Useful Notes: Electronic Entertainment Expo
aka: E 3
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is a major gaming event that started in 1995 in California and has been held every year since. Most of the major gaming companies hold press conferences at E3; fans will watch live feeds of the event in an attempt to keep up with the latest news and catch early glimpses of footage from upcoming games. E3 tends to be the preferred venue for unveiling new console and handheld designs, along with new IPs and new installments to familiar franchises. It started off as a sort-of spinoff of the Consumer Electronics Show, which used to be the place to announce new game stuff, but a separate show was created when CES said they couldn't create a private space at CES for game developers. Historically, E3 attracted large, somewhat unruly crowds. The use of "booth babes" (attractive women who draw attention to the games they're advertising) also added to the allure. In 2007, the event allowed only the media and developers to attend and eliminated the booth babes in order to cut down on the noise and crowds. The 2008 event allowed some members of the general public into the convention hall again, but through invitations only. For E3 2009, booth babes made a return, but only if the game companies wanted them in there. This shift in regulations is what led Penny Arcade's annual expo and the Tokyo Game Show to become the new de facto expos for a little while, but things have settled over the past couple of years and the status quo has returned to what it previously was. The general public is allowed admission (for a high price), but members of the press and industry get in for free. E3 is first and foremost a video games show for the industry at large, including journalists, marketing executives, and those watching at home. Other expos are focused on other aspects of gaming — PAX for the gaming community (and tabletop games), GDC for game developers, DICE for executives — but E3 is intended for everyone. The expo is immensely popular, and the entire gaming world has its eyes focused on Los Angeles for the roughly week-long event. It is a source of both joy and heartbreak, of incredibly ecstasy and mouth-frothing rage, and everything in between. Though fandoms the world over may feel elation at the announcement of a new entry in a long awaited franchise, other announcements (or lack thereof) can easily cause huge backlashes, often in the forms of Flame Wars, They Changed It, Now It Sucks, Unpleasable Fanbase, Broken Base, Accentuate the Negative, Internet Backdraft, and many others. All the attention means that certain events in the show are ripe for Memetic Mutation. Sony's disastrous 2006 conference is a good example of this, as that single event alone named four tropes.
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E3 1995 - 2000
- During the first E3 in 1995, Sega made an announcement in their keynote address that the Sega Saturn, which was releasing on "Saturnday" (Sept. 2), would be $399. Another surprise announcement was that the console was actually already out at select stores. The announcement shocked and angered retailers, developers, and gamers alike, who were not prepared for the release so early, and it was one of the main contributing factors in the death of the Saturn - though the system had fans, a huge lack of product in the first six months meant that Sony had to do very little to catch up to the Saturn's pitiful lead.
- Sony, in their own keynote address the same year, also made a startling announcement: $299 for the Sony PlayStation.
E3 2001 - 2007
- Around 2001, Nintendo presented several tech demos for games that could be made on the Nintendo GameCube (this was before the console was launched). One of the demos showed Link and Ganondorf fighting each other with realistic graphics for its time. About a year later, Nintendo presented a Zelda game at E3... except it now looked like a cartoon. Fans cried foul and declared war on Nintendo for taking away the realistic Zelda they were teased with previously. However, once the game came out (with improved cel-shading), most fans did a 180 and praised the game for its style and gameplay while others still bashed it for the kiddy look. Then came E3 2004, with a showing of the first trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. With that, the fanboys and fangirls were...ahem... amused. IGN's reaction to that◊, coupled with their Dull Surprise from last year's E3◊, became subject to Memetic Mutation.
- Sony's E3 2006 press conference was infamous for the following reasons:
- The PR who discussed the PlayStation 3 mentioned how the system could do Real Time Weapon Change and showed a game that took place in feudal Japan where players could fight a Giant Enemy Crab and flip it over to Attack Its Weak Point For Massive Damage.
- No one applauded when Ridge Racer was shown, causing the spokesperson, Kazuo Hirai (now Sony Computer Entertainment's CEO), to shout "RIIIIIDGE RAAAAACERRRR!!!" This became a very popular fad across the Internet, as well as prime ammo for a troll to use in a Flame War.
- The reveal that the 80GB console would cost $599.
- During E3 2007, Jamie Kennedy hosted Activision's press conference. It was a complete disaster as he was apparently drunk, heckled the crowd, and was upstaged by a developer at one point. Adding insult to injury, someone in the crowd could clearly be heard saying that the developer was funnier than Kennedy.
