The Five E3 Games I'm Most Excited About

E3 is almost done and dusted, and it’s been a humdinger. As the show comes to a close I thought it might be a good time to reflect on some of my favourite games unveiled at the show.

Would love to hear your thoughts. What were your favourite games of E3 2015? Here are some of mine.

The Last Guardian

Until E3 2015, The Last Guardian was a running joke on par with Duke Nukem Forever. Rumours the game would be shown got people talking again but my position was this: no. fucking. chance. This game is dead in the water. More chance of a Loch Ness Monster sighting in Parramatta Lake than The Last Guardian making an appearance at E3.

"When it doesn’t turn up again: that’ll be funny". I said that to a few people. But you know what turned out to be even more hilarious? The fact that it actually did show up. The pure absurdity of it. The strangeness of the moment. Sony opened with it. They opened the show with The Last Guardian. A knockout blow. The reality: the battle for E3 lasted about as long as a Ronda Rousey fight. It was over then and there.

I couldn’t believe it. I could barely believe it when the demo was done and dusted. Now that the news has finally sunk in I have other questions. Mainly this: will The Last Guardian be good? It’s difficult for me to retain any real kind of critical distance with what we’ve seen so far, but I’m optimistic.

This is what gives me hope: part of the reason why The Last Guardian struggled in development was its scope and ambition. The technology on the PS3 wasn’t really up to scratch. Maybe now is the right time for this game. I can’t wait.

No Man’s Sky

I heard a friend say this, but it echoes my thoughts.

The more people complain about how they don’t what No Man’s Sky is, or openly complain there will be nothing to do – the more excited I get about this game.

Is No Man's Sky nothing more than an ambitious space exploration game with a handful of underdeveloped mechanics? I kinda hope so. I hope No Man’s Sky is as aimless as Proteus. If I start playing this game and I’m told I have to save the Galaxy or some shit? I’m going to be very disappointed.

The allure of No Man’s Sky is its scope, and how insignificant it makes you feel. The allure for me will be the exploration. Hours spent trawling through space for that moment when you find something truly magical. The randomness of it: this will provide a real authenticity to No Man’s Sky. Can’t wait to see more.

Unravel

EA’s E3 presentation is always a grind. We have to sit through the sports presentations, which are lame, even if the games themselves are not.

But this year Unravel cut through all the shit with a presentation so sincere it dropkicked my cynicism directly into the sun, where it was smelted down into schmaltz. The game’s Creative Director: his hands were shaking as he showed us the handcrafted doll he made whilst designing Unravel – a game featuring a main character made of yarn. The yarn represents love and the connections we make, he said to a worldwide, collective “awww…”

Unravel itself seems like a Limbo style puzzle platformer with an enormous beating heart. It looks absolutely gorgeous. I think, more than anything, Unravel is a video game that reminds us that real people make these games. They are special to that person. Sometimes video games can be these delicate creations and we should handle them with the utmost care.

Tacoma

Tacoma had a short showing at Microsoft’s E3 conference, but in that minute it felt clear this was the work of a small group of developers stretching their creative legs.

Fullbright’s last (and first) game was Gone Home – a critically acclaimed exploration game that dialed in on the nostalgic re-experiencing of small things. Things most of us could relate to: home life, family history, small town teenage drama.

Tacoma looks like it may have a similar structure. It will also be an exploration game of sorts. But it’s set in a science fiction universe that – even in that short demo – felt well-designed and well developed. The key to all the best created universes is the sense of depth that we don’t see, but feel. I think (and I hope) that Fullbright will get that right with Tacoma.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

AKA – the dinosaur robot game.

When I say that Horizon looks like it came from the mind of a ritolin-riddled 8-year-old boy – for the first and probably last time ever - I actually mean that as a compliment.

I can’t wait to see precisely how Guerrilla Games tries to justify high-tech robot dinosaurs in a post apocalyptic world with a tribal aesthetic in its fiction; but another equally sizeable part of me doesn’t even really give a fuck. That part of me is happy to just roll with it.

Because let’s be honest here: it looked fantastic, didn’t it? Visually it looked utterly gorgeous. Horizon followed The Last Guardian in Sony’s E3 press conference, and that made perfect sense because – realistically – what other video game could have followed The Last Guardian? The fact that Horizon managed to follow The Last Guardian and still stand out, still make a massive splash. That’s testament to the enthusiasm surrounding this game.

I feel like Guerrilla Games has a lot to prove with this one. It’s a studio well known for creating gorgeous games that deliver visually, but disappoint in other areas. I thoroughly enjoyed the Killzone series, so I feel a little different about that, but I’m hoping that Horizon is the true coming out party for a truly talented, world class studio.

So far so good.


Honourable mentions: Star Wars: Battlefront, Cuphead, Ashen.


