BOOK TITLE: The Australia Times - Games magazine. Volume 3, issue 12

Vol. 3 No. 12
June 2015
E3 Special
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The Games magazine is all about the
gaming community. Whether youre actively
involved in the gaming industry, have played
games since the Atari Pong or just pick up a
controller every now and then, the gaming
community is all about connecting people,
telling stories, fun, and about passion.
We want to connect you, the gamers of
Australia and beyond, to what you are
passionate about. We uncover upcoming
talent, review new and retro games, and
bring you features, previews, opinions, and
interviews from the gaming industry.
We welcome your feedback and
contributions as well – after all, we are your
voice in this diverse and ever-changing
landscape. So whether youre a Pokemon
Master or can remember when
Call of Duty
was cool, here’s your chance to sit back,
press Start, and jump right in.
Nathan Franklin | Benjamin White | Mitchell McCausland | Daniel King | Kris Godwin
Kassie Whitehair | Ben Chapman | Marcus Rockstrom | Vincent Duval Latreille
We oer both veteran and undiscovered writers the opportunity to get published.
Have something to communicate, or an opinion to state, we are your voice!
Want to join a like minded community in a great project
Editor’s Note .................................................................. 4
Byte Sized News ............................................................ 6
New Releases ................................................................. 9
Video Gaming ............................................................. 12
E3 2015 :
Bethesda ....................................................................... 19
Microsoft ....................................................................... 25
EA ..................................................................................... 27
Ubisoft ........................................................................... 30
Sony ................................................................................ 33
Nintendo ....................................................................... 36
Square-Enix .................................................................. 40
PC Gaming Show ........................................................ 42
Kholat Review .............................................................. 48
Splatoon ........................................................................ 52
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Bethesda’s worst kept secret was
nally revealed after years of rumours,
speculation and exaggerations of
evidence such as Tweets and LinkedIn
accounts. A countdown timer sprung
up suddenly twenty-four hours before
its reveal and, nally, our prayers were
answered in the form of a rather enticing
reveal trailer. However it seemed a
little strange to spring this on us just
days before Bethesda’s very rst E3
conference. Was it a missed opportunity
or clever marketing? The latter seems
obvious given Bethesda’s track record
but I can’t help but wonder why.
Speaking of E3 the very pinnacle of
gaming media conferences, or what
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I like to call Video Game Christmas,
has sadly come and gone once again.
Fortunately in its absence lays a trail of
delectable morsels coming up within
the next year or so. And honestly?
I believe 2015 hosted the greatest
E3 yet! Just think, ve years ago I
barely even knew this event existed -
too caught up with the trivial things
like responsibilities, going out every
weekend and coughing out University
assignments (what a fool I was). Now
I’ve got handwritten times of each and
every publisher’s presentation on my
calendar among the scribbling’s of
less important dates like birthdays and
appointments. Who needs the latter
when there’s a
Mass Effect Andromeda
This year we’ve gone all out to cover
everything that happened during this
glorious week of excitement and digital
razzle-dazzle. The end result? Our very
rst E3 special and, coincidently, our
biggest issue yet! Everything E3 related
can be found within the digital pages
of our e-magazine; whatever it is you
need, we’ve got you covered.
Now excuse me while I spend the next
few hours gathering every single piece
of information I can about
Fallout 4
. Damn it’s a great time
to be a gamer.
If there’s anything you’d like to say
then love to hear from you! Jump on
our Facebook page and give us a yell!
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Great news for fans of Sega’s phenomenally overlooked
saga since the kickstarter for the
third game has he Guinness World Record for the fastest game to reach its Kickstarter funding goal.
Shenmue III
, which needed $2 million in order for the project to go ahead, will denitely be made,
no question – but Sega have added new goals to the Kickstarter, promising fans a whole host of new
and interesting features should they help the game reach further nancial goals. These include new
quests in Baisha Village and an improved character interaction system should the project reach $5
million. As of the time of writing,
Shenmue III
has reached $3,252,553. Already, milestones reached
have guaranteed fans the inclusion of such features as a character rapport system and a skill points
system for the ghting segments of the game. If that wasn’t enough, prizes such as a trial version of
the game, Shenmue capsule toys and even a dinner with Yu Suzuki himself are available to dedicated
fundraisers for the project. If that wasn’t enough, Sony themselves are putting some of their weight
behind the game. Whew, now is a good time to be a Shenmue fan.
E3 has been and gone - but that’s not the only news we have this issue!
Look like Ryo Hazuki’s story really WILL go on....
© NerdReactor
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If you were hoping for a cool little Batmobile toy with your copy of
Arkham Knight
, then you will
be sadly disappointed. Due to “unforeseen circumstances” regarding the “compromised quality”
of the Arkham Knight Premium Edition’s statue (which can transform into a Batmobile), developer
Rocksteady have not been able to release this collector’s item with the set, telling fans to go back
to the retail store where they purchased the game for a full refund on their deposit. To make up for
this asco, Rocksteady have let fans have the new 52 skin pack, which includes Batman, Robin and
Nightwing, free of charge.
E3 2015 has proven to be the most
popular E3 yet, with a total of 52, 200
people turning up to the event. This
includes gaming enthusiasts, journalists,
developers and analysts from 109
countries around the world. This is up from
48,900 people from 100 countries last
year. Following this impressive data, the
ESA (Entertainment Software Association)
who run the event, already put a date on
E3 2016, which is scheduled to take place
June 14-16 of that year. “More than any
other E3, this year was about the gamer,” ESA president Michael Gallagher said in a statement. “E3
demonstrated both the remarkable transformation of entertainment taking place on all video game
platforms--virtual reality, augmented reality, hardware, mobile, and handheld--and awesome games.”
© CinemaBlend
© gameranx
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Most people will, understandably, pre-order the muchly-anticipated
Fallout 4
with actual money.
However, for Reddit user GatorMacheteJr, this apparently wasn’t an option and so, he chose to pay
for his with bottle caps the in-game currency of the post-apocalyptic RPG franchise. GatorMacheteJr
explained that “Fallout 3 was [his] favourite game for many years so [he] made the rational choice
to start saving up bottle caps.” He added humorously that “4.5 years of undergrad and three years
in a Master’s program leads to a lot of drinking”. No word yet as to whether the bottle caps which
are 2,000 in number and weigh more than 11.2 pounds - has reached Fallout developer, Bethesda.
Regardless, it would be interesting to see their reaction to this…
Now, would YOU take this as payment?
© Geeks Are Sexy
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Batman: Arkham Knight
The comic book fun of the Arkham games is simpley fun that can’t be denied. Hailed as the best Batman
games ever made, with
Arkham City
in particular getting huge acclaim, these were the rst games to
truly make the player feel like the Caped Crusader himself. Not only will the game feature more of
the butt-kicking superhero combat you’ve come to expect, but also the largest open-world Batman
environment ever created in a game – players will be able to explore all of Gotham to their hearts
delight and without the use of the Batjet. Combat has also been evolved, with Batman actually being
able to use the environment around him to subdue his enemies; he can grab a goons weapon and
use it against him and, if hes near an object like a trash can or a switchbox, he can enemies into them
as well. Brutal! With a host of other cool features, including a new ‘Fear Takedown mode and a brand
new Batmobile similar to the one used in the Nolan lms, Batfans will be in for a real treat this month.
(PS4/Xbox One/Windows) (24/06/2015) WB Games
© GameCrate
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Yoshi’s Woolly World
Ah, Yoshi. No-one can deny the cuteness of Nintendos little green dinosaur, which makes the
prospect of his own new game an exciting one. As can be expected from such a title, the game
world is entirely made of yarn and cloth and this predictably changes the gameplay from
previous Yoshi games, Yoshis Island and Yoshi’s Story. When the critter swallows enemies,
instead of making eggs, he’ll create balls of yarn which serve a number of uses including
tying up enemies and lling in platforms and objects. Yoshi can also gather little white chicks
which create temporary cloud platforms when thrown. Likewise, the unique setting will also
allow the green dinosaur to progress through the game by using various transformations
such as turning his legs into little wheels. Add to this that another player can be thrown into
the fray and you’ve got yourself a potentially casual and fun gameplay experience – and not
an annoying little Baby Mario in sight! Phew!