- The above two conferences are often cited as the worst E3 press conferences of all time, though one or two of Nintendo's later ones (see 2008, below) and some of Microsoft's are in the running as well.
E3 2008 sparked outrage on all three consoles in the following examples:
- Microsoft's event showed many casual friendly features, such as avatars (which looked similar to Nintendo's Miis), minigames in the forms of fly swatting or dancing, etc. This caused the fans of Microsoft to moan and complain that Microsoft was trying to copy Nintendo's Wii. When Final Fantasy XIII was announced to be released for the Xbox 360, it shocked everybody. After the announcement, Sony fans cried foul and claimed that Square Enix was a sellout. It didn't help when Microsoft boasted that most of its 3rd party games used to be with Sony.
- Nintendo's event wasn't any better, either. Fans who expected announcements of big name games like Mario and Zelda were met with disappointment as Nintendo revealed more casual friendly games like Wii Sports Resort and Wii Music. This caused a huge Flame War between fans who claimed Nintendo abandoned the hardcore gamer and fans who believed that Nintendo would have the good games coming eventually. During Nintendo's event, then Nintendo marketing VP Cammie Dunaway told a personal story on how she broke her wrist during a vacation with her kids. The broken wrist story became a fad on forums. A similar fad also began to pop up when Cammie joked to Reggie Fils-Aime about liking the full throttle when he tested a jet ski game. Everyone started to hate Cammie, feeling that she represented all the horrible qualities of casual gamers. Cammie did improve in E3 2009 where she mostly ditched her cheesy act and focused more on the facts and what Nintendo wants in the future, but people still haven't forgiven her. It got so bad at that time that the Wii board on GameFAQs exploded in fury, resulting in numerous topics about how Nintendo was a backstabber, literally lasting for days on end. Hilarity Ensues does not◊ even begin to describe this.◊
- This was mostly due to the tonedown of E3 after E3 2006. Everyone was now saving most of their good stuff for their own conferences, PAX, or the Tokyo Game Show. Even the game publishers formed a Unpleasable Fanbase about it, wanting it to be toned down in 2006 and then wanting it back to its old form after the disaster E3 was in 2008.
- Microsoft announced a new device codenamed "Project Natal" that supposedly surpassed the Wii's motion controls by detecting full body movement, and even insulted Nintendo by saying that you wouldn't have to "sit on the couch and waggle". As if repeating last year's E3 reaction, trolls and fanboys alike had wildly claimed Nintendo was now finished, as seen here◊, and here◊.
- Nintendo made quite the turnaround with this year's E3 compared to 2008. While they did show several casual games, Nintendo appealed to the core fans with several new Mario games (Super Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii with 4 player co-op, and a 3rd Mario vs. Donkey Kong game), The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, a new Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Dead Space: Extraction, The Conduit, and Metroid: Other M (The latter being developed by Team Ninja). Nintendo also showed off Wii Motion Plus, an add on for the Wii Remote that added more precision with motion controls. While most fans were very pleased with the showing, many became upset over New Super Mario Bros Wii looking too samey compared to the DS version, and how Super Mario Galaxy 2 was supposedly just a lazy rehash, while ignoring the fact that you can ride Yoshi.
- Sony's PlayStation Move (PlayStation 3's motion controller) was revealed, as well as Final Fantasy XIV (a MMO), PSP Go, Gran Turismo 5 and GT PSP, Mod Nation Racers (Mario Kart meets LittleBigPlanet), Peace Walker (a new Metal Gear game for the PSP), The Last Guardian, MAG, God of War III, a new Ratchet & Clank, and a portable versions of LittleBigPlanet. Final Fantasy VII was also announced for PSN.
- Microsoft: The main focus this year was the controller-less system announced in '09, now titled "Kinect". Kinect games shown were casual titles that showcased using your own body instead of button inputs (such as playing with a baby tiger or navigating a river in a raft). A new model of Xbox 360 hardware was also announced, which would feature a smaller and quieter (and shinier) design, as well as built-in Wi-Fi, at the same price as a regular 360. An Oprah-like event occurred at the end of the presentation, where each member of the audience got a free 360. Fans have naturally mocked this, their main complaints being that Microsoft was basically ripping off Nintendo and its E3 presentations, and quite a few people have compared this event to Nintendo's event from 2008. The girl playing with the pet tiger ("Skittles!") and the people showing off Dance Central had already became a meme.
