With the Electronic Entertainment Expo — E3, parishioners — just a few days away, we’re down to our final video game previews within E3odus. Better yet, we also have a PrE3 Podcast for your listening pleasure. So, join “Papa Justifid” Spencer Fawcett, “Brother” Myke Ladiona, “Saint” Patrick Obloy, and, yours truly, “Monsignor” Travis Moody for our final steps on the “Road to E3″…
*** Final update, today, June 13th – THE DIVISION, BATTLEBORN, JUST CAUSE 3, UNTIL DAWN, FORZA MOTORSPORT 6 and GEARS OF WAR. ***
“BROTHER” MYKE LADIONA @onemyke
BATTLEBORN (2K Games/Gearbox – X1, PS4, PC – TBA 2015) – With Battleborn, Gearbox is leaning into the game design principles that made their Borderlands franchise a huge hit. In the way that BL fused loot-based ARPGs with first person shooting, their newest IP is looking to bring elements of what makes MOBA games such a popular genre to gamers who haven’t already gotten into Dota 2, League of Legends, and Blizzard’s newly released Heroes of the Storm. The unique combination of game mechanics that Gearbox is aiming for makes Battleborn one of the bigger wildcards of E3. The most interesting of these mechanics, which is almost completely new to the first person genre, is the lack of persistent leveling for your hero. Every match and/or mission will see your character’s level drop back to one, with the caveat that gaining new abilities, or augmenting your current ones, will happen frequently throughout that one play session — which is par for the course for MOBA games and encourages experimentation, but strange for a game that features a seemingly traditional co-op campaign. Fortunately for fans, Gearbox is leaning into the creative direction that made Borderlands stand out from every other FPS. The vivid, cartoony animation coupled with the broad comedy should work to accentuate the diversity of twenty different playable characters and their unique gameplay mechanics. Since all signs are pointing to a 2015 fourth quarter release date, the pressure is on to see if Gearbox can catch lightning in a bottle one more time.
JUST CAUSE 3 (Square Enix/Avalanche Studios – PS4, X1, PC – December 2015) – If Avalanche Studios wasn’t too distracted by fixing everything about their upcoming Mad Max game (read down below), then Just Cause 3 might be the breakout hit that Just Cause 2 deserved to be. With the addition of a few key features JC3 promises to be as ridiculous a Saints Row game and even more chaotic than GTA V with all the cheats enabled. JC2 is notorious to anyone who owns it on Steam as being the game with the highest ratio of hours played to story missions accomplished, due to its tethering mechanic and emphasis on creating Chaos. In Just Cause 3, Avalanche is expanding on those two aspects in the smartest way possible. JC2’s open world is enormous, spanning roughly 400 traversable miles. For JC3, the developers aren’t looking to increase the size of the map, but opting instead to concentrate on density and verticality – making the prospect of flying over the map with your new wingsuit an even more enticing one. Along with the increase of ‘destroyable assets’, the addition of weaponized vehicles, the ability to tether three things together now, and the loss of in -game currency for higher amounts of supply drops and infinite C4, make the number of ways to compose your symphony of destruction exponentially higher. And to think, this will be Avalanche’s second major release this year…
“SISTER” SARAH G @DarthHistory
THE DIVISION (Ubisoft/Massive – Xbox One, PS4, PC – [Rumored] Q1 2016) – The highly anticipated new game in the Tom Clancy franchise — joining Rainbow Six, Splinter Cell, and Ghost Recon — is (maybe) coming to a console near you first quarter 2016. After an E3 2014 announced its release in fall 2015, it was pushed back to 2016 and has had gamers wondering when they would ever get their hands on it. As E3 once again approaches, more information is staring to come out to whet people’s appetites for this elusive game. Ubisoft recently released information on the game and its construction: An open-world RPG, The Division finds you as the last line of defense in a world hit by a massive epidemic. Using the multi-player features, you and your friends/random strangers/people-whose-online-handles-you-like can form a team to better defend yourself against the dangers of this post-apocalyptic world. Snowdrop’s game engine promises to immerse you in deep within the destruction of New York with hyper-detailed effects and visuals. A loot-retrieval system similar to Destiny, where the goods you can score range from common to rare, and customized gear are put in place to provide a different game experience each time you return to a site. Grab your console, phone, or tablet, and prepare to defend the world.
UNTIL DAWN (Sony/Supermassive Games – PS4 – August, 2015) – For those looking to replace the gaping hole left when they finished The Evil Within or Alien: Isolation, Until Dawn should be a game for you. A third person horror survival game, it boasts a full cast of Hollywood talent to help bring that time old tale of friends trapped in the remote wilderness facing unspeakable horror. Until Dawn is relying of it’s Butterfly-Effect interface to draw in players, since every decision you make changes the final story — a horror Choose Your Own Adventure for the gaming crowd. For those of you looking do delve deep into the backstory of a game, it is possible to play the game over and over hoping to uncover more of the story.