Comments

    I actually hope Horizon DOESNT justify its use of dinosaur robots. If they've gone back to the stoneage in the future (theoretically speaking), I hope they know little to nothing about the past! I hate it when games and movies feel the need to over explain stuff.

      I'd like them to find clues about it throughout the game but not in line with the main story, as information that you need to seek out and discover yourself.

      I like to find out what made things and who did what but i don't want it forced upon me via story line.

        That I'm ok with. Piecing together history slowly as a side thing, with vague clues is fine in my books.

      Well I'm pretty sure the endgame will be to find out the source of the robo dinos, or else there isn't much story to go on. Most probably keep fighting robo dinosaurs to the point she met a robot that can speak to her with memory loss or circuit error or someshit like that. Start journey with the robot to fix it, go into the heart of robot's base, found out about the past etc etc.

    I'm most excited about the rumoured Morpheus integration into No Man's Sky. I think even if it's little more than a sightseeing trip through an endless stream of alien environments in VR I'll still think it's great.

      I've been tossing up about getting either the Valve Vive or Oculus Rift.

      If Sony adds Morpheus support to No Man's Sky ... damn it, that just makes things worse! Perhaps I should resign myself to just buying all three. Along with a new PC. I'm feeling the pain already. It'll be worth it.

        Seems likely that the PC version will support VR as well. But I understand - I want Morpheus and Vive too. Also will need a new PC.
        Goddamn VR and it's enticing potential!

    1) Fallout 4
    2)

    There were other games?

      Fallout 4 appealed to us lesser gamers.
      The titles listed herein appeal to a more refined palate.

    My fav 5 is:
    1) Eitr, the look, themes and gameplay are everything that appeals to me.
    2) Horizon: Zero Dawn because it looks like a cross of Monster Hunter and Freedom Wars which is a big old tick in my books.
    3) Nier. After playing Drakengard 3 I'm absolutely keen for more games set in the universe.
    4) SMT x FE. It just looks like so much fun.
    5) Final Fantasy VII remake. FFVII is one of those personally defining games for me so the chance to see it again form a different perspective makes me both extremely nervous and unbearably excited.

    I am super pumped for No Mans Sky, even more so that it's launching the same time for PC as PS4.

    Here comes the downvotes, for me personally... i wasn't that impressed with The Last Guardian, there i said it.

      Well if you have not been waiting for it or like/played Ico and Shadow of Colossus, it is perfectly understandable that you were not impressed.

    Add to those already mentioned: South Park, gimme gimme

    Definitely Horizon: Zero Dawn, Fallout 4 is looking really cool, I'm pumped to actually be able to play The Last Guardian, Uncharted 4 goes without saying, and Firewatch looks interesting too, though I'm not too sure what the game is going to be about.

      (Hey @DC we got a live one!) Firewatch is a mystery story and it's going to be so good!

        Our Firewatch cult demands more true believers!

          Yep, really like the look of Firewatch as well as No Man's Sky. I definitely need a break from shooting stuff in the face.

        I got a little bit of an Alan Wake feeling from it when I watched an IGN video last night, especially his enthusiasm when he found the flashlight...

    Just Cause 3! Great article on the AV Club with the producers of this one, they seem like really decent guys.

    Not sure I get the hype for Last Guardian. Looks like rubbish, and unless they've evolved what the game will be since it's first showing, it could feel archaic when it finally does drop.

      Came here to say this...

      It just... doesn't look fun? Not only that but the video embedded above doesn't look interesting either.

      What they showed didn't really capture the heart of a Team ICO game. It did show hints of it, though. The game will likely be about the budding relationship and dependence between you and your cat-eagle pal, as you wander and explore the decrepit ruins you're stuck in. It's the friendship that is borne from shared struggles that will be at the heart of the game.

      Team ICO games tend to strike a deep, sonorous, emotive chord within the player, and they do it well. That's where the hype for the game is coming from. It's something that can't be shown. You have to experience it. So, you have to have some faith in the developers. Based on their past games, though, I've got great hope that this one will live up to my expectations.

        Fair enough. I don't think I'll quite get on the hype train, but i'll wait and see.

      I feel the same way about Unravel. It seems to be the press' darling, but all I saw from the trailer was a pretty rudimentary platformer with nice graphics and a relatively disarming protagonist. Am I missing something?

        Unravel hasn't been farmed for search engine hits.

        Writing about it now is guaranteed clicks.

    1) South Park
    2) Fallout 4
    3) The Last Guardian
    4) No Man's Sky
    5) BO3 (love me some zombies)

    1. Rise of the Tomb Raider
    2. Kingdom Hearts 3
    3. Final Fantasy 7 Remake
    4. Mirrors Edge Catalyst
    5. Uncharted 4 A Thief's End

    i think i have mooooore then 5, but the first 2 are the ones im dying for! grew up playing TR and KH

    The allure for me will be the exploration. Hours spent trawling through space for that moment when you find something truly magical. The randomness of it: this will provide a real authenticity to No Man’s Sky

    This will be one occasion when the PS4's Share button really comes into its own - the sheer size of the game means it's unlikely that many players will see the same planets as other players. Being able to easily share videos / screenshots will let people see areas of the game's universe they otherwise never would have seen in their own game. Although it remains to be seen just how different the various worlds are from each other... if you're seeing the same grass / trees / rocks etc just arranged slightly differently, it could all get a bit samey. It'd be a shame if the only differences between most planets are the names.

