It’s hard to comprehend just how circus-like the Electronic Entertainment Expo can be from reading the various accounts that are circling the Internet. It’s contained chaos, all revolving around an industry that craves a continuous diet of ever-escalating lights and noise.
Capturing all of E3’s eccentricities is impossible, but here are a few snapshots of the video game industry’s annual party/trade show to give you a taste.
E3 officially started on June 16, but the news flood typically starts a day or two in advance. Bethesda kicked things off on June 14 with a press conference—and Microsoft and Sony held theirs the next day (as did Electronic Arts and Ubisoft). The slickly produced events are streamed live to millions of gamers via the Internet—and are generally the launching pad for the biggest titles in the industry.
It’s not E3 if you don’t run into a celebrity or three. This year’s show has seen cameo appearances by Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett, Aisha Tyler, and soccer legend Pele (pictured above on the left), who showed to speak at EA’s press conference. In addition to the celebrities paid to appear, many often roam the show floor in hopes of getting a chance to try out the games.
Virtual reality was one of the biggest things at this year’s E3. Sony (SNE) showcased its Project Morpheus. Oculus had a large booth showing off the upcoming consumer version of its headset. And many game makers, such as Adr1ft, showed off their titles to showgoers, who often waited an hour or more for a 3-5 minute demo.
Going into E3 it was one of the most anticipated titles—though no one knew if it would actually be there. Publisher Bethesda has confirmed the game and gave an extensive demo at its press event (and did so daily to a large crowd on the show floor). It also had a photo-friendly set-up at its booth, but it didn’t offer show-goers any hands-on time with the game.
The seminal shooter is getting a reboot in 2016—one that fully embraces the gore of the original. The Revenant—one of the more iconic demon enemies in the game—made a terrifying appearance in the debut demo of the game (ripping the protagonist’s arms off and beating him to death with them), but at Bethesda’s booth, fans posed with the creature—and were able to fight him off with a giant prop chainsaw.
The Master Chief is on the run in this fall’s installment of the flagship Microsoft (MSFT) series. And while he had a low profile in the game’s debut at the show, the publisher wants to make it very clear that he’s a critical part of the game. To emphasize this, this statue, showing the Chief being pursued by another Spartan named Locke (who will play a big role in the new title), was front and center in one of the main entrance halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Sony vs. Microsoft
The rivalry between these two companies seems to escalate every year—though both had a very impressive E3 this year. Perhaps as an in-joke, E3 show organizers, for the past few years, have positioned the booths of the dueling companies right next to each other.
The Last Guardian
After six years of silence, Sony finally pulled back the curtain on this eagerly anticipated title this year. First unveiled in 2009, the game has been MIA ever since, making many players wonder if it had been abandoned. But it’s coming out in 2016—and hundreds of people happily waited in line for an advance look.
Whether music games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero will find an audience this fall is somewhat questionable. But dance games seem to be immortal. Ubisoft’s booth was filled with dancers performing choreographed moves to songs from Just Dance—and smaller publishers like Atlas invited fans to publicly shake a tail feather (in exchange for a t-shirt).
Between Star Wars: Battlefront and Disney Infinity 3.0, this is quickly shaping up to be the year of Star Wars in the gaming industry. Both titles were being heavily promoted at the show, with Disney (DIS) giving select fans the opportunity to take home a figurine from its toys-to-life game before its release—and Electronic Arts (EA) let fans hop onto a speeder bike for a quick photo opp.