“MONSIGNOR” TRAVIS MOODY @travmoody
FORZA MOTORSPORT 6 (Microsoft/Turn 10 – Xbox One – [Rumored] September 18) – With Forza Motorsport Turn 10 Studios has proved time and time again to produce the most reliable racer on the market, even when it had to reduce many fan-favorite features in favor of execution. Of course, all of that stuff we miss makes its way to the franchise’s 6th edition: The Porsche license (which returned as an expansion in Forza Horizon just a few days ago), weather effects (rain, wind, maybe snowflakes?), and — you can all finally release your bated breath — night racing. After Halo 5 just announced the ridding of split-screen play in favor of a possible 4-player online co-op campaign, Turn 10 ensures us that racing next to your buddy/girlfriend/mama on the couch is here to stay, and, better yet, will feature 26 locations to race, to which lack of environments was the biggest issue I had with Forza 5. With a sweet new GT Ford joining the club and that much promise for a great game, what’s not to love about Turn 10’s little ultra-reliable engine that could?
GEARS OF WAR (Microsoft/The Coalition/Splash Damage – Xbox One – ?) – This spot was originally supposed to feature Crackdown, and, then when we had no takers, Xbox exclusives in general. Then yesterday came, when Microsoft announced that highly touted exclusives Quantum Break, Scalebound, and Crackdown would all be seeing action at GamesCom–and not E3. Bummer. The good news is that Microsoft/Xbox can now focus solely on their immediate future, and since their immediate E3 meeting future contains an “Unannounced” game, we can all smile and say that it will be Gears of War. Whether Microsoft’s focus will tend to Splash Damage’s remastered Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (release date, gameplay = highly likely), or a Gears of War “4” from Black Tusk Studios’s newly reinventioned Coalition (anything more than a mention/tease = unlikely) remains to be seen. With Sony exclusives limping their way to the podium, there’s no better time to bust out the hordes of locusts than on a Monday at 9am.
“APOSTATE” ADAM MONDSCHEIN @AdamMonschein
STREET FIGHTER V (Capcom – PS4, PC – March 2016) – If words like “Yoga Flame”, “Sonic Boom” and “Blanca Wins” bring fond memories from the early-90s flooding back to the forefront of your video game-loving mind then read on adventurer! The latest chapter of the legendary fighting franchise is exclusive on PS4 and PC. Yes, I just witnessed our Monsignor bury his head in sorrow. Cross-platform play will unite Street Fighter fans into a centralized player base for the first time ever, and “E3 will be the first major event appearance for the highly anticipated Street Fighter V, which will hype up its presence with a tournament stage and interactive photo opportunity for attendees,” the organization said as part of a convention overview. “Capcom will release new assets and information for Street Fighter V on the 15th of June [during the Sony press conference].” Hadouken!
TOM CLANCY’S RAINBOW SIX: SIEGE (Ubisoft – X1, PS4, PC – October 13, 2015) – With the Alpha online and a Beta already planned, we have seen more than expected from Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, the new episode in the long running Ubisoft shooting saga. For the first time ever, the game will be exclusively focused on multiplayer: It will be 5 vs. 5, with a team trying to rescue hostages and the other looking at the opposite objective. More than that, each character will be a specifically skilled one, featuring team players — representing various countries, as you can check out the USA team in the video below — who specialize in either breaching (i.e. rifling custom weapons ala M120 Compact), blasting (i.e. a distance shooter who relies on heartbeat), shielding (i.e. transporting bulletproof walls for protection), or just all-out blowing shit up (i.e. using an explosives device, “The Brimstone”). At E3 2015 we should see a live demonstration and a new trailer with the release date slated for October.
“BAD PREACHER” JASON BUD @yomamascouch
DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED (Square Enix/Eidos Montreal – PS4, X1, PC – TBA) – Aeschylus, the ancient Greek tragedian, is attributed as the creator of deus ex machina (god from the machine), an actual machine used in Greek theatre, to physically transport actors playing gods, on and off of the stage. The machine was often a crane, or a rising platform of some kind. The platforms we’re concerned with here, involves a different kind of stage entirely: The latest-generation video gaming consoles. The tragedy about to unfold: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Traveling two years forward (to the year 2029), after the cataclysmic events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution; Eidos Montreal and Square Enix return us to the world of one of transhumanity’s firstborn heroes: Adam Jensen. Existing within this cyberpunkian Renaissance, texture-mapped in a chiaroscuro palette of black and gold technoporn, augmented Adam seeks his redemption, now working as an operative for Task Force 29, of Interpol. As he delves deeper into the Illuminati miasma, responsible for “The Aug Incident” — that has devolved into “mechanical apartheid” — our playable hero must first run the metallic gauntlet of the Augmented Rights Coalition (ARC). Airdrop into Prague, Czech Republic, to discover if ARC is really the terrorist threat the media machine claims them to be (or if they’re really transhumanity’s salvation). Engage Adam’s enhanced FPS, Stealth, and RPG modes. The weapons, mods, abilities, and special & finishing moves are said to be wet-wired into Jensen, neuro-chem deep. Although a playable DXMD demo doesn’t appear available as of yet, the overall development (screenshots, production value, cinematic trailer) of this continued franchise astound; and it looks more transhuman than human. I’m going in, full-cyborg on this one!
