Sunday, 19 June 2016

Post-E3 2016 [Events]

Having said last post that there would be a Nintendo related post, that isn't happening owing to only keeping the focus of conference specific blogs to just conferences. In past years I've always only covered Treehouse streams in this post discussion, the same will happen this year. And it is with Nintendo we will start.

The first day focused almost exclusively on The Legend of Zelda - now with it's new subtitle of Breath of the Wild - though Pokémon Sun and Moon did feature at the beginning. Pokémon is looking interesting, despite still not knowing all that much. The gameplay featured showed off the new battle menu through a few wild Pokémon battles. Move effectiveness is shown underneath each move, so it's easier to know whether a Pokémon will be good for the current battle. Pokéballs can now be selected without having to go into the bag. Stat changes for both sides can now easily be seen by selecting one on the menu. There also seems to be a focus on battles in the lore of the island, with the gameplay shown having the first rival battle be in one of the festivals relating to battles that happen. It'll be interesting to see where that lore goes. There are still a lot more secrets to be revealed before release.
Then The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild blew everyone away. The story is yours to discover, just as the world is. Bringing back the more freeform exploration of the old Zelda games, but now in a huge open world, there is also a lot that is different yet the same. The game has degradable weapons, a health meter instead of the heart system of previous games, cooking and combining items to help you survive, and a whole new way of taking on enemies you encounter. There really is too much to talk about in detail, but even to someone who isn't exactly invested in the series [if you really want to know my experience, it boils down to messing around on the first two games - not even getting anywhere - and a play through of Phantom Hourglass. I am almost finished with Link Between Worlds though], I really want to get into this game. Places have likened the game to The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, so that should give you a good idea of what to expect. The shrines in the game were shown off, which seem to be the equivalent of mini dungeons. Getting through them requires some puzzle solving and enemy beating. It is definitely one to watch, and while some may not agree, it is clear why Nintendo chose to focus so heavily on it.

For the second day of Nintendo streaming, we had a lot more to look at. It was the Pokémon GO! Q&A to begin with, which didn't seem to hold much information that those following the game already knew about. After that was new game Ever Oasis, a decent RPG offering that follows in the puzzle mechanics of The Legend of Zelda series. Here you are growing your own Oasis - literally, with seeds - and putting money in to get more out of each building. It sounds like Tiny Tower, but with added extras, though the focus seems to be more on the RPG side than the business side. BoxBoxBoy was next, with new Mario Party game Star Rush following this. While I can't really say much on BoxBoxBoy, it seems to offer more of the same with a few new quirks. Mario Party: Star Rush though, held my attention longer. The second Mario Party game on 3DS, this one definitely seems an improvement - over the previous handheld entry as well as some more recent console entries. All four players roll and move at the same time, with the idea being to both add to your group by running across Mario characters [all four players are Toads], and getting to the boss first in order to initiate a battle and hopefully win the competition between the other players for most hits on the boss. The winner will earn a star, and the person who gets the most stars wins the game. Items also play a part in earning an advantage, and these can also be found around the map. After this was Yo-Kai Watch 2, followed by Monster Hunter Generations, followed by Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past. I didn't see a whole lot of this part, though I know Yo-Kai Watch 2 expands on what the first gave, and Dragon Quest VII is looking to be a great remake of the original PS1 game. Monster Hunter Generations has a demo available, so you can get some hunting practise with the new mechanics before the full release. Not going to say much as it's better to experience for yourself. Next was Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, and since I have no interest at all in it, I tuned out after a minute or so, then returned to see a bit more gameplay checking in to see when the next game would be on. From what I saw, the combat is turn-based, taking place in arenas. The game releases next week, so there wasn't really much to show or tell. I'd tuned back in half way through Paper Mario: Colour Splash to see that the paint mechanic can be used for puzzles, that there are some wild special moves that can be used during combat, and the Koopalings are in the game. The last new game shown was Rhythm Heaven Megamix, a game for the more high score chasing gamers. Getting the button presses right is key, and there are numerous minigames to take on. A number of them were shown off, including one which had you translating for an alien. All the games on offer involve timing, and it is available right now in America, along with a demo. Us Europeans have to wait until October though. The second day finished with more Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, showing off some of what was shown on day one.

