Cool Stuff from E3 2016

As an evil feminist ardent gaming fan, I follow E3 pretty closely every year, so I figured I’d do a post about some of the games that stuck out to me! I’ve never done more newsy stuff here before, but it could be fun. If it sucks I won’t do it again; I’ll go back to annoying my Facebook feed with my liveblogs.

Disclaimer: There was no scientific selection process. These are the games that made me go, “Huh, I’ll keep an eye on that.”

Also, Nintendo’s conference was abysmal.

Inside:

Recore, Ark: Survival Evolved, We Happy Few, Scalebound, Stardew Valley, Dishonored 2, Fe, Grow Up, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last Guardian, Pokemon

Microsoft

Microsoft’s focus on cross-platform play is pretty neat, and makes Sony look kind of dickish for not allowing it. Since all their games are getting both Windows and XB1 releases, it saves me from having to buy both a PS4 and an XBox (which I probs will eventually anyway, but whatever).

Recore

This was one of the games last year that made waves for having a female protag. I was a little sad there were no major updates this year, because it seems completely awesome. It did get a gameplay trailer and a 9/13 release date though, which is neat. Also the song is really cool. Anyway, it’s nice to see some originality from an XBox game.

Ark: Survival Evolved

I’ve had my eye on this game ever since its Steam beta was released. The monster-taming, crafting, and town-sim elements are, shockingly, what seem really awesome to me, but I’d guess those who like more traditional survival games would be into it as well. I’m seeing claims of a July 28 release date, but I’m not sure how accurate that is. It’s also going to be multiplatform, including PS4, though it was in Microsoft’s conference where it showed up. There’s a compilation of all the trailers shown this year here.

We Happy Few

This game was part of Microsoft’s indie showcase, and while it’s not really my usual kind of thing, the premise was so neat and out there that I’m morbidly curious. From Wiki: The game is set in the fictional retrofuturistic dystopia town of Wellington Wells in England during 1964 after an alternate World War II: Germany successfully commenced Operation Sea Lion and invaded England, but was stopped after the citizens instigated an incident that caused severe depression and guilt albeit the Nazi’s surrender, and is known as the “Very Bad Thing”. To counter the guilt from toppling order, the city resorted to dosages of Joy, a drug that clears thought about everything, including the “Very Bad Thing.” The player controls a person who decides to not take the pill, whom are referred to as Downers. After not taking the pill, he finds that reality is altered when someone takes the pill, and can result in altered reality different from possibly gruesome events. He is then chased after, and decides to find an out-of-town exit to warn everyone.

It’s hitting Steam Early Access in mid-July.

Scalebound

This is an RPG where you’re a dude who controls a dragon. It’s coming out in 2017. That’s pretty much all I know, but, ya know, “dude who controls a dragon.” The trailer was a co-op boss battle, which isn’t particularly interesting to me, but I’ll keep an eye on it and hope the plot details sound neat.

Stardew Valley

Okay so this is kind of cheating because during the indie compilation trailer there was like a full 3 seconds of this game, but STARDEW VALLEY GUYS. I know there’s a bunch of other Harvest Moon-fen here, and man oh man am I excited to play this game. It’s out right now and I bought it but I haven’t gotten around to it just yet. Consider this a PSA.

Bethesda

Bethesda’s conference was disappointing to me. No new Elder Scrolls stuff, lots of MMO stuff, and other things I have little interest in. But…

Dishonored 2

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Also holy shit Gold Dust Woman was such a great choice. Oh man. Chills. Walk on ancient queen…

Also! One of the things the dev who did the talk pointed out was that there was a lot more personality and reaction in-universe from Corvo and Emily, so apparently I was not the only one who wanted that and the team heard loud and clear, which is neat.

EA

EA was mostly sports games I give zero shits about, but their indie showcase had one neat-looking thing I’ll keep an eye on.

Fe

The dev said there is no dialogue in this game, only music, which is really neat. You’re a little cub, and wake up in a forest, unsure of who or what you are, and embark on a journey to save the land. The art style is really unique and cool.

Ubisoft

Ubisoft’s show was definitely the most entertaining. It was so bizarre. Like “half-naked clowns dancing to Queen” bizarre. Also Aisha Tyler was amazing and sassy as hell, I loved her.

Grow Up

The only game that really stuck out to me was this sequel to a game I’ve never heard of, Grow Home. It reminded me of old Super-Mario-type adventure games, like Mario 64 or Mario Sunshine. Everything about it was just super cute. I’ll have to check out the original game.