(Wii U) (25/06/2015) Nintendo
© Nintendo.co.uk
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J-Stars Victory VS
A ghting game that throws together some of the most popular manga and anime franchises
including Dragon Ball, One Piece and Naruto? It sounds like an anime fan’s wet dream.
Alongside the inclusion of such iconic manage characters such as Goku and Naruto, the
game will feature a J-Adventure’ mode which features a plotline of a tournament held every
45 years which determines which hero is the strongest and takes the player through four
individual chapters. Here, players can explore an RPG-style world map, battle opponents
and collect in-game cards to power up their characters. Other modes include a single-player
battle mode where players must achieve certain objectives during battle and a free battle
mode which supports up to two players in oine play and four players for online matches.
With some cartoony visuals and a battle system that requires you to think strategically and
get the most out of your characters, J-Stars is likely to be a fun, free-for-all that could rival the
likes of Marvel vs. Capcom in terms of fast-paced arcade gameplay.
(PS4) (26/06/2015) Bandai Namco
© inthegame.nl
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BEN WHITE shares his latest picks from
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BEN WHITE shares his latest picks from
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E3 has just been and gone for another year, there were plenty of things to get excited about from this
years expo, from Sony,Microsoft and all the developers behind some of the big games coming up. We
had a few new surprises shown as well as some gameplay for games coming out in the near future. This
year’s E3 was an amazing event and we should all look forward to what is to come over the next year or
so. Here is Jess from Gamespot to wrap up some of the biggest announcement the the event.
I picked this, simply because this a game from my childhood. I played this game so many time on my
PC when i was a little lad. I beat it several times, and i still own it to this day. Sitting down now watching
this video years and years later, brings back so many memories. My rst match of Quidditch, Ron’s
annoying voice actor and facing off against the Basilisk for the rst time. I don’t remember the game
looking this bad though. The graphical glitches you can see in this videos are things i remember from
my playthrough, i didn’t think much of it at the time, but if i played a game today like that. It would
annoy me so much. But still a fun trip down memory lane.
Here is Jess from Gamespot to wrap up some of the biggest
announcement the the event.
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Another video from me, this is a montage of all the funny moments from my sessions of Hardline with
friends. From the conversations we had about crumpets to the killstreak that is impossible for someone
with my skill at FPS to get. There are some true gems here. Plus it was also good to make a video that
wasn’t in GTAV. I hope you enjoy!
Battlefield Hardline Funny Moments
Crumpets, Ice Cream, Killstreak
Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets Funny Moments - CallMeKevin
The greatest, annual gaming exhibition graced us once again this year and, sadly, has now
passed us by. Fortunately, a plethora of new and exciting games were revealed to justify
our reasons to own a next-gen console or beefed-up PC. We were there to cover each and
every single event from Bethesda to the PC Gaming Show. We cheered upon the surprise
revelations like
Shenmue III
, and sighed at the umpteenth unnecessary
sequel. Yet even though we knew about
Fallout 4’
s existence just days before Bethesdas very
rst presentation ever, we still giggled with excitement upon seeing Todd Howard vouch for
its validity. E3 2015 may just have been the greatest one yet.
Video game Christmas
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Making their debut presentation, Bethesda kicked off E3 2015 with a solid showing of announced
games with extensive gameplay reveals, conrmation of unannounced titles expected to make a
showing, as well as a few surprises that may or may not please people, depending on who you
ask. Three titles made up the bulk of the show, which gave enough time for Pete Hines and
co to satisfy rabid fans with meaty info, some of who have waited almost 8 years for new info.
DOOM/DOOM 4/The rst id Software game not to have John Carmack excitedly wheezing
about new rendering techniques as he shows it off at the culturally-irrelevant QuakeCon:
Oh man, what a way to start to E3. The now-numberless fourth entry to the
kicked things off at the Dolby Theatre in LA by showing off a mix of single player, multiplayer
and user-generated content. One thing is for sure - this is
! Steering the series back to
its fast-paced explosive roots after the Half Life meets horror shooter
DOOM (4)
modernises the core
experience - shooting demons on Mars really fast with awesome
guns, turning them all into a bloody pulp - with some new additions.
Yes, you can double jump and pull yourself up to ledges (this is 2015, after all), but the new tool
to be added to DoomGuy’s arsenal are the melee nishers. In an id Software twist to Fatalities
that made
Mortal Kombat
a cultural landmark, players can perform a melee nisher by getting
up close and clicking shoot once an enemy is close to death (indicated by their staggering
animations and their player model starting to glow). Depending on where you aim, you are
awarded either a ton of ammo or a large quantity of health.
Multiplayer is also back in
DOOM (4),
with a large portion of its content to be shaped by
s in game level/mode/game logic editor
. A cross between
Halo’s Forge Mode,
-style level editors and Unreal Engine’s BluePrint Logic Editor, players can create
intricate maps, multiplayer variants and even edit the game logic. How powerful and exible
is yet to be determined, but it’s great that id are recognising
s mod roots.
No mention of when the multiplayer beta that
Wolfenstein: The New Order
owners registered
for will hit, but expect
DOOM (4)
to hit PC, Xbox One and PS4 sometime in Autumn 2016.
Dishonoured 2/Dishonoured 1 Remaster
/Bethesda’s Last Worst Kept Secret Is Out Of The Bag:
After a bunch of talk about a centralised online Bethesda hub (yawn) and some janky yet brief
footage of their third person action MOBA
(that won’t op, I guarantee it!), Bethesda
by Mitchell McCausland
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let Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio of Arkane Studios take centre stage to update us
on what has been going on at their digs since
graced our consoles and PCs in
Pulling no punches, the duo dropped a CG reveal trailer for the not-so-secret
which revealed a coastal town decades later after the original, along with a playable adult
version of Emily Kaldwin, the princess of Dunwall from the rst entry. Keeping in line with
the series’ focus on player choice, players can choose between Emily and Corvo Attano, the
protagonist of
Dishonoured 1
, both of whom have unique abilities, weapons and tools. Not
much else was revealed, not even a release date, however it will hit PC, Xbox One and PS4.
Speaking of the original title, a remaster of
Dishonoured 1
, dubbed
Dishonoured: Denitive
, was announced by Harvey and Raph. Due to hit Xbox One and PS4 in Spring this
Dishonoured: Denitive Edition
contains the original game plus all of its additional
DLC remastered and touched up for the new batch of consoles. It isn’t an E3 of the Xbone/
PlayStation 4 era without a remaster announcement.
Fallout 4/Fallout Shelter/
Did I Mention Fallout?
Things began to drag a tad with the obligatory vignette of the recently-launched console
versions of
The Elder Scrolls Online
(seriously, no one cares) and the surprise announcement
The Elder Scrolls: Hearthstone
- I mean the highly original PC and iPad strategy card RPG
Elder Scrolls: Legends
(so THAT’S why you -sued MOJANG for their now-canned game,
!). Pete Hinds begins to say that they have reached to the end of the show.
Boos from the audience.
“Oh, yeah, silly me! I almost forgot!”, Pete says, trying to invoke an Apple ‘And, just one more
thing…’ moment.