- Nintendo's big item was the 3DS handheld, with 3D capabilities and other enhancements as well as an impressive list of third-party support. As for games, in addition to showing off The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Epic Mickey, Nintendo also announced revivals for several long-dormant franchises: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, a new GoldenEye game, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and most shockingly, Kid Icarus: Uprising. The showing can basically be summed up in this link.◊
- Sony's presentation was pretty average. Aside from a crossover game featuring Ratchet, Jak, and Sly, the biggest announcement came from Gabe Newell, who announced that Portal 2 would come to the PlayStation 3 in spite of his previous dislike for the platform, as well as a new Steam-like program to play it on. Oh, they also announced a new Twisted Metal game for the PS3. However, Sony did manage to have Kevin Butler (from the commercials) to give a speech on stage, which must be seen to be believed.
- Konami's E3 2010 also deserves a mention by virtue of being So Bad, It's Good, thanks to vast amounts of Gratuitous English. One. Million. Twoobs.
- Electronic Arts started off their press conference with Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and caused the fandom to rejoice when the trailer was posted online. They also showed off their previously-announced NBA Jam revival, and the consensus was that it captured the spirit of the old games perfectly.
- Ubisoft showed off a Michael Jackson game that put an emphasis on dancing using motion controls, as well as a breathing simulator, a new Rayman game, a Reboot of Driver set in San Francisco and Child of Eden, a Spiritual Successor to the Cult Classic game Rez.
- Surprisingly, Konami's E3 event was pre-recorded and shown before the event actually started. Some highlights include compilations of Metal Gear and Zone of the Enders games, which include the miracle of transfarring, as well as a reboot of the Contra series. Aside from that, however, nothing of major value (or comedy) was released.
- Microsoft's press conference can be summed up by one word: Kinect. Almost every game announced, from Mass Effect 3 and Fable to Minecraft and Sesame Street, relied on the Kinect in some way, though it should be noted that not all of these games required the peripheral - such as Mass Effect 3 and Minecraft, which only had added features with it. In fact, the only new games shown that weren't Kinect or Kinect-enhanced were Halo: Combat Evolved: Anniversary and Halo 4.
- Sony's press conference was adequate. The good news was that the PlayStation Vita handheld was named after being revealed last year (and now priced at $250), which has touch screen controls and can suspend play to pick up later on the PlayStation 3 and vice versa. In addition, Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time was announced, more LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers games are on the way, and Cole McGrath was going to fight in Street Fighter X Tekken.
- Nintendo's press conference was (for Nintendo fans, at least) pretty awesome, with the chief announcement being the reveal of the Wii U - the next home console. The primary innovation of this one was the controller, which looks like a small tablet PC with more buttons, allowing ideas like "asynchronous gameplay" (where the player with the new controller has vastly different gameplay/objectives/experiences than the ones using Wiimotes), or things like not even requiring the TV if someone else wants to watch a show.
- To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the The Legend of Zelda series, Nintendo had plenty up their sleeves. A free version of Four Swords for DSiWare, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening for the new 3DS Virtual Console, and two soundtracks - one from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, if people were one of the first handful to register their copy of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D on Club Nintendo (also free), and one of fully orchestrated Zelda tunes for those who plan on getting The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Nintendo also announced they would hold live orchestra shows (titled The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses), conducting music from the Zelda games, in various regions of the world.
- For the Nintendo 3DS, a slew of games were announced. New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart, and Luigi's Mansion games, (later titled Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, respectively), Star Fox 64 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and a handful of 3rd-party games. They also announced a Pokédex app.
- The 3DS' Virtual Console was detailed to be selling Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, with Super Mario Land, Alleyway, and Radar Mission being the first games released. Nintendo also announced that several classic Nintendo titles (and those Older Than the NES) would get a 3D facelift, starting with Excitebike, as part of the new 3D Classics series - and that this first one would be complimentary.
- Finally, Iwata slipped in some brief words confirming that a new Super Smash Bros. game had been discussed for both Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, that the two would interact in some fashion.
