Nigmabox Rundown (6/12) E3 2016: Boiling Points of Many Emotions

CookingWith a slew of leaks and early reveals out of the way, E3 has finally begun.  By which I mean that EA is holding an event outside of E3 around the same time.  The ever expanding Bethesda is getting early coverage by going one day before the press conferences traditionally begin.  While Kadokawa games, a growing publisher that isn’t even having a proper press conference, just a private media briefing…  Whatever, that’s good enough for me.

Ellie’s Tro-Karts has always been at the Electronic Edutainment Exposition in order to present and sell their wares to the good little middle schoolers lucky enough to attend this event.  But over the years the company has changed, Ellie has died, and now her son Earl is in charge of his mother’s business, which he revamped in order to sell electronic entertainment that mostly features guns, which is cool if you’re into that, I guess… They also have sports If you’re also into sports and at an Edutainment event.  Though if you are, please leave, you’ll probably scare the other children away…  Okay, onto the recap of the EA Play Event.

I have to admit that Titanfall 2 at the very least manages to look cool, though that is not very surprising.  The first game was actually quite beloved for its fast and frenetic first person shooter gameplay, and the mix of power and vulnerability that came with getting into a titan, which everyone got to do at regular intervals.  The main qualm about the game was the lack of content that was actually in the release, and Titanfall 2 looks to be filling that voice nicely. With more variation in the titans themselves, unique alternate weapons such as gravity holds and versatile ability like a grappling hook leave the game looking rather robust, and like a nifty little shooter that will hopefully have some staying power.  

There is also a single player campaign, and while the brief snippets of lore that I heard about the series over the years interested me, the premise sounds remarkably dull.  You play as a gruff bearded military man who forms a friendship with a dead pilot’s titan and they eventually save the half exploded remains of the Earth from alien threats.  Visually, the game manages to provide just enough distinct elements to make a cool looking sci-fi world, but I considering how poor I am at fast paced first person shooters, the best I can do is hope that other people enjoy Titanfall 2 when it drops on PC, XBO, and PS4 on October 28, 2016.

Mass Effect Andromina was briefly shown afterwards, and I do mean briefly, as only a series of gameplay snippets and set pieces were shown alongside shots of the developers working on the game.  There’s still not much to go on other than how this game will likely look wonderful at the very least, but if you remember the wake of Mass Effect 3, you will also recall that a lot of people left Bioware around that time, and I worry about whether or not eh people at the studio will be able to replicate something as special as the original Mass Effect trilogy… which I should really get around to replaying sometime… Maybe sometime this year before Andromina launches in Q1 2017… Or at least I hope it comes out by then.

Even less was shown in in the trailer for the upcoming EA Star Wars games, and instead the trailer mostly consisted of giving the Star Wars franchise a sensual massage while cooing into its ear.  The games of interest that were talked about were a project by Visceral Games, helmed by Amy Henning of Legacy of Kain and Uncharted fame, along with a third person action adventure game by the Respawn Entertainment.  I’m certainly interested in both of these titles based on those simple premises, but aside from early CG trailer that indicates that the Visceral project takes place between the prequel and original trilogy, there isn’t much to go on, and won’t be until this 2018 is closer to completion.

EA Originals is a publishing platform established by EA where the company will set itself as a publisher for a series of smaller developers, offering them the funding and marketing that some developers imply lack access to. This was previously done by the company, when they acted as publishers with other developers in order to create other large AAA titles.  Except this sounds like a less… fat headed way to go about this, and seeing as how they are aiming to give all the profits (term not defined) back to the developers, perhaps this could go well for them in regards to PR at the very least.

The first title wearing this banner is a game called Fe, which is about an odd looking “cub” traversing through a vibrant violet, navy, black, and white world while using the songs of the animals to uncover new locations and uncover more about the world, as told strictly through visual and audio cues.  The premise certainly sounds like a small vanity project, and what was shown sure looks like one.  Fe looks to be following a playbook that independent developers wrote over the past eight or so years, and based on what was shown via a trailer and said by a very nervous Swedish game developer, this doesn’t look like anything special

Battlefield 1 is still a name that annoys me as it uses a 1 instead of an I, but people have spoken words of praise based on what they’ve seen, and based on what was shown, I can see why.  There appears to be a lot of variety and versatility present in the multiplayer battles, with a series of unique weapons, vehicles, and a slew of environments that manage to feel fresh in a scenario of war, as it’s been a while since a major release depicted early twentieth century Europe getting completely wrecked by a crashing zeppelin.  I can roll my eyes at something with pure intentions that it is no for me, and just wish that people have fun with this game when it releases on October 21st, 2016… One week before Titanfall 2…  Not sure I understand the logic behind that.