TONY HAWK PRO SKATER 5 (Activison/Robomodo – PS4/PS3, Xbox One/360 – Holiday 2015) – After eight years in 900 degree digital limbo, the Godfather of the Vertical Flight Deck is returning to the video gaming console kingdom with his original series; and from what I’m hearing, it sounds like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is going to be dropping piping hot asphalt under the rolling polyurethane like a neutron gravity bomb! The Hawkman is hearkening back, ol’ skool shreddin’ style, by rolling us into the Warehouse level where it all started in Pro Skater 1, back in 1999. There’ll be a slip-and-a-twist, as we discover that the environments (old skool ones, like the Hangar and the School; new ones, like the Outer Space Skate Park) and obstacles of our ollieing equilibrium, have been reconfigured right down the Eustachian tube. Don’t worry though, brah! You won’t get so dizzy you bail, as Robomdo and Activision have maintained the same game mechanics as earlier Pro Skater versions. Continue to break the concrete and bend the rails, by upgrading your boards and gear! Play urban guerilla, by building your own skate park– even suspended in mid-air! New to this series, is the ability to level up your skater and increase your skill set, or jump online to test your rolling mettle against the other boardheads out there in the intersphere! I’m hoping they include the ability to compete in pro competitions, like: the Dew Tour, Slam City Jam, and the X Games too–perhaps a part of their DLC fix. All of the superfluous storytelling and failed peripherals from Underground, American Wasteland, and those Pro Skater spin-offs from 2008 and onward have been dumped like a busted wheel into the gutter. THPS5 is looking lean, mean, and machine, with The Birdman and his Board Bombers returning to do what’s in their blood. Sk8 or Die!!!
“DANGEROUS DISCIPLE” DANNY WITT @nosocialmediabitches
METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN (Konami – PS4, X1, PC – September 1, 2015) – So here we have it, the last, last Kojima Metal Gear Solid— for now. The supposed ‘final’ chapter of the Metal Gear franchise has been met with about as much controversy as anticipation. From the overpriced ‘beta’ that was Ground Zeroes, to the almost laughable outcry over the “overly erotic” new female character, Quiet, Phantom Pain is clearly one of the most talked about and polarizing games set for 2015. Haters and fanboys alike will likely be paying very close attention to this game because, like it or not, Kojima is a masterful storyteller (and, now that the embargo is lifted, I can tell you that there is PLENTY of him IN the game. Yes, IN.) The gameplay looks like it could be the start of a new take on the open world genre, as Konami’s preview event the other day in LA revealed an outstanding day/night cycle, and a world as massively daunting as promised. Hell, the enormity of Afghanistan alone feels 5x the size of Ground Zeroes. And much like the landscape we got to know through FOX News (ha!) and films like Lone Survivor, there are plenty of hidden areas and crevices to explore. Here’s what I found out last month:
- You pick stories — be it chief or side quest — via your helicopter, via your smartphone (and what phone would be smarter than an iDROID?). But as much as the game feels nonlinear, you still have to go by way of the main story. If not, you’ll be taken back to Mother Base.
- There are supernatural/mutant-like soldiers in these stories. So there goes the difference between this campaign and every other one you’ve played in Battlefield/Call of Duty. They move fast and they are freakishly smart. It won’t be difficult to die in Phantom Pain.
- Shadow of Mordor isn’t the only game that allows you to brainwash the evil within. Your Mother Base allows you recruit and do such (yes, the ones you crazily parachute into the sky; unfortunately, you don’t have to beat up translators) in addition to crafting weapons, and other sorts of agendas around the compound. This game is deeper than you think.
- You can play as other characters–and “kinda sorta” as a cardboard box. We’ll know more in just a few more days.
MAD MAX (Warner Bros./Avalanche Studios – PS4, X1, PC – September 1, 2015) – Never in my years of gaming have I been so excited about a game that — only a few weeks ago — I knew NOTHING about; I simply chose to write about it due to my interest in the film franchise. I can’t begin to tell you enough about how awesome this game looks. Published by Warner Bros. (Arkham, Shadows of Mordor, MKX, The Witcher 3), we know going into the fray that Max Max will be a licensed title done right. From all the gameplay and trailers, it looks like my assumptions are validated, especially so, when the developer Avalanche (Just Cause Franchise) recently announced that the title would be exclusively next-gen, as they felt the experience on previous gen simply was not on par with next/now/current-gen expectations. From what I’ve seen, Mad Max nails the setting of the movies perfectly (it will take place in the same world as Fury Road, and packs in plenty of elements from the previous, classic films), and promises all the punishing melees, deep-sand deception, and, most importantly, the real gear-grinding vehicular physiques as the movie; all of the in-game cars are drivable (just as they are in real life), customizable and ready for combat built from scraps you come across in the open world. I simply cannot wait to experience drifting, ramming and harpooning those other sand slugs in this barren, open world wasteland. Do yourself a favor, and watch this…
“SAINT SUPERKICK” KENNY SANDERS @hueyskyywalker
HALO 5: GUARDIANS (Microsoft/343 Industries – Xbox One – Oct. 27, 2015) – Only took 2-years (“DAMN!”), but Microsoft will finally have its first mega-hyped exclusive release– and E3 2015 will be the place where 343 will showcase the newest installment in the critically acclaimed series. Of course, those who purchased The Master Chief Collection got their sweaty paws first on the Halo 5 beta early. While story details are extremely limited, I enjoyed superkicking mofos in the battle maps that were offered. I loved the faster, COD-esque pace of Guardians (although there was some hesitation on my part to use the new Spartan Charge and Slam, since they came off rather methodical and clunky). If you’re too close to a cliff, you can Clamber back up before taking a dip; fans of Boba Fett and Titanfall will love all the jetpacking and unlimited high jumps, too, and the newly incorporated Ground Pounds that follow. So other than making the series more vertical-based, the biggest change comes with the story: Spartans John 117 — better known as Master Chief, son! — and Jameson Locke (who gained much of his newfound popularity thanks the recent Xbox web series, Halo: Nightfall) will face-off. The current viral campaign seems to make fans choose sides: Team Locke or Team Master Chief? Sounds like a Survivor Series worth following.
