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E3 2017, Feet on the Floor:  Day 1

E3 2017, Feet on the Floor: Day 1

E3 2017 has come and gone.

Just like that.

Months of build up to the event that only lasts three days. It was the first time I got to attend the event and man did I get to see quite a bit.  My experience with E3 was awesome, exciting, frustrating, and exhilarating all at the same time.  I did so much while I was there it was quite hard to figure out the best way I could relay all this information to you Baconeers. So I decided to separate my experiences with E3 2017 into each day of the event. So let’s get started with Day One.

After I arrived at the Los Angeles Convention Center, I headed inside to the E3 show floor which is divided up into two separate sections. There are booths set up in the West hall and the South hall.  The doors didn’t open up until 12:00 pm, so there was a massive amount of people in line (or a jumbled mess is what it was really like) standing in front of the doors to the South Hall.  The South Hall was home to Warner Bros, Xbox, Activision, and Ubisoft among many others.  Since there was such a massive crowd gathered on the South end I headed over to the West section of the Convention Center, which was the host to Sony, Nintendo, and Focus Home Interactive to name a few. While there was also a big mesh of people standing outside the doors to the West hall, it seemed to be a bit less crowded than the wall of humanity at the South entrance. Nonetheless, when the doors opened, fans, journalists, and media alike rushed in through the doors as if it were a Black Friday sale.

square enix ff 7

I was part of that Black-Friday-Esque horde as I headed over to Sony’s PlayStation booth. I can say that there wasn’t too much to play in terms of showroom floor demos.  Sony had several theaters set up for games such as Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Spider-Man, Days Gone, and Detroit: Become Human.  I headed over to the Uncharted: The Lost Legacy theater first.   So what are these “theaters?” Basically, the numerous theaters found within E3 are “behind closed doors” rooms that press and even fans (a first this year) can go into and watch someone from the game’s development company play a portion of the game.  There is no demo playable for those in attendance and from what I saw at the show the majority of these demos are very heavily scripted, and in some cases (see Spider-Man) they’re literally the same demo shown during the E3 press conferences.


UNCHARTED: THE LOST LEGACY

There isn’t too much info I can give you here.  The “behind closed doors” demo I saw is the same one that Naughty Dog released a few days later, so if you haven’t seen it yet go check it out for yourself.  Basically, it looks very much like your standard Uncharted game.  Climbing, puzzle solving, rope swinging, fist fights, gunplay, and the classic over-the-top set piece moments are all present in The Lost Legacy. Visually it looks phenomenal, but after Uncharted 4, I don’t think anyone really doubted what Naughty Dog could do with the PS4’s power.

lost legacyLost Legacy’s success will come down to the dynamic relationship between characters Chloe and Nadine. Uncharted developed a great reputation over the years for having great character writing, and some extremely surreal and believable moments between the game’s characters in and outside of cut-scenes. Series writing veterans Amy Henning (Uncharted 1-3) and Neil Druckmann (Uncharted 4) have no involvement with The Lost Legacy, so it will be interesting to see how the new team approaches the franchise. From my perspective, Lost Legacy looks and plays just the way you expect an Uncharted game to play, whether that’s good or bad is up to you. At this point, The Lost Legacy is the sixth game in the franchise and while there might be some new elements to it, Naughty Dog wasn’t showing much at E3 2017. For me, it will come down to the writing. If Naughty Dog’s new team has the same writing chops as Henning and Druckmann, then Uncharted fans are in for another wild summer blockbuster adventure.


DAYS GONE

After my time with Uncharted I headed over to the Days Gone theater. The same as with Uncharted, I got to sit down and watch a developer from Sony Bend play a portion of the game. This was, essentially the same demo that was shown during Sony’s E3 2017 press conference, however, this time around things were a bit different. It was daytime and the weather’s climate changed and the demo’s setting was overtaken by a snowstorm. If you haven’t seen the demo then here’s your chance.

days goneThis time the player avoided the drawstring rope trap that protagonist Deacon fell prey to during Sony’s E3 2017 Press Conference demo.  Sneaking up behind the foes allowed him to subdue the enemies and completely avoid their trap. Also, the “killer wolves” from the E3 2017 demo were completely absent, presumably because of the time change. There were some other minor changes here and there to how the player approached the scenarios laid out in front of them during the demo. The big takeaway from Days Gone is how much the time of day and climate will affect what enemies appear in the environment and how those enemies react. I left my theater demo of Days Gone with the impression that one of Sony Bend’s key components to Days Gone is its dynamic setting and how often it can change.  Days Gone is an open world game with approachable objectives, giving players choices on how they approach these objectives seems to be a key point for Sony Bend.