- On the whole, one noticeable trend was the sheer amount of Darker and Edgier Bloodier and Gorier games on display, including Splinter Cell Blacklist, a Tomb Raider reboot, God of War: Ascension, and The Last of Us. There also seemed to a high number of chin stabbings in trailers and demos. Journalists wrote articles discussing whether this was a good thing, a bad thing, just boring, or so on for weeks.
- Microsoft started with a gameplay debut of Halo 4 and a new Splinter Cell Blacklist. Additional game announcements included Gears of War: Judgment, Forza Horizon and South Park: The Stick of Truth courtesy of creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The rebooted Tomb Raider and Resident Evil 6 rounded out more on-stage presentations, with the expected Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 ending off the conference. "Smartglass" was the new technology presented as a means for other devices like smartphones and tablets will be capable of connecting to the Xbox console via specific apps either for new modes of play with particular games (ie. using a tablet to create custom strategies in Madden NFL) or other features.
- Electronic Arts' conference began with a co-op presentation of Dead Space 3, followed with gameplay of Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Need for Speed: Most Wanted (once again helmed by 2010's Hot Pursuit developer Criterion Games) and Crysis 3. The developer unveiled further content for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Finally, Battlefield developer DICE announced Battlefield Premium, a clone of Call of Duty Elite.
- Ubisoft's conference was very strong, especially considering how many of their games were held until other conferences to trumpet their host systems. Just Dance 4 started it off and Far Cry 3 got showcased (as well as the bare breasts of a character, triggering some controversy), alongside the much-anticipated Assassin's Creed III. A Rayman Origins sequel, Rayman Legends, was demoed on-stage with the Nintendo Wii U of the upcoming releases. The presentation was capped by Watch_Dogs, which many considered the best announcement/game of the show.
- Sony started with the latest project from Quantic Dream - Beyond: Two Souls. They quickly followed that up with showcasing a few things not shown during Ubisoft's conference - naval combat in Assassin's Creed III, a 4-player co-operative campaign in Far Cry 3, and a trailer for Assassin's Creed III Liberation, as well as announcing special PS3 and Vita bundles for III and Liberation respectively. About midway through the conference, Sony announced that they were pulling an Oprah and giving everyone attending the conference a free month of their PlayStation Plus service. This segued into the Vita side of their presentation, which started off with a showcase of Play Station All Stars Battle Royale and its Vita functionality, capped off with the trailer announcement of Nathan Drake and Big Daddy as playable characters. Dipping back into the PS3 side of things, they showed off a new peripheral called the Wonderbook - an augmented-reality 'storybook' that can be interacted with using the PS3's camera and PlayStation Move. To show off this new gadget, they demoed the latest entry in the mass-multimedia Pottermore campaign, Book of Spells. Finally, they ended the show with a playable demo of The Last of Us.
- Nintendo's conference was rather sparse. The final version of the Wii U was shown and playable. Nintendo's first party offerings were dominated by Mario; New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star were exhibited. Pikmin 3 and Wii Fit U were announced, continuing those franchises, and Nintendo Land, a theme-park styled game featuring mini-games drawn from other Nintendo franchises, and meant to be the Wii U equivalent of Wii Sports. This was the presentation finisher, capping it with an anemic in-game fireworks display. Everything else was third-party titles, overwhelmingly from Ubisoft, but Warner Bros. also had a good presence with Batman: Arkham City: Armored Edition, and Scribblenauts Unlimited. Afterwards, Nintendo started shifting their announcements from one big blowout to multiple smaller events, such as the occasional "Nintendo Direct" webcasts that they had started the previous fall. Before the show, the Wii U had been showcased in New York City, later the day of the presentation a project codenamed Project P-100 was shown (later officially titled The Wonderful 101), as was a new WarioWare game called Game & Wario. Another presentation dedicated to the 3DS happened the next day, which included a confirmation of a North American release for Fire Emblem Awakening; and in the weeks after the show a Nintendo Direct video announced a new 3DS XL model, details on the dev team for the new Smash Bros., and retro game releases on the 3DS eShop.