For the next 15 minutes, Bethesda Game Studios head Todd Howard has the entire crowd,
nay, THE ENTIRE INTERNET at his feet as he walks through the various aspects of
Fallout 4
. For
the rst time in the Bethesda-era Fallout franchise,
Fallout 4
begins before the atom bombs
drop. The intricate character creation system is shown off in the most creative way - while the
player is using the mirror in the bathroom with their partner. Depending on who you leave with
at this segment, you will play as either the husband or wife of this married couple. Sufce to say,
things hit the fan shortly after this, as you retreat to Vault 111 in good ol’ Boston, MA.
200 years later, the player leaves Vault 111 to explore the now-derelict Boston. With your new
command-controlled German Shepherd companion at your side, the world of Fallout 4 is a
highly customisable experience. Players can collect items from all over the game world and can
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be used as scrap to build intricate forts and weapons. The revamped dialogue system allows
players to view conversations in rst person, third person - they can even leave or shoot the
person they are conversing with at any time.
Following the trend of increased smartphone game development at Bethesda, Todd also
revealed that the Bethesda Game Studios-helmed
XCOM/Sim Tower/FTL
-inspired F
will be available on The App Store worldwide straight after the conference for the great
price of zero dollars. Rather than creating a Skinner Box companion game to
Fallout 4, Fallout
is a love letter to the smartphone gaming experience by a team who cares about crafting
a deep and satisfying experience. No word on the Android release to Google Play though.
… I did make a slight lie there. There will be a companion app for Fallout 4, though unlike most
it’s pretty neat. Considering that the Pipboy Edition of
Fallout 4
comes with a replica Pipboy to
put one’s smartphone in, Bethesda will be releasing a Pipboy Companion App to both iOS and
Android around the time of the main release. Using a WiFi connection, players can interact with
the in game menus and inventory normally reserved to the virtual Pipboy with the companion
app. One doesn’t need the replica Pipboy from the Pipboy Edition, but not having it kinda kills
the illusion of fantasy.
I’ll be honest: I’ve never played a Fallout game in my life. Not an Interplay-developed one, not
a Bethesda Game Studio-developed one. Heck, I haven’t even played Obsidian Entertainment’s
underrated gem, Fallout: New Vegas. My observations may be a tad… uneducated. But after this
showcase, I will be picking up a copy of Fallout 4 on Xbox One (also coming out on PC and PS4)
on November the 10th this year. Shooting and roleplaying in a post-apocalyptic world never
looked so enticing.
A few technical glitches (the left side panel of the middle screen on the stage kept ickering on
and off during the show) and some unnecessary padding with dull The Elder Scrolls, Battlecry
and bethesda.net content, Bethesda’s rst E3 press presentation was a smooth and memorable
show. They focused on the titles that matter to most -
DOOM (4)
Fallout 4
- by giving
them ample time to breathe, while titles and services that the E3 crowd didn’t care were briey
touched upon with short vignettes or announcements. EA, Ubisoft and Square Enix better take
note - this is how you do a publisher-focused presser.
Bethesda’s Sydney Screening June 15th 2015
Nathan Grifths
For their rst ever major E3 show, Bethesda surprised us all by hosting a Sydney show, live-
streaming their show along with a live panel. A few representatives from The Australia Times’
Gaming Mag were invited to attend, and so I made my way into downtown Sydney to see what
they had to show.
When I arrived at the Star Bar, fashionably late entirely by choice and not due to mixing up my
stars, there was a considerable crowd gathered to get in, amongst them a fair few cosplayers.
Once I nally got past all the crowds and inside, I found the bar was packed, hundreds of
Bethesda fans and other members of press alike gathered to see their show.
Around the bar, there were a few huge screens set up, teasing us with a picture of
Fallout 4.
There was a clear air of nervous excitement, and only two things were certain; We had to see
even a little bit of Fallout, and the
Dishonored 2
reveal that most people there knew got leaked
the day before.
We’d been discussing what we thought we might see when the show itself properly started. It
kicked off strong with the Doom gameplay reveals, and I have to say, it looked like it’s gonna
be a strong title to keep an eye out for. Whilst we didn’t see any live footage of it being played,
the video we were shown was supposedly recorded gameplay, and if it was, then
like a proper modern successor to the shooters of old. Practically the only thing keeping it apart
from the originals was the much slicker looking graphics, that the chainsaw no longer was just
held down to attack with, and the distinct lack of a dude’s face in the bottom centre of the
screen to show your damage.
Bethesda took this moment to reveal their new in-game editing suite, promising that we could
use it to create new game modes and maps on console as well as PC. The interface looked
pretty clean and simple for it, and hopefully it’ll turn out to be as easy to use as they claimed.
Map editing looked simple enough, working much like their
Modkit they’ve used to develop
The Elder Scrolls
and their previous
game, dropping down tiled sections of map
and then populating that with individual items and other set dressing.
Whilst most of the audience was reeling from the Doom gameplay footage, they quickly
announced a digital card game based on the Elder Scrolls series, something which drew a lot of
comparison to Blizzard’s
. All we were told was that it was in fact being made, with
no release dates or even a hint of gameplay. That pretty minor announcement left as quickly as
it arrived.
They followed up that with a brief look at their team-based rst person combat game, Battlecry,
which got more than a few comparisons of its own from the crowd, this time to Valve’s
Fortress 2
. We saw a little bit of gameplay, along with a comment about the Beta, but again, it
was a reasonably short announcement, and a lot of buzz was still going around
Next, a somewhat familiar routine started, as the leaked
Dishonored 2
announcement was
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shown exactly as the leak said it would happen. The only major thing of note we found out was
that there’s likely to be two different campaigns for each of the protagonists, Bethesda having
introduced a female assassin with her own new skillset. A lot of the possible excitement for it
was kinda crushed by their own leak, and whilst I can’t say if it was planned or not, if it was, then
it was probably the biggest mistake they could have made for it. We saw a snippet of gameplay,
and it honestly seemed pretty similar to the rst in scope. If you enjoyed the rst title, then you’ll
probably want to keep an eye out for its sequel; for those who didn’t care for it, well, that’s okay.
Bethesda had something prepared just for this occasion.
As soon as the screens started to show Fallout, the Star Bar collectively lost it, and with very good
reason. We started off by taking a look at the introduction sequence to the game, including
their new character creation system. Bethesda showed they’ve clearly evolved past using their
traditional sliders and bars method of designing a character, as their new style had you simply
moving individual parts of your avatar’s face around to create your own unique look. I wouldn’t
be surprised if they still have a traditional method available for less artistically skilled people
(like myself) who generally end up with a nausea-inducing abomination by “accident”, but that’s
besides the main point. The introduction sequence looks like it’ll start off strong, but I can’t help
but wonder how long before mods are created to let you skip that sequence entirely, much like
I wound up using for Skyrim.
Next up, we got a look at their newfound focus on world and character customisation. I gotta
say, if the audience was ecstatic before, things were hitting a fever pitch by the time this was
done. Their town, weapon and armour customising looked like the majority of a different game
could be based around it, yet Bethesda were claiming that this was going to be just one aspect
of a much larger experience. Overall,
Fallout 4
looks like it could well be the very best of 3 and
New Vegas, with some of the biggest and best mods already in the game...
And then they announced the release date was pre-Christmas. Minds were completely lost, and
they still managed to catch us off guard by announcing a FO mobile game out of left eld that,
according to them, was the result of them “making the game we wanted to play”. For good
measure, they followed that bombshell by telling us that we could play it in just a few hours, for
free. I was honestly thrilled until I remembered that I have a Blackberry, and as such will never
get to play any mobile game ever.
After the main E3 show wrapped up, a few Bethesda representatives took to the stage to
talk about the presentation and host a quick cosplay contest, but in the press zone at least,
I don’t think there was much attention being paid to that. We were all far too excited and
busy discussing the series of announcements we’d just been stunned by. What costumes I saw
were pretty impressive, one guy had shown up in full Power Armour, and the amount of vault
dwellers present was considerable.
