Opinion – RPG Fans Are The Real Winners Of E3 2015

by Kimberley Wallace on Jul 04, 2015 at 08:00 AM

I always like to take a few weeks away from any show to really start analyzing and putting it in perspective. I'm not one to usually name a "winner" of E3, since the fans always end up winning with a glut of new games. Even so, this year role-playing game fans really had a lot to cheer about. Whether you're a fan of RPGs in general, or prefer Western or Japanese RPGs, this year's show proved the genre thrives in all areas.

I'll go on the record saying I don't think any other genre had as strong of a showing as RPGs. The variety and amount of announcements put it well ahead other genres. We had long-running and widely acclaimed franchises, such as Fallout and Dark Souls, show off new entries. New exciting games that continue to draw elements from RPGs, like Horizon Zero Dawn, surfaced. Square Enix announced a new studio, Tokyo RPG Factory, which formed to create an entirely new RPG series, currently under the banner Project Setsuna.

Then there were the big surprises; Square Enix announced a new Nier game, which seemed like a long shot, and Ubisoft unveiled South Park: The Fractured but Whole, shocking many since Matt Stone and Trey Parker said they'd never make another video game. While Shenmue might not be an RPG in the traditional sense, finding out a Kickstarter was being launched for a new entry after 12 years was still a win for RPG fans. The crowdfunding campaign has been extremely successful, and hopefully this can inspire other creators to resurrect franchises we've been pining for that have long been dormant. Then there was the ultimate bombshell; after years of fans pleading, Square Enix finally announced a Final Fantasy VII remake was in the works.

From big names to cult favorites, it felt like everything was headed in a positive direction. It was refreshing to see Square Enix not just focus on big-name RPGs, such as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, although those franchises remain front and center (Hello new Kingdom Hearts III trailer). I liked that Square gave spotlight to mid-tier franchises like Star Ocean. Similarly, watching Nintendo have such a renewed enthusiasm in the Fire Emblem series after it questioned its place stateside feels like a big win for long-time fans. 

Bethesda not only gave us the glimpse at Fallout 4 we had been waiting for, it revealed a November 10 release date. Usually when we first see a game in action, we have to play the waiting game for at least a year. Knowing that all that was before us would be available in a matter of months is exciting in its own right. And while, I'm sure people expected Dark Souls would continue on, people were surprised to learn that Miyazaki would be directing it, even after his workload and success with Bloodborne.

This is only a fraction of the RPG news and games at the event. Usually, I find myself leaving E3 with a handful of new RPGs to anticipate, this year I may have too many to anticipate... and they're also all drastically different. Now it's time to see if these game can live up to the enthusiasm they've created. Even so, this E3 left me plenty excited for the genre's future.