This is a big week for video game announcements.
E3 2015, the biggest gaming convention of the year, technically started today, but yesterday’s “Day Zero” kick-off is when all the big companies packed in their announcements, news and trailers.
That much was expected, but I don’t think anyone anticipated just how big the reveals would be. Here’s a quick rundown of the most exciting announcements from Bethesda, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Sony.
Microsoft’s E3 2015 presentation was filled with a bunch of new trailers and some genuine surprises.
Arguably the biggest news from Microsoft’s E3 press conference was that it will bring backward compatibility to the Xbox One, allowing players who own Xbox 360 games to use them on the new-generation console. The feature apparently will be free and launches in Holiday 2015.
DayZ creator Dean Hall announced a space-based massively multiplayer survival game that’ll appear on the Xbox One Preview program.
HALO 5: GUARDIANS
A couple of interesting new details came out about the upcoming Halo 5 today, including a demonstration of the campaign mode, which will let as many as four players join up for cooperative alien-blasting. There’s also a new 24-player mode called “Warzone” featuring huge maps and letting players battle AI enemies with everything the game has to offer.
From the creator of Mega Man and the producer of Resident Evil comes the robotic Recore, which Microsoft announced with a trailer. It’ll apparently be a new franchise when it launches in Spring 2016.
RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER
A new gameplay trailer showed off Lara Croft’s ice-scaling moves, and comes with a release date of Nov. 10 for the title.
SEA OF THIEVES
Rare’s next title is a shared-world pirate game.
More exciting for old school gamers, though, is Rare Replay, a collection of 30 classic Rare games ranging from Perfect Dark to Battletoads.
Take on as many as 24 racers across 26 locales in Forza 6, which will pack something like 450 cars.
DARK SOULS 3
Looking as dark as ever, Dark Souls 3 appeared to prove the rumors true. Fans will be happy to note it’s being directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, who directed Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
GEARS OF WAR 4
The next Gears of War title drops the of War and will just be about the internal workings of a clock, one might assume if not for Microsoft’s announce trailer. There’s also a rebuilt version of the original Gears of War headed to Xbox One.
Microsoft also announced a new modular controller for Xbox One that lets players swap out components to get a customized feel. It works on both Xbox One and Windows 10 and will run you $150.
Following last week’s announcement that Microsoft is pairing with Oculus VR to allow Xbox One games to stream to the Rift headset, the company also revealed it’d be teaming with Valve VR. That’s a lot of virtual reality support for the Xbox One.
Speaking of VR, there’s a version of Minecraft coming for Microsoft’s Hololens augmented reality glasses. Just in case you wanted the ability to pretend Minecraft was real, but tinier.
XBOX ONE PREVIEW
There’s also a new program coming called “Xbox One Preview” that sounds a lot like Steam’s Early Access. In-development games such as DayZ and The Long Dark are available to purchase on the system, and players can try them out before committing their cash.
Finally, Microsoft threw down a few trailers for upcoming indie games, including the 1930s cartoon-inspired Cuphead, Gone Home creator Fullbright’s Tacoma, and Ashen, which seems to be a cooperative puzzler.
The publisher behind games ranging from Skyrim to Doom had an exciting presentation, especially for fans of the latter.
And they divulged some new details about Fallout 4, which looks ridiculously huge.
Bethesda showed off a new trailer for the next Doom game, which is headed to Playstation 4, PC and Xbox One. It’ll pack an old-school arena-style multiplayer mode and a map maker that players can use to create and share their own levels.
The follow-up to Bethesda’s supernaturally stealthy first-person assassination title is official, set 15 years in the future of the first title and in a new city. It also features the ability to play as both Corvo, the first game’s protagonist, or Emily, the child princess at the center of the first title’s plot. Bethesda is also releasing the Dishonored: Definitive Edition on Xbox One and Playstation 4.
Bethesda showed off a little more about its radioactively anticipated game with a new trailer demo, with new details about crafting and other systems, showing a fraction of the staggering amount of content it looks like the game will have. And at the Microsoft press conference, Game Director Todd Howard announced that PC mods for Fallout 4 would work on Xbox One. There’s also a free-to-play mobile tie-in title called Fallout Shelter, available now.
EA had a tame conference compared to Microsoft, Bethesda and Sony (below), but there were a few announcements worth discussing.
And sports games fans, there was plenty to chew on.
MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA
Though it gives almost no new information about the game, BioWare rolled out a new CGI trailer for the new entry in its sci-fi franchise, which it says constitutes the “visual target” for the new Mass Effect.
NEED FOR SPEED
The next game in EA’s driving/racing franchise doesn’t get a number or a subtitle, but it does have a release date: Nov. 3. It’s also going to be an open world title.
STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC: THE FALLEN EMPIRE
Get a sense of the story of the next expansion for BioWare’s Star Wars MMO in its announce trailer.