Elsewhere, Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice is getting positive previews from a lot of people, so it sounds as though the delay is paying off. Crash Bandicoot is in Skylanders. Wait... there's also a remaster of the first three games? Hopefully that pays off. The bandicoot has been waiting for a comeback, and if the remasters do well, it might very well happen. Sony also brought the big guns with a God of War reboot as well as an Insomniac Spiderman game. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue gets a December release, and Square also said no Final Fantasy worlds for Kingdom Hearts 3. A number of teases also came for the number of HD releases for Xbox gamers. It's possible 1.5, 2.5, and 2.8 might come to Xbox One, and 1.5 and 2.5 coming to PS4 [both were PS3 releases].
I am big on Nintendo, and am starting to explore the wider Microsoft IP's, so that is where my focus lies. I will say again though, Steep looked absolutely beautiful. A fan of the extreme sports games, I am looking forward to getting on the slopes again. It's been so long since SSX On Tour on the PSP [the last one I played], and Steep is being described as a true successor of the SSX series. Outside of the conferences and Nintendo related material, I haven't seen a whole lot of E3 this year. I do know the games I am most wanting from it though, and Steep is one of them. Forza Horizon 3 is another, and of course Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

That's all for another E3, and we're waiting for Nintendo NX news coming soon. We don't know when, but it is sure to be coming within the next three or four months. And of course, the next mainline Sonic the Hedgehog game, which is all but confirmed for a July 22nd reveal. On the day of the anniversary party. There's also the fact that it is Sonic's actual anniversary this coming week. Might we get a tease then?

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

E3 2016: Ubisoft's Conference [Events]

Ubisoft's conference was interesting enough. They had to have the usual dancers for Just Dance - which opened the event - doing a movement filled dance routine to Don't Stop Me Now. Not much was said on it, but the game will be coming to all current platforms, including PC and Nintendo's NX.
The first big game came in the form of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands. A trailer giving context to the story was shown off first. Then there was a talk on how this is the largest world Ubisoft have ever made, how it'll give you the freedom of choice to do things the way you want. It then moved on to a gameplay mission being shown off. The usual online co-op played out, with a group of players working their way to the objective in different ways, coordinating moves and plans with each other. It looked interesting enough, though of course the experience will be different depending on who you get online with. The game will be releasing March 27th.

We then get to South Park: The Fractured But Whole. A trailer about criminal activity in America is shown, then talk into the South Park game begins. Following on from The Stick of Truth, you are still the new kid, though this time the group have swapped games to be superheroes - hence the criminal activity trailer. With typical South Park humour, the game begins with your character swapping from one game to the next, getting dressed up as a superhero. Here you can mix and match powers from different classes to create a unique hero. Once that's done, a gameplay/cutscene mix gave us the next part of the game, with the group talking about the backstory of your superhero, again in the typical South Park fashion. After a talk about the combat, which has been improved to allow you the freedom of movement, it was then said anyone who buys The Fractured But Whole - either pre-ordered or after release on December 6th - would get The Stick of Truth for free. To end off the full trailer was shown.
Tom Clancy's The Division had DLC talk, with the first - Underground - being set under the streets of Manhattan. Here you'll be heading into enemy territory to take out a new threat. Every time you head underground, it will be a new challenge with randomly generated missions to take on. The release for other platforms was confirmed as August 2nd. The other DLC - Survival - has you in a storm-torn city, evading hostiles while getting the materials needed to survive. Away from the paid for DLC, three outfits will be available for the game from other Tom Clancy games.

Two virtual reality games were shown off next. The first was Eagle Flight, taking place in a Paris that nature is slowly reclaiming. The game is a three on three Capture the Flag game, with each person taking the role of an eagle, and shooting others with their caws to take them out and get the food to their nest before the other team. The second VR game was Star Trek: Bridge Crew, where you and friends take the role of a bridge crew as you explore the galaxy. Both games look good, but play value is yet to be determined. In other words, they look like games to play for short amounts of time.
For Honor was then shown off, first with a trailer of the world being torn apart from underground which causes the three factions to start warring with each other. Gameplay followed of the normal hack 'n' slash variety as a group of Vikings storm a Samurai base. The campaign is made up of each faction driving enemy forces back from their bases. The game releases February 14th.
A sequel to Grow Home was announced - Grow Up. It has an August release. Trials of the Blood Dragon mixes the two series together, and was announced to be released after the show - meaning it is available right now. Then talk of the Assassin's Creed movie followed, which has a release of December 21st.