Not too much later, most people started ling out of the bar, giving us some free reign to have
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a brief chat with the Bethesda representatives before we also left. On our way out, everyone
received a
canvas bag and a bunch of Bethesda pin badges based on the games we’d
seen, a nice little memento of one of the rst major E3 presentations (partially) held in Australia.
So, wrapping up my little summary of the events of the day, it was denitely great to see major
developers paying Australia some more heed in their releases and announcements. I personally
hope we get a lot more like this in future, so along with EA’s panel the day after, it’s a good step
forward for Australian gamers. I’d like to nish up by thanking my fellow TAT contributors Clare
and Vince who I joined for the show, especially for all the photos they took throughout.
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Xbox has some big things coming this year. They’re boasting their biggest and best line-
up of releases and the new tech looks pretty interesting to boot.
First things rst- backwards compatibility! You can play Xbox 360 games on Xbox One!
Huzzah! The games will run better; you can still play multiplayer with anyone on the 360,
and can use the Xbox Ones features.
Microsoft has also partnered with Val VR and Oculus and they’ve started working on
the Microsoft HoloLens which made for a rad Minecraft demo. Holographic projections
of game worlds with voice commands and eye movement recognition. The only
questionable bit is that it’s powered by Microsoft’s Windows 10. Anyone remember
Vista? Or Windows 8 when it was rst released? Its super interesting and looks pretty
awesome but we’ve yet to see how the OS performs so it may be a while before its
The Xbox Game Preview lets you trial games that are still in development. If you like
what you’ve seen so far you can buy otherwise you can hold out for an update, play
again, and see if you want it or not.
Last but not least, the new Xbox controller. Designed for precision, with this controller
you can customise your parts. With interchangeable pieces you can redesign the set-up
of your controller for your gameplay.
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by Kassie Whitehair
These are huge steps in the right direction. If you want to prove you’re listening to your
gamers then this is how you do it.
Now to the games: the big name exclusives to Xbox this year include Fable Legends,
which is free to play. Rise of the Tomb Raider, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition which
has been built for Xbox One with Gears 4 on the way. Forza Motorsport 6 and Halo 5:
Studio MDHR’s Cuphead was a stand out in Microsofts indie showcase. Made to look
like a 1930’s cartoon with music to match, this platformer looks trippy and just plain
amazing. Set for release in 2016, and another Xbox exclusive, it’s denitely something
to look forward to.
Also with these, there’s Fallout 4, Plants vs Zombies; Garden Warfare 2 and Dark Souls 3.
Rares celebrating 30 years with Rare Replay. 30 games-in-one including Battletoads,
Banjo-Kazooie Bolts and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Rare also previewed new release Sea of
Thieves, they’ve got in the works. A pirate-y open-worlder and it looks like fun.
Overall pretty happy with what Microsoft has to oer this year. There’s some great things
coming up!
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This year at E3, Electronic Arts wanted to get something
across to the audience and their fans. Their message was
they have listened to their fans feedback to all of their big
franchises and they have tried their best to incorporate
what the gamers wanted to see in the latest instalments.
You could play a drinking game with the amount of times
every spokesperson said “ we have listened to the fans” or
other variants of that sentence.
The three big things to take away from the EA Conference this year were: the announcement of
Mass Eect Andromeda, Mirrors Edge Catalyst and of course Star Wars Battlefront. EA opened
the show with a trailer for Mass Eect, and it was a such a surprising way to start the show, while
they didn’t reveal anything about the new game. The trailer itself looked fantastic, we got a rst
look at the new N7 armour, as well as a glimpse of some of the worlds we will get to explore as
well as a late 2016 release date.
We also got a rather extensive look at gameplay for Mirrors Edge Catalyst, which is an origin story
for the original protagonist Faith and it is running on the Frostbite 3 engine. It looks amazing.
The city itself looks really good and it feels alive. From what they have shown, it appears they
have taken the gunplay out of the original. But this prequel will instead focus heavily on rst
person melee combat and free running. It was also revealed that the game would have an open
world and would use that to improve on its free running mechanics from the rst game. I have
not played the original, but i might pick it up and give it a go before this game is released in
February next year.
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by Benjamin White
But this year EAs big gun was Star Wars Battlefront, and we nally got to see some gameplay.
As a massive Star Wars fan, this is what I was waiting for before I got to hyped about this game.
Man, it didn’t disappoint. It looks fantastic. They showed a gameplay demo captured from a
Playstation 4, if this is what it looks like on that engine, imagine what it would on the PC. We got
to see the battle of Hoth, from the perspective of both the Rebels and the Empire. In this little
demo, they showed o all the awesome features this game has. They showed o the gunplay,
the walkers, the TIE Fighters, and even a glimpse at lightsaber combat. A lot of people have been
critical about Battlefront saying it will be a Battleeld clone, but it really isn’t. While the gameplay
has been inspired by Battleeld, its more close to the original Battlefront games than Battleeld.
Gameplay is from a rst and third person perspective, and I am pretty sure I am not the only one
who squealed a little bit when Darth Vader made an appearance on the battleeld. But the game
really feels authentic, from the animations of the AT-AT to the sound and look of the dierent
weapons. It is clear a lot of love has gone into the game. Battlefront comes out November 17th.
We also got a look at an interesting new IP called Unravel. Which is an adorable little platformer
from a small development team in Sweden, where you play as Yarney, a creature made out of
yarn, who unravels as you play the game. They have used this to create and interesting twist on
the platformer gameplay.
Other than Plants VS Zombies Garden Warefare 2, Need For Speed and Minions Paradise, the rest
of the show was focused on EA Sports titles. With big stage shows, showing of all the features
of the latest titles in the Fifa, NBA, Madden, NHL and PGA franchises. I don’t play many sports
games so this didn’t really mean too much to me. But I thought one really cool feature they
added to the new NBA Live 16 was an app where you could scan you face on a Smartphone and
it renders your face in the game. It does look really impressive, once fully rendered in-game.
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Primarily the big focus was on some new game modes for each of the franchises, and each
of these new games look really visually impressive with some of them using the Frostbite 3
engine as well. The new FIFA will also feature 12 national Women’s teams for the rst time in the
franchises history and they have also made a huge overhaul to the games trainer system.
That is pretty much all the big stu from the conference, if you are a huge sports fan and want
to know more about some of the new EA Sports games then you can nd all the information
all over the internet. Overall the EA conference was really well presented and they really went
all out with the special guests they had and the gamelplay they shown. You can nd the full
conference on Youtube.
EA E3 Press Conference Showing at The Standard Bowl, Sydney 16th of June 2015
Mitch McCausland
While dierences in time zones and lockout laws prevented a local live broadcast event, EAs
Australian arm managed to deliver the next best thing to show o EAs E3 2015 press conference.
Renting out The Standard Bowl on the Tuesday night of E3 week, EA Australia pulled no punches
in presenting their next batch of heavy hitters to a crowd of select gaming press and diehard
fans. Some fans put an amazing amount of eort in their Star Wars cosplays, though I hope they
have Xbox Ones since the prizes were 1 Month Free Passes to EA Access.
Much like the press conference itself, the EA Australia E3 Event was surprising not disappointing,
yet the slight self-high ving corporate tone cast its shadow. But hey, free beer is always good,
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The wonderful Aisha Tyler returned
to host this year’s conference but
thankfully refrained from using anymore
cringe worthy euphemisms (were
all trying to forget 2012’s girl wood’).
She welcomed the audience with
charismatic enthusiasm and delighted
with a comical, down to earth persona.
A couple of jokes missed but that
didn’t completely pivot the experience.