New campaign updates for Halo 5:
- No matter which team you control — be it Master Chief or Agent Locke — you’ll always have a Spartan team of 3 accompanying you. Including the Buck (from ODST) image below, Locke will have his Fireteam Oasis, while Chief will have his Blue Team. You can command the A.I. teammates at any time, or have co-op friends control them, too.
- Halo 5 will have 20+ maps, with 15 coming via FREE DLC by June 2016. In addition, you won’t need Xbox Gold to compete in them. The bummer? No split-screen co-op.
KINGDOM HEARTS 3 (Square Enix – PS4/X1 – N/A) – Moody, don’t kill me: I took a game that will likely show NOTHING at E3. But I took it, because, other than Metal Gear Solid V, there’s NOTHING I want to play more. While Disney and Square Enix’s long awaited third installment is on track to finally release, we still have no idea when. Expect more clarity, and maybe a first trailer, at the first ever Square Enix E3 press conference on June 16. As far as any sort of gameplay reveal, the next best place for that demo will be at Disney’s D23 Expo. And there will be a dedicated fan event between November 6-8 at the Tokyo Disney Resort. No sulking just yet. What we do know so far about KH3 is that this will be the finale to the Organization 13 storyline. Sora, Goofy, and Donald Duck will reprise their lead roles as they battle Xehanort and Organization 13. With the acquisition of Marvel (Big Hero 6!) and Star Wars, could we see characters from both brands? The Force should be strong with this one.
“TEMPLAR” MARK MAJNDLE @2bizzyplayinwitchuh4twittuh
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT (DICE/Electronics Arts – Xbox One, PS4, PC – TBA) – A long time ago in a country far far away (Afghanistan to be exact) your mighty Templar fell in love with a game. As a lifelong Star Wars geek, it was a dream come true to finally play a Star Wars game worthy of the title, well, Star Wars! Battlefront was this game. Technically the third game of this franchise, it’s the first one to be made by the creators of Battlefield, DICE– yet combat will be less Battlefield, more Medal of Honor (yes I’m serious) as you and one other teammate “mini squad” up to take the enemy out. Only select weapons will have scopes, and most will be “hip fired” (especially for the Stormtroopers, finally an excuse for why they can’t hit anything). You’ll also have free reign to play either first, or the traditional third person perspective. If you haven’t checked out the game trailer for this, you have no idea what your missing…
(Cont…) While all that amazeballness doesn’t represent actual gameplay, it still whets ya whistle for what’s to come. The only issues I have thus far: 1.) NO SPACE COMBAT: In the past Battlefronts, there were space battles where each side had a capitol ship and smaller support craft. The objective was to dogfight your way to the enemy capitol ship and take it out from the outside, or land and go Kamikaze marine to take out the ships’ critical systems from within. You also, of course, had to prevent the enemy from doing this to your ship. 2.) NO DROIDS VS. CLONES: One of the great things about Battlefront was that it wasn’t just Rebels vs. Empire– you could also play as Clone Troopers or Droids, depending on what time period you chose to play. Not this time around, congregants. Our rattled Wookie fever is merely stuck with X-Wings and Tie Fighters (Editor Moody: NOT SO! We can now officially state that we’ll be seeing C3PO and piloting the Millennium Falcon). Still — hell — this game is Star Wars; the Walker Assault Mode can have up to 40 players online and Battlefront Missions have split-screen co-op (as well as shared loadouts and in-game spawning); and its open fast-paced, destructible environment finally allows you to kick Vader in the nuts. Phew.
