The lights are on
Last week was the biggest E3 in memory, with Sony and Microsoft revealing more details about the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One respectively. Nintendo also brought some choice material with our first look at Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and more. We know that there was an enormous amount of information in our E3 News Headquarters, and today we're surfacing some of the biggest, juiciest tidbits.
Sony and Microsoft announce their console prices amid different approaches to ownership.
One of the biggest questions at the start of the week was how Sony would make the most of its press conference. We expected that there might be an enhanced emphasis on entertainment and services, and while those were both featured, games took center stage.
As both Microsoft and Sony closed out their presentations, prices for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were revealed, with Sony coming in $100 lower. Furthermore, Sony made a big point of announcing that there would be no restrictions on used games and no online check-ins, both hallmarks of Microsoft's approach to gaming in the next generation.
We had the chance to speak with Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer about the Xbox One and the way forward. We also had a chance to hear from publishing executives at Ubisoft about their vision for the future.
All the worlds are open. All of them.
Perhaps level-based design is a thing of the past thanks to technology that enables open-worlds to operate more fluidly. New titles like Mad Max, Dying Light and Watch Dogs are taking advantage of enhanced processing power.
It seems that even titles with linear heritage are moving to open environments. Castlevania: Lords of Shadows 2, Mirror's Edge 2, and Metal Gear Solid V will all be eschewing their previous formats in favor of a more fluid structure.
Some of those that already offered that freedom are moving online and becoming "persistent." Ubisoft is leading the charge, bringing the racing genre into a ongoing world with The Crew and exploring a post-pandemic future in The Division.
You'd never know from E3 that there are cross-generational games.
We wrote about this in another story, but with all of the titles announced for current-generation hardware as well as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, we're still waiting to know a little more about the sacrifices necessary to slim experiences down. It's no doubt that graphics will be less polished on the current hardware, but with the severe differences in power, it's the difference in feature sets we're most curious about.
Square Enix comes out swinging with two fan-demanded titles.
It's been a rough year for Square Enix, but things are starting to look up. The long-absent Final Fantasy Versus XIII is no more. It's been replaced by Final Fantasy XV, which will be coming to next-generation consoles. If that wasn't enough, Kingdom Hearts III has finally been announced. It, too, will be arriving on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Disney takes the fight to Activision as Infinity and Skylanders face off this fall.
Disney Infinity and Activision's Skylanders franchise offer completely different types of play, with the former emphasizing a creative atmosphere, while the latter retains the kid-friendly action-RPG stylings that have made the franchise so popular. No, Infinity and Skylanders are facing off in the worst possible battleground imaginable: the parental budget.
The two games are so different that kids are going to have a harder time explaining why they want both toy-enabled titles. Disney is the newcomer, but familiar characters might help families gravitate toward Infinity. Skylanders is the titan, but this year's iteration, Swap Force, will require a new portal because of the two-piece Swap characters.
This is going to be a knock-down drag-out fight, but both are worthy competitors (and the winners are the young gamers and adult collectors... and the two companies, of course).
E3... it's full of games.
That's right. GAMES. For the first time three years, E3 was almost exclusively about moving thumbsticks, pressing buttons, and interacting with the hardware sitting under the television. More importantly, the platform exclusives were pouring in from all corners.
Interested in an Xbox One? You've got Titanfall, Quantum Break, Sunset Overdrive, Forza 5, Dead Rising 3, and more to look forward to.
Going with the PlayStation 4? Killzone: Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son, Knack, and a host of indie titles that will appear exclusively or first on PlayStation 4.
Nintendo fans have much to celebrate, with the announcements of Super Mario 3D World, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, Mario Kart 8, and Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze. This year will also see The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and A Link Between Worlds.
Let's not forget the cross-platform titles coming soon. This generation still has a lot of life left in it with Saints Row IV, Rayman Legends, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Dark Souls II, and more. Looking ahead to next generation, Destiny, Need for Speed: Rivals, Final Fantasy XV, and Kingdom Hearts III all remind us how exciting the coming months and years will be for gamers.
The Best and Brightest
Finally, what's an E3 without some awards? Game Informer has made it's choices for a host of categories and selected our favorite game of the show. Be sure to tweet the developers and publishers some kind words.
Email the author Mike Futter, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.