It's an E3 special, as our team at the show (and back at the office) pick their personal favourite moments, and some less cheery stuff…
Samuel Roberts: GTA V on PC is a big deal
“Why did I move here? I guess it was the weather!” GTA V finally got announced on PC this week, and after playing it last year with jaggy edges on the older consoles, it'll be good to see such an amazing open world reach its full potential. My hope is that Rockstar doubles the amount of GTA Online players to 32, but either way, the step up in detail within Los Santos is already looking swish in that debut trailer. I don't remember the grass and trees looking that good on PS3 and Xbox 360. Having spent the week in LA, I can personally guarantee that exploring Los Santos is a lot more fun than wandering around this polluted grid in person. It's odd that one of the biggest announcements at E3 this week was from a publisher who didn't even attend. Andy put it best— will be best on PC .
Wes Fenlon: Feeling Lucky
The PC's getting a platformer every bit as charming as Mario or Crash Bandicoot or Klonoa, but this one's going to be playable on the Oculus Rift. Evan and I shot a video of our demo with the latest version of the Rift at E3 , and the most surprising game we played was 3D platformer Lucky's Tale. Where most VR games so far have focused on first-person experiences, Lucky's Tale is as traditional as it gets, except you can look around with the Rift's head tracking and see far into the distance of a level. It's so simple, it's hard to really get why Lucky's Tale feels so amazingly right.
If you've played Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U, and yearned for a 3D effect to add that extra sense of depth, you're going to love the tech Lucky's Tale brings to the genre. I had so much fun with the simple demo level, I snuck in a last-minute interview with one of the game's developers. I'll be writing that up as soon as I get home from E3!
Cory Banks: A lot of love for Lara
I'm super excited for Rise Of The Tomb Raider , even though I know I shouldn't be. We know next to nothing about it—we only have an oddly-paced trailer that shows Lara Croft exploring a cave, intercut with scenes of her in therapy. And yet I can't stop thinking about it. Crystal Dynamics' 2013 reboot was one of my favorite games of the year, and more Lara Croft is a good thing. We're also getting a new top-down adventure, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris , which adds four-player co-op to Guardian of Light's arcadey action. Bring on the Year of Lara.
Evan Lahti: Ready to go loud on Team Rainbow
Well, I hope you're ready to hear these words a lot from me in 2015 when you're on my Rainbow Six Siege team: “Yo, blow up that wall.” Outside of the unconfirmed presence of mod support , we couldn't have asked for a better reboot of the classic tactical shooter. The destructibility shown in Siege's reveal trailer isn't a hoax; after playing two full matches, I can verify that the fidelity of it is nuts. I look forward to leading you all on many successful rescue missions (and, conversely, fending off Rainbow attacks when playing on the defending team) next year.
Tim Clark: Back in love with Bat
Honestly, unlike Sam, who loves Batman so much I suspect he'll call his first son Alfred and buy him a butler romper suit, I was a little down on Arkham Knight after seeing it at GDC. Much as it looked prettier, I wasn't really convinced by the idea that the series needed to splice in gameplay from Burnout, even though the Batmobile was an obvious omission from Rocksteady's Bat canon. However, the five minutes of footage shown at E3 has me sold. Everything looks that bit more crunchier and cooler now, and I'm actually glad they delayed the game if that's what it needs to deliver the perfect send off for the series. Sounds like it's already playing great though, judging by Sam's hands-on . (He probably wrote that in bed wearing his Bat onesie, though.)
Tyler Wilde: Infinite space looks ace
No Man's Sky. No Man's Sky, No Man's Sky, No Man's Sky. It just comes out “Nomanski” like a Polish surname now that I've said it so much. We were introduced to the procedurally-generated space exploration game last year and were imprressed then—this year, we got an even more incredible trailer . I mean that in the real sense of the word 'incredible.' I don't believe it. But I want to believe. Hello Games shows a player discovering new species on an alien world, hopping into a ship, leaving the planet and joining a giant space battle (are any of these other players?), then speeding along the surface of another planet with friendlies in formation. Explain that to Assistant Director Skinner, Mulder.
