E3 is always an exciting time for gamers, but this year's show proved particularly enticing with two new video game consoles mere months from release. The Xbox One and Playstation 4 have handed game developers a much more advanced piece of kit to deliver some truly groundbreaking experiences. Each company's presentation revealed titles both familiar and brand new, but these are the ones that have us most anxious for the upcoming generation of console gaming.
Release Date: TBD Past Metal Gear Solid games (excluding the spinoff titles) have come to define their respective console generations, and The Phantom Pain looks prepared to do the same.
While other titles in the series have focused on tightly structured pathways, the new game is set on the wide open plains of Soviet-era Afghanistan with gameplay that resembles a stealthier Red Dead Redemption. With a more realistic environment, gamers will rely on everything from various weather conditions to the constant day-to-night cycle to keep themselves hidden from enemies. As always, game director Hideo Kojima's cinematic flair and elaborate plot lines will drive the story forward.
The Metal Gear Solid series has a reputation for consistently breaking new ground in terms of gameplay and visual style, so gamers can likely expect the same when this latest entry is released.
Release Date: 2014 Microsoft has featured Quantum Break at two presentations now, and yet we still know very little about this time-bending shooter. One thing we do know however is that it will ship with a companion TV show that will directly reflect the player's in-game choices. As players progress through the story, they'll unlock episodes of the show, but only those that fit with the actions they've taken.
Developer Remedy Entertainment has tinkered with inserting other media into games before with Alan Wake and Max Payne, so this seems like a logical progression. Previous titles, such as Defiance, have also bridged TV and video games similarly in the past, but those have typically been based on an online community's actions rather than an individual's.
Between this and Ubisoft's interactive TV show, Rabbids Invasion, it looks like the lines between video games and television are going to be blurred even further in the future.
Release Date: TBD Square Enix has a history of pushing consoles to their graphical limit with the Final Fantasy series, and the next one looks like it will demonstrate exactly what the Xbox One and Playstation 4 are capable of visually.
This time around, the gameplay will be much heavier on the action with fast-paced sword and gunplay that hasn't been seen in the franchise before. The game will take place in a fantasy-infused version of modern times, replete with the aesthetic style fans of the series have come to expect.
Originally titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the game was held back until consoles could produce the graphics the developers wanted. From what we've seen so far, Square Enix has polished the visuals to where they resemble the stunning tech demo the developer showed at last year's E3, making Final Fantasy XV one of the flashiest-looking games coming out only on the new systems.
Release Date: Early 2014 On the surface, The Crew looks like a typical racing game, but there's never been a track as large as the one Ubisoft has planned.
Rather than focus on disconnected roadways, the game takes place in a persistent online world that spans the entirety of the continental US, complete with major roads and highways. Players can even venture off-road in certain areas, and almost anything spotted in the distance in open areas can be reached by vehicle.
The basic premise has a lot in common with online games like World of Warcraft, but with cars as the avatars. The entire game environment is filled with missions and challenges for players to either tackle alone or with a group of friends. Ultimately, this seamless integration of multiplayer and single player into one game makes it stand apart from long-respected racing franchises like Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo.
Release Date: 2014
Destiny is the first original IP from Bungie since it released Halo back in 2001, which went on to become one of the most successful game franchises in history. If there was any doubt over whether the high-profile developer could repeat that success, it was silenced after people got a look at