- Microsoft basically had to do some damage control, as the Xbox One reveal a few weeks prior failed to impress gamers, partially from its actual gaming capabilities being Out of Focus in favor of TV and movies, but also the reveal of its restrictive DRM features. Their presentation addressed the former point well, with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and its open-world mechanics, Respawn Entertainment's new Titanfall First-Person Shooter/Mecha Game, Ryse: Son of Rome, an exclusive-Xbox One reboot of Killer Instinct (though oddly enough, not developed by Rare), Crimson Dragon (now headed to the Xbox One), Dead Rising 3 exclusive to the console, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Battlefield 4 with timed-exclusive Downloadable Content, and Minecraft. To compete with the PlayStation 4, Microsoft will partner with Twitch for live-streaming integration (by comparison, Sony would use Ustream on their console), getting rid of the dreaded Microsoft Points once their console launches, offer Xbox Live gold members free games every month and a re-designed Xbox 360 with a look similar to the Xbox One. However, the DRM issue still loomed large, and pricing for the console had been called steep by the audience at $499 US, and quite a bit more in other territories. Post-conference, further details regarding the launch of the Xbox One in only 21 countries was not pleasing to certain audience members. Notably, after the jabs they received throughout E3 over the new DRM system (particularly Sony's, see below), Microsoft announced the week afterward that they were abandoning it in favor of the policies used on the the Xbox 360.
- Sony debuted the PlayStation 4 for the first time since its official reveal a few months back, including showing off the physical console for the first time. Sony representatives continued to reiterate their stance on supporting independent developers with exclusive releases for the console. As far as other games go, while The Last Guardian was still missing-in-action, Final Fantasy Versus XIII was officially retitled as Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III was finally announced as in development, alongside the world premiere of gameplay from Destiny. Sony then made one of the most talked-about moments of the show by taking dead aim at Microsoft and its then new DRM policies, proclaiming that the PS4 would have no DRM that wasn't on the PS3 and mocked Microsoft for adding complications. Sony promised that the PlayStation Network would continue to work on the PS4, carrying over from the current generation to the next; unfortunately, online multiplayer still required a PlayStation Plus subscription for the new console. To end off the conference, Sony listed the retail price of the PS4 at $399 US to cheers from the audience.
- Nintendo shook up their entire E3 strategy; replacing the traditional live presentation with a pre-recorded webcast and partnering with Best Buy to hold nationwide events during the expo that would allow the public to play E3 game demos. The lineup of games on display, on the other hand, was considered solid but predictable; with few surprises: their main presentation, a Nintendo Direct webcast, featured known games Pokémon X and Y, The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD; and new announcements Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and the fourth Super Smash Bros. installment featuring the Villager from Animal Crossing and Mega Man. Other games shown include Pikmin 3, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, a new Yoshi's Island, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds; finally, to add to the Smash Bros. roster, a third new character was unveiled as the Trainer from Wii Fit.
- Ubisoft had additional live demonstrations for Watch_Dogs, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Splinter Cell Blacklist and announced several new games, including The Crew, an open-world Racing Game with a heavy focus on car tuning for just about every aspect of the vehicle and co-op and Competitive Multiplayer. Perhaps unexpectedly was the annoucement of a new IP: entitled Tom Clancy's The Division, this Massively Multiplayer Online Third-Person Shooter RPG set in a dark future New York City has been praised for its setting and bleakness, with many proclaiming it another game of the show for Ubisoft (note that like Watch Dogs at E3 2012, The Division was not known by the public, nor leaked out prior, until its reveal at E3).
- EA's conference unveiled 11 new games, alongside Titanfall for the Xbox One. The arguably biggest announcement was of a new Star Wars Battlefront being developed by DICE (who also showed Battlefield 4). As usual for EA, they also showed off a new Need for Speed, this one named Rivals, a new FIFA, NBA, Madden, and another UFC. DICE also, shockingly, announced a sequel to their cult classic Mirror's Edge, which had been requested for several years now. Dragon Age 3 was also renamed to Dragon Age Inquisition, and the first trailer was announced.
- Having learned from the reception they received in the previous year, Microsoft showcased the entire conference on games, kicking it off with a multitude of third-party games, including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Assassin's Creed: Unity, Dragon Age: Inquisition and Sunset Overdrive. Their first-party lineup detailed Forza Horizon 2 and Fable Legends, with a follow-up Project Spark, a game-creation tool kit in the same vein as Little BIG Planet (notably, Conker makes an appearance). News regarding Halo 5: Guardians is a multiplayer beta bundled with the Master Chief Collection, an Enhanced Remake of all four primary installments of the Halo franchise on the Xbox One (Halo 2 gets the "Anniversary" treatment). Proving they haven't forgotten the independent scene, Limbo developers Playdead unveil their next project Inside, including many other indie games. Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Tom Clancy's The Division cap off the last of the third-party entries. Original Xbox title Phantom Dust gets an Updated Re-release, while Hideki Kamiya of PlatinumGames debut the exclusive Scalebound, with a new Crackdown ending off the conference.
