During every gauntlet of E3 press conferences, there's always one. One moment that stands out above the rest; the kind of experience you look back at fondly, long after the game it was tied to has come and gone. It could be a hilarious line, like "Attack its weakpoint for massive damage" or "one million troops... WOW." Or maybe it's that moment when months of hype pay off with a spectacular reveal, or a seemingly impossible announcement totally blindsides you (in a good way).
Whatever it ends up being, that memorable moment is something to treasure. Now that the E3 2015 press conferences are in the books, it's time to reflect on the moments that wowed, shocked, and delighted us. Stay awhile and reminisce with us about these less-than-a-week-old events, won't you?
Xbox One goes backwards compatible
Back in the early days of Xbox, then-president of the Interactive Entertainment Business division at Microsoft Don Mattrick likened backwards compatibility to backwards thinking. "If you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards," he told the Wall Street Journal in a 2013 interview, stating that only five percent of users would utilize the feature anyway.
If only Mattrick could have heard the thunderous approval from the crowd at Microsoft's E3 press conference, when it was announced that that backwards compatibility will arrive on the Xbox One this fall.
Horizon: Zero Dawn looks incredible
Guerilla Games doesn't have much of a reputation to those who haven't played a Killzone game, but their next game on PS4 offers the kind of world that'll command anyone's attention. As with Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, this post-apocalypse isn't a barren desert; it's a lush, overgrown jungle resting atop a collapsed metropolis, and it's absolutely gorgeous. There seems to have been some kind of robot rebellion leading up to this strange future, because wildlife like deer and birds have been replaced by metal simulacrums (that use car alarm noises to call for help).
The trailer gives you just enough time to fall in love with the female protagonist Aloy, who seems as tenacious and capable as Lara Croft. Her arsenal is an interesting mix of old and new: arrows with bullets for heads, spears made from sharpened machine parts. And then BAM - in charge some colossal cyborg dinos, complete with blue lasers and primal screams. Watching Aloy take down one of the beasts with some metal tethers and a stab to its robot heart is enough to make Horizon shoot to the top of your 'most anticipated games' list.
Angela Bassett graces the stage for Ubisoft
It was pretty great to recognize Angela Bassett as boss Six in the trailer for Rainbow Six: Siege; her likeness was so accurate that it even recreated her distinctive mouth movements perfectly. An actress of her stature joining the games cast was announcement enough, but when the woman herself walked out to share the stage with Aisha Tyler to discuss her role, we kind of lost our minds.
Bassett is an Oscar-nominated actress with a 20-year career thats included turns as Betty Shabazz and Tina Turner, who (unlike so many others) regards her role in a shooty video game with the same craftsmanship that she does any other acting performance. She treated her appearance on Ubisofts stage with elegant, effortless grace, giving her digitized role - and the audience that would be enjoying it - respect. Her appearance at Ubisofts press conference also put two women of color on the same E3 stage, a sight practically unicorn-like in its rarity. It was a moment of true class in a sea of hype and awkwardness, and we loved it.
The Last Guardian
I don't know about you, but I spent the first few seconds of Sony's press conference saying, "No, no" with intense disbelief, and the three minutes that followed watching a boy and his giant bird dog explore a temple while trying not to cry. After years and so, so many vaporware jokes, we not only saw The Last Guardian emerge from obscurity, but there was a release date attached to its fuzzy, feathery tail. Does anyone else hear a triumphant music number coming from nowhere?
The trailer itself was fairly calm, showing the unnamed little boy we all remember from 2009 shouting to call his towering Falcor-like guardian. Most of the gameplay involved him moving onto different platforms, manipulating objects to make a new path, and making death-defying leaps of faith with the belief that the guardian would catch him, oh lord please catch him! Yet it was so charming, so beautiful, so lost to us for so long that even that simple bit of gameplay was enough to get us making incomprehensible noises of joy at each other. And then they followed it up with a splash image that simply read 2016, and the tears were unstoppable.