Watch Dogs 2 looks bigger than the first, with a propaganda trailer making way to show off the world of San Francisco Bay. The trailer moves into gameplay, showing numerous abilities available with hacking. Multiple missions will show up on the map, with the routes to get to them colour coded. Gameplay of a mission was shown off, which gave a greater look at the hacking abilities and the ways to use them in missions. The game has a November 15th release. It was announced that Sony have exclusive rights, first with a movie being made for the series, and with the DLC being available first thirty days before other platforms. A story trailer followed from this, with the announcement of a limited edition having a remote-controlled robot from the game included with it.
The last game up was a bombshell indeed. An open world game - not about shooting or driving - set on a mountain range. This is Steep, an extreme winter sports game that focuses on the experiences you have on the mountains. This is clear from the fact you can share replays instantly from the map - or Mountain View, as it was called - as well as set challenges for others to beat score or time. Armed with a wingsuit, parachute, snowboard and skis, you can jump to set points on the mountain from the map and take a cruise down it. The trail lines on the Mountain View show where you came from, and are the way to sharing your replays. Being online, the game allows you to meet other players on the mountain and meet up, though you can ghost yourself to stop them messing you up if you so wish. It releases in December.

Of all the games Ubisoft showed, Steep is the one I'm most excited about. I've loved the extreme sports games a lot over the years, and to return once again to winter sports is great. I'm so interested in Steep that I registered for the beta. The mountain range looked absolutely beautiful, and I'm sure the full game will be just as much. I had interest in the first Watch Dogs, though slowly lost that interest over time. The second looks to be better, so I might give it a chance. Eagle Flight is something I might play if it didn't need VR equipment. The game might be better for that, but we'll see when more information is released for it. Having yet to try out modern VR tech, I can't exactly say whether it would be for me. My sister's a fan of South Park, me not so much. She has already pre-ordered The Fractured But Whole, and I'll be trying out the first game. I might find something to like.

E3 is soon coming to a close, but Nintendo have yet to have their full say. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks stunning in that art style, and is definitely more open than any Zelda game before. Pokémon Sun and Moon is also looking an improvement, though full details will come tomorrow with the Nintendo E3 post. I've decided to join the two days into one - and include the special Pokémon video in that - so tomorrow will be fully Nintendo focused.

Monday, 13 June 2016

E3 2016: Microsoft's Conference [Events]

Microsoft... You really took that to the next level. A large amount of games, and even two hardware revisions announced. Big scale reveals and smaller alike got the crowd excited.
Talking of console revisions, one of them is what they started with. The Xbox One S is forty percent smaller than the original, and has its power block inside the console. With the revision comes a revised controller, with a textured grip, extra range, and a bluetooth connectivity button. The Xbox One S sure looks better, though I'm hoping it will come in other colours than white. It launches for $299 in August.
The first game was a big one. Gears of War 4. Before getting to the game itself though, a service announcement. Xbox Play Anywhere will allow for games to be fully cross-compatible. Between the Xbox One and Windows 10, you can buy on one, play on both. Save on one, pick up on the other. Play with each other between both. Gears of Wars 4 was the first game announced to be a part of this service, but it certainly wasn't the last.
For Gears itself, there was a lengthy co-op campaign gameplay demo showing the one level and gameplay mechanics. The storm the level took place in looked great, and different changes would happen that affected how the player moved. After this, it was said the game would launch October 11, and that a limited edition Elite controller would launch with it.
For Killer Instinct and Gears fans, a Gears related character makes his way into the former game. General Raam is the new fighter in Killer Instinct, as shown in the reveal trailer.