I don’t really have much else to say on Days Gone. It looks pretty good and I don’t really have anything specific to complain about it, however, from what I saw of the game at E3 2017 there wasn’t anything about Days Gone that made it stand out from all the other zombie post-apocalyptic games out there. Hopefully, Sony Bend will show off some more of Days Gone before it releases.

Next, I headed over to Focus Home Interactive’s booth and got to see two of the publisher’s upcoming games in the form of gameplay demos. Both demos were given in a private setting and played by one of the developers while another developer provided narration and gave more insight to each game’s premise, mechanics, and setting. The two games I was fortunate enough to see were Vampyr and A Plague Tale: Innocence


A PLAGUE TALE: INNOCENCE

APlagueTale03A Plague Tale is still very early on in development and isn’t scheduled for a release until Q4 of 2018. The game is being developed for both consoles and PC. A Plague Tale: Innocence takes place in 1349 France during the Black Plague. Players will follow Amicia and Hugo, two siblings fighting to survive during the plague. The demo showed off by developer Asobo Studio, has the two siblings sneaking around France trying to avoid guard patrols. If the children are caught they will be captured and punished, but Asobo Studios did not elaborate any further on what would happen if the children are to be captured – only that it is in the player’s best interest to go unseen. Another foe that players have to deal with is swarms and swarms of rats. Obviously, rats were a huge carrier in spreading the plague and they are very realistic foes in A Plague Tale.

Player’s will have the ability to use light to divert away the swarms of rats they come across. During the demo, heroine Amicia used light to take out several guards. One instance had her putting the lights out near patrolling guards, and without any light, swarms of rats attacked the guards and subdued them. Players will find plenty of opportunities to pit both the rats and the inquisition soldiers against each other. The demo I saw was fairly short, but I left very interested in the premise of the game. Not many games have players taking control of children and the idea of being able to take two of the game’s opposing forces (rats and inquisition soldiers) and using them against each other is intriguing.

Asobo Studio was fairly quiet about other details concerning the game. However, the studio did say they were looking to deliver a strong narrative story that would last around 10 hours. Additionally, the game is being developed to support 4K and HDR.

A_Plague_Tale-Innocence-01


VAMPYR

I also received a gameplay demo of Dontnod’s upcoming game Vampyr. The main focus behind this demo was the game’s ecosystem/economy. In Vampyr player’s can decided who to kill and who to let live all throughout their journey. Some NPC’s have a higher “blood quality” which will give the player, who plays as a physician recently turned vampire, more xp. So players are in a constant debate and struggle over who to sacrifice and who to leave alive.

Vampyr-05The demo was very slow, and honestly left me more unsure about my feelings towards Vampyr than before I saw the demo. The gameplay Dontnod showed off had the player walking around the streets of London just talking with other NPC’s. Dontnod said there would be optional side missions, but during the demo none of those were showed off. Instead I got to watch as the player walked around from one point to the other and had conversations with other characters. Vampyr does have dialogue trees which appear to add a bit of options when it comes to the game’s dialogue.

The point of the demo was to show off Vampyr’s tough moral decisions. The set up here was of a mother who let one of her children become abandoned, orphaned and left to fend for himself, while another one of her children had been running around the streets of London as a murderer. The mother continued to shelter and protect her murderous son despite knowing of his bad deeds. The player was ultimately given a choice in the demo. As a Vampire they need blood to survive, so you can choose who to kill; either the mother, the orphaned son, or the murderous son. Again going back to the game’s “blood quality” system some characters may give better rewards for killing them, but could perhaps be the worse choice in terms of morality. Dontnod is hoping to blur the lines with these choices and require players to give serious thought into who they kill and who they let live. This was also shown off in the demo with the outcome of who they decided to kill.  The developer in the demo decided to kill the mother and when the player revisited her home it had been ransacked and the surrounding area had become heavily influenced by crime and theft. Dontnod did not say how the area would have changed if the player had decided to kill the murderer or the orphaned son, only that all your choices have consequences.