Anyhow, that covers EA’s Play Event that is totally in no way associated with E3 even though it takes place during the same week.  What was shown was not for me, and what I was interested in was glossed over, which is upsetting to some degree, but anger boils the soul and turns it into hot tapioca, and that’s terrible.  It was pretty average, I skipped past the sports fluff, and now onto the next press event.  Catch ya on the flipside EA!Bitch

Bethany Esda of the speech team was asked by a large corporation who is hosting this student convention to promote their values, and sell all of these impressionable youths the thrills of violence and murder in their most distilled and perfected form, video games.  Being a lover of the wide open world games owned by this studio, she quite eagerly gathered her things and brightly informed the masses of the work of people who she thought were sehr toll.  Which I can respect, I guess.  Anyhow, here’s to Bethesda’s second E3 press conference.

Well, they certainly began strong with the announcement of Quake Champions, which is set to revive the revolutionary arena-based multiplayer first person shooter series by capturing what made the original games so beloved.  So it’s effectively a reboot in the same way the recently released Doom 2016 was.  I would be willing to say more about the game, but there really was not much shown other than a prerendered CG trailer that really is not the best way to sell a game that is being designed for eSports play.  The only things shown were some of the playable characters and their abilities, none of which look particularly remarkable.  I literally forgot all but one design five minutes after I saw the trailer, and her design is pretty generic.  I’m sure the gameplay revealed at QuakeCon this August will prove to be far more noteworthy.

From Bethesda Softworks themselves, they revealed some light offerings, namely further add-ons for Fallout 4, including the ability to create your own robotics factory, which sounds like an interesting novelty at the very least.  The ability to create your own vault, which is a logical follow-up from the whole town building mechanic.  Along with an expansion that will take place at the remains of a theme park built around Nuka Cola, which sounds nifty, if a bit too on the nose.  I don’t know, I like the idea of being a drink that people can aspire their own lore onto.

They are also working on an updated or remastered version of Skyrim, with enhanced visual effects dubbed The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Special Edition.  The game will come with mod support for consoles, and ideally be compatible with most of the mods created throughout Skyrim’s lifetime.  It certainly looks pretty on consoles, even if the lighting is a little too intense.  The game is coming out on PS4, XBO, and PC on October 28th, 2016, nearly five years the game’s initial release.  Oh, and PC owners with all the DLC will receive a free upgrade to the Special Edition.  Cool, thanks Bethany.

The first snippets of gameplay for Dishonored 2 have been revealed and in a sense, the game looks great.  The stark and distinctive look of Dishonored has moved past the more musty industrial Victorian era of its predecessor, and the game mostly takes place in the vibrant Mediterranean themed city of Karnaca.  There is a lot of variability and versatility with the gameplay, along with two playable characters with access to different abilities and have stories that follow notably different beats.  The world has a lot of thought put into it, enemy AI has been improved, and it generally looks like a jaunty quest full of murder.

However, this is also a sequel for Dishonored 1, which I really did not care for.  For all the fun there is to have with first person combat, making it such a large focus for a game where, ideally, you should never need to engage in combat at all seems like an odd thing to place focus on.  Plus, for as interesting as the art direction in this game is, the color scheme looks remarkably washed out, as if the world is being presented as decrepit and tired, when the mood would not be negatively affected by brighter colors.  Regardless of my thoughts on the game, it’s coming out on Skyrim’s actual fifth anniversary, November 11th, 2016, for PS4, XBO, and PC.

Arkane Studios  was also believed to be working on a sequel to the 2006 sci-fi shooter Prey, which they are in a sense, but this is clearly not a sequel to a game about a Native America using spirit powers to help save his girlfriend from aliens.  Instead, this new game, simply titled Prey is a first person sci-fi shooter with a psychological horror bend to it.  With the main character being a research subject who is gradually going insane while gaining mind bending abilities that will let him better fight off an aggressive alien force that is invading a massive human spaceship.  It sounds interesting, but this was all unfortunately revealed through a CG trailer, so it’s difficult to properly judge this bizarrely named game that could easily be a new IP.  Nevertheless, Prey is set to launch in 2017 for PS4, XBO, and PC.