As with any Forza game, Horizon 3's announcement trailer was absolutely gorgeous. It gave us a look at the new world we'd be racing on. The new vehicles we could race with. And more importantly, it showed that the Horizon Festival had moved to Australia - the largest and most diverse open world of any Forza Horizon game before it. They showed off the Xbox Play Anywhere stuff, with four players to show off new online features. Four player co-op racing is available in the game, and one person can bring others into the game, merging the other players seamlessly into their world. The game will be available September 27th.
ReCore had a trailer showing off gameplay elements, and Final Fantasy XV was demoed on the stage, with a fast and fluid battle system shown off during a large boss battle. The game has a 30th September release date. Tom Clancy's The Division Underground had a trailer, and it was said that the game would be available first on Xbox One June 28th. Battlefield 1 got confirmation that EA Access members would get access to the game on October 13th - a week before full release.

More service announcements followed with three new ways to connect with people. The first was Background Music on Xbox One coming in the summer. This helps with those wanting to listen to their own tracks, perhaps while racing on Forza. The next was Clubs on Xbox Live, allowing community groups to be created for various games. The next two are related - called Looking for Group on Xbox Live, and Arena on Xbox Live. Both are multiplayer related, with the former allowing you to join into a group of people playing a game, and the latter being a tournament based feature that brings a competitive edge to games. EA Sports was confirmed to be bringing numerous games into the Arena service.
Minecraft mobile editions get The Friendly Update, allowing iOS, Android and Windows users to connect with each other. They are also getting dedicated servers thanks to realms. Also confirmed was Oculus support. Realms is already available, with Oculus support coming later on. Also confirmed, though coming later, are texture packs and add-on support. Texture packs allow for pre-set textures to be changed in to the game. The add-ons allow user-created textures and other abilities, such as making villagers into fighters.
The Xbox Design Labs has now added Xbox One Controller customisation to its services.

INSIDE opened the indie trailers, and it was announced to be launching June 29th. As well as that, Limbo - the previous game from the developers -  is now free to all.
A trailer showing numerous independent games followed, with focus then put on Ark: Survival Evolved, which will be joining the Xbox Play Anywhere service. Those who already own the game are able to get full benefits without another purchase.
We Happy Few was then covered with a gameplay demo, which jumped into a small trailer. It's an interesting concept, similar to the likes of the film THX-1138 - where the community is controlled by a drug and anyone who breaks the spell is to be killed. Could do without the weird masked faces though. The game will be on Game Preview July 26th.
The Witcher 3 had a card game as part of its world, and many players liked nothing more than to play it for countless hours. So that has now got a game of its own. Gwent: The Witcher 3 Card Game is literally lifted from the main game and added to with a single player campaign on its own. Available on both Xbox One and Windows 10, with a beta coming in September.

Tekken was given spotlight, with Tekken 7 having seamless transitions between cutscenes and fights. The game will be coming early 2017, and to get players in the mood for the new game, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is available to Xbox Live Gold players free for a week.
Dead Rising 4 got announced with a load of zombies being slayed while a Christmas song played... Yeah. It appears to take place at Christmas, so it made sense. Available on both Xbox One and Windows 10.
Scalebound had a trailer, announcement for both Xbox One and Windows 10 with a 2017 release, and available on Xbox Play Anywhere. The game features a co-op campaign and has some of the biggest bosses in gaming.
Sea of Thieves got a trailer with a nice pirate theme, available on both Xbox One and Windows 10. Some fans got to play the game first, and the footage was recorded and shown to everyone on screen. The game is open world, and allows players to do whatever they want within the world. Ships will sink if holes don't get patched up in time as water leaks into them. The game seems fun, though is entirely multiplayer focused.
State of Decay 2 got announced with a trailer, giving it an Xbox One and Windows 10 2017 release.

Halo Wars 2 gets a trailer setting the scene. It releases on February 21st on both Xbox One and Windows 10, with a beta available on the Xbox One right now for an entire week. It will also be available on the Xbox Play Anywhere service. Another trailer then showed off the gameplay.
Ending time for the conference. And a talk about how Microsoft and the Xbox brand has evolved. The way Phil Spencer was talking, it felt as though something big was coming. An interview trailer was shown, with people talking about building the greatest console ever, for both developers and the players. There was a big talk of massive specifications. Then - Project Scorpio, the next in line for the Xbox One family. Releasing holiday 2017, all games and accessories will be compatible across the whole Xbox One range, including Scorpio. Not bad to end the conference.