STAR FOX (Nintendo – Wii U – TBA) – Since we’re on the subject of sci-fi, let’s talk about everyone’s favorite flying Fox. He made his debut on the Super Nintendo, but most of us at the time hadn’t heard of him until his N64 ebut– and, boy-oh-boy, did he ever make it there. One of my fondest memories as a kid was intentionally shooting down my “allies”, the annoying frog, cocky parrot…guy and the rabbit that looks like a donkey. Yet while Nintendo has kept any and all info pretty much under wraps, Shigeru Miyamoto made a — blurred out — teaser video of himself playing the game. (Dammit). What we do know about Star Fox: It will involve the touchpad controller extensively, and that a lot of work has been put into the game. From what you can see in the teaser above the ship isn’t flying in tunnel mode, and the combat appears to be 360 degrees.Will Fox be able to get out of his ship and fight Smash Brothers style? What will the story be? Will there be vs. and co-op multiplayer? Sorry congregants, but I can’t answer any of these questions for you now. We will just have to wait for the first morning of E3 2015 for those answers.
“PAPA JUSTIFIED” SPENCER FAWCETT @Whizbang813
XCOM 2 (2K Games/Firaxis – PC – November 2015) – XCOM: Enemy Unknown was my GOTY for 2012. It was a breath of fresh air from the umpteenth shooter and the annuals. XCOM was one of the first games that demonstrated how to make a player care about the decisions they were making–by making them permanent. XCOM 2 takes place 20-years after XCOM: Enemy Unknown on an alien-occupied Earth. You lead the resistance in procedurally generated maps and without the World Governments backing you so that means that Argentina won’t irritate me because I chose to focus on more important countries (sorry, not sorry to any Argentinian readers). It’s a bummer that it is PC exclusive, but I’ve got a gut feeling that it will come to consoles and that the PC exclusivity only allows them to focus on making the best game XCOM 2 will possibly be. We’ll know more in 2K’s closed-room demo on Tuesday.
NO MAN’S SKY (Hello Games – PS4, PC – 2015) – This is every sci-fi nerd’s wet dream. A procedurally generated (buzzword of this generation, I guess) universe and planets that the player can explore. The design for the planets is gorgeous and enforces a bright and vibrant color pallet; not to suggest that other sci-fi games aren’t but not of this level. The most impressive aspect of this game, for me, is that the team that is making this game is comprised of roughly 50 people. For such an ambitious project – i.e. creating a universe – when some companies *cough* Gearbox *cough* can’t even get The Aliens Universe right is a feat. As of writing this piece, No Man’s Sky is coming to the PS4 as a timed exclusive then to the PC. Hopefully everyone gets a chance to experience what Hello Games is striving to achieve.
“CARDINAL” GARY BROOKS @whatsatweet
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS III (Activision/Treyarch – PS4/PS3, X1/360, PC – November 6, 2015) – There’s no question the future setting adopted by the Black Ops series indeed makes for some crazy weapons and tech. In the year is 2060, cybernetic enhancements and drones (now a weapon) are standard issue for the first time in the series. More importantly, Treyarch has added 4 player co-op in campaign; so, no longer will players have to follow the tired trend of “follow the leader” gameplay, as the series now opts for a more flexible open area approach. With the Direct Neural Interface (DNI), players will be able to hack vehicles remotely like in Watch_Dogs. Also, those Cybernetic will allow players to double jump, use unlimited sprints, and much more. These abilities automatically feel familiar, having played plenty of Advanced Warfare and Titanfall. In terms of the multiplayer — the reason most of you will buy the game anyway — Treyarch has add some new features, including the ability to play as Specialist instead of the same old generic soldiers we are accustomed to. Now you’ll be able to customize your soldier to your unique play-style and power up special abilities as you rack up kills. Better yet, my hometown Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch will have the chance to go all “beastmode” as a villain in the story. I like.
UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END (Naughty Dog/Sony – PS4 – Spring 2016) – Arguably the most anticipated PlayStation 4 game on Sony’s agenda (sure, No Man’s Sky is close…but come on.) Here’s what we know: When game directors Justin Richmond and Amy Hennig left Naughty Dog for Riot Games and Visceral/EA, respectively, the game was then put in the hands of new directors Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley. If you’ve played The Last of Us — to which many consider 2013’s best game — then you know Uncharted 4 is in very capable hands, and could very well be the best and most in-depth look into the life of Nathan Drake. In short, this game is why you buy a PS4. While the delay sucks, this Cardinal does appreciate the extra time that ND is spending to make this the best entry in the series. Hopefully, those of us lucky enough to get into E3 this year — here’s looking at you, Patrick! — will get to spend some QT with a playable demo of the story mode! This just in, there are Nathan Drake banners ALL OVER the Convention Center…
“SAINT” PATRICK OBLOY @offthegeekend
DOOM (Bethesda Softworks/id Software – Xbox One, PS4, PC – TBA) – Id Software’s classic hit title has gone through many changes over the course of development and has finally reached its ultimate storyline and design. Its inception was hinted at in 2007, but wasn’t announced as in production until 2008. After being bought by Bethesda in 2009, Doom was scrapped and restarted in 2011. While sad they had to scrap all that work, it likely was for the better; apparently, that version lacked the “soul” of Doom, and was described as being a “hell on earth” version of Call of Duty. 2013 brought hard times with the project going into development hell–DOOMed to never see the light of day. (Yeah, sorry!) Our fears were abaited, however, when teasers were skewed out at both QuakeCon 2014 and another a few days ago, which pointed to a reveal on June 14th (just a couple day before E3izzle). While there’s not much known yet about Doom‘s story or multiplayer details, it at least appears the theme and style of the original games in the series will remain.
