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June 16, 2015

Everyone has their dream E3 lineup. For many, this list consisted of a variation of The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII and Shenmue 3. These were the most farfetched of E3 announcements; they were pipe dreams at best. It’d crazy enough to see even one of these games appear at E3. But what if all three were announced? What if they were all announced in a single conference?

Where do we start? Well I suppose we should begin with The Last Guardian. This game was first announced at E3 2009 and has essentially been unspoken of except by the most ardent Team Ico…that is until today’s extended trailer. It’s still the same puzzle-platformer we saw all those years ago, we are still playing as a little boy as he and a giant cat-creature make their way through ancient ruins. Since then, there has been a lot of detail added to the visual treatment, particularly that of the creature, whose feathers now look near-seamless. The Last Guardian is (finally) coming to PS4 in 2016.

It’s a tough act to follow one of gaming’s white whales, but Guerrilla Games somehow managed it with Horizon: Zero Dawn. Set long after the end of the world when nature has overrun the former husks of civilisation, the Horizon demo followed the main character Aloy as she used her bow and spear to spot and hunt robot dinosaurs, culminating in a combat sequence against a robot t-rex. Not much more was revealed, but I hope there’s more to this than simply surviving in this intriguing universe.

Maintaining airs of mystery was Media Molecule’s new title Dreams. Taking inspiration from lucid dreams, the game uses the Dualshock 4′s motion controls to allow you to sketch, create and puppet whatever you fancy. These works can then be shared and jumped into by the community. What happens from there is completely ambiguous. The watercolour art style looks sublime, but we will have to wait to see what we will actually be doing in this game.

Similarly, we aren’t any clearer on what we’ll be doing in No Man’s Sky, despite another gameplay demo from developer Hello Games. The demo emphasised the game’s pillars of “trading, fighting, exploration, survival,” and I can see the potential for a laid-back afternoon of just exploring the game’s near-infinite procedurally generated planets. I, like many others, still want to know what else we can do in this universal sandbox.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an E3 presentation without a wall of trailers, and we got more than a handful this year. We had trailers for Street Fighter V (which confirmed Birdie and Cammy as combatants), Hitman (no subtitle, just “Hitman”), Firewatch (the gorgeous narrative-driven game from Campo Santo), the Taken King expansion for Destiny (hopefully it will come with more than three missions), and World of Final Fantasy (a chibi take 0n the FF franchise).

And then we got the Final Fantasy VII remake everyone was hoping to see. It was implied that the remake will come first to Playstation 4 before being released on other platforms.

…What?

The tentpoles that previous Sony press conferences build themselves on were noticeably absent this year. Previously, Sony championed the indie scene, this year we only got the few indie titles mentioned above and a montage from publisher Devolver Digital featuring Ronin, Eitr, Mother Russia Bleeds and Crossing Souls. Also absent was an Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate gameplay demo; that section was relegated to a trailer showing off Evie Frye, one of the game’s playable characters. If you want to read too deeply into this, this absence of gameplay from both Sony and Ubisoft could be an indicator of the cultural impact that brand has today compared to its glory years of Assassin’s Creed II.

In its place, however, was Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Activision has jumped ship, and now Playstation will have the timed multiplayer map pack exclusives. As for the game itself, it seems to have taken more than a few momentum cues from Advanced Warfare and Titanfall, with its plethora of jumpacks and wallrunning. The gameplay demo also featured four players battling against a giant robot, perhaps indicating a Monster Hunter-esque co-op mode.

We also had more details about Star Wars Battlefrontm, Batman: Arkham Knight and Project Morpheus, but these were deeply overshadowed by the unveiling of the Kickstarter campaign for the open world action RPG Shenmue 3 — thus completing the trilogy of Shenmue and E3 announcements nobody expected to ever witness. Shenmue 3 is currently slated to be released on Playstation 4 and PC. This is contingent on the campaign reaching its $2 million target. “The fate of Shenmue is in your hands now,” said game director Yu Suzuki. When I started writing this, the campaign had already reached $750,000; when I published this it eclipsed $1.1 million. Odds are by the time you’re reading this it would have already met its goal.

Closing out this ludicrously announcement-heavy conference was Uncharted 4. After some technical hiccups, the demo showed off a driving sequence that seemed to take place in an expansive city environment. Nathan Drake was driving though alleyways, on rooftops, through farms — and this all appeared to be at the player’s freedom. It was an impressive set piece for a game already known for its elaborate sequences.

We all joke about the hype train, but this press conference was probably the first time everybody was well and truly on board. Even the most jaded of cynics was left laughing at their Twitter feed, wondering what sweet madness was unfolding before them. Sony’s press conference will go down in the ages as one of the few times everyone’s dream E3 list was crossed off, when the internet’s insatiable desire for hype was well and truly fulfilled.