I have to say, this conference moved a lot faster than EA's did. Focus was placed where focus was needed, and I am so skipping Forza Horizon 2 for the third game. And that's not long to wait. The other games were interesting enough, though whether I get any is another matter. I might have a look at ReCore when it releases, and perhaps have a look into either Halo or Gears. I might also have a look into that beta. Free stuff is always a plus when it comes to games, so while I'm not a huge fan of Tekken, I might try Tag Tournament 2.
With Ubisoft soon to be up, I'll be covering it here. As always, stay tuned to the news sites like IGN and GamesRadar+, or platform specific sites such as Nintendo Life or Push Square, for all the E3 news as it comes.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

E3 2016: EA's Conference [Events]

Well, there is a case for change. One of my mottos of life has been to allow change to happen and review the results after. EA did change. I'm not exactly convinced on some areas though.
The first game shown was Titanfall 2, and the multiplayer looks absolutely great. Sure, I couldn't join in with the first game until last year, but I enjoyed seeing the game in action and I enjoyed playing the game when I finally got my hands on it. Titanfall 2's multiplayer looks bigger and better. And there's now a grappling hook. At the end of the trailer, this was shown to be used to pull the player toward another ejected pilot and gut him when in melee distance. Titanfall 2 will be on Playstation 4 as well, and the game has a release date of 28th October. The single player campaign is interesting, expanding on new ideas. We knew Titans could move and function on their own, but now they have personalities and act more human. The trailer for the single player showed that, as the Titan of the story [and even those in the multiplayer trailer] pulled melee combos and acted more athletic. I'm sure this will be a great game, as fluid and action packed as the first.

Now, I know sports games are an important part of EA's library - and they did a better job this time of not having every single one show up - but it still felt like they took up almost half of the conference. Even with just two!
The first one shown was Madden. This was mostly just talking about how Madden is an important part of eSports, and showing some stuff off related to that. They covered the Madden tournament that's happening at the EA Play event over the next few days, and barring a few gameplay snippets there was very little showing actual gameplay.
Mass Effect: Andromeda also suffered a bit from this. We did get a Behind the Scenes trailer that showed various worlds and action taking place within the game, but it would have been nice to see more than just snippets of each set piece. The details of the game are interesting though. We as the player explore new galaxy Andromeda, taking in all these new worlds, environments, and creatures. There's more freedom than before that allows exploration through the galaxy. The game being powered by Frostbite means the world can be felt more fully than before. All in all, this is a good one to look forward to when more information on it falls this... um, fall.

EA is unlocking Access for all people throughout this week. That means people on Xbox One and PC can explore the trials and full games on offer for the entire week completely free. With Mirror's Edge: Catalyst only just being added to the service, now might be a good time for those unsure about a purchase to try it for ten hours on trial.
After that small info drop, it was back to sports. FIFA is getting a new single player experience for its 2017 instalment. Called The Journey, you play as Alex Hunter on his rise to fame, meeting new people and getting to experience the full journey of a footballer. In part, it feels a bit like an RPG, in that you follow and influence the actions of one person. As part of this new mode, premier league managers are now included in the game. Well, four of them anyway. It was nice to see the retro throwback at the beginning of this segment showing the evolution of the game. Of course, the trailer at the end showed little gameplay, though did give information on new and improved systems.

EA, after the success of Yarny last year, now have a program called EA Originals. This is a program where EA will support independent developers and all money made from that game will be given to the developers. The first game from this program is simply titled Fe. It is a game about people and their connection with nature. Playing as a small cub, you explore the world and call out to nature and the creatures of the world to connect with them. This cub has only just awoken, so has no idea about where it is or even who it is. A group of animals have also just awoken, but these want to corrupt the world. The game itself is a 3D platformer with an art-style made mostly of black, blue, and purple. It's an interesting choice to go against the convention of natural brown and green, but I'm sure the darker tone will help the game with the connection it wants to feel. To get a personal experience from the game, it won't be a linear adventure, so you explore and interact with the world at your own pace and make it your own personal adventure. Just like with Yarny, I'm watching this one. Just like with Yarny, I'll run it through a trial with EA Access first.

