Why I Was Disappointed With E3 2015

E3 is always a time of excitement and buzz for the gaming industry. This year's E3 was especially hyped up because the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles have been relatively disappointing in terms of their offerings since their release. Many gamers were beginning to question whether they made the right choice in purchasing a next gen console or if they should have waited longer.

E3 this year was supposed to be filled with groundbreaking news that would delight these console owners. Unfortunately, it turned out to be one of the most disappointing E3's I can ever remember seeing and was filled with numerous money-grabbing sequels to tired, old franchises. E3 2015 highlights just how stagnant the gaming industry has become. Don't believe me? Think the show was great? Let's take a look at some of the highlights and announcements in aggregate.

One of the big announcements was Gears of War 4. The Gears of War franchise was supposed to be finished with Gears of War 3. Epic Games was able to milk a fourth game out of the series with the Gears of War: Judgment “prequel” which is understandable but now there's yet another Gears game? This franchise is tired. The original Gears came out in 2006. It's time to move onto something else.

If one Gears of War game isn't enough to satiate you, a remastered Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is coming to Xbox One. Remastered versions of games are unnecessary and just a cash cow for developers and publishers. Why can't people just go back and play the old games if they want to experience them again? Remastered games are especially unnecessary in light of the next announcement…

Another big announcement was Forza Motorsport 6. Do we really need a new Forza game every single year? It's racing. In 2014, we had Forza Horizon 2. In 2013, we had Forza Motorsport 5. In 2012, there was Forza Horizon. In 2011, Forza 4….

Of course Halo 5: Guardians made an appearance. The new Halo trilogy has been known about for awhile now but who honestly thought when they were playing Halo: CE back in 2001, that 14 years later they'd still be playing Halo games? Why does this franchise need so many games? 343 Industries already bombed with the horribly buggy Master Chief Collection so what makes you think this game will work any better?

Another supposed highlight was Microsoft's backwards compatibility announcement for Xbox One. Why would this matter to anybody now? Backwards compatibility is something that people normally care about when the console launches because they want to be able to continue to play through their backlog of games on their new console without missing a step during the transition. Xbox One has been on shelves for almost two years now. At this point, most of the people who have an Xbox One don't want to play Xbox 360 games anymore. Sure there'll be a few people here and there that this helps but it's not the major announcement people have made it out to be. The fact that backwards compatibility is an “announcement” at all further goes to show that stagnancy plaguing the gaming industry. “Look you can play old games now!” Yawn.

Speaking of remastered titles, a remastered Castle Crashers was announced. Sigh. Why on earth would a beat ‘em up game with cartoony stylized graphics need to be remastered with slightly larger sprites and run at 60 frames per second? It doesn't. If you want to play Castle Crashers, just go play the original again and save yourself some money.

Dark Souls 3 was announced - another sequel to a long running franchise. Three might not seem like a lot at first glance, but the original Demon's Souls came out back in 2009 which itself has been described a spiritual successor to a series of games from the 90's called King's Field.

Planets vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 was announced. New game, but another sequel.

Rise of the Tomb Raider – another sequel.

Fallout 4 looks like a good game. It really does. I will undoubtedly be picking this one up when it releases. But once again, this is a series deep into its sequels.

Tom Clancy's The Division made an appearance but wasn't this announced two years ago?

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain made some waves. Not a new game, and another sequel to a looooong running franchise.

Basically the only real new games that Microsoft showed off were ReCore and Sea of Thieves. Two new intellectual properties. Wow.

Footage from the new DOOM was shown and a release date was announced which got some old school FPS fans pretty hyped (Spring 2016 in case you were wondering). Technically the upcoming game is DOOM 4 and will be a reboot of the series thus why they dropped the number. Counting spin-offs, this will be the tenth Doom game. There hasn't actually been a Doom game released for over ten years so I don't have a huge problem with it. But still, it's a sequel and as you can tell, I'm getting tired of sequels.

Street Fighter V. Another sequel.

Star Wars: Battlefront. Cool game, but another sequel.

A new Hitman game simply titled “Hitman.” Another entry into an already established franchise.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III exclusive content. Do CoD fans even really care about this kind of stuff anymore?

Destiny expansion called The Taken King… meh.