TITANFALL 2 (Electronics Arts/Respawn Entertainment – Xbox One, PS4, PC – TBA) – ***Update*** Titanfall confirmed to not appear at E3 2015… The original Titanfall built up massive excitement thanks to its teasers, trailers, and E3 reveals, but the hype fell short when the game was finally released. Its launch came with connectivity issues, and the lack of campaign, combined with maps and weapons being spread across DLC. At least there were fantastic additional items in the Collector’s Edition (i.e. an amazing statue and awesome artwork book). When all was said-and-done about Titanfall, it was a blast to play–just not for long. I’ll sometimes go back to play a few rounds, but the overall lack of depth just makes this one a dust-collector. As for the sequel, recent interviews with Respawn devs hint at a possible proper campaign and keeping the majority of weapons and maps in the core game. Smaller additions will most likely come in the DLC, similar to how competitors CoD and Battlefield have done in the past. Sadly, everything points to a second quarter 2016 release. With the sizeable presence this franchise has had at the Expo the last couple years, expect some of that jaeger smoke to clear in 3 weeks.
“LADY CROFT” STEPHANIE PANISELLO @steph_panisello
RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER (Square Enix/Crystal Dynamics – Xbox One, Xbox 360 – rumored November 13, 2015) – For fans of Tomb Raider who have been following the franchise since it’s existence in 1996, it’s strange to see the game release exclusive for this 2015 Holiday strictly to Xbox One and, gulp, Xbox 360. Developers of the game have seen a consistent following, and Microsoft is hoping to reap in the benefits by getting first dibs on the game and switching Sony and PC gamers to their console. Since the Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix’s reboot of the younger Lara Croft origin story, fans are highly anticipating this new Lara Croft game to bring even more character development, puzzle raiding, and a now confirmed Siberian location. Some reasons for the Microsoft exclusive are to help boost the game’s “profile and success”, enhanced graphics and engines to help them compete with other triple-A games. In turn, Xbox gains a franchise that can compete against the new PS4 Uncharted game. Let’s hope that the choice for the exclusive lives up to “the most ambitious Tomb Raider game ever built”. It’s still uncertain when the game will be out for PS4 and PC, but rest assured that it will.
“PASTOR” BILL AMMON @BammonB
MADDEN NFL 16 (EA Sports/Tiburon – PS4, Xbox One – August 2015) – After catching the new teaser for the Playmakers — beginning with that sick Gronk snag in the endzone — it’s hard for a Super Bowl-winning fan such as myself to not be excited for Madden 16. As much crap as EA takes, Madden 15 was a HUGE step up for the franchise and, bugs and glitch-woes aside, perhaps the best sports game of the year (FIFA is the same every year, critics; get that through ya heads). In the short period EA Tiburon had to make ’15, they did an outstanding job with the gameplay and graphics. There’s little doubt Madden 16 will improve upon all that wonderful scenary and all the glory that was gameplay (unless your Super Bowl froze in the 4th quarter, like Moody’s did…ha-ha!). Can we please get Belichick in the game, EA? Who the HELL is Chad Masters! Several new features were revealed for Connected Franchise, and you can read all about the improvements made — via the official EA Madden blog — right here.
NHL 16 (EA Sports/EA Canada – PS4, Xbox One – September 2015) – This week, EA Sports revealed the features of NHL 16— and they did not disappoint. Many fans unhappy with NHL 15 for next gen and its lack of features will be happy to hear that EASHL is back for the new season and will be, hit the cliche button, “better than ever”. At first, last year’s edition made me angrier than a Colts fan, ’til I realized that EA Canada only had a short “20-minute” period of time to develop for next-gen and merely wanted to get the basics down. With all those missing features back this year, you know these guys are more than ready to make up for it. Some new features for the fall include: specialized player classes in the all-new (I sound like Marvel comics now), reimagined EASHL, where teamwork takes precedence; private 6-on-6 online play (good luck manning Quick); drop-in couch co-op (give the wife a controlluh!); player morale and team meetings (cut that guy who cried about getting “pantsed” in the locker room); Hockey Ultimate Team single player seasons (play a season against the AI before jumping online); better skating precision and puck pick-ups; authentic arena effects and signature props (quack, quack!); practice mode; pre-game intros and “story driven” commentary (Doc finally wakes up!); and Playoff Beards! Who would possibly not like THAT!??!