And the thing I was most interested about is nearly non-existent. I'm talking about Star Wars, of course. They have said after the first Battlefront that they are listening, so content from the new films will be in there. I'm hoping prequel trilogy content will be as well DICE. Visceral and DICE are creating completely new experiences, though we won't be getting those until 2018 and beyond. We got a tease of each game, and a tease of the new Bespin content for Battlefront's DLC, but aside from that it was just talk of wanting to please the fans with new experiences. We will see.
Last thing was Battlefield 1, and with a small teaser of the full trailer they launched straight into the technicals. Dynamic weather will change the battlefield over play and even between plays. The destruction will be more intuitive and natural. Larger vehicles such as the blimp and battleship allow greater control of the battle from the land, sea, and air. They want this to be an epic, unforgettable experience. The community also has had a greater impact upon the game, and they get to show the first gameplay of the multiplayer. For an hour after the presentation ended, members of the community played the multiplayer to show it off. The last thing was the full trailer, and it showed quite a bit while being big and full of explosions. I haven't seen the multiplayer gameplay yet, but from what I know of Battlefield 4's multiplayer I expect it will be great.

So that was EA in full. Fe looks great, though I'm still unsure about it. Titanfall 2 looks expanded in every way from the first, and looks better for that. Aside from that, I can't say there's much to be excited about. There wasn't much there. Granted, they probably didn't have much to show. But in 2014 they showed concepts of games like Battlefront, Mirror's Edge, and even Criterion's new game. Even in concept form, the showing of such games allows that first look - even if it isn't finished. Criterion's new game is just a concept - yet they had enough of that concept to show to give people an idea of what to expect. Yeah, sure - it might fall out of the viewer attention over time, but it gets put back in the heads of the viewer when shown again as they remember that great concept they saw from the previous year. Or maybe they didn't much like that concept but find that in its new form it looks great. It was great to see the snippets of the new Star Wars games, but throughout the conference it felt like too much talk and not enough action.
Going back to what I said about change at the beginning, EA have. They have shown that they are willing to listen, and are willing to support developers. They are slowly trying to regain trust in their fans who, over the years, have been sceptical about them. But this conference showed that they still don't know the best way to showcase things. Going about different games in different ways. Sure, sports games don't need that much gameplay, but they can also benefit from both talks and trailers being together. Showing gameplay elements while talking about them. Sure, immersion. But what about streamlining? It helps to get information out, but breaking that up between numerous trailer parts to talk in-between them for large amounts of time doesn't help. Maybe it's just me with a disinterest in sports games, but there are numerous others who feel the sports go on way too long. Considering the internet jokes about it, it feels EA only changed half of how they do sports content. They needed to go the full way. This goes for other areas as well, I feel. Or maybe it's just that the conference itself felt empty that I'm thinking this. Maybe there's also another reason EA are tight lipped about upcoming projects, though that won't be founded in truth until Nintendo reveal the NX. Of course, it could also be exclusives for either the PS4 or Xbox One they're keeping back.

That was a look and my thoughts at EA's conference for E3. Tomorrow will be my thoughts on both the Microsoft and Ubisoft conferences. Tuesday will have no content, though I will be following what Nintendo put out. Wednesday will more than likely be the first Nintendo content update - giving my thoughts of Day 1 - followed by Thursday for both Day 2 and what will probably be a very short Day 3 with only one item for that day. Until all that, there's Bethesda's conference. It won't be covered in full here, though just like with Sony it will be featured in the post-E3 blog post. Just like me, stay tuned to gaming news sites like IGN and GamesRadar+, or format specific sites like Nintendo Life or Push Square, for all the E3 news as it happens.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Pre-E3 2016 [Events]

There is now less than a week to go until the biggest gaming event of the year. And yet, things seem different this year. EA have opted to host their own event instead of actually attend E3. Since the event is so close to E3 in both location and time, it is still considered a part of E3 however. Also there is the case of Nintendo forgoing a presentation altogether to put the focus entirely on the Treehouse team and live-streams direct from the show floor. Since the initial announcement of just The Legend of Zelda for WiiU, Pokémon Sun and Moon footage has been confirmed, as well as a second day of show floor streaming focused on other games. Everyone else is still doing the same things, so let's get to the main meat.