Ubisofts elephant in the room didn’t
go unnoticed and thankfully Aisha
pleasantly addressed the issue with her
PR written phrase claiming their team
are listening to everyones suggestions
and trawling through NSFW Reddit
posts for feedback. Though whether or
not they can hold up to that promise
is anyone’s game. Only time will tell
to see if the renowned publisher can
change their ways. Tough unless you’re
an advocate of trigger-happy shooters
or the head of Tom Clancys fan club,
there was very little else to entice other
players into dropping deposits on
upcoming Ubisoft games during their
presentation this year.
Before this the show started o strong
with a humourous and exciting sequel
announcement to last years South Park:
Stick of Truth as the games trailer poked
comical jabs at the video game industry
and laughed at its predecessor’s aws.
Thrown in with a down to earth,
somewhat reluctant, accompaniment
from the show’s creators Trey Parker
and Matt Stone and we’ve settled in
for an awesome experience. These few
minutes set the bar high for the French
publishers presentation though,
unfortunately, that’s roughly where the
conference peaked.
Although, Ubisoft wanted to ride the
momentum of keeping up excitement
so what followed was their new IP For
Honor. The game’s elevator pitch would
be to imagine Chivalry but on a triple-A
level. With a booming and condent
Creative Director announcing the
game with such certitude and vigour,
For Honor looks to be an interesting
development. I welcome their initiative
to venture o the Assassins Creed
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cash cow path and try something else,
though its not the type of game that’d
sit comfortably on my Christmas list.
An expansion pack for The Crew
was revealed to some heavy cheers
which was surprising given the vanilla
games tarnished reputation. Though
Trials Fusion: Awesome Level Max that
accentuates our love/tolerance for
meme humour didn’t win too much
Ubisofts other lovechild The Division
highlighted some of the more
interesting multiplayer components
as well as a nal release date of March
8th2016 for those who need to mark
their calendars. I’ve denitely now
invested a little more interest given
the unpredictable mayhem of other
players. Heres hoping the team don’t
score a hat trick and delay the game a
third time.
A vague CGI trailer for Anno 2205
revealed the game would commence
in November of this year though
hardly explored anything else. Moving
on after that another addition to the
biggest music video game franchise
of all time, Just Dance, arrived again
with another year stapled on the end
of the name. The game’s presentation
t a Jason Derulo solo into the budget
but, judging by the lack of swaying
shoulders in the audience, it’s painfully
obvious journalists can’t be easily
charmed by a 25 year old pop-singer.
A live-action trailer accompanied by
a live demo of Rainbow Six: Siege
continued to ride the Tom Clancy name
with a more in-depth look in the series
as ve daggy guys quietly drilled out
military-styled orders. Once it was over
Trackmania was announced to break
up the guns and glory of previous
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Finally, the long-awaited Assassins
Creed Syndicate was given some room
to breathe in the form of a cinematic
trailer. Fairly disappointing since CGI
trailers don’t incite us to actually
purchase their game. Its great and all
to watch a shiny new movie but can
you show us what the actual game will
look like?
We nish on another gun-heavy trailer
because apparently genre variety is
overrated. As the pieces unfold we’re
open to a much larger, more extensive
look into the game that turns out to be
Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
Not Ubisofts most extensive show ever
but at least it’s a far cry (get it) from
their disastrous other shows. I don’t
think anyone’s going to forget the rst
time they saw Watch Dogs immersive,
graphically empowering city only to
play a reject shop look-alike two years
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Sony has always been a driving force at E3 every year, they announce new game
franchises, hardware, features and apps. 2015 was no exception. With the opening
statement by Shawn Layden letting the fans know that it would be year of new
games and new experiences, it seems the bar for Sonys conference had been set
high. Could anything that follows raise the stakes or would it fall short? Our answer
would come soon enough.
Within the rst few minutes Sony had announced its rst major game, a game that
was announced formally at E3 in 2009, yet suered many delays. The Last Guardian
it seems is (nally) ready for the world to see. The trailer showed gameplay
reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus, with the interaction between the main
character and his animal companion. It showcased teamwork between the two
companions to move forward through the game. Although only a few minutes of
gameplay were showcased, The Last Guardian has left a resounding impression.
Following this was a myriad of new games including Horizon: New Dawn, a game set
in the apocalyptic future where sentient robots roamed the lands freely. Firewatch,
a game that oered little in the way of explanation but left an impression with
many. And nally Dream, from the creators of Little Big Planet, this game promises
gamers the limitless potential of being able to create and share anything we can
dream of.
by Ben Chapman
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
With all this unfolding Sonys announcement list seemed to hit a high and then
plateau, but some of the biggest shocks were yet to come. One of which was
everyone’s favourite assassin, Agent 47. A trailer for the latest in a franchise that
has kept people scheming, and plotting the perfect assassination betting of the
perfect assassin.
The largest announcement by far came in the form of a trailer. A tantalising glimpse
at a technology heavy, alternate reality, it then hinted at someone returning, ending
in with a view of a gigantic sword slung on the back of a spikey blonde haired man.
And the crowd responded in kind, cheers of joy, and a round of applause that was
deafening. Final Fantasy VII would see a remake. A game that was 20 years old and
had gathered a cult following that would keep it alive until now, Square Enix would
reward its fans’ loyalty with the remake they deserved. And with that nal nail, Sony
had set the bar for their conference at a height that it seemed could not be reached.
Yet it did. Shenmue 3, or rather the Kickstarter for a sequel that had been called for
after the large success of the previous Shenmue titles. And it was here.
Amongst these large announcements, previously revealed games like Black Ops
3, Assassins Creed: Syndicate, Uncharted 4: A Thiefs End, Star Wars Battlefront
and Disney Innity Star Wars had all seen air time, with Black Ops 3 showcasing
its multiplayer co-op campaign. Assassins Creed giving people glimpse at unique
tools for combat, and the new female lead. Battlefront showing its survival mode,
and Uncharted 4 getting a few minutes of gameplay coverage, that started out
with some technical diculties. Disney Innity came across more like a sales pitch
then a games conference showcase. And yet it all worked together for Sony in
highlighting just why the PS4 was going to be a game changer.
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E3 2015 had been a success for Sony, it had brought out all the stops. It had something
for all it’s fans, from the RPG fanatics, to the action fans, all areas were covered. Fans
left satiated, excited and yet still wanting more, with only one question constant on
everyone’s lips; What next? What is left for Sony to do? Where could they take their
agship product? We would have to wait another year to nd out.
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In an E3 season that saw more
leaks than a replica Titanic crafted
from a soup strainer, it was up to
the big companies to provide
genuine surprises; surprises that
avoided the blood hound-esque
snoopings of social media.
Even the normally airtight
Nintendo couldn’t get away
unscathed. Before its big Digital
Event, the existence of both
Hyrule Warriors Legends
Ryu/Roy Smash Bros
. DLC was
made known to the public. Still,
such a faux pas didn’t do much
damage indeed, it only served
to further the yearly hype of the
big show.
The proceedings kicked-off with
the Smash Bros. Showcase, which
highlighted the aforementioned
ghters (and Lucas), in addition
to a plethora of new content.
New levels and accessories for
Mii ghters helped bolster an
already jam-packed game, as
did the announcement of online
tournaments, YouTube uploads,
3DS controller support and (of
course) more Amiibos. What
made all of this even sweeter was
the immediacy of availability.
Yes, you can grab all this stuff on
eShop right now!
