Last week’s E3 2015 was full of assumed announcements, confirmed leaks, and pleasant surprises from game developers and console makers alike. From new information on upcoming games to exciting game and feature announcements, gamers had plenty to celebrate from the event.
From the E3 press conferences alone, there were a few big surprises that left gamers’ jaws on the floor and hearts beating rapidly in ecstatic anticipation. Below are 10 of the biggest surprises from those press conferences, and what they mean for gamers.
Xbox One Backward Compatibility
Probably the biggest surprise was Microsoft’s backward compatibility announcement for the Xbox One. This announcement seemed to come out of nowhere, and was heralded by both gamers and industry leaders. In fact, even Sony offered their congratulations to the Microsoft team for figuring out a way to make backward compatibility work on the current-gen system.
What’s most impressive about this feat, beyond the fact that Xbox was able to do it in the first place, is that game developers don’t need to do any work for their Xbox 360 games to work on Xbox One, aside from giving their permission. The Xbox team will do all the work needed to make the games playable.
The Last Guardian Gameplay
Many gamers began to wonder if The Last Guardian would ever really happen, considering it’s been discussed for years with very few updates. However, gamer skepticism was obliterated, and excitement lifted when The Last Guardian gameplay surfaced during Sony’s press conference.
The gameplay showed a game that may seem a bit last-gen, but considering it entered development as a PS3 title and was only later shifted over to the PS4 that’s not too surprising.
Shenmue 3 Revealed
Those gamers who remember the original Shenmue know the impact it had on the gaming industry. It was way ahead of its time in terms of visual appeal, world interaction, and storytelling, but sadly the game experienced a short life thanks to its release on the Sega Dreamcast. Since playing thet original Shenmue on Dreamcast and its sequel on Xbox, gamers have been begging for a continuation of the series.
So when Yu Suzuki took the stage to announce he was launching a Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue 3, gamers were ecstatic. In fact, gamer excitement was so high, that the game was funded on Kickstarter within a matter of a few hours. As of this writing, Shenmue 3 is at $3.5 million in funding, almost double it’s original $2 million goal.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Announced
In the history of the Final Fantasy franchise, Final Fantasy 7 is by far the most popular, due to its impressive graphics and gameplay when it was first released in 1997. Because of that popularity, gamers around the world have been asking Square Enix to remake or remaster the game for current-gen consoles.
Well, that wish will finally come true. During their E3 press conference, Square Enix announced the Final Fantasy 7 remake for PS4 and Xbox One. However, the remake won’t be a simple HD remaster, but a full-on remake of the game, with a handful of improvements and changes.
South Park Getting a Game Sequel
When South Park: The Stick of Truth was released last year for last-gen consoles, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone shared their experience in making the game, including the difficulties and challenges it provided.
However, it seems those challenges weren’t enough to keep the duo from doing it again. During Ubisoft’s press conference, the developer announced South Park: The Fractured But Whole, a comedic and engaging sequel to last year’s Stick of Truth.
Successful HoloLens Demo
We are quickly nearing the era of virtual reality and augmented reality gaming, with numerous headsets preparing to release. One of those, Microsoft’s HoloLens, is taking a slightly different approach than its competitors by offering an interactive augmented reality experience that puts the interactive elements right in gamers’ immediate environment.
To show off the HoloLens’ unique offering, Microsoft demoed the unit on stage with (as expected) Minecraft, showing that players with HoloLens can play with and interact with fellow tablet-based gamers in fun and creative ways.
Numerous Female Leads
Many gamers were pleasantly surprised by the influx of female lead characters in quite a few upcoming triple-A titles. As expected, Rise of the Tomb Raider will feature the strong-willed Lara Croft, who’s led the way for many female leads in the video game industry.
But Rise of the Tomb Raider isn’t the only game with a powerful female lead. Dishonored 2, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Horizon Zero Dawn, Fallout 4, and Recore are just a few of the many games that either feature a female lead or allow gamers to play as a woman within the game. This is a huge shift in video game character choice, and one that’s been applauded by critics and gamers alike.
Mass Effect Andromeda Reveal
While the E3 teaser trailer for Mass Effect Andromeda was very simple, it was enough to excite any and all Mass Effect fans for the upcoming game. Players will have the opportunity to “discover a new galaxy” filled with gorgeous worlds filled with plenty of enemies and challenges.
Those hoping Mass Effect Andromeda would be releasing soon will be slightly disappointed, as the trailer touts a holiday 2016 release. Fortunately, Xbox One owners will have an opportunity to play the first Mass Effect (and likely the second and third) via Xbox One’s new backward compatibility. Gamers need only have a copy of Mass Effect on Xbox 360 (physical or digital) to play when the feature launches later this year.
Ghost Recon Wildlands Revealed
Ghost Recon is a powerhouse franchise for Ubisoft, so the developer closing out their press conference with the Ghost Recon Wildlands reveal wasn’t too surprising. However, it wasn’t just the reveal that makes this game’s announcement worthy of this list, but rather Ghost Recon Wildlands‘ shift to open-world gameplay. Ubisoft is definitely bringing one of their most popular franchises into current-gen with style.
What’s most exciting about this new game is the ability to not only use the whole open world to their advantage, but also to decide when and how to complete the game’s missions. The E3 gameplay shows players can do things in stealth, or with a frontal assault, whatever players decide.
Ubisoft Reveals For Honor
Ubisoft showed off some impressive gameplay for their upcoming fighting game, For Honor, which will allow players to take on the role of vikings, samurais, and knights as they fight against each other and NPC enemies.
While Ubisoft didn’t expressly call the game a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), the gameplay showed a very MOBA-style title. However, the fact that the game is a MOBA, or at least patterned after one, isn’t very surprising considering the growing popularity of the genre. And based on the look and feel of For Honor, there’s little doubt this game will do well for Ubisoft.
Many More Surprises
These are just a few of the biggest surprises from this year’s E3 press conferences. Without a doubt, every gamer has their own favorite moments based on their interest and excitement for gaming.
What were the most surprising moments for you? Let us know in the comments below.