PLANTS VS ZOMBIES: GARDEN WARFARE 2
Roles get reversed in Garden Warfare 2, with zombies defending their turf against encroaching plants instead of the other way around.
A few new faces and some improved graphics are on offer in the yearly update to EA Sports’ hockey franchise.
NBA LIVE 16
It felt like EA took a number of digs at oft-buggy rival NBA 2K16 with its NBA Live 16 trailer. This year sees a lot of little tweaks, like more natural player movement and a ton more ball control, coming to the franchise.
You wanted Fantasy Football in your digital football fantasies, right? Good news! Madden has Fantasy Football now. It also has a bunch of tweaks specifically aimed at the passing game for quarterbacks and receivers.
EA got Pele to come out to talk futbol on its stage. The franchise is getting a lot of animation tweaks to make play more precise.
MIRROR’S EDGE CATALYST
Some story tidbits adorn this Mirror’s Edge Catalyst trailer, but mostly what we’ve learned is that the game will feature no levels and no loads—it’s open world, in other words—and will be free of the dumb gun combat that was totally irritating in the first game.
STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT
EA ran down a demo of the Battle of Hoth, more or less, in showing off Star Wars: Battlefront. It’s all stuff we knew would be in the game, but it’s pretty nonetheless. A different trailer popped up as part of the Sony presser later in the day.
EA slipped a cute indie into its presser that goes by the name of Unraveled and is focused on physics-based gameplay. You play a doll made out of yarn. Called Yarny. Yup.
Ubisoft’s E3 press conference, too, was relatively tame. Unless you count a performance by Jason Derulo as exciting, which you very well may.
SOUTH PARK: THE FRACTURED BUT WHOLE
There’s a sequel coming to last year’s South Park: The Stick of Truth RPG, and it’s not being developed by that game’s studio, Obsidian. Instead of a fantasy theme, the game is all about superheroes, and continues the story of Stick of Truth protagonist The New Kid.
Focusing on medieval melee combat of a number of types, For Honor pits players against one another in teams. It looks like you’ll be using different stances to accurately read and defend against opponents’ attacks, while slipping under their defenses to land your own.
THE CREW: WILD RUN
Ubisoft’s open-world driving title The Crew gets an expansion later this year, focusing on “extreme events.” That means monster trucks and motorcycles, it seems.
TRIALS FUSION AWESOME LEVEL MAX
Smash a bunch of Internet memes together and you get the Awesome Level Max expansion for racer Trials Fusion. Not even sure what’s going on in this trailer.
TOM CLANCY’S THE DIVISION
Ubisoft teased a place called “The Dark Zone” in its multiplayer shooter, where you can run into other players and work together with them, or more likely kill them and take their stuff.
JUST DANCE 2016
You won’t need a camera with your console with the new Just Dance title, because you can use your cell phone as a controller. Ubisoft also announced a “Just Dance Unlimited,” some kind of dance streaming service that’ll be available for a subscription fee.
RAINBOW SIX: SEIGE
Ubisoft announced that actress Angela Bassett will appear in the story campaign of tactical shooter Rainbow Six: Siege, and showed off some cooperative gameplay.
ASSASSIN’S CREED: SYNDICATE
We didn’t learn much new about this year’s Assassin���s Creed title, but Ubisoft did show off a new story trailer for the Victorian London-set installment. There was also a trailer featuring alternate protagonist Evie during the Sony presser.
TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON WILDLANDS
Squad shooter Ghost Recon is now about fighting drug dealers in a big open world, and packs four-player cooperative play.
Sony’s E3 press conference was undoubtedly the most exciting of E3 2015. With the number of surprising and fan-pleasing announcements, it might as well have been called Fan Service: The Press Conference.
Sony has been killing it during E3 multiple years in a row, and they didn’t disappoint this week.
THE LAST GUARDIAN
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Team ICO’s beautiful-looking game about a boy and his giant winged chicken dog is still alive, despite no news in years. Shadow of the Colossus fans everywhere rejoiced despite the footage looking pretty dated.
HORIZON: ZERO DAWN
The developer behind the Killzone series, Guerrilla Games, is bending their efforts toward a post-apocalyptic third-person adventure title in which you fight giant robot dinosaurs.
A new Hitman title is on its way. It’s called Hitman. You play Agent 47, a hitman. You do hits, presumably on men. Also women.
Based on what was shown later during Square Enix’s own presentation, IO Interactive’s assassination-focused stealth title looks to create a semi-open world Hitman, giving players more freedom in how they want to approach assassination missions. Limited-time hits and expanded multiplayer support are also on the way.
STREET FIGHTER V
Making use of a loose definition of the word “exclusive,” Sony showed off a new trailer for Street Fighter V and announced a beta starting in July for preorder customers. The game is also “exclusive” to PC.