As said, EA have a separate event from E3 running at the same time. This has meant that they get out of their usual time slot from past years, and now move twenty six hours forward to a Sunday 12th date at 13:00 PDT/21:00 BST. As far as games go, the conference will be packed as usual with sports games. Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, and Mass Effect Andromeda have been confirmed to be shown as well. EA blew fans away with the full reveal of Star Wars Battlefront last year, and it has been three years since the Star Wars games by EA deal was confirmed. What else will be shown now that the biggest game has been released? Something that might be even bigger. A third person Star Wars game has been on the cards since the information started trickling out, but never has anything official been said on it. E3 is the biggest time of the year. Star Wars is one of the largest franchises of all time. It makes sense for a new reveal to come next week. The Sims could be shown off with a new expansion for the latest game, or maybe new content for Need For Speed. Of course, let's not forget about Criterion's new game. Revealed during the 2014 conference, it was nothing but a concept of a first person extreme vehicle sport... event. It was an interesting concept, though even Criterion said they had no idea where it could go. It was a no-show during 2015, so it seems only right for it to make a comeback as more than just a concept this year.

Microsoft stay with tradition and start Monday off at 09:30 PDT/17:30 BST. Both Sony and Microsoft are said to be bringing more powerful consoles for the ride, but not new consoles. Both are expansions of the current PS4/Xbox One consoles, being pumped with enough grunt to handle extra features. Sony are already preparing PSVR to be shown and released, it's just a case of Microsoft having something of the same calibre. They have HoloLens, but augmented reality still needs some time to take off. Maybe Microsoft can do that.
In terms of games, there are a number of them from previous conferences that have yet to be released. ReCore, Below, Crackdown 3 are just some of them. Dead Rising 4 has been rumoured to be getting an announcement. It's possible Microsoft have a numerous surprises, as they do most years. While I wouldn't want to take a guess as to what those are, if they push HoloLens again, it is likely at least one or two new games will show it off. As I say every year, Microsoft is pushing back into the PC gaming space, and as unlikely as it ever will be, a spiritual successor to Midtown Madness would suit me perfect. Their focus on Forza is great - and to have a Forza on PC is brilliant - but Forza is more of a simulation game. An arcade racer IP to go alongside that would expand the racing output further.

Ubisoft take the stage next at 13:00 PDT/21:00 BST, and the main highlight will more than likely be Watch Dogs 2. The first suffered from being cut back from what was originally shown, but still managed to be a good game. This second one will no doubt expand on the features of the first. Of course, the other big game will be Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands. The series always does well, and this game is going to follow the same way. The game also seems to be taking the roots of the series and expanding on them, with a modern day setting rather than the more futuristic settings of past games. For Honor is the new game on the block, with three medieval factions to choose from as a war is raged. Still without a release date, it is bound to be revealed here. The only other thing of note for Ubisoft - bar new announcements - is Just Dance 2017. As a yearly franchise, it is bound to make an appearance with a new tracklist.

Sony, as usual, are well over midnight for anyone in the UK and Europe since the eight hour difference in time looks like 18:00 PDT/02:00 BST [14th]. Sony has PSVR to show off, and a possibly powered up PS4. Virtual reality is looking fun, with Rebellion supplying a game called Battlezone. Tank warfare in first person and with actually feeling like you're in the game should be something great. Of course, showing the game and experiencing it are two different things, especially where virtual reality is concerned. Of course, there are a lot of other PSVR games, and showing them off will probably not take long if they're put in a montage reel with one or two focus points expanded a bit.
Elsewhere, non-VR games will also be part of the conference, and it wouldn't surprise me if Ratchet and Clank had a second game in the making. The first of the rebooted series did well enough to deserve one. Gran Turismo Sport will have optional PSVR support, but the game itself seems to be bringing in a bit of focus. As much as it is a long shot, either a spiritual successor or the return of the- er, bandicoot himself. People want a new Crash Bandicoot game. Every hint makes people go crazy. And this being the anniversary, it needs to happen. Of course, it probably won't.