The next day saw the Nintendo
World Championship nals,
where the nal victor was John
‘John Numbers’ Goldberg, who
overcame ‘Cosmo Wright’ for
the prize (a golden Mario statue
and a 3DS signed by Shigeru
Miyamoto). This was an exciting
event, which saw contestants take
part in games like
The Legend of
for NES,
Super Metroid
SNES, the newly-revealed
for 3DS and
for Wii
U. The whole thing was rounded
out with
Super Mario Maker
for Wii U, and everything was
made sweeter with the surprise
(and subsequent unleashing)
of eShop game,
Nearly 48 hours later, and it
was time for the main moment
Nintendo Digital Event
. To
say the show received a mixed
response would be a severe
understatement; indeed, such
was the negative feedback that
it forced Nintendo executives to
go into damage control mode,
as well as causing the company’s
stock to plummet alarmingly. This
was thanks to an underwhelming
show that lacked killer games,
and an obvious abandonment of
the Wii U platform. So, what was
actually shown? Well, after an
awesome puppet sketch (made
by the Jim Henson company),
things kicked-off with
Star Fox
for Wii U. Pegged as a
‘reimagining’ of the franchise,
the game makes simultaneous
use of the TV and GamePad, as
the player must switch views
in order to progress. Different
vehicles come into play,
including the Landmaster Tank
and the ‘Gyro Copter’, which lets
you unleash a sneaky robot to
press switches. Even the beloved
Arwing gets a makeover, letting
gamers seamlessly sprout legs
and walk around the battleeld.
Though the basic visuals were
worrying, the fact that both
displays ran at 60fps was a plus,
and Platinum’s involvement was
awesome news. After a brief
interview with Miyamoto about
Star Fox
, the next segment saw
the unveiling of ‘Turbocharged
Donkey Kong’ and ‘Hammerslam
Bowser’ gures for
. These are
exclusive to the Wii U version,
and also act as Amiibo.
Next was the unveiling of
Legend of Zelda: Tri Force
for 3DS! This was
a multiplayer focused title
(though it can be played alone)
much like Four Swords, but
by Kris Godwin
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Independent Media Inspiring Minds
limited to three players. Each
Link can wear special costumes,
which gives them special
abilities. On top of this, was the
ofcial reveal of
Hyrule Warriors
for 3DS, too. It’s a port
of the console version, with new
characters – and both can be
linked (ha!) up.
Metroid Prime: Federation
for 3DS was shown next,
and it was perhaps the most
controversial title of the lot.
Seen as a slap in the face to
those wishing for a traditional
Metroid game, this was instead
a multiplayer game that focused
on Federation troopers (as well
as the previously-revealed
). Such a reaction was silly, of
course, though more needs to
be shown of the game to quell
scepticism. The Canadian outt
Next Level Games was revealed
as the developer, which is a
promising sign.
For Fire Emblem fans, we had
Fire Emblem Fates for 3DS, and
the eccentric
Genei Ibun Roku
(formerly Shin Megami
Tensei X Fire Emblem) for Wii U.
After a trailer for
Chronicles X
(with a release
date of December 4
) we got
a showing of
Animal Crossing:
Happy Home Designer
for 3DS,
Animal Crossing: Amiibo
for Wii U. The former
is a traditional AC title that
emphasises renovating, building
and decorating. It comes with
special Amiibo cards to unlock
content, and is sure to be a
hit with kids.
Amiibo Festival
is basically Animal Crossing X
Mario Party.
After a segment on
Woolly World
for Wii U, we got
information on the long-awaited
English release of
Yo-kai Watch
for 3DS, which is a Pokémon
style game that’s been a huge
hit in Japan. Also for 3DS is the
awesome looking
Mario & Luigi:
Paper Jam
, which is a meeting
of the M&L and Paper Mario
Ending the event was a trailer
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
on Wii U, and some more stuff
Super Mario Maker.
Compared to last year,
Nintendo’s E3 showing was
denitely disappointing, but it
was not without some merit. A
plethora of Treehouse videos
afterward showed more of the
games, as well as the western
release of
Fatal Frame: Maiden
of the Black Water
for Wii U,
and more on
Mario & Sonic at
the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
(Wii U & 3DS),
Chibi-Robo!: Zip
(3DS) and
Pokémon Super
Mystery Dungeon
(3DS). I must
also note, many of the games
shown at Sony and Microsoft’s
conference were quite far from
release, compared to the 2015/
early-2016 titles Nintendo
preferred to display.
Reggie Fils-Aimé claimed that
Nintendo was undergoing a
transformation, and that the
‘NX’ would be shown next year.
Let’s hope the metamorphosis
is one of glory rather than
irrelevance. The Wii U is clearly
on its last legs, and the lack of
Zelda Wii U
was a denite gut-
punch but if there’s one thing
Nintendo has been known for,
it’s bouncing back.
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The verdict on the Square-Enix 2015 E3 conference? It was decent. Not amazing, mind-blowing
or out of this world, but denitely a decent conference showcasing games to be excited about.
It started o with Phillip Rogers, the CEO of Square Americas and Europe, giving a slim and
general introduction. He was pleased that the company is now taking on and showcasing new
developing talent with its latest titles and will continue to do so in the years beyond. He also
reiterated the importance of Squares fans and how the company listens to their feedback to
create their products, citing the
Final Fantasy XV
demo as an example of this at work. What
followed was
Just Cause 3
, presented by its Game Director, Roland Lesterlin of Avalanche
Studios, an intense visual feast of explosions and long draw distances. The main message was
cause chaos and blow stu up!’ (to put it in very basic terms) and, given new additions such
as a multipurpose grappling device, a wingsuit that enables the player to freely glide around
the games world and unlimited C4, this very much seems to be coming to fruition. Still, it
wasn’t a great opening with Lesterlin promoting the games sandbox open-world qualities
and the potential destruction players could cause’ in it feeling a little uncreative for a company
like Square-Enix. At the very least, the trailer showed gameplay at work; a great deal of what
followed it were merely teasers – Crystal Dynamics Rise of the
Tomb Raider
was graphically very
impressive and the presentation focused a great deal on that, but gameplay features were not
touched upon. Likewise, the companys new project, the
Nier New Project,
featured examples of
artwork of its in-game universe but no word on how it played. The
Lara Croft
Go announcement
and trailer that followed was also not very impressive and didn’t exactly leave a thirst in the
mouth; the presentation for the new
game, however, was quite exciting, showing the
great amount of freedom players were given in completing assassinations.
Deus Ex: Mankind
, which was showcased towards the end of the conference, showed an impressively
cinematic sci- action game that has a lot of potential. It was clear that Square were trying to
show o their army of developing teams through these presentations and they did just that.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Square-Enix conference without its revelation of new Final Fantasy
titles and related games. At this point, its showing of the
Final Fantasy VII remake
teaser trailer
was unexciting since the reveal had already come at Sonys press conference and the dust had
settled. What really made the conference room go wild was the trailer of
Kingdom Hearts III
. The
gameplay trailer – which featured Sora, Donald and Goofy battling the Heartless in impressively
smooth, HD visuals – was preceded by a short video with Greg Coleman, VP of Marketing at
Disney Animation Studios, and Roy Connelly, a producer at Walt Disney Animation Studios who
announced that, indeed, the Tangled world would be featured in the game. While this is an
exciting prospect for Kingdom Hearts fans, the announcement of the iOs exclusive
Hearts: Unchained
and PS4/Vitas World of
Final Fantasy
were less so, seemingly another slew of
spin-o titles that showed the companys desperation to reach a wider audience. To nish o
by Nathan Franklin
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
the conference, Squares Yosuke Matsuda, President and CEO of Square-ENix Holdings, revealed
Final Fantasy Portal
, an online app that will serve as a comprehensive guide to the Final Fantasy
universe and
Project Setsuna
, a new RPG brand developed by new developing studio, Tokyo
RPG Factory. Again, aside from the revealed concept artwork for the proposed game, details
are yet to be released about wat the nature of this project really is. What was revealed was the
gameplay trailer for
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness
. This showed an impressive change
on the typical JRPG formula – namely, no random battles and a real-time gaming experience.
All in all, Square has given us some mysterious teasers and trailers that show us the potential of
what is to come and it is an exciting one.