Media Molecule, the minds behind Little Big Planet, have some kind of game-making title they’re working on called Dreams. It’s supposed to be easy to create and animate objects. It looks impossible to do anything cool without hours and hours and hours of labor. But it’s pretty.
A new trailer gives a little more of a sense of what first-person adventure title Firewatch is all about. Box turtle friend confirmed.
DESTINY: THE TAKEN KING
All the rumors were true, and the next Destiny expansion is coming this fall. The Taken King concerns the father of Crota, the big bad from Destiny’s The Dark Below expansion, whom you murdered. There are also new subclasses for players to try out, and that means new “Super” moves and other changes.
FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE
After years of begging for it, it seems the RPG hit of 1997 is getting a remake. There are no details as to what “remake” means in this context, whether it’s a Final Fantasy VII rebuilt from the ground up, just featuring new cutscenes, or what. But it’s finally happening.
There’s also another Final Fantasy title on the way, the super cutesy World of Final Fantasy, which will undoubtedly release in conjunction with a toy line.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 3
Though it was in Microsoft’s timed exclusive stable for years, Activision has taken its uber-popular shooter series over to Sony to join Destiny. The announcement of a multiplayer beta in August and some Playstation-exclusive maps was paired with a new gameplay trailer. Also, this looks like a fair departure from previous CoD titles, with every recent shooter feature on the books making an appearance.
Ending the day is some new gameplay footage of Uncharted 4, complete with driving a jeep and getting shot at by a truck.
In an interesting turn, Sony announced a Kickstarter campaign for open-world action-adventure Shenmue 3, some 14 years after the release of Shenmue 2. The campaign is well on the way to reaching its goal as of this writing.
Sony also dished more detail about Playstation Vue, a first-of-its-kind a la carte subscription TV service that lets you buy only the channels you want. The service adds Los Angeles and San Francisco to the list of cities where it’s available; it’s been in New York for a few months now.
We also found out Sony’s Morpheus VR headset would support multiplayer games, and the company announced Rigs, a 3-on-3 multiplayer mech title.
It seems like Nintendo doesn’t really care about E3, and the company used its digital-only presser mostly to talk about design philosophy and to fire off trailers. The lineup is heavy on Nintendo 3DS titles, and the company seems to have zero interest in worrying what its competitors might be doing. There’s no shortage of new Amiibo stuff coming up, at least.
Animals flying spaceships are back this holiday season with Starfox Zero, which will make use of the Wii-U’s second screen for things like a cockpit view and remote-controlled drones.
SUPER MARIO MAKER
Nintendo described its upcoming build-your-own-Mario-torture-chamber title will include Amiibo support that allows Mario to change into other characters in the game, which is pretty clever.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TRIFORCE HEROES
It’s all about cooperative gameplay in Nintendo’s next handheld Zelda title, allowing three players to work together, change clothes to access special abilities, and climb on each other’s shoulders with a new “Totem” mechanic.
MARIO & LUIGI: PAPER JAM
Merging two successful Mario franchises, Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario, creates Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, an RPG in which players make use of multiple Mario characters, some of whom are only two-dimensional, to solve puzzles and defeat enemies.
MARIO TENNIS: ULTRA SMASH
Mario Tennis is heading to the Wii-U with a few new mechanics, but it looks like it’ll engender all the same trash-talking, complaint-riddled “I totally hit the button!” scream-fests that marked my time with the GameCube title.
Despite a strong lineup of interesting titles coming this year and next, and a huge announcement in the remake of Final Fantasy VII, Square Enix’s press conference was by far the least eventful. There wasn’t much in the way of new information on offer at all, but the publisher did show off a few new trailers, and announced a couple of sequels that’ll excite its longtime fans.
JUST CAUSE 3
Sporting 400 square miles of open-world gameplay, Just Cause 3 looks to be chaos mashed into video game form. The trailer is batshit—everything can blow up. And you can pretty much fly. That’s basically all you need to know.
Platinum Games, the studio behind Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and the Bayonetta games, is working on a sequel to action-adventure franchise Nier. Subtitle of likely randomly chosen words to be announced later.
KINGDOM HEARTS 3
Square Enix’s action-RPG collaboration with Disney finally made a new appearance, and has a new gameplay trailer that hints at its story.
STAR OCEAN: INTEGRITY AND FAITHLESSNESS
The fifth Star Ocean game is officially crossing the Pacific and will be available on Playstation 4 in 2016. Square Enix dished out a new gameplay trailer of the Japanese RPG to go with the announcement.
DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED
Eidos Interactive says it wants Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to be “one of the best RPG experiences out there,” and its story and ending will be heavily influenced by player choices.
The newly established Tokyo RPG Factory is dedicated to making new JRPGs, and it’s working on a new series, Square Enix says. We don’t know anything about it, but the concept art is pretty.
And that’s all? Watch out for more E3 coverage on Playboy.com throughout the week, and be sure to check in periodically as our Gamers Next Door explore the show.