Speaking of anniversaries, it's Sonic the Hedgehog's 25th. We know nothing of the next main series game, and there is the chance a teaser could be revealed at E3. Boom: Fire and Ice is already getting a trailer, so why not a teaser for the main series as well? Away from his own games though, it is rumoured that Sonic will be featured in LEGO Dimensions. What better time to do that than on his 25th? With new Mario Kart 8 DLC also being hinted at, could Sonic also be featuring in Mario's karting game?
Thankfully Nintendo have more than just The Legend of Zelda to show. With the new Pokémon trailer came the fact that Sun and Moon would also feature at E3 during Nintendo's streaming sessions. Then Nintendo themselves confirmed that more than just a day was coming. Monster Hunter Generations and Dragon Quest are to be featured on the second day, along with other games. With no actual presentation, could it be that new announcements will come from these days of Treehouse streams? With the WiiU line-up looking extremely thin, the idea of download content for previous major releases seems to have taken hold - especially after a Nintendo of Europe tweet that people have taken as a hint for more Mario Kart 8 DLC. I'm not going to say what I'd like, as with Pokémon Sun and Moon - and even the possibility of more content for Mario Kart 8 - they pretty much have everything I want. Except that open world Mii game set on Wuhu Island that fully expands the ideas set in store by Wii Sports Resort, of course. The island showed so much potential after Wii Sports Resort, and being added into Mario Kart 7, Pilotwings Resort, and Super Smash Bros. 4 has to count for something. Despite no NX at E3, even a hint that something like the Mii Resort Paradise idea I have talked about before [and many others] would be a wonderous thing.

Elsewhere we have Bethesda, who seem to be bringing the next Elder Scrolls game along this time. There is also the PC Gaming Show, where numerous games should be talked about. Frontier Developments game Planet Coaster should get some attention here, especially as Elite: Dangerous has before. Of course, the conferences aren't the only places for reveals. News will be coming in from all the days of E3, and I'm as interested as anybody in seeing the goods - even if I won't play most of them.
As always, I will be covering the EA, Microsoft, and Ubisoft conferences, and will still be covering Nintendo - even if it does come in parts.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Joyous Uneventful News [Network]

Don't know whether all the news is uneventful - what with E3 coming up once again - but keeping with the title creation from the first three letters of a month, I felt it appropriate.
First off, I recently managed to knock the 'i' from iDarkRula on my Youtube channel. I have no idea for how long I was able to make the change, but now that it is done, I feel better about it. When I first put the name of my account to DarkRula, I was unable to do so without the 'i' owing to another account of the same name - one, it seems, that wasn't being used. I could have just used the name DarkRula on all other mentions including the video opening, but it never felt right. Now the name without the 'i' is free, I took it. I use the name without the 'i' for everything else, now I can use it without the 'i' where it matters. Despite this, the legacy URL is still iDarkRula, and the account still shows as such in search engines. Hopefully that gets updated somewhere down the line.
The Chameleon Chronicles is now finished, and the look back post has been published. Chapter links have been added to the right-side panel. There is one last announcement for the story. In fact, for the stories as a whole. The Chameleon Chronicles has the honour of being the first story being uploaded to my WattPad account. So far just the first chapter and a placeholder cover are uploaded, but over the next few days I plan to get the final cover ready and the rest of the story uploaded.
Doctor Who: The Star Wars Chronicles starts back up this month, and I held off on the Past, Present, Future post until this month so each story got it's focus on each month. The Past, Present, Future post will start the story back off, and the Qiilura arc continues later on.

For game related things, the Star Wars Battlefront video will be up this month after managing to record at the tail-end of last month. The blog post relating to LEGO Star Wars either will or won't be posted. With less than a month away, I want to cover it in some way, but there doesn't seem to be a need to go into much detail about what I would like from it now the advertising for it has increased.
As mentioned at the start, E3 is coming up, and I'll be doing my regular posts. Things will be a bit different though, since EA will have their conference first due to not actually attending E3 itself. Instead they have their own convention set up for people to attend, and a conference earlier than they usually hold it, a day before the others. Nintendo are also on a bit of a different path, as the only thing being showcased with them is the new Legend of Zelda game. There has to be other games too, but the main focus is on Zelda with nothing else announced. And unless they do a surprising twist of events, the NX will be nowhere in sight.

Keep an eye on the posts, they will be coming. That's all for now.