A new The Last Guardian trailer was shown with what looks like actual gameplay. Gotta tell ya, I wasn't impressed. For a game that has been in development since 2007, it doesn't look all that great. That's eight years, people. Eight years of work and it actually looks subpar compared to other next gen games now. When The Last Guardian was originally revealed, it looked so amazing that people wondered if it was even real. Now it is just another face in the crowd and the gameplay looks a LOT like Ico on PS2. Can't say I'm surprised considering Team Ico made both.

An HD Final Fantasy VII remake was announced for PS4. First of all, I am legitimately excited for this because Final Fantasy VII is my favorite game of all time. Fans have wanted this for a long, long time so you can't really blame Sony for finally delivering. But on the other hand, it's yet another example of franchise living in the past rather than going forward. I'm also more than a little worried an HD remake might ruin this classic game.

They did announce World of Final Fantasy but it is a game that looks like it is clearly made for children, not something that I would ever consider picking up, so I don't care about it.

Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls coming to PS4… two more games that are years old being re-released to squeeze more money out of them.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate made some headlines. Do we really need another Assassin's Creed game? How many are we up to at this point? According to the Wikipedia entry, this will be the ninth game in the main series plus another thirteen “other” Assassin's Creed games. 22 Assassin's Creed games have been released since 2007. Think about that for a minute.

A couple of new games actually were revealed. Media Molecule (the devs behind LittleBigPlanet) are working on a game called Dreams which looks unusual and interesting.

Then there was some game called Horizon Zero Down which honestly looked like one of the best games of the entire show. It was certainly the most refreshing.

Another big announcement was Shenmue 3. I can't deny that Shenmue was a great series back in the day but why was a Kickstarter project part of Sony's conference? Is this really what the gaming industry has resorted to is crowdfunding major titles now? Also, it's yet another sequel.

Of course the big news was Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Once again, I can't deny this game looks good or that Uncharted is an incredible franchise. The thing is that it's just another sequel in an already established franchise. Imagine how much better it would have been if a brand new game similar in caliber to Uncharted was revealed instead?

Oh yeah, and Mass Effect: Andromeda was announced during the EA press conference. Mass Effect is a high profile franchise, but this is yet ANOTHER sequel. This will be the sixth Mass Effect game released since 2007, counting spin-offs. Six games in eight years. That's almost one a year. It's too much!

So there you have it. I may have missed some things in this very brief rundown but these are all the major highlights and announcements that I remember being “huge news” or exciting gamers across social media. Where are all the new IPs? In the entire list of games covered in this article, there are only actually a handful of new games with literally dozens of sequels, remakes, or remastered versions of games.

You don't have to be an industry analyst with predictive capabilities rivaling those of the legendary Michael Pachter to guess what you'll see at E3 2016. Just tick the numerical counters on some of these franchises up by one and there you go. Look for Forza Horizon 3, Halo 6, a new Assassin's Creed, a new Call of Duty, and another round of remastered HD remakes next year.

The reason gaming has become the land of the sequels is because people keep buying them so they are considered “safe” by publishers and developers. Why take a risk and spend a boatload of money developing a brand new IP when you can just make Gears of War 4 with a guaranteed several million copies sold? The gaming industry is about money, after all, so why bother taking an unnecessary financial risk that even if it did pay off probably still wouldn't be as successful? If gamers want to see more actual new games, they need to stop buying sequels and demand innovation with their wallets. Otherwise the stagnation of the industry will just get worse and worse and years from now you'll be stuck playing Halo 15 and Call of Duty 25.

Simply because a game was a hit doesn't necessarily mean you should keep going back to the well time and time again until its audience is tapped out. Not everything needs a sequel and sometimes crappy sequels can even detract from its predecessors by painting them in a new light. For example, look what happened with Duke Nukem Forever. That's one sequel that never should have been made.

When franchises have sequel after sequel, the whole thing starts to get boring. How many years can people play the same games with slightly different gameplay mechanics? The same people who religiously buy every Assassin's Creed also laugh at those who pick up the new Madden every year when they are doing the exact same thing! I mean I liked Halo but that doesn't mean I want to play it for the next thirty years of my life.

Indie games simply aren't going to cut it and the announcement of only a few new, original games amidst a sea of sequels does not make for a very good E3 in my opinion. Take away all the sequels and all that you're left with is two or three new titles per system.

Still excited about where gaming is going in the next year?

Posted: 17th Jun 2015 by Alexander Hinkley
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