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Marcus Rockstrom gives his rundown of the awkwardly informative PC Gaming presentation at E3
So the rst PC Gaming
presentation of E3 came and
went, with the results being
perhaps ‘intriguing’ at best? It’s
hard to say whether something
like this is successful until seen in
the long run. While it feels right
that a ‘PC Gaming’ presentation
was nally included in the E3
line-up, it’s such an amorphous
concept due to the massive
range of genres and styles of
games that people play on the
The line-up of announcers
and guests was extensive as
apparently “nobody refused” an
invitation to turn up and get their
two cents in. Therein lay part
of the problem for this frankly
odd presentation. At just over a
staggering two and a half hours
long, the show crammed in as
many developers, publishers
and sponsors as they could. A
large number of them barely
had any chance to say anything,
rather lowering the value of even
their two cents. The whole affair
was just so awkward and stilted;
it actually required a host to
keep things moving unlike most
of the other E3 presentations.
Hosted by PC gaming gure,
game announcer and YouTuber
Sean ‘Day[9]’ Plott, the poor man
did his best to be enthusiastic
and engaging for the entire
plodding affair. Someone should
give him a medal or a cookie
or something as that was a
tough gig if there ever was one.
Even from the beginning the
audience seemed somewhere
between muted and comatose
and the often dry content didn’t
do much to invigorate things.
Ok it wasn’t all terrible, there
were a few interesting recurring
themes which will likely be
shaping PC gaming for the next
few years. As ever there’s a lot of
focus going into improving just
how shiny we can make things
look on a PC, a fact sponsor AMD
took great joy in hammering into
us with two sections devoted to
discussing new graphics cards
and software. I spend far too
much of my life playing games
on PC and even I found those
sections immensely dry. For
the tech lovers in the audience
it may have held some interest
but despite the event being
a PC niche there might have
been a better way of presenting
that material. It also might take
AMD CEO Lisa Su a while to live
down the classic ‘microphone
still on’ gaffe when she nished
her interview and summarily
dismissed the experience once
she was out of view. It might
have been stage fright, who
As for the leaps and bounds in
graphics technology, perhaps
it’s more accurate to say skips
and jumps. Games are going
to keep looking better and
better but the impressive visuals
these days seem to come from
developers with the imagination
to come up with striking designs
rather than simply delivering
photo-realistic imagery. Indeed
some of the arguably ‘lower
tech’ and indie games looked
far more impressive than the
bigger titles.
Pixel Titans showcased
a FPS shooter that purposefully
gives itself an older, blockier
aesthetic in homage to classic
gore-generators Quake and
Doom, bringing a new level of old
school to the table by applying
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current gen capabilities to an
older style.
Enter the Gungeon
was in a similar boat, as a ‘Bullet
Hell’ game reminiscent of
and others with ordnance
ying every which way in a lovely
ballet of explosions and death.
These games came off a little
better than others but that might
have something to do with the
fact that these two were among
the few that actually presented
themselves with live gameplay
We’re a jaded, cynical audience
these days (just in case my
griping above hadn’t made you
aware of it), and we know the
tricks of devs and publishers all
too well. The second recurring
theme is what I call the ‘Gilded
Promise’. It’s the promise of
tomorrow, the promise of what
will come and what may be, but
all that glitters is not gold and
the day I trust a pre-rendered
trailer is the day I die.
Hitman would be a prime
example of this. We’ve heard the
promises of Square-Enix before
when it comes to that franchise
and despite all the hype what
they delivered last time was
disappointment and a needless
controversy. They give us a
Gilded Promise that the next one
will be better but we’ve been hurt
too many times to be suckered
in by their wiles. I hope.
is another of these.
The whole Microsoft lineup
was all a bit underwhelming
too as they discussed bringing
Fable Legends
and the
Gears of War
games to
PC as if they were bestowing
some large favour on us by
giving us a glimpse into the
supposed better world of Xbox
I’m not doing a very good job
of explaining the good bits.
The indie scene had heavy
representation, which was good
to see.
Beyond Eyes
out as a game that could give
players a new experience. The
concept behind it is that you’re
a blind girl, looking for their lost
friend. In a similar fashion to the
Daredevil vision, the player gets
imagery from what they hear,
smell and touch, nding their
way around in almost complete
white nothingness until their
other senses nd a way. It’s a
fascinating idea, which I hope
brings about a good game.
© Square-Enix
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My general reservations aside, I
did feel a little bit of the inner
Squee! when I saw more footage
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
and hearing that
Total War:
was going to be a
thing. Both the
Total War
Deus Ex
franchises have been
consistently good across their
long lifetimes so if I had high
hopes for something spectacular
it would be out of these two
games. They won’t be seen for
some time but you know that’s
because the developers are
making sure things are up to
scratch for their release.
Bringing us neatly to another
theme of the night, and
probably something on the
collective mind of the PC gamer
community was the idea of Early
Access, generally in context of
Steam. The consensus at the
moment seems to be that it’s a
good idea but must be treated
with caution. It was interesting
to note the way each guest was
very careful about the topic,
especially poor old Dean Hall,
the modder responsible for the
creation of
Day Z,
a game that
has been living so long on Early
Access there’s a lot of doubt
that it will ever leave. He made a
decent point however that once
devs put up their games on Early
Access and they reach a certain
level of success, even at that
Alpha/pre-Alpha stage, there’s
a lot of pressure to deliver the
nal product or at least more
Early Access is similar to a Gilded
Promise in its own way. When
you buy an Early Access game
you’re essentially paying for
an unnished product with no
guarantee of ever getting one. In
theory it helps fund projects as
they go and the idea of crowd-
sourcing seems to be a growing
trend that actually brings results.
Pillars of Eternity
Star Citizen
and a few other featured titles
were funded via Kickstarter or
other donation methods. This
method allows developers to
not only get the project moving
but also be free of the demands
of potentially overbearing
publishers and instead cement
their relationship directly with
the players and involve them in
the process of creation. It can
and does happen, however we
also get the
Day Z
model where
a lot of people pay money and
don’t really get what they paid
for. Something to keep an eye
on in future anyway.
The nal point of interest
was Blizzard Entertainment,
managing to show once again
how far ahead of the curve they
can still be with their delivery
Heroes of the Storm
highly successful. A short, sharp
beta test has moved swiftly
into release and they’ve already
announced an expansion for
the game, bringing something
entirely new to the MOBA genre.
It seems only fair since it was
a mod of their own game that
helped shape the entire genre in
the rst place. They also just had
one of the better presentations,
showing bits of the game,
explaining their goals clearly
and generally seeming more at
ease with being on stage than
many of the others.
Some people just have to be
over-achievers don’t they.
© Square-Enix
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© Tripwire Interactive
© Tripwire Interactive
© Tiger & Squid/Team 17
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Marcus Rockstrom learns to fear Sean Bean and snow
I’ve said before that I’m not particularly fond of horror games, or at least the particular sense
of style that the gaming community denes as horror’ anyway. Jump-scares and gore are the
usual fare; with an atmosphere that may include some tension but is essentially consistent, if not
completely static as you wait for the next “Boo!”
Kholat, developed by the Polish company IMGN.PRO, is what I believe should dene the ideas of
horror and fear in a game. Nothing about this game is static, you’re not sitting in a room waiting
for animatronic puppets to pop up like Whack-A-Moles from start to nish. This game builds up
its tension and it takes its sweet time. It tortures you by throwing absolutely nothing at you all
the time.
The setting is the titular Kholat Syakhl or ‘Dead Mountain in the Ural region of Russia. Translation:
its the middle of nowhere, civilisation is something of a foreign concept and it’s fucking cold.
Almost through necessity, this game is beautifully rendered in the way that lets you understand
the idea of there being more than fty dierent types of snow. IMGN.PRO have done a masterful
job crafting an environment that conveys cold to the player. Isolation, uncertainty and of course
fear, are all informed by and in-turn feed back again into that sense of utter cold.