- Nintendo built on their previous strategy, making their announcements through a "Digital Event" webcast and offering nationwide demos (this time strictly of the new Super Smash Bros.) through Best Buy. They also broke new ground by running a continuous stream from the show floor hosted by their Treehouse localization team, and held a Smash Bros. Invitational Tournament in order to hype the WiiU/3DS installment. As you might guess, Smash Bros. was at the center of Nintendo's announcements; with Mii Fighters, Palutena from Kid Icarus, and Pac-Man being announced for the roster. There was also the official unveiling of their amiibo NFC figure system, to be used with Smash Bros. and other games. Another major announcement was Splatoon, not only a rare new IP from the company but their first entry into the popular multiplayer shooter genre. Other games covered during the Digital Event were Yoshi's Woolly World, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Bayonetta 2, Devil's Third, Mario Maker, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Hyrule Warriors (along with the first look at the next major Zelda game), and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Shigeru Miyamoto dropped by the Nintendo Treehouse livestream to talk about his new projects codenamed Project Giant Robot and Project Guard as well as confirming that he is working on a new Star Fox game for Wii U. And the following day, finished their gaming announcements with Codename STEAM.
- Ubisoft had a controversial E3 and a bad follow up; while trailers and gameplays demos for games like Assassin's Creed: Unity and Far Cry 4 were met with good reception, both games suffered controversy for the lack of female characters (one developer saying it'd be "too hard" to do it in Unity was met with open derision from fellow Ubisoft employees), and when asked about it, a member of the Far Cry team had a Stunned Silence reaction. Coupled with Watch_Dogs being met with a mixed reception earlier that month due to a perceived downgrade of graphics from its E3 2012 debut, and June wasn't kind to Ubisoft. Despite this, other demos and trailers like The Division and Rainbow Six: Siege (a replacement to the prior-announced-several-years-ago-Patriots) were met with good reception as well.
- Bethesda announced a slew of games at their debut E3 press conference, including the previously announced Doom Reboot and Fallout 4, complete with gameplay footage, as well as a trailer for Dishonored 2. Other announcements included new content for The Elder Scrolls Online as well as a Trading Card Game entitled The Elder Scrolls: Legends in the vein of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Also notable is that between the official streams on Bethesda's YouTube and Twitch channels, over six hundred thousand people watched it live, making it a fantastically successful debut conference for the publisher.
- Microsoft had what is widely considered to be one of their strongest press conferences in years:
- They kicked things off with campaign gameplay for Halo 5: Guardians and a new multiplayer trailer for its "Warzone" game mode. Other first-party lineups include Forza Motorsport 6 (with a second-generation Ford GT brought down from the ceiling for promotion), confirmation of an "Ultimate Edition" for the original Gears of War on the Xbox One, and closing off the conference with a live preview of Gears of War 4.
- The company gave audiences a surprising treat by addressing one of the Xbox One's complaints, announcing backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 titles using retail discs of the console via a unique roundabout method of reading the disc then downloading an Xbox One-compatible version of the 360 game. Additional hardware showcased is a customizable "elite" version of the revised Xbox One controller to be released for retail, which features attachable paddles on the back, interchangeable control sticks (with PlayStation-esque convex sticks provided alongside the traditional concave sticks), and a disc-based variant of the directional pad.note Finally, Microsoft demonstrated its working HoloLens augmented reality glasses using Minecraft.
- ReCore, a new science fiction game about a girl and her robot being handled by Keiji Inafune and Armature Studio (ex-Metroid Prime developers) is the first new IP for Microsoft followed by Rare announcing its newest gamenote called Sea Of Thieves, a multiplayer-based swashbuckler, along with a release of a thirty-dollar Compilation Re-release for thirty of its classic gamesnote in celebration of their thirtieth anniversary.
- Capping off the remainder is timed-exclusive third-party game Rise of the Tomb Raider showcasing a brief demonstration, while Bethesda announced Fallout 4 will have official support for mods made on PCs available on consoles alongside new footage that wasn't present in their conference the previous day.