To cover one final tidbit, Bethesda has been subtly working on VR over the years, and are working on VR support for Fallout 4 on the HTC Vive, which is due out sometime in 2017, with Doom 2016 getting its own VR support at a later date.  There is more I can talk to beyond this, but I really have nothing to say about Elder Scrolls Legends, a mobile focused collectible card games, Fallout Shelter, a simplistic simulation game, or The Elder Scrolls Online, an MMORPG.  The best I could offer is apathy, and I’d rather be transparent about that.  It was ultimately a good conference with some neat reveals, I just wish that the big ones actually had some gameplay to show for it.  C’mon Bethany Esfa, dontcha love us children who give you monies?Stop

Katie Kawaii did not actually attend the festivities, but they were presenting at a dinner party hosted by her parents around the same time, so this even gets lumped in with the rest.  Although she only spoke in Japanese, so I needed to have somebody translate all her words for me, ‘cos that language is hard.  

Unfortunately, all that Honyaku-kun (Honyaku is Japanese for translation) had for me were two notecards, one of which pertained exclusively to God Wars: Beyond Time.  The game is developed by the internal studio of Kadokawa Games, and it is set to be an SRPG about a group of heroes who go on an adventure wherein they meet numerous Japanese deities and establish themselves as heroes.  Which is an interesting enough premise, but in what gameplay is how, the game looks like a 2006 PS2 game.  

Everything looks obscured, as if there’s a filter blurring out what are actually very well drawn art assets, though I’m pretty sure the characters would look bad no matter what.  They have awful chibi portions with giant beach ball heads and occupy the uncanny valley of 2D and 3D character models, where I’m not sure if they’re sprites with visual effects applied to them of just models with highly detailed textures glued onto them.  God Wars: Beyond Time looks positively icky to me, but is nevertheless coming out to PS4 and Vita in 2016 in Japan.

Beyond that, there were a few stray announcements relating to some of their games.  They re-announced Project Code: Daten, a PS4 and Vita dungeon RPG that is themed around the Cthulhu mythos, which was only mentioned by name and briefly described.  They also showed a new trailer for Demon Gaze II, a dungeon JRPG for Vita that looks nothing like its modern looking predecessor after adopting a more standard fantasy look.  Compile Heart’s Black Rose Valkyrie was also briefly shown, where it looks to be a fairly low budget yet competent PS4 JRPG, as I would expect from the developers, and at least this one isn’t shameless about its fanservice.  

Also, their upcoming visual novel for PS4 and Vita, Root Letter, not to be confused with the recently released visual novel Double Root, is coming to the west by way of the publisher of Gal Gun: Double Peace, PQube.  For those unaware, it’s a mystery game about a group of high schoolers and mysterious letters arriving in the mail, which doesn’t sound like my thing, but I’m glad to see more visual novel localization regardless.  That’s about everything that was discussed during the briefing, and there really wasn’t much noteworthy stuff, especially for westerners.

Moving onto news pertaining to things outside of the major press events, Telltale showed off their two new projects details about their upcoming Batman series, where it sounds like the game will focus on Bruce Wayne instead of any of his supporting cast, which is a little disappointing, as the last thing I want to do in a Batman adventure game is play as Batman.

They also revealed a teaser for The Walking Dead Season 3, which I am cautiously optimistic for.  The first season is one of my favorite games in recent memory, but the second season was a notable step backwards, and the seems were quite obvious.  There really isn’t much to go in in the teaser, but the sight of a teenage Clementine is enough for me to remain interested in the series.

One more piece of information that came up, yet had nothing to do with E3 proper, is how Koei Tecmo and Omega Force are making a Berserk Musou game.  No details have been revealed, nothing has been shown beyond a brief teaser, but this is actually happening, and I was actually a bit baffled by that idea until I remember that saying a game will be a musou game does not mean that it will basically be Dynasty Warriors.  Given the serious tone and horrific stuff that’s in Berserk, I’m still skeptical of whether or not this will work, and I should find out when the game comes out for PS4, Vita, and PC sometime soon.  Besides, I can’t very well judge a game like this based off of a teaser.

Now there are plenty of stray leaks I could nibble on.  A redesigned Xbox One, Recore information, Dead Rising 4 information, the announcement of a sequel to a game that I am upset at myself for having not yet played, but I will save them for June 13th, the day of reckoning.

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