    Also, like Mark, I'm a big fan of the Killzone series, but thought Shadow Fall indicates it's really starting to drop away. It looks nice, but just doesn't have any of that great heavy, chunky feel that used to make the series stand out from the rest of the COD wannabes. So it's great to see Guerilla turning their attention to a completely new IP. I'd really like to see Santa Monica do the same instead of just churning out another God of War.

    Star Wars Battlefront - Admiral Ackbar is giving you instructions as you go around killing stormtroopers - how is that not Awesome!

    Hitman - loved absolution and want more of it to find out its this year is awesome!

    Dark Souls III - I guess we have to wait for TGS for in game footage - but a new Dark Souls next year is the right move for this non-PlayStation gamer!

    Cuphead - I wasn't following this one till the conference - looks pretty incredible for a 2D game

    Mirror's Edge Catalyst - I really liked the first one so this game is a no brainer to me

    Rare Replay - I'll definitely be getting it

    Just Cause 3 - I saw the start of SE's presentation this morning - man alive that game looks orders of magnitude better than JC2

    Batman and MGSV - already decided to get these ages ago

    Rainbow Six Seige - not sure if I'll get it because the season is now packed but if some friends decide to get it then I'm in

    Games I'm cautious about
    Fallout 4
    As much as it looks great me and Bethesda RPGs (well at least Skyrim and Fallout 3) don't really click. I'm gonna put some time into Fallout 3 this year to see if that changes before deciding

    Doom
    Love the look and the whole SnapMap feature but gonna wait for reviews - I'm not a doom fanatic

    Ghost Recon Wildlands
    Looks amazing but how does it work in practice.

    Sea of Theives
    Im happy Rare is not making Kinect games right now but I'm not sure what to expect from this Pirate game so it's a wait and see

    Games I'm jealous of

    (Ie Sony games)
    Horizon Zero Dawn
    No Man's Sky
    Uncharted (I thought I'd seen it all but that chase was insane!!)

    I suspect when these games come out it'll be time to get a PS4!

    Horizon looks good, no denying that, but I'm holding out until I know more about how it plays. I've gone right off third person shooters recently and it could turn out to be just another run of the mill TPS. I'd love to be proven wrong, but that was my initial reaction

    Other than that, FALLOUT 4 obviously followed by Fallout Shelter.

    And then Doom, Final Fantasy 7, No Man's Sky, Battlefront and I am interested in The Taken King for Destiny but there's no way in hell I'm paying $70 for DLC

    Great choice of games, Mark. Interesting to note that they're all new IP as well, which is awesome. I think we can consider The Last Guardian as a game unto itself, and not a sequel.

    Totally missed Unravel! I tend to ignore things from EA. Maybe I should mostly ignore them in the future. They are doing Mirror's Edge, after all.

    Last edited 19/06/15 1:46 pm

    SOUTH PARK

    1. Horizon: Zero Dawn - stone age post-apocalyptic RPG with kick-arse protagonist, yes please!

    2. Mirror's Edge Catalyst - because Mirror's Edge. Hopefully Faith's backstory hasn't been tampered with too much.

    3. The Last Guardian - all those feels, about a boy and his Catweagle.

    4. Final Fantasy VII Remake - Advent Children in game form!? Holy crap, yes!

    5. Abzu - Underwater adventure from the people behind Journey + Austin Wintory!

      Oh man, I forgot about Mirror's Edge - definitely looking forward to that.

      Personally, I don't really care so much if they break with canon from the first game and go down some other path, story-wise - all I really wanted was confirmation that they're ditching the rubbish shooting aspects. Now that I've been reassured on that count, they are pretty much assured of my money on day 1.

      Also, Abzu isn't all of the Journey people is it? I.e. it's not thatgamecompany / Jenova Chen? My understanding is it's some of the former members of that team that pretty much disbanded after Journey? Still, anything even vaguely related to Journey is going to get some of my attention.

      Last edited 19/06/15 3:00 pm

    The list in our household is something like:

    Kingdom Hearts III (this has been on my sons wishlist foreeeeever!)
    Fallout 4
    Horizon Zero Dawn
    No Mans Sky
    Firewatch

    With secondary honours going to:
    Uncharted 4
    Final Fantasy XV
    Sea of Thieves

    and lastly we would LOVE to play these but won't be because I ain't putting up the $$ to get an XBOX just for them:
    Cuphead
    ReCore

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