Sony

Sony really had the best show. The orchestra was a little melodramatic, but I appreciated that they just let the games speak for themselves and didn’t drone on about all their products and innovation and shit. I’m here for trailers, and they gave me some gorgeous trailers. Definitely need to get a PS4 someday. Still waiting for that first price drop.

Horizon Zero Dawn

I am very excited for this game, which is due in January of 2017. “Robot dinosaurs” aside, everything about it looks amazing. There was a long gameplay sequence this year, but the cinematic trailer is below:

The Last Guardian

I hadn’t heard of this game before, but the trailer was absolutely stunning. I don’t know anything else about it, but it definitely caught my attention.

Nintendo

Nintendo’s show was awful. It wasn’t even a show. They only talked about Pokemon and Zelda, and it was just a Pokemon interview and like an hour of Zelda gameplay. IDK what they were trying to prove.

Pokemon Sun and Moon

I bring this up because I actually like the female PC’s outfit!

File:Sun Moon Protagonist female.pngFile:Sun Moon Protagonist male.png

Wtf is he wearing? Are those Crocs? And knee-length sweatpants? I’m not crazy about her implied midriff thing going on and am irritated that she gets a purse instead of a backpack, but her shorts actually make sense for walking around in a hot climate and her haircut isn’t ludicrous. Plus, she actually looks excited, like she’s moving forward, as opposed to like she was about to go shopping and then found a pokeball she doesn’t know what to do with.

tl;dr: my bar is low but this is better than we’ve gotten in a while. Also I would 100% buy a bag that looked like a grapefruit.

49 Comments

  1. SpoonyViking says:
    So, I watched the trailer to the new God of War, and I got what you said about Kratos being an idol to abusers everywhere.



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    1. illhousen says:
      I didn’t watch the trailer. What is it about?

      Kratos is such a ridiculously obvious shallow alpha male power fantasy, even mainstream media noticed it. Did he go a step beyond that or something?




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      1. actonthat says:
        The trailer is essentially about him abuser-101 terrorizing his son and then refusing to show him physical affection. LIKE A REAL MAN.



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      2. Farla says:
        Having watched the first games, Kratos is a pile of failure. His stupid bullshit gets his family killed and he realizes that’s what he really cared about, but then he can’t actually fix it and all he can do is get hollow revenge and commit suicide, and then he fucks that up too. In-game all he’s good at is murdering, and even then, when it’s something like “murder X in time to save Y” he also fails.

        So really, the game refutes itself.




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        1. SpoonyViking says:
          I’d actually go as far as to say that that’s intended – we see it even in the ending to the first game, where Athena explicitly tells him he is forgiven for his crimes, but he won’t forget them because that’s not how atonement works, and then he can’t deal with the pain anymore and tries to kill himself.

          The problem is that until that point, he has basically indulged in every power fantasy available – looking cool as he tears his enemies apart, having sex with all the hot women available and not giving a fuck for anybody else.

          That’s all to say that I basically agree with your assessment. :-P




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          1. Farla says:
            Well I realize it probably went over player’s heads, but I thought it was just great – you can make him can kill all the dudes and have all the threesomes and do all the special kills and get all the achievement badges and then do it again on hard mode, and he still walks off a cliff because who cares even.



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            1. SpoonyViking says:
              Yeah, but then they had to make the sequels. Now Kratos, in the face of the tyranny and cruelty of the Olympian gods, is a necessary force for change – and even good – in the world. (sigh)



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      3. SpoonyViking says:
        What Act said, basically. The “funny” part is that it was actually cringily realistic, but still played straight, as if he were just toughening up his son for a cruel world but actually loved him deep down.
        And as usual, the boy’s mother is already dead by the time the game starts.



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        1. Farla says:
          Well, I heard they’re changing teams so who knows, but if it’s like past games his stupid parenting techniques result in the kid hating him so much he makes a deal with some god to fuck him over. Kratos will attempt to murder people until he feels better, then eventually he runs out of people, realizes he still feels like shit, and tries to kill himself.



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          1. SpoonyViking says:
            That, or he will die while protecting Kratos (like Athena in the second game), or sacrifice himself to empower Kratos (like Pandora in the third one).



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            1. Farla says:
              Eh, I’d still accept that because fucking up so bad your kid has to sacrifice himself for you would be about the only way Kratos could screw up worse at this point. Normally it’s the parent dying for the kid but Kratos can’t even get that right, the loser.



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    2. actonthat says:
      It’s extra weird because Kratos is basically the character I see get called out the most for being such a hypermasculine, violent power fantasy, and… no changes for 2016, Sony? Still ME MAN SMASH?



