By Michael WORKMAN
June approaches, which means E3 is coming to the LA Convention Center to dazzle gamers and industry heavyweights alike. E3 always generates a certain healthy level of excitement each year, but last year’s event had many people’s anticipation turned up to eleven with the showcasing of the Next-gen technology to come out of Microsoft and Sony. I certainly remembered getting giddy as a school boy when I first laid eyes on the actual Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles. E3 2013 was a huge week for gaming that showed off a ton of cool products. However, once both consoles were released and the excitement died down, there really wasn’t anything mind-blowing about either console. In terms of graphics, there’s very little difference between each system. Both have not reached their full potential and still have yet to grace the average gamer with a large variety of games. This is why E3 2014 looks more promising, as some big titles are going to be showcased as well as some eagerly anticipated reveals.
Microsoft’s Xone is a completely different animal from when we last saw it at E3. It completely reversed its DRM policy, dropped $100 off the price tag less than a year after its release, as well as overhauled the leadership. To say it had a rocky start is putting it mildly, however it’s had time to win gamers over, and is shaping up to convert even more with its game line up at E3. Head of Microsoft’s Xbox division Phil Spencer promised on twitter that 2014 will be a ‘great’ year for Xbox One. “Sunset Overdrive” is one of the confirmed Xbox One exclusives that will be showcased at E3. This game revels in the wacky third-person shooter style of the “Saints Row” series by having over-the-top weapons like the “TN Teddy” and a gun that fires teddy bears strapped with dynamite. Other titles on the list are Killer Instinct and of course Halo 5: Guardians which should have more details revealed for eager fans. “Sunset Overdrive’ isn’t the only exclusive in 2014, E3 will show what exclusive games you’ll play on XB1 in 2014.” teased Phil Spencer when asked about any big reveals for Xbox One.
Xbox is coming to E3 with renewed confidence, but what about the winner of last years E3 Sony’s Playstation 4?
“It’s going to be a massive content year,” touted Playstaion’s hardware marketing executive John Koller “We’ve talked publically that there’s a huge and significant amount of games coming this year to the PS4. We’ll be showing a lot of those and it’s going to be an exciting moment for many people. I can officially confirm that what is coming next is really spectacular.”
Some exclusives for the PS4 that will appear are “The Order: 1886,” “Rime,” and “Uncharted 4.” Some big news that has Playstation fans grumbling is the fact that “The Order: 1886’s” release date has been pushed back to 2015. It’s not terribly surprising though, since many who played the closed door demo felt that it needed polishing. Gamers will have to be satisfied with the inevitable new trailer debuting for the Victorian era third-person shooter at E3. Rumors about a leaked document for Sony’s press conference clearly show that “God of War 4” will be unveiled, causing some much needed buzz. It’s yet to be seen if any of these games will give an edge to their respective systems, but there will be shocking reveals aplenty once E3 kicks off.
Aside from the console exclusives, E3 has some juicy third party games and tech that has me more excited that the exclusives. “Far Cry 4” and “Assassins Creed: Unity” are some of the giants coming at Ubisoft’s press conference. No doubt Ubisoft Montreal will have a hard time topping the crazed antagonist Vass that became the poster child of insanity in “Far Cry 3”, but “Far Cry 4” still looks to have potential of surpassing its predecessor. Not too much is known about “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” except that it takes place in Paris during the French Revolution and the hero is an assassin named Arno. Hopefully more will be revealed once they introduce it during their conference. Finally, what really has peaked my interest is the virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift.
Back in March, the VR company was bought out by facebook for a cool 2 billion dollars propelling it from a kickstarter that intrigued journalists to possibly a heavyweight contender that might rock the gaming industry. If you’ve been paying attention at last month’s GDC, Sony unveiled it’s own VR headset, “Project Morpheus” much to the delight of VR enthusiasts everywhere. This is a clear sign that VR is gaining interest among the industry and will be an exciting new area to explore. Trying out the Oculus Rift for myself will be my top priority when I go to E3, so I can tell you dear readers whether it lives up to the hype.
Overall, this is shaping up to be an exciting June for gamers everywhere. Microsoft, Sony, and many other developers are gearing up to blow our collective minds. E3 is just a week away and I can hardly wait to what surprises the developers have in store for gamers.