It's the biggest date on the gaming calendar, and E3 2015 really hasn't disappointed. Sony, Microsoft and the other games publishing big boys really pulled out all the stops this year to deliver one of the most exciting games conferences in recent memory. From brand new titles to jaw-dropping resurrections of fan favourites, we've pulled together the most important moments of the show to bring you the best of E3 2015.
Note: As is becoming tradition, Nintendo has decided not to hold an E3 press conference this year, instead choosing to broadcast a digital showcase of its latest and greatest later on today. We'll update this post if Nintendo presents anything juicy – expect, for instance, a first proper look at the gameplay of the open-world Zelda game. There's also the first ever PC Gamer E3 conference , focussed specifically on PC gaming. We'll have updates from that shortly too.
Bethesda kicked off proceedings early this year with their first ever standalone press conference. And it was for good reason -- the company's got the busiest slate of big-name releases it's ever had. Chief among those was Fallout 4:
Though we'd seen a little of Fallout 4 earlier in the month, this was our first chance to look at the game running as it will when it's being played. A more visually rich wasteland than its predecessors, Fallout 4 will have a fully-voiced main character, delivering a more involved story than earlier games in the sequel. Crafting will play a bigger role (all salvage in the wasteland of Boston can be used to create something useful), while there will also be the opportunity to establish and defend settlements for your fellow apocalypse survivors. As the week progressed, it was revealed that both Xbox One and PS4 versions of Fallout 4 will get access to the mods that make the PC versions of Bethesda's games so attractive. It was also revealed that the premium collector's edition of the game will come with a real-life working Pip Boy, interactive with the game via a smartphone app.
Next up on Bethesda's slate was Doom. The franchise that popularised the first person shooter, Bethesda and iD are working to bring the game back to its roots. Those roots? Fast-paced, gore-soaked shooting:
If you've ever wondered what it'd look like to pull out a demon's heart with your bare hands, well. There's your answer. Certainly not for the kids (though more focussed on action than it's creepy immediate predecessor) Doom 4 expected out next Spring.
The stealthy stab-em-up that isn't part of the Assassin's Creed franchise, it's good to see Dishonored get another outing:
Not a lot to go on beyond a CG trailer that showed off the caricature faces and steampunk world once more, but it was revealed that there will be two protagonists this time around – returning throat-slitter Corvo, and Emily, the young princess from the first game now fully grown.
Halo 5 Guardians
Next up, Microsoft, who would have stolen the show were it not for a barnstorming Sony conference to come. It announced backwards compatibility for the Xbox One, a new controller and new dashboard, before revealing some new details about Halo 5 Guardians, introducing its multiplayer-vs-environment Warzone mode:
Dark Souls III
The brutally-hard franchise made the briefest of appearances with this teaser trailer, and the promise that it would be the closing chapter in the Dark Souls series:
It's coming to Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
I'd say this is the gaming highlight of Microsoft's E3 press conference. The new Tomb Raider game, due out as a timed exclusive this Christmas for Xbox, looks phenomenal:
An ever so slightly more experienced Lara Croft is shown traversing a vertigo-inducing mountain amidst a snow storm. The lighting, facial animations; everything looks spectacular. PS4's Uncharted 4 will have real competition it seems.
Gears of War 4
Two words: Chainsaw gun.
Minecraft With HoloLens
I want to believe, but this has to be too good to be true, right?
Confirming pretty much that Minecraft was purchased by Microsoft almost solely to demo the power of its HoloLens augmented reality headset, it showed full Minecraft world's being recreated as holograms projected onto the real world. Lego, without limitations, lost pieces or sweary outbursts when you tread on a block. It's hard to say exactly how much of Microsoft's showing above is actually possible (it's seemingly a representation of what would be seen inside a HoloLens headset), but if it's even half as good as the video makes it out to be, it's THE FUTURE.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Really, it doesn't take a lot to sell us on a new Mass Effect game – the last trilogy was, in my opinion, the first gaming has ever seen. But EA nailed it with this trailer:
As if a whole new sci-fi RPG galaxy to explore wasn't enough, they pair the whole thing with a classic cut of Johnny Cash. That's just fucking cool. Also, it's a very clever move to distance the series from the stories that have gone before, letting newcomers jump right in and freeing the franchise from the very busy storyline that Mass Effect 3 concluded with. Expect it "Holiday 2016".
Star Wars Battlefront
This is it. I think this is the closest a game trailer has made me come to crying tears of joy. Star Wars Battlefront is the Star Wars game you've always dreamed of, ever since seeing the films and growing too old to play with all your old toys:
Faithfully recreating battles from the film, allowing 64 players to take part in both onfoot and vehicular combat, it just looks breathtaking. With the promise of Episode VII content to come, I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up being the must-have game this Christmas, Call of Duty and FIFA be damned. Out in November, you'll be able to pick Battlefront up on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
If there's an award for the best game name, the new South Park title wins it hands down. It was an early standout from a surprisingly muted Ubisoft conference:
The Last Guardian
And so we come to Sony's showing, which had more resurrections than an Easter Sunday church visit. Kicking off the phoenix-like comeback conveyor belt was The Last Guardian:
Originally set to come out on the PS3, it's been stuck in development hell for years, to the point where many thought work on the promising fantasy title had been scrapped altogether. But it's back and rebuilt from the ground up for Sony's newer PS4 console. From the brains behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, it focusses on the relationship between a boy and his giant bird-dog thing. Think Neverending Story crossed with Tomb Raider, and you'd almost be there. It's tentatively headed to the PS4 next year. We've been burned before, Sony...
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Next up, the long-rumoured, often pleaded for, regularly denied Final Fantasy VII remake:
The original was a PS One classic, and was for many their first introduction into the world of Japanese role playing games. In the past, developers Square Enix have claimed that it would be too expensive to recreate the game to the standards expected of a current-gen release. Seems as though they've found some cash down the back of the sofa. It's not got a release date yet (expect this to be a long time off), but Sony has confirmed that it will get a brief window of exclusivity with the PS4 version arriving first.
Rounding off the trilogy of jaw-dropping reveals in the Sony conference is Shenmue 3, a sequel that should bring closure to a 14-year cliffhanger for fans of the innovative Dreamcast series:
Looking for $2,000,000 in Kickstarter funding and headed to PS4 and PC, it hit its target before even a day had passed since the announcement. Keep an eye on this one – it could be headed towards becoming a Kickstarter record breaker.
There was, of course, time for some more modern excitement in Sony's press conference, with another breathtaking look at Uncharted 4 offered up:
While essentially more of the same Indiana Jones style globe-trotting platforming that we've come to expect from the franchise, it's never looked better, with impressively interactive destructive environments and action-movie like set pieces. Shoot some stuff, sucker punch some baddies and this time drive a jeep by the looks of things, too. Don't get me wrong – just because we've seen it all before doesn't mean it's not great. It looks like the perfect sequel in many senses; bigger, louder, prettier. A fitting send off for hero Nathan Drake, if the rumours that this is to be the last Uncharted game prove true.
Check back later when we'll also have the best cuts from the Nintendo and PC Gamer events.