I’m not sure how drastic the changes from your decisions made will be, but Dontnod wanted us to know that it will play a part in the final build of the game. Combat was mentioned as being a part of Vampyr however none of that was shown. Honestly, Vampyr did not impress me too much, but I think that’s just because the demo Dontnod decided to bring to E3 2017 was not a very flattering one. If I’d gotten to get my hands on the demo myself perhaps I’d feel differently, but watching as someone else make a bunch of decisions in a game that seems to be built around decision making doesn’t make for an interesting experience. I’m still intrigued by Vampyr and I’ve enjoyed Dontnod’s previous releases, so I still anxiously await its release, but I sure hope there is more to it besides talking with NPCs.

Vampyr-10

After my time with Focus Home Interactive I decided to grab a bite to eat and get off my feet for a bit, but that’s boring so let’s fast forward to the next game I saw.


THE PERSISTENCE

So as a disclaimer I’ve never put on or had any sort of VR experience prior to playing The Persistence at E3 2017, so while I was thrilled with my experience with the game I do have to admit that some of that excitement stemmed from this being my first VR experience, and those of you out there who are VR veterans might not have been as impressed as I was.

That being said let’s talk about the game. The Persistence takes place on a spaceship called “The Persistence” (I’ll refer to it as the ship to avoid confusion) where something goes awful wrong and an experiment mutates majority of the crew into horrific monsters. The ship’s computer then starts to wake up members of the crew one at a time and tasks them with escaping and saving the spaceship. The neat thing about The Persistence is that it is procedurally generated meaning every time you die you spawn in as a “new” crew member. Areas of the ship will have changed with items and enemy locations changing as well.

The-persistence-ps4

The game is played sitting down and using a Dualshock 4 for the controls. You have a full 360 degrees of view, so you can move your head around to look if you wish.  However, aside from the 360 field of view, the game plays very much like a First Person Shooter. You move around with the left thumbstick and can look around with the right.  I probably played The Persistence for 30 minutes and the first 10-15 minutes I was playing as if it was just another regular FPS.

Look, I was wowed by The Persistence. The atmosphere is eerie, creepy, and the sound effects are top notch. Developer, Firesprite did a great job of making me feel as if I was really on board The Persistence spaceship.  The problem is that it took me quite a long time to play the game like a “VR” game as opposed to playing it like a typical FPS. This isn’t a knock against Firesprite, but rather a tough situation any developer has at the moment when it comes to developing for VR.

The game’s controls were responsive as well. When I saw the derelict spaceship employees I was quick with the trigger to stun and shoot them down. The Persistence also features many “weapon stations” where you can purchase and buy upgrades. The Persistence gave me a Dead Space vibe and honestly it has me really excited for its release. The only thing is I currently don’t own a PSVR headset, but my time with The Persistence has nudged me in the direction of purchasing one. The Persistence will also be launching with a companion app that allows other players to play alongside you and help guide the VR player by giving them waypoints on the screen, or even helping take down enemies. Up to three other players can use the companion app at a time and help the main player along their journey. However, the three users using the companion app will be in a competition with each other where each of their acts will gain them points. Sometimes they will be encouraged to lock-down a door or divert the VR player down the wrong path. Developer, Firesprite, is hoping this helps players using the companion app feel more involved and encouraged to play along while one person is using the PSVR headset.

ThePersistence_06


SPIDER-MAN

I ended my first day at E3 2017 with Spider-Man for the PS4. I wish I could tell you all about some secret hands on demo, or even a cool presentation that I saw, but sadly that’s not the case. Sony did have a Spider-Man theater set up, but the gameplay demo they were showing was literally the exact same thing they had shown during Sony’s press event. So in case you still haven’t seen it here it is. Unfortunately, developer Insomniac were not on hand and those who were there presenting weren’t taking questions. So, I don’t have anything else to add.

spiderman

The Spider-Man theater display was cool though.

And that concluded my first day at E3.   It may not seem like very much but all of this was done in six hours. Unfortunately, E3 is filled with lines. Worse than an amusement park, so a majority of my day was spent waiting in line, or trying to navigate from one place to another amongst the stampede of people. I plan on going into more detail on my personal experiences with E3 in a later article. So keep an eye out for that as well as the continuation of my adventures at E3 2017 with Feet to the Floor: Day Two.

Written by Sean Collins

Sean Collins


Sean Collins (aka Steroid Gamer) started playing video games when he was 8 years old. His first console was a Nintendo 64 and his first game was Mario Kart 64. He fell in love immediately and has been playing games ever since.

My current systems include; N64, Gameboy Color, Gamecube, Wii, 3DS, PS3, Vita, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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