October 9, 2019

While 2019 has been a quiet year for Sony, 2020 is set to be enormous, with the company announcing the first major details of its upcoming next-generation console: Playstation 5, which will be releasing sometime next year. While the bulk of the announcement was announced via Wired (which also had the initial details of Sony’s next-gen efforts), Sony’s Playstation Blog also shares a few additional details, mostly regarding the still unnamed controller, which may or may not be called the DualShock 5. The first detail is that rumble is gone from the controller, which will be replaced...

October 2, 2019

It’s been an exciting time in the world of mobile gaming. Apple Arcade launched with an exciting and fascinating slate of games. Google announced its Play Store subscription service, which kicked off a fascinating discourse about its unfavorable payment models. And at the lower end of the totem pole, Nintendo and its partner DeNA released Mario Kart Tour, continuing their race to the bottom as a mobile games publisher. While it’s perfectly understandable that Nintendo / DeNA didn’t try to make it a “traditional” Mario Kart experience on the go, what’s not u...

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September 26, 2019

The National Film & Sound Archive has announced they will be adding Australian video games into its archive for preseveration purposes. The announcement comes as the Game Masters exhibition, originally created by the Australian Center for the Moving Image in 2012, returns to Australia for a six month tour at The National Film & Sound Archive in Canberra. The NFSA have announced that eight games will make up the initial additions to its archive, spanning over 30 years of Australian game development. The NFSA will also attempte to preserve any additional and available archival materials, such a...

September 19, 2019

Have you heard the good word about Final Fantasy XIV? It’s a game with an incredible story, and not just the one you get whilst playing. After its disastrous release in 2010, the game saw a massive undertaking by Square-Enix to reboot the game, and managed to successfully do so. After a series of expansions, the most recent of which is currently regarded as one of the best games of 2019, Final Fantasy XIV is a game I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone not just looking for a great MMO, but also a genuinely great Final Fantasy game. It just takes a while to get there. While I’ve been dab...

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I love exploring Japan. It’s a country that’s absolutely perfect for tourism – the people are friendly, food and drink is affordable, public transport is amazing and so much more. But it’s also an amazing country if you like video games, not just because it’s the spiritual home of the medium, but because it’s one of the few places in the world where arcades (or Game Centres) are still common place. There’s always been something about arcade games that fascinates me. Not just in terms of designing a game that is meant to eat your money, but because you’re designing around hardw...

September 5, 2019

It’s been nearly three months since the last time Nintendo picked up and subsequently dropped the mic with its E3 Direct, perfect timing to do it again! Nintendo’s direct for September 2019 just finished airing, and quite a lot was announced. Overwatch Coming To Switch Perennial salt simulator Overwatch, after many a leak, is coming to the Nintendo Switch on October 15th. If you’ve ever wanted to play Overwatch on the go, your dreams have finally come true. ARE YOU OKAY? Terry Bogard comes to Super Smash Bros Ultimate The next challenger has been described in the past as a F...

September 5, 2019

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August 29, 2019

It’s been a long time since Sega announced the future of the Yakuza series and how it’ll be lead by a brand new protagonist. After a few well received spinoffs and remakes, Sega are finally read to return to the world of Yakuza proper with the announcement of Yakuza 7: The Whereabouts of Light & Darkness, formerly known as Shin Yakuza. The game, releasing in 2020 on PS4 (first in Japan in January, later in the West) stars Ichiban Kasuga, and won’t be taking place in Kamuorocho, the virtual recreation of Tokyo’s Kabukicho district. Instead, it’ll be set in a ficti...

August 29, 2019

It’s been an especially weird and bizarre time to be a fan of Disney. They own several of the biggest IPs in the media world, recently adding the 20th Century Fox lineup to their list. They’re gunning for streaming dominance with the impending release of Disney+, and will end 2019 with more than half of the 10 highest grossing movies in the world. Yet despite this dominance, one area they’ve never really been dominant in is games. It’s something I’ve been thinking about since the announcement of a compilation of Disney’s Aladdin & The Lion King games hittin...

August 22, 2019

I can’t think of a game in recent memory that’s genuinely surprised me quite like Fire Emblem: Three Houses. It’s gone from a game that was the furthest thing from my radar when it was announced, to being a real contender for my personal game of the year. It’s also a game that I may need to apologize for a bit, because after years of dunking on Fire Emblem and its horny AF fandom, I think I may have finally come around to see what makes this series somewhat special. I should be clear; this is not my first Fire Emblem. I got into it when Nintendo started releasing the GBA titles in the...

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