’s way when you consider it’s original developer (THQ) went out of business.

Assassin’s Creed IV was detailed a little more. The game looks to continue in the AC footsteps of large set pieces and plenty of action. There’s something neat about the idea of commanding a ship and firing cannonballs at people.

The Crew for Xbox One was announced. The game takes the idea of Fast and Furious and mixes it with an open world environment. The game will task you with stealing cars and robbing armored trucks in real time, with your friends able to help or stop you along the way.

Trials Fusion for the Xbox One and PlayStation 3 was announced. It’s all the stuff you loved about Trials HD and Trials Evolution but now you’ll be able to do tricks on your bike while hitting massive jumps. This adds a score aspect to the game that already has an addicting “beat the time” gamplay element.

Overall: Not a whole lot announced we didn’t know about. Two new Trials games are awesome, and the new IPs Ubisoft announced looked good. I still question why they’re continuing with the music genre, which seemed all but dead.  Overall: B+

The E3 event as a whole was a great one, with Microsoft and Sony bringing their best to the event. Nintendo as usual shrugged off what Microsoft and Sony were doing, leaving the console wars to the big dogs.

Microsoft needs to clear up their used game polices and make a concrete announcement on the issue. We’ve heard conflicting stories from Microsoft people: one says you can play used games with a code and for a price, and another says it’s up to the developers themselves. Right now, it’s a mystery, but at least Microsoft brought it this year with plenty of games and Xbox 360 support.

Nintendo needs to get some third party support going for the WiiU. They started off great at launch last year with plenty of titles, but they’ve since tapered off. Unless Nintendo wants to alienate more hardcore gamers, they need to get something going there.

Sony took their shots at Microsoft about sharing games and being able to play used games, but then backtracked a little bit when they announced that only applies for first party games. The console prices sure shocked the gaming audience, with Sony coming in less than Microsoft (which is great) and they did show off some good titles. They took a big step towards winning the next generation console race given the momentum they have coming out of E3.

The Tokyo Game Show is next for all three companies, and it’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft shoots back and changes their used game polices and/or lowers their console price. Some are speculating both will happen before then, but time will tell.

When it comes to this years E3, Sony was the winner in terms of console price and used games issues, but Microsoft had a lot more going on in the games division. It’s very hard to determine a winner between the two, but ultimately gamers are the ones that won this event.

Author: Jeremy Nichols

Jeremy Nichols is regular writer for the Place to be Nation, a father of two and a full time gamer. He hosts a video game podcast at VGCE.podomatic.com and loves Super Mario Bros. Sweep the leg! Send Jeremy an email