Every year E3 seems to have a few distinguishable patterns in its announcements. One year it was 3D, another it was camera support. So what are the trends we noticed in this year’s E3?
Pander Pander Pander
This year’s E3 was full of pandering, not that it’s a bad thing. After Microsoft’s fiasco of not listening to its consumers and Sony profiting from that negative response, both companies kicked “WE LISTEN TO YOU, BELOVED CUSTOMERS” in to full gear. Microsoft started off Pandercon 2015 with its announcement of Backward Compatibility, something customers have been wanting since the 360 and PS3 came out. Then they went ahead and showed off Gears of War 4 gameplay, which was totally unexpected. Hell, at the end of the Microsoft press conference we said Sony would have to hit with nukes to beat Microsoft.
And boy did they.
They dropped the biggest bombs they could possibly drop all in one press conference. Not only is Last Guardian not dead, but it’s being released next year. Shenmue 3 is happening and its Kickstarter went live during the press conference. And last, but certainly not least, the mother of all remakes is happening. The HD Final Fantasy VII remake for Playstation 4 is official. Not an uprez of the original, not the PC version available on PSN, a legitimate remake of the game everyone’s been requesting for years. Sony went all in with the pandering and it paid off big time.
Even Square Enix jumped in after the Sony presser and released more info on Kingdom Hearts III, more info on the new Star Ocean, and announced a sequel to Nier. Couple that with the Final Fantasy VII remake and their announcement of a game coming from a company literally named Tokyo RPG Factory, and hype was at an all time high.
The pandermachine isn’t necessarily a bad thing for gamers. It’s a great time to be part of a very loud crowd that hasn’t had enough attention. Who knows, maybe we’ll get another Chrono game, a PC port of the newer Halos, or even a new Red Dead game. If this rolling carnival of handouts for the loud and ignored continues, we may even get a Super Mario RPG remake.
Though the trend isn’t a HUGE one, it still definitely exists. After the success of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, fabric-based textures seem to be a growing trend in games. Both Yoshi’s Woolly World and Unravel are based around characters made out of yarn and how adorable they are.
Think about it, if Yarny wasn’t made out of yarn, but was rather a little dude running about through the woods, you wouldn’t care nearly as much. And the same goes for Mario’s dino friend. Yoshi’s New Island came out to a tepid response with its map color-esque graphics. We postulate that just maybe the game would have been more successful if it had just been a lot more cute. The game didn’t have bad gameplay, it just looked kinda meh. Slap a layer of yarn, fabric, and some cute details on it and you’ve got a hit!
Remember that trend a few years ago where everything was brown and grey and terrible? Like Fallout 3, Gears of War, et al.? Well we’re finally coming out of that, it seems. Fallout 4 seems to have finally shrugged off the terrible color palette that characterized its predecessor, allowing for a far more visually interesting title to come forth. At the time, Fallout 3 looked amazing and the world was huge, so the limited color palette could be overlooked, but playing it now, the game gets so visually boring so so quickly. The graphics in Fallout 4 aren’t even all that much better than in Skyrim, but the colors sets it so far apart from Fallout 4 that it looks like it was done by a different studio. We can’t emphasize how much better it looks.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was lauded as a great, beautiful game. But everything in the god damn thing was orange and black! Every. Thing. The new title, Mankind Divided, looks much less visually constricted, as if they finally allowed themselves to use greens. It’s a wonderful difference. Even Gears of War, the brownest brown that ever browned, had a nighttime trailer in which the camera showed off other colors. It was crazy. It’s like video games finally discovered the other side of the color wheel.