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      1. Roarke says:
        Still ME MAN SMASH?
        If your target audience doesn’t change, why should you? /cynicism



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      2. SpoonyViking says:
        I think Roarke nailed it, unfortunately.



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  2. illhousen says:
    “We Happy Few”

    Oh, hey, I’ve heard of it! I generally don’t really follow the game news and just go by recs here and there, but I’ve stumbled upon some mentions of this game, and it seems to be interesting design-wise if nothing else.




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    1. actonthat says:
      It seems like exactly the kind of thing you’d like tbh.



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      1. illhousen says:
        Hm. The style looks good, and I like me some mindfuck, but I’m not so sure about gameplay. Freestyle survival is generally not my thing. Plus, I couldn’t run Contrast (the previous game by the studio, which also looks pretty damn interesting), so it’s questionable if I would be able to play it.

        Still, I’ll keep an eye on it.




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    2. Roarke says:
      Speaking of stuff you might be interested in, Torment: Numenera is slated for a Q1 2017 release. Man, I’m so glad the creator of Baldur’s Gate, Fallout, Planescape: Torment, etc. is making games again.

      edit: The beta is currently playable, and it’s about 10 hours of gameplay. If you wanna check it out, you can borrow my access.




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      1. illhousen says:
        Hm, I am interested and would like to try out the demo.



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        1. Roarke says:
          ‘k, I’m gonna need to get home (at work) and unlock the demo on Steam. Get my email from Act and hit me up.



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          1. illhousen says:
            OK, done.



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            1. Roarke says:
              Arright, if you’re ever going to backstab me, now’s the time. Sent you my Steam login.



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  3. Doortothe says:
    But its not over yet? Nintendo still has two more days of stuff to reveal.



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    1. actonthat says:
      Nintendo is weird and should just do what everyone else does.



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      1. Doortothe says:
        I like that they’re weird and different, even if its for the sake of that and just ends up being inconvenient, yes I’m a fanboy :P. Speaking of which, have you heard the answers the director of the new Zelda gave when asked why Link isn’t female and why he’s right-handed? They are also… weird



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        1. actonthat says:
          Well, traditionally, it’s because “we hate women” and “left-handed people are devilspawn” so I’m going to guess it’s not far off from those things.



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          1. Doortothe says:
            Well the answers can basically be summed up as “Because I said so”, which isn’t a wrong answer, but anyway.

            I believe regarding female Link, he said something along the lines of, “Well if we’re going to make Link female, we might as well go down the path of least resistance and make Zelda the main character. But then there wouldn’t be anything for Link to do.”

            As for the right-handed answer, I think it was something like, “So we don’t confuse people because they use the buttons on the right side of the controller to attack.”… Yeah I got nothing about that to say other than, “ok?”

            I know I’m paraphrasing these answers, but I don’t know by how much, but I’m pretty sure I got the gist of the answers in there.




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            1. actonthat says:
              TBH I don’t care about fem!Link, but with each passing year it’s more insulting that Nintendo won’t make a Zelda game with the titular character as the protagonist. It’s getting to the point where it just feels like overt contempt for their fans. So many people want this; it feels like it can’t be out of anything but spite that they keep refusing.

              Who was even asking why Link was right-handed, anyway? Why is that a question people care about?




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              1. Doortothe says:
                Considering that Link, outside of Wind Waker anyway, isn’t actually character, there really isn’t any reason he shouldn’t be customizable so the player can feel a stronger attachment to their Link. At the very least, I think characters like Link should at least be gender ambiguous like with Undertale, which removes the issue entirely. Unfortunately for Zelda’s case, they have established a tradition with Link being male as opposed to other things, and breaking it won’t be easy.

                IMO I’m happy with Linkle from Hyrule Warriors and I hope she ends up in this new game somehow. I like that she isn’t just a fem!Link because then she’s allowed to be her own character, and its a fun one.

                Oh, it didn’t quite occur to me that not everyone knows about the left-hand thing, my bad. See in every Zelda game up until the Wii version of Twilight Princess, Link has always been left-handed. Its never really meant anything other than a neat piece of trivia and coincides with the hand that usually gets the Triforce tattoo. And because this is a long series with a sizable fandom, some people care more than they should.

                With TP and Skyward Sword, it made sense to make Link right-handed because motion controls, though I am kinda curious if left-handed people have a harder time playing SS because Link’s movements and the player’s movements aren’t synched.




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              2. Farla says:
                Ooh, that’s a point I hadn’t thought of. As games try to be more immersive and motion-controlled, that means there’s now more selection pressure toward making characters that fit the most common demographic. You can’t do stuff like having a minority of characters be left-handed because the majority of people who play every game will be right-handed. And if most players are guys of particular dimensions, why put effort into making a game that’ll be able to handle various people when you could be fine-tuning it so it’ll work better for just the people most likely to play? (And I know I’ve heard complaints that voice controlled stuff doesn’t work if you have the wrong accent.)