Final Fantasy 7
Let me take you on a journey back in time to PlayStation Experience 2014, where Sony and Square Enix pulled one of the greatest bait-and-switch moves in game conference history. In the middle of a long evening of new game announcements and trailers, a trailer was shown filled with the nostalgic images of Final Fantasy 7. 'This is it,' thought literally everyone watching at home. 'This is when that Final Fantasy 7 remake finally gets announced.' The trailer continued: Cloud fighting Shinra's grunts, the Highwind taking flight, and Sephiroth stepping through the fire. Any moment now those visuals were going to change into something new, something modern. A new FF7 was right around the corner.
Except it wasn't. Instead it was a port of the PC version to PS4. We all died a little inside that night. But at E3 2015, Sony and Square Enix redeemed themselves by finally, at long last, announcing the remake Final Fantasy fans have been clamoring for. A new Final Fantasy 7, redone with a fresh visual style, is on the horizon. The internet's reaction can be summed it with one phrase: 'NO WAY!!' followed by 'WAIT, WAIT, NO WAY!!' It was a huge surprise, tempered only by the fact that Sony's press conference was filled with huge surprises.
Muppets do a barrel roll for Nintendo
Nintendos been getting pretty good at having some fun with their Directs and Digital Events, but the E3 transformation of Reggie Fils-Aime, Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto into muppets - and then into muppet versions of characters from Star Fox - was their most delightful move yet. Nintendo didnt take the gimmick too far, but did let the muppet hosts stick around for a while, mostly just to dance. It was pure, unfiltered happiness, which is basically Nintendos shtick.
It was a perfect reminder amongst the gore and guns of other press conferences that not everything has to be gritty or mature to be fun. Nothing wrong with a well-placed headshot, of course, but the muppets of Nintendo channelled childlike joy that left us grinning. Spray said it best, I think: You know and I know the warmth you feel whenever theres a muppet around. Everything really is better with muppets.
Sony's press conference was filled with games we had long-suspected of being vaporware, but arguably more surprising was Yu Suzuki taking the stage to reveal Shenmue 3. Okay, so it was to reveal a Kickstarter for Shenmue 3, but still. While The Last Guardian and a Final Fantasy 7 remake were at least churning in the rumor mill, the revival of Shenmue came completely out of left field.
Chills are still running up the arms of Dreamcast diehards and Shenmue supporters the world over, and financial pledges for the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter have poured in at a rate that's shattered records (and looks poised to overtake Bloodstained as the crowdfunding platform's most-funded video game project). Hearing that beautiful orchestral theme again, it's hard to blame fans for getting swept up in the moment.
Fallout 4 is only five months away
When Bethesda finally pulled the lead-lined curtain off of Fallout 4, I was satisfied. It looked great, but after years of waiting to hear even the slightest peep about the next game in one of my favorite series, I was ready to keep waiting until next year to actually play it. After all, there was a ten-year wait between Fallout 2 and Fallout 3, right? Waiting til spring or fall 2016 would be nothing next to that.
But Bethesda decided to get the whole thing out of the way at once, announcing a Fallout 4 release date of November 10. It makes sense in retrospect, since Skyrim, Bethesda Game Studios' last big project, shipped three years ago. That's plenty of time for a big, seasoned studio to get another project together, I just just wasn't ready to get my hopes up for it. Sniffle.
The new Nier's director has something on his face
When Nier New Project director Yoko Taro took the stage at Square Enix's press conference, it felt like a fractured dream after hours of restless tossing and turning. Square Enix's press conference was easily the most boring of the lot, long on time and short on announcements that weren't already announced the day before, but then there was that helmet. And everybody watching who hadn't played Nier - which was a cult hit at best, so a lot of them - had no idea what was happening.
See, the helmet was a replica of Emil's weapon-form head from the original game, but nobody said anything about it. They didn't even acknowledge it was there, letting Taro deliver a standard "please look forward to it" speech as if he didn't have a terrifying Majora's Mask reject sitting on his scarf-wrapped shoulders. Which he did... unless it was just a mass delusion. Actually, it might have been a mass delusion.