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
Tension begins at zero at the opening as you receive a quick explanation of the true tale that
inspired the game; where a group of students died mysteriously on a skiing trip and whose
corpses were slowly discovered over a number of months in increasingly bizarre and violent
circumstances that deed logical explanation.
When youre given control of the character, a person whose role youre never quite sure of
besides their inexplicable need to wander through a desolate landscape to discover the story of
the lost skiers, the most monstrous thing that’s directed at you is the damnable snow, and Sean
Bean. Yes, everyones favourite actor that’s doomed to die in everything hes in is your narrator
and it doesn’t take long to discover he’s the unreliable kind. Narrator is even something of a
strong word considering his dialogue is more of a jumbled stream of consciousness that dips in
and out of clarity.
The soundtrack that plays through the prologue, as you move from what seems to be the last
town on the edge of the Earth into the wilderness, builds the tension slowly and beautifully.
Violins have often been used in horrors and thrillers to denote fear and tension but anyone whos
ever played in an orchestra can tell you that the cello is capable of far more haunting sounds,
and its used to great eect in Kholat. It reappears intermittently throughout the game and Im
hard pressed to decide whether it should be constant or not. Sometimes the lack of soundtrack
informs the sense of isolation and emptiness of the mountain, but they did such a great job with
the composition that I think it may have worked.
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Making your way through a blizzard you eventually nd a small tent to shelter in, emerging
after the storm in the middle of the Kholat mountain range. You are armed with a compass,
a map, a torch and God I hope a sense of direction or else you are boned my friend. You
have to pay attention to where you are going or else you’ll get lost remarkably quickly as
one area of snow-covered rocks and rock-covered snow blends into another. I say that but
there are landmarks and clearly dened locations that stand out as noticeable, either up
close or from a distance depending on the feature. There is some hand-holding, with the
map giving notes of key locations and someone else has scratched co-ordinates around
the place on rocks to give you an idea of where you are. Red and orange glows on the
horizon also work as things to set your course by, as long as youre comfortable walking
towards them, that is.
The aim of the game is essentially a cross between Slender and Dear Esther, everyones
favourite walking simulators, as you wander the wilderness picking up various journal
pages and listening to Sean Beans narration. Kholat improves on both by nding a sense
of subtlety in its delivery that Slender lacked, and then a sense of actually doing something
that Dear Esther lacked.
The game encourages you to piece together the story of the Dead Mountain in your own
way. There’s no set path of what direction you go to nd pages in and theres a decent
chance you’ll miss some of them along the way. There are over a dozen dierent authors
and perspectives. Some are benign, some are musings on supernatural theories, others
are treatises on scientic experiments and mixed in are the usual ‘Have you heard of our
saviour the Mighty Cthulu?’ descent-into-madness diaries. Theyre not always in order but
you pick up the gist quickly enough. Sean Bean is singularly unhelpful too, and it’s never
quite clear if hes directly addressing you or not.
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Before I get to the actual supernatural bits, let me just point out that this is what constitutes
horror to me. A connected series of jump-scares is usually what passes for horror and that
doesn’t interest me at all. A cute bunny could leap out with a violin sting and get the same
reaction as a ghost, the proper context and tension change things. Tension and atmosphere
can also be found in both thriller and horror media, but the thing that cements it as ‘horror
here is that there’s a sense of impending doom and there’s nothing you can do about it. The
horror comes from the fact that even when nothing has happened yet your brain leaps into
that primal fear of the dark, monsters and the unknown.
Then when it becomes clear that there really are ghosts and creatures of darkness following
you, you’re still unable to do anything about it but hope they don’t see you. You have no
weapons or means of defence, and the biting cold means you cant run more than a few
feet. If you’ve ever had one of those dreams where something is chasing you but you feel
like you can’t run and you’re somehow dazed and your eyes are closing, its not a dissimilar
feeling to play this game. Despite all this theres something compelling you to keep going
forward, some otherworldly force driving you on (or in my case an Editor that keeps
dropping horror games on me like some evil puppeteer).
As indie games go, this is probably among the best I’ve ever played and is by far the best
horror game I’ve ever seen. Its bite sized too, you couldn’t have a 30 hour game like this,
four to ve hours is enough, maybe longer if you suck at reading maps as badly as I do.
Kholat is cheap and available for PC on Steam, worth picking up for fans and non-fans of
horror alike.
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by Vincent Duval Latreille
To splat or to be splatted? Welcome to the
world of Inkopolis, the home of Splatoon,
where the aim of the game is not so much
to eliminate the other team but to mark as
much territory with your ink before the other
enemy team does. Let the turf wars begin.
The latest instalment from Nintendo is a highly
competitive, intense and addicting online
game where the players works together in
teams of four, in an eight-online multiplayer
game, covering territory with their coloured
ink, using weapons before time runs out.
Taking out the other team members along
the way is a bonus in making the objective
The game is simple enough to understand,
before you actually start playing you are
taken to a tutorial and given the knowledge
to understand how to play. From here
you are introduced to the HUB world of
Splatoon, where you will nd the lobby for
online multiplayer.
Next youre shown around where you can
shop at the four dierent stores for weapons
and clothing, take note you can’t purchase
anything till your reach an online level of at
least ve or six, then you are cool enough to
the shop keepers to purchase their wares.
The Amiibo stand is in the HUB if you have the
Amiibos to play; you can unlock exclusive
gear from completing the challenges from
the Amiibos. Also in the HUB is access to
1v1 against friends to sharpen your skills
and there is also a squid that pops his head
out of a drain and from here is the solo
Squidling Team
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The campaign of the game is travel to
Octovalley and retrieve the stolen Zapsh
from the evil Octarians. Players use a
default weapon for this mode, which can
be upgraded or have additional bombs by
collecting Power Orbs littered across the
The goal of each level is to navigate through
enemies and obstacles, including spongy
platforms and ink-eating robots, in order to
reach the Zapsh at the end. You will also
encounter boss ghts with the last one
being quite a challenge. Each level also
contains a hidden scroll that tells of some of
the game world’s lore.
The online part of the game is what makes
the game whole; this is where you will spend
majority of the game. As you play and level
up, at the end you earn coins based on your
overall score win or lose, to buy new stu
from the shops and points to your clothing
to help unlock extra abilities that the outts
have, its all randomly generated so you
won’t know what you get.
Players have the option to swap shapes and
become a squid form and change back.
When laying down their ink from their
weapons and changing to squid form and
then entering the ink they receive a boost
and are hidden from the enemy team until
they change back.
If you also enter at anytime, as either a squid
or human form, the enemys ink you move
slower than normal and are easier to be
taken out by the enemy. You will need to
shoot your ink on enemy ink to avoid being
an easy target (and making something of a
mess as well). Whilst in squid form, if your
coloured ink is on any walls you can travel
up the walls to a dierent position and gain
a higher vantage over enemies.
The one downside that is known to some
players, myself included, was the connection
rate for online play, especially for a game
where the core concept of it is to play online.
If you don’t have a good, strong online
connection playing this game is not worth
your time as you will mostly be sitting in the
lobby trying to nd a game.
You will be spending over an hour just to
get one game, and even if you do get that
one game you had better hope you don’t lag
and get forced out because then it will take
forever to play.
Ink Wars
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There is a max level of 20 and also there
are online ranked battles where instead of
trying to cover the whole map in your ink
colour, you are trying to hold a designated
area and reduce your score to zero. Be
prepared for more stressful plays as if you
lose, you lose your rank status and do not
gain any points.
Nintendo also have future plans down the
road for Splatoon to keep making it fresh
by bringing out new updates that include
weapons and new maps. There are also
going to be events once a month that have
players choose out of two topics and battle
which topic is going to win, potentially
keeping a decent content ow for the game.
Boss Scene
Ink Wars 3
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