Los Angeles, Calif. — Each June, the video game industry gathers in Los Angeles, Calif. for E3, where game creators reveal their plans for the next year (and beyond.) The event hosts over 40,000 attendees, but plenty more fans watch the livestreams and trailer videos from home. E3 is where the biggest names in gaming announce their new titles and give status reports on highly anticipated projects.
This year, many companies began their press conferences with a moment of silence for the mass shooting in Orlando, with some specifically expressing support and solidarity for the LGBT community. Given that so many video games feature gun violence with little regard for the real-world ramifications, it was an awkward transition for most, but all assembled appreciated the heartfelt sentiment.
E3 always features a mix of returning classics and brand new inventions. “Quake,” “Resident Evil” and “Crash Bandicoot” were all revealed to be returning in new installments, although just because a game is announced does not mean it will be on store shelves in short order. Delays are common in the video game world, as companies struggle with the complexities of game development.
No classic franchise could match the fever awaiting Nintendo’s new “The Legend of Zelda” release. Revealed as “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” this game pushes the property in a new direction. Featuring an open world of exploration and micro-managerial elements like weapon degradation and customizable outfits, “Breath of the Wild” attracted a lot of attention on the first day of E3.
Virtual reality is poised for a big return, as companies like Sony and Oculus feel the technology has finally improved past the embarrassing level of what we can recall from the 1990’s. E3 2016 saw the announcement of PlayStation VR, priced at $399 and arriving this October. The headset requires a PlayStation 4 to operate, which explains the price differential between the PS VR and the $599 Oculus Rift.
Microsoft announced a slimmed-down version of the Xbox One system, dubbed the Xbox One S. Available in August for $299, the One S is smaller than the existing beefy Xbox One (which will receive a price drop) and supports 4K Ultra HD video. Microsoft also promised an entirely new, staggeringly powerful Xbox One – code named Scorpio – for 2017, but was quick to claim that all Xbox One games would work over the entire three-member family of Xbox One devices.
Other highlights of this year’s E3 include Sony’s new PlayStation 4 twist for “God of War,” where the ultra-violent Kratos sees a tonal shift from gory combat to dramatic father-son bonding. “Recore” from Microsoft features a woman and her team of odd robot animals that assist her in combat and exploration. And – showcased with a booth that replicated a New Orleans-style city street – “Mafia III” takes on a tale of crime and race relations in the 1960’s.
Batman could be found in no less than four games during this E3: a new VR release, a new installation of the comic book fighter “Injustice,” an adventure game from Telltale Games, plus his Lego alter-ego will lead a new round of toys heading to last year’s “Lego Dimensions.”
As this year’s event comes to a close, fans now must return to the one game they hate to play: the waiting game.