Wes Fenlon: Breaking my E3 cherry
My first E3 was a great time, so I don't have much to complain about. I got to interview Richard Garriott , play on the Oculus Rift, and see a gorgeous 45 minutes of The Witcher 3 . Still, I'm sad that I didn't get to play that many demos. I never felt like spending the little bit of free time I had between appointments standing in lines. I'm so bummed I didn't get to play Rainbow Six Siege , since everything I've seen and read about the game looks amazing. A deeply flexible, tactical competitive shooter is basically the epitome of PC gaming.
Cory Banks: Feeling Grim
It's great that Tim Schafer's classic Grim Fandango is getting the remaster treatment , but the timed console exclusivity tied into the deal breaks my heart. Put aside the fact that Grim is one of PC gaming's classics, a brilliantly written adventure game released at a time when adventure games were few and far between. PC gamers deserve to have it on their platform—and we will, eventually. But exclusivity deals hurt everyone involved. By limiting the initial audience for a game during its “buzzworthy” first few days, publishers end up shooting themselves in their collective feet. Better to put the game on every available platform. It's not that we want Grim Fandango to only be on PC—we just want to share our love of the game with everyone else.
Samuel Roberts: Where was the big bang?
This is kind of a general thing, but I think E3 lacked an announcement or reveal that knocked people for six this year. It's something I realised when touring the booths, and almost everything on the big publisher stands have been seen in considerable depth prior to the show. There was nothing like a Fallout to have that effect this year, to get everyone talking—I guess the closest a game got was Rainbow Six: Siege, which did look very cool, meaning this was yet another E3 where a big announcement from Ubisoft managed to outstrip anything the console manufacturers put out there. Much of what I saw on existing titles like Dragon Age: Inquisition and Far Cry 4 was impressive, so it was still a good E3 as far as I'm concerned, but beyond GTA V coming to PC it lacked that mega moment.
Evan Lahti: Oculus needs more games.
My chat with the VR company reassured me that it'll happen eventually, but this E3 would have been the perfect time for a large publisher to come out and reveal something original (or a port of a beloved game) for the Rift. I played Alien: Isolation on the Rift DK2 and found it a great fit, but during what was a relatively quiet E3 in terms of surprises, seeing someone like Bethesda or Ubisoft or a prominent indie jump on the VR bandwagon would've netted them a lot of attention from PC and mainstream press.
Tim Clark: Ubi shooting itself in the Ass
Yeesh. Let the record state that I loved Black Flag, and think Unity looks like another strong installment in the series, particularly with the alluring prospect of four-player co-op. But that's also where the problems started this week, and don't look likely to end soon. The fundamental issue with Ubisoft's response, which I wrote about here , is not that every game has to have dual-gender options—in co-op! We're not even talking about the main game—it's that by claiming they wanted to include the feature, but apparently couldn't afford to, they're making it absolutely clear how low a priority giving choice to the players who want to use a female avatar is.
Equally depressing, I'm afraid, has been some of the below the line reaction on here. We make no apologies as an editorial team for covering this, because we're agreed it's a topic that's important. Arguments as facile as 'well, you can't play as Larry Croft' are an embarrassment. There's a huge difference between series which are built entirely around a single iconic character—Batman, Bond, Croft—and those which make a virtue of hopscotching between characters, time periods and settings. I find it weird that in that context you would never want to tackle a storyline that wasn't from a bro's perspective. I find it stranger still that you might be so terrified by the prospect of the current status quo changing that you have to scream down any dissenting viewpoint wherever you find it online. But as a reminder: this is our comments policy . The key rule is don't be a dick. We'll be enforcing it.
Tyler Wilde: Hardline robs too much from its predecssor
I'm not into Battlefield Hardline . I've been playing the closed beta , and outside of having speedy cars it just feels too much like Battlefield 4. It seems like a missed opportunity to apply a cops-and-robbers theme to Battlefield without rethinking some gameplay fundamentals. It's a spin-off, it's allowed to be different, but Visceral has made law enforcement and criminals identical, given them both military-grade weapons, and let them loose on a destructible playing field that could be a BF4 map, minus a few nods to civilian life.
Hardline has all the things a Battlefield sequel has: new factions, new weapons, new gadgets, new modes, new maps. I don't disparage the amount of work Visceral has put into it, but knowing how much it adheres to the formula we've been playing since BF3 came out in 2011 lowers my interest a lot. Maybe Visceral will blow us away with the campaign, so long as it diverges from DICE's recent efforts in a much more radical way.