How E3 2015 Made Me Realize How Much I Love the Gaming Industry Again

It’s been rather easy to become disenchanted with the video game industry in the past few years. We’ve seen many huge, beloved series’ such as Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed fall flat in the eyes of many fans over time. We’ve seen the advent of DLC, in-game purchases, console exclusives, and early access games, all of which have sparked massive amounts of controversy. We’ve experienced GamerGate, which opened up several cans of worms and other nasty things that have circulated a lot of negativity into the community and the industry. Konami fired Hideo freakin’ Kojima. Cats and dogs living together! Mass hysteria!

So you can imagine my surprise last night when I found myself literally crying with joy over E3.

It started Sunday night with Bethesda, who had their first ever E3 conference. We all knew that they would be discussing Fallout 4, which everyone was more than excited about to begin with, but then they just went insane. Like Collector’s Editions of games? Here, have your very own Pip Boy! A Fallout mobile game sound good to you? You can go play it tonight! Can’t wait for Fallout 4 to come out? How does November 10th, 2015 sound to you?

It sounds beautiful. Thank you, Bethesda.

That wasn’t all they had to offer, of courser. Doom looked deliciously gory and gorgeous, and it’s letting us create our own levels to share. Battlecry‘s global beta sign-ups began. Disohonored 2 was announced, and it’s predecessor is getting a Definitive Edition! Cries of ‘Bethesda Won E3!’ rang into the night. Many who find themselves disheartened by E3 every year thought it wouldn’t get better than this.

Then Monday came and smacked those people in the face.

Microsoft put Fallout 4 mods on their console and Minecraft on a table (and reminded us that it’s pronounced ‘Mo-yang’, thank you very much). Dark Souls III was announced, sending masochistic gamers everywhere into a frenzy. Oh, and they’re finally doing that backwards compatibility thing that Nintendo and Sony have been doing for years. Good for them.

EA announced that Mass Effect: Andromeda would bring its swanky space cowboy self to us during the 2016 holiday season. Mirror’s Edge got a sequel. Star Wars got, like, an army of new stuff. Oh, and sports. Lots and lots and lots of sports. Then, things got really real. Like, really real.

A sweet little Swedish developer by the name of Martin Sahlin came on stage to talk about Unravel, a game he created starring a little creature made of yarn. He pulled a real-life version of his yarn-made character out with shaky hands, holding it as his eyes gleamed. He spoke passionately and honestly about his inspiration for the game. You could see how nervous and scared and elated and joyous he was. It radiated from every word he spoke. The crowd felt it. They cheered for him. It looked gorgeous and promising, but it was the creator who stole the show.

When was the last time we had seen such raw, honest passion for gaming? This game stood out among everything else at E3, not just because of how great the game looked, but because of how the experience of watching a creator share his creation made us feel.

Then, the excitement kept rolling with Ubisoft. South Park: The Stick of Truth got a surprising sequel. We got Tom Clancy’s Tom Clancy: The Clancying. A new IP, For Honor, took everyone’s breath away. We learned that Ubisoft gave the new Assassin’s Creed game enough of a budget to afford a female main character (we know how expensive those are to make, after all!). To top it all off, we got a game with a cat riding on a goddamned unicorn with a triple rainbow in the background.

Then came Sony.

And oh, Sony. Sony is known for knocking it out of the park every year at E3. I’m pretty sure, however, that they knocked it off of the planet, out of orbit, and into some unknown corner of the galaxy which we will surely explore in No Man’s Sky (which looked absolutely incredible, by the way).

First of all, they started their conference with The Last Guardiana game that many were convinced would never even happen. Yet, here it was, a legendary myth come to life. If this is how they began, I wondered, what in the world do they have to show us after this?

Well, as it turns out, they had a warrior woman hunting mechanical dinosaurs. This exciting gem is called Horizon: Zero Dawn, and it’s a new IP that took everyone by surprise. They also had Street Fighter V and a new Hitman to show us, but that seemed timid to me compared to everything else. Dreams is an abstract-looking game that not everyone seemed to get. Sony seemed to be losing steam at this point.

Then, they start talking about a beloved franchise, coming back fresh and new. I felt a chill go down my spine. My pulse began to quicken. What could it be?

Oh, it’s World of Final Fantasy. All the character together, looking adorable, and it’s on the Vita. That’s cute. Geez, for a minute there, I thought they were going to announce a Final Fantasy VII remake. Stupid thought.

At least, it was a stupid thought, until they announced a Final Fantasy VII remake.

Those of you that have read my previous posts here know how much this game means to me, not because of my nifty pair of nostalgia goggles, but because FFVII was the game that turned me into a gamer. It was the beginning of my love of the industry and became the gateway to all of the games I have experienced and loved throughout the years.

The Internet went insane. I was crying. Everyone was crying. I couldn’t believe this was really happening. I took a deep breath. It’s the middle of the conference! Why did they announce this now? How could they top this?

With a Shenmue 3 Kickstarter, that’s how.

At this point, I felt numb. I didn’t know if my heart could take much more. Yeah, we got yet another Call of Duty, and the new Uncharted looked awesome, but my mind was still reeling. Sony basically did a mic drop and gave Microsoft and Nintendo the middle finger as they backed off of the stage.

That was how I found myself crying at 10:30 at night, unable to sleep. I had witnessed video gaming history. I saw games announced that I never thought I would ever see. There was an astonishing number of female characters shown. Most of all, I was excited.

Not just ‘oh cool, Aisha Tyler is hosting Ubisoft again!’ excited (she was awesome as always, by the way), but truly, deep in my bones, bellowing from the dark cockles of my heart excited. I still feel my entire body buzzing. My mind is just filled with emotions. Nintendo and Square Enix haven’t even had their conferences yet! Nintendo might be a legitimate risk to my health at this point.

This is an incredible feeling, and an extremely exciting time for the gaming industry and the gaming community. Not everything that we saw was perfect, of course (early access on consoles? Yeesh!), but that certainly doesn’t tarnish the experience, at least for me.

I am so, so joyously happy. Amazing games are on the horizon. There is true passion injected into the developers this time around. There’s far more positivity buzzing around than there has been in a long time. I feel like a breath of life has been pushed into the gaming industry, and I could not be more elated to see it happen.

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