- Electronic Arts:
- With a large focus on sports at the expense of nearly everything else,note the company had an overall disappointing show, with many of its titles unveiled being new installments in their various yearly franchises, though a few gems were buried within the mire of sports games, such as starting the conference with the long-awaited teaser for Mass Effect 4 (now titled Mass Effect: Andromeda). Furthermore, a adorable 2D Platform Game, Unravel, is a new IP of a yarn figurine; notably, the presenting creative director of the game told audiences about the inspiration behind it and his family vacation, even bringing a small model of the main character with him. It didn't take long for Unravel to become a highlight of the show.
- Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 was shown, complete with awkward on-stage mascot reveal and use of "Danger Zone", while a new mobile title featuring the Despicable Me Minions failed to excite the crowd. Fortunately, things bounced back with a trailer of Mirror's Edge: Catalyst, including discussion regarding its background, new features and talks of its open-world nature of the reboot. Finally, Star Wars: Battlefront showcased the environment of the Battle of Hoth from the perspective of several Rebel and Imperial combatants.
- With the exception of an awkward exchange between host Aisha Tyler and a cosplayer, whom she asked for a meme, Ubisoft had a strong showing of games.
- New titles showcased include a trailer for South Park: The Fractured But Whole, a sequel to South Park: The Stick of Truth, switching to an Avengers-esque theme as opposed to the fantasy Role-Playing Game of the latter, a demonstration of For Honor, a Bushido Blade-inspired new IP that mixes Multiplayer Online Battle Arena elements with Player Versus Player duels, and an announcement for the next installment in the Anno Domini Simulation Game series called Anno 2205. Capping off the conference was Ghost Recon: Wildlands, taking a few pages from recent Far Cry releases and uncommonly set in South America.
- Ubisoft's Racing Games received a few spotlights, detailing an expansion for the The Crew called "Wild Run", additions and further enhancements to Track Mania Turbo (along with being brought to other consoles), and a Trials Fusion expansion pack entitled "Awesome Level Max" allowing players to ride a unicorn, among other things. Similarly, the popular Just Dance series got stage time with talk about the mobile platform. After having apparently not learned from their Usher debacle a few years ago, a brief Jason Derulo concert and interview went about as well as one would expect for a video game conference.
- Meanwhile, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate and The Division unveiled additional trailers, with the latter revealing "Dark Zone" areas in the game and the ability for players to turn on their friends during Co-Op Multiplayer was welcomed, promising to rival Mario Kart and Mario Party for friendships ended. Finally, Rainbow Six Seige showcased last year was demonstrated on-stage, including a brief chat with Angela Bassett, who is cast in Seige as "6", the leader of Team Rainbow.
- Similar to 2014, Ubisoft got flak from social media for showing nearly no women (and even less playable female characters) in their games. After the much appreciated announcement pre-E3 that Syndicate will include a playable female assassin as one of the protagonists, not a single woman was visible in its primary promotional trailer (a second trailer was shown during the Sony conference focusing on Evie Fyre). Wildlands, which takes place largely in South America, had no Latino or Latina protagonists shown; accusations of Mighty Whitey due to the the predominantly Caucasian squad are abound.
- Sony's conference was basically the highlight of what many are now calling "the E3 of Dreams" with multiple megaton announcements of games that people had previously thought would never be made:
- After years of radio silence, The Last Guardian is not only alive and well, but playable and showcased as a PS4 gameplay trailer, kicking off the conference.
- After over a decade of speculation, the long rumored Final Fantasy VII remake was announced to be making its debut first on the PS4 before moving on to other platforms.note
- Finishing off the trifecta of reveals was Yu Suzuki himself, announcing the launch of a Shenmue 3 Kickstarter, which hit its funding goal in less than nine hours.
- Guerrilla Games, best known for Killzone, unveiled Sony's new IP Horizon: Zero Dawn, an After the End action/adventure featuring a tribal hunter fighting animalistic robots, and LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule showcased a playable version of Dreams, based (like their famous work) on player creativity and sandbox tools. The Hitman franchise received a trailer for its next entry, simply entitled Hitman, while Square Enix debuted a new cutesy, Super-Deformed Final Fantasy Gaiden Game called World of Final Fantasy, using Mons elements to form powerful combat teams. The conference closed with a demo of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.
