This week in Los Angeles, California, the annual E3 expo landed and left anyone who has even the slightest interest in games with a lot to talk about. Here’s our account of all the best bits from the three major consoles at this year’s conference.
Microsoft and the Xbox One:
The first day of E3 2013 seemed to hit the ground running with Microsoft keen to undo all the negative press they received after their Xbox One big reveal a few weeks ago. So with a point to prove, two of the company’s key players (Don Mattrick and Yusuf Mehdi) took to the stage to show some pretty cool stuff. They made sure their presentation was totally about gaming, which – let’s face it – was a pretty smart move as any mention of word ‘television’ may have caused half the audience to groan and walk out.
Some of the things they revealed included a brand new Xbox 360, with its sleek design and host of exclusive games for the next year including Dark Souls 2 and World of Tanks. The Xbox-One-half of the presentation was also packed with exclusives but the title that caught my eye was Ryse: Son of Rome; this epic looking gameplay trailer saw a badass Roman general command his army to try and defeat the enemy on a blood-soaked beach. The whole video looked like the Roman-equivalent of the start of Saving Private Ryan and felt no less dramatic. However, the presentation ended on a bit of a sour note: the price of the next generation console was revealed as a whopping $499 and this may prove to be too rich for a lot of people’s blood.
Sony and the PlayStation 4:
Day one ended in the Sony camp with the presentation of the highly-anticipated PlayStation 4. Very little was previously known about the new console apart from the exclusive games we saw at their teaser conference a while back, and probably the one question on everyone’s mind (certainly mine at least) was what the hardware looked like. When it was finally revealed all I could think was: ‘Wow, it kind of looks like an Xbox One with a big gap in the middle.’ This didn’t put me off though, because the entire presentation was on point with no slip-ups and exclusive content revealed for two titles: Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag and Watch_Dogs. But the highlight of the day was the blatant shots at Microsoft; announcements that the PS4 won’t block used games and won’t need to connect to the internet once every twenty-four hours to authenticate were greeted with great applause.
Nintendo and the Wii U:
Nintendo’s decision to not to do a press conference this year was probably a smart move: it would have looked like a desperate attempt to get attention what with all the fuss about the next generation consoles, and their 2012 presentation that centred around Nintendo Land lacked any excitement. Instead they opted for ‘Nintendo Direct’ which saw them holding several low-key events, such as a software showcase and some round-table sessions, rather than one massive show.
The company showed us what had to offer; specifically, what was coming for the the Wii U and 3DS Plus along with details on their first- and third-party games. The new Super Smash Bros looked very impressive in HD and it was revealed that three new characters would be added to the roster. The legendary Mega Man was a welcome addition but the other two just didn’t have the same appeal for me I’m afraid: Villager from Animal Crossing and the female Wii Fit trainer (I don’t think I could have thought of more random choices if I tried). Nintendo then released details of some of the big games we can expect for the coming year. Obviously there a lot of Mario titles – Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, the list goes on – but others included The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2.
E3 2013 was a big success, with the next-generation console war being taken to a whole new level. And with all the exclusive titles to come, I think this will truly be a classic year for consumers and one where we truly see where the future of gaming lies.