“DEACON E” ESKO @eskobts
FALLOUT 4 (Bethesda Softworks – X1, PS4, PC – rumored 2015) – What game are you looking forward to at E3 2015? A wise man once said, “It doesn’t MATTER what game you’re looking forward to!!”. Ok, maybe that’s not a direct quote from The Rock, but still. Fallout 4 is the only game that matters. Many games have boasted about their expansive open world environment. Several recent games include storylines that are altered by the decisions you make in the game. However, in my mind, they have all been chasing the incredibly high standard of Fallout 3. Whether I’m deciding who to help in Mass Effect 4, or driving from Downtown to the Desert in Grand Theft Auto V, I can’t help but wish I was back in the Capital Wasteland, where everything is better. What? You want official news? Well, I don’t have any and the internet doesn’t seem to have anything locked-in and verified either.The most exciting news is that Boston will house the new Capital Wasteland. A city destroyed in outrage over the Patriots deflation accusations–or a nuclear bomb. Who knows. There are also hints that the targeting system will be greatly improved (insert emoticon here). Although I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of Fallout 3, I felt the targeting system was built with good intentions but fell a little short of the true vision. Oh, and yeah, in case you were hiding under some rubble from the last Fallout…
“BISHOP” RICHARD ZOM @eyebzombie
ASSASSIN’S CREED SYNDICATE (Ubisoft – Xbox One, PS4, PC – October 23) – As Assassin’s Creed Unity urged gamers to separate themselves from the series with damaging online multiplayer bugs and glitches, those high hopes also faded when ACU built itself strictly on Thief/Dishonored stealth– except without any real assassination-inspired realism per what the game is based on. Enter Assassins Creed Syndicate (formerly subtitled as “Victory”), which swung out the gate Tuesday morning with swift, precision cuts and death blows to all its doubters. This game wants you to be heard, and, more surprisingly, wants you to be seen. Revealed was an 1868 London during the boom of the industrial revolution, and we see two — both selectable — NKOTB, twins Jacob and Evie Frye. Throw in some rebellious (A.I.) freedom fighters to help take down those Templar scum, and erase all that multiplayer mishap. Say what? Praise it be, Altair!
(cont. from above) The cool news: Most of it. Ubisoft’s Quebec City studios made sure to tweek game mechanics and enhance these “criminal” character abilities, including different skill sets for both and, a first for the series, environmental kills (and that day/night cycle is back; scary!). Side missions will also have an impact on how your storyline unfolds, and our fighters of justice will also travel around with a bit more class– going Grand Theft Buggy on that ass! Yes, Cam’Ron’s dreams have come true, as players can now use Horse & Carriage to gallop around the maps faster than ever before, in addition to their own personal backseat to go hide-and-seek. With revolvers, gang wars, brass knucks, Batman-meets-MKX-inspired ropedart gauntlets (sorry, Scorpion!), Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, a slew of lady frien/emies, and the “reigning, defending” local fight club spartan Brock Lesnar (?!?), Syndicate aims to avoid the franchise’s year-long layoff from greatness.
HOMEFRONT: THE EVOLUTION (Deep Silver/Dambuster Studios – PS4, X1, PC – 2016) – Homefront, the controversial open-world FPS from 2011, is back. Unfortunately, it won’t be till 2016. Not only has the franchise passed hands from THQ to Crytek, it’s now passing onto a brand new studio as well. Postponing and moving the game to German publisher Deep Silver’s new Dambuster Studios (the majority of the 126-member team worked with Crytek UK, hence the new location in Nottingham) allows for extra fine-tuning and a much better spot for success, according to head developer Hasit Zala. (Read: Avoid battling the Call of Duty/Halo clusterfuck that is the Holiday shopping season). Homefront 2 will also use the new cryengine, as the franchise comes to the, now, current-gen consoles. The Greater Korean Republic War is still on in 2029 (4-years after the original game), as Korea continues the USA invasion. Is Kim Jong-un’s son responsible for a new WCW Invasion? If you haven’t played Homefront, your character relies on deceit and weapon building, rather than mysteriously finding a loaded 16mm on the ground. The Revolution will expand on that base, developing characters and building worlds. Multiplayer mode has not yet been established, but you’ll be able to co-op online with 4 others in the campaign. Shall I say “lock and load”, my friends?
“SALVATION” RYAN SCOTT @radio_adventure
ROCK BAND 4 (Harmonix/Mad Catz – X1/360, PS4/PS3 – Holiday 2015) – There are gamers out there that will hate on the likes of Rock Band, but the fact of the matter is it has been one of the most fun games to play with a group of people in recent memory. After five long years of waiting, Mad Catz has finally confirmed that Rock Band 4 is coming later this year. Fortunately, even though there will be fancy new instruments available for purchase with the new version, your old instruments will still be compatible, you know, so the game can still be more affordable. As far as the tracklist goes, not a whole lot is known just yet, but there are rumors that there will be quite a few old favorites to go along with the new ones. The campaign will also play out like an RPG as you tour, play gigs, and gain fans (no word on groupies just yet). In any case, the idea that in a few months we can be jamming out to kick-ass tunes on plastic instruments on a next-gen console — with online multiplayer battles! — is very welcomed news.