- Third-party titles include a Street Fighter V trailer revealing two returning characters and the promise of an exclusive beta for the PS4, Destiny expansion "The Taken King" and exclusive PlayStation content, the No Man's Sky team demonstrating the further scale and open-world nature of its universe, and additional footage of Star Wars: Battlefront and its single or co-op mode called "Survival". In what could be considered a shot against Microsoft, Sony announced a deep partnership with Call of Duty producer Activision, giving PS4 owners first access to map packs and a beta for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, with trailers highlighting its cooperative campaign and multiplayer aspects.
- Nintendo continued their strategy of using webcasts via Nintendo Treehouse, public demos at nationwide stores of Best Buy (featuring Super Mario Maker), and a tournament. While the headlining Digital Event wasn't "bad" per se, it disappointed fans due to a lack of big, exciting announcements - two such items (the next major Zelda game and home console) were specifically being held for next year, and most things that were shown were either already known (Mario Maker and Star Fox Zero were discussed in 2014) or not really what fans were looking for (in particular, a new Metroid Spin-Off angered fans desperate for a regular installment).
- On Sunday, new Super Smash Bros. Downloadable Content was showcased, including Roy and Ryu, almost all of which was available that day. A few hours later, in the same vein as their Smash Bros. Tournament a year ago, a revival of the Nintendo World Championships (last seen in 1990) was held, where they revealed both the official English release of MOTHER (after a whopping 25 year gap since its 1989 debut!) as EarthBound Beginnings for the Wii U Virtual Console and a multiplayer game called Blastball for 3DS.
- In the Digital Event, new upcoming titles Star Fox Zero, The Legend Of Zelda Triforce Heroes, an Updated Re-release of Hyrule Warriors for the Nintendo 3DS, Metroid Prime: Federation Force (of which Blastball is a minigame), two installments to the Animal Crossing series called amiibo Festival and Happy Home Designer, a Paper Mario/Mario & Luigi crossover called Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash were the first highlights. This was followed by further looks at Fire Emblem Fates (including the reveal of the final title), Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, a launch date for Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi's Woolly World, a localization of Yo Kai Watch, and a somewhat surprising announcement of amiibo/Skylanders crossover figures featuring Bowser and Donkey Kong.
- Sadly, E3 was also the final appearance of sorts of company president Satoru Iwata. Though he was not personally present due to health reasons and was not shown in the Digital Event, his absence was not felt because he had done the same thing the year before and because the Digital Event was interspersed with short skits featuring puppet versions of himself, Reggie, and Miyamoto. However, the heath issues proved to be worse than he had let on and he passed away about a month later.
- Square Enix held their own conference this year, but had the same issue as most third-party presentations: most of their showcases were already revealed elsewhere (for one, the Final Fantasy VII remake).
- Fortunately, Just Cause 3 kicked off a series of next installment releases, with details regarding the game's location (the Mediterranean island of Medici, where the protagonist was born). A gameplay/story trailer for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, new Spin-Off Tomb Raider Go (based on Hitman Go), additional footage of Rise of the Tomb Raider and the next Hitman game was revealed, such as new content every once in a while, including assassinations that will be Lost Forever if left uncompleted.
- In what seems to a bounce back into the genre the company's most comfortable with, mobile game Kingdom Hearts X will receive a Western release, and a gameplay trailer for Kingdom Hearts III demonstrated a world based on Tangled and revealed Sora's new outfit. Gamers got an early look at the fifth Star Ocean game titled Integrity and Faithlessness and Project Setsuna, along with a new IP in production by a studio called "Tokyo RPG Factory", with displays of screenshots. Finally, a sequel to NieR is being developed by PlatinumGames with Taro Yoko returning as director. Although Yoko addressing the audience while wearing a mask of No.7 from the NieR seems like a Big Lipped Alligator Moment, this is standard for him.
- The realm of PC gaming got its time to shine with its debut conference thanks to computer processor developer AMD and PC Gamer, creatively called the "PC Gaming Show". The conference was akin to a talk show, with noted streamer "Day9" acting as host and a parade of developers coming up for interviews or to discuss their products. Once again, most presenters (like Square Enix) showed off titles the audience already knew of already, thus nothing earth-shattering was unveiled, with retreads upon covered ground. The show also ran uncommonly long, clocking at around two and a half hours, at least an hour more than any other presentation at E3.