                And if you’re playing videogames and disabled…well, sucks to be you!




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              3. actonthat says:
                Now that I think about it, the push toward VR is probably going to be pretty amazing for disabled people, especially bedridden ones.



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              4. Doortothe says:
                I imagine many disabled people have enjoyed the Kinect. It may be a failure in terms of enhancing the video game experience for the mainstream audience, but I’ve seen it have very good uses for physical therapy and similar applications.



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              5. Farla says:
                Hopefully! Especially given we’re also making big improvements at controlling artificial limbs by reading nerve impulses. Combine that with a game interface instead of a physical robot and you could get some great results.



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              6. actonthat says:
                But wait, why not have a setting for the handedness of the player and adjust accordingly? Isn’t that what most Wii games did anyway?



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              7. Doortothe says:
                I’m not going to pretend to know, I think it may be a technical thing. Most of Skyward Sword’s five year development time was spent getting the motion controls to the point they are now, which still isn’t completely perfect even if you’re right-handed. It shouldn’t be understanded how hard Nintendo must have worked to get the controls to work at that level.



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              8. Farla says:
                If you’re trying to make the character match, then it’s more work to make it so Link’s animations can swing with either hand and you have to figure out how to handle it when someone switches hands. And any time you make something more work, you have people not wanting to do it.



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              9. Mini-Farla says:
                IMO I’m happy with Linkle from Hyrule Warriors and I hope she ends up in this new game somehow. I like that she isn’t just a fem!Link because then she’s allowed to be her own character, and its a fun one.

                Admittedly I have been steadfastly ignoring everything Hyrule Warriors, but everything I’ve seen about her seems really token. Skimpier outfit, ridiculous pose in all the official artwork I’ve seen, uses ranged weapons because lol girls are too weak for melee combat… I can’t imagine her personality is much better.

                Making Link gender-neutral sounds like a really great idea actually, so of course it’ll never happen.




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              10. Doortothe says:
                Ooh that cynicism is burning hot. Mind if I borrow some? I’m going to need it for Paper Mario Color Splash and the fact that Nintendo has done nothing to improve the quality of their writing in their games as of late.



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              11. actonthat says:
                Also “Linkle” is a stupid name. Can’t undersell that part enough.

                (Everything I’ve seen about HW has been cringey.)




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              12. SpoonyViking says:
                To add insult to injury: they did make games where Zelda was the protagonist, but they were terrible ones in a console noone ever cared about.



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              13. Doortothe says:
                We don’t like to talk about it



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              14. Mini-Farla says:
                with each passing year it’s more insulting that Nintendo won’t make a Zelda game with the titular character as the protagonist. It’s getting to the point where it just feels like overt contempt for their fans. So many people want this; it feels like it can’t be out of anything but spite that they keep refusing.

                It’s doubly insulting because the other most common complaint is that their storytelling is stuck in a rut. You know what would spice things up, Nintendo? Switching the roles of the major characters, not saying “it’s exactly the same, BUT IN THE SKY!!!”

                But I think the real factor here is: does the Japanese audience want protag Zelda? I imagine they are the demographic that really matters.




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        2. actonthat says:
          (Also, I have a huge soft spot for Nintendo, but the way they decided to do E3 this year was annoying.)



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  4. Septentrion Euchoreutes says:
    Isn’t the female PC’s outfits always suited for a hot climate? This is the one region were it sucks to dress in the male PC’s typical clothing.



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    1. Farla says:
      A stopped clock is right twice a day! The beach outfits for Serena were similarly pretty good.



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  5. Septentrion Euchoreutes says:
    Hopefully, EA won’t do to Fe what they did to Spore.



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    1. actonthat says:
      My impression based on what they said about their indie dev program was that they’d be completely hands-off since 100% of sales profits were going back to the dev. I could be wrong, though.



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    2. Farla says:
      I don’t quite understand why no one has tried to do Spore again. Did they flat out delete all the earlier properly interactive builds?



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      1. Hadithi says:
        I’m guessing it’s because it was such a massive failure that no one wants to gamble on it again. Although people can point out that the problem was obviously that it didn’t deliver on its promises, not that the idea is worthless, I imagine that the people in charge of the money would rather put that money into more stable investments.

        But maybe with games like No Man’s Sky coming out and the constant emphasis on more “open world” games, a Spore kind of game will have a chance.




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