MARIO MAKER (Nintendo – Wii U – September, 2015) – The Wii U has been losing the current gen console race handily, but the release of some updated classics has helped quite a bit. Next up for the last remaining relevant past-gen console is Mario Maker and, as always when a new Mario title is on the way, everyone is super excited about it, and with good reason. Mario is the longest standing tradition in console gaming and oddly enough, Nintendo is far away from totally recycling ideas. The reason we get excited about these games is that the consistently deliver. The game will be available to play in Best Buy stores just following E3 (17th, between 4-9pm, and the 20th, noon-5pm), so some hands-on time is right around the corner. What makes this Mario game unique is that for the first time fans will be able to create their own levels for the game. What’s more geektastic about that prospect is that Nintendo has taken pieces from many various Mario games that can be smashed together to make the ultimate Super Mario set piece orgy of awesome that we’ve always dreamed of. This sounds like a Little Big Planet-inspired take on Mario and honestly, that sounds unreasonably great.
“THE APOSTLE” LANCE PAUL @lance_paul
LEGO JURASSIC WORLD (Warner Bros./Traveller’s Tales – All Systems – June 12 2015) – If you were to ask me 15-years ago if I was excited for a movie related game, I would of said “you’ve been smoking bricks!” Things have changed though, and a big deal of that is owed to the exceptional gaming delivered by LEGO. They’ve even made comic games fun. TT Games is venturing into new territory with another popular film franchise, as LEGO Jurassic World is set to deliver the goods not only on the new film, but a game covering all of the Dinofilms! So far, three different gameplay scenes have been delivered to the press: The sick Triceratops with Laura Dern’s character diving into a pile of dino brick poo; the famous T-Rex chowing down on everyones favorite lawyer, instead having him cleaning the T-rex’s teeth with a toilet bowl brush; and the iconic T-Rex chase scene where LEGO Goldblum is throwing flares into the gaping brick mouth of ole Rex! Outside of these three demo levels there will be an addition 17 levels, totaling 20 stages all together with five levels from each movie (including aquatic stages, seen in the new trailer below). TT is also promising the option of smaller dinos taking over the driving seat in epic chases (check out that motorcycling Velociraptor!), bringing every child and man-child’s dream come true. For a developer that has reinvented almost every childhood love of mine into brick form, JW is set to be another exceptional nerd ride.
FABLE: LEGENDS (Microsoft/Lionhead – Xbox One, PC – Fall) – In the past Fable stories, players have created their hero and villain and, perhaps, even married a dame or two, but now the series takes a giant step toward the multiplayer gaming community. The basis of the franchise is still there with a choice of Hero or Villain; but, now, players also have the chance to adventure with either AI’s/other gamers, or create an empire (through commanding minions) into battle against the heroes. Legends made a big splash last year at E3 and this Traveling Nerd expects nothing less than great demos and info to come out of this year as well. Lionhead Studios also recently announced that they will make Legends a franchise-first free-to-play game for the Xbox One. Game director David Eckelberry promises that players will continue to experience the entire game for free, with no add-ons or costly open access quests. When the game arrives later this fall with “Season One” you will have access to a traditional RPG storyline with side quests, and four heroes to play as. Then, for those fans of the more wicked, judgment-free zone, your villain will come with a range of different creatures to command. There will more seasons coming later down the pipe, and — you guessed it — all for free.
“DYNAST” DANA KEELS @hatandwand
MIRROR’s EDGE: CATALYST (Electronic Arts/DICE – PS4, Xbox One, PC – Q1 2016) – When the original Mirror’s Edge released back in 2008, its novel gameplay approach (parkour heavy, no heads-up display, and a greater freedom of movement) was enough to stand itself out amongst the overwhelming crowd of shooters. It was different, and sometimes we like different. And since I’m the “Dynast” Dana Keels, I always like different. The game, set in a futuristic dystopian world, focused on a group of “Runners” who act as couriers hired to transmit messages while evading The Man. The prequel — Mirror’s Edge 2, of course — promises to tell us more about our protagonist, Faith, and what makes homegirl tick. So far, next to nothing has been released on the game, except to say that “the environments are extensions of the body”, but one can expect a greater level of immersion for the second go’round. Seems the folks at EA DICE have their hands full these days (especially with Star Wars: Battlefront). Hopefully, we’ll get a longer look at this title come E3. Hopefully.
YOSHI’S WOOLY WORLD (Nintendo/Good-Feel – Wii U – July 16, 2015 – Japan date) – So, growing up I’ve always had a thing for the Yoshi games. While not my favorite character, or series for that matter, they’ve still always been immensely enjoyable. The fact that the game is being handled by Developer Good-Feel (Kirby’s Epic Yarn) has me more excited than Derek Divine at a Teen Wolf autograph session. If you haven’t seen anything on the game, the premise is pretty much what the title suggests. It’s a Yoshi Island-esque game in which everyone and everything is made from yarn and cloth. So far, judging from video and screenshots, the game looks gorgeous. Although the Wii U isn’t as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox one, Nintendo has a penchant for producing beautiful titles and maximizing the use of its hardware to glorious affect. There will also be a plentiful 50+ amiibo support-driven Yoshi skins, including Piranha, Winter, Moo-Moo, and an assortment of legendary game characters such as MARIO, Zelda, etc. In addition to to ice, lava and cave levels, there will also be special powers — such as the ground-and-pound — that can be unleashed from power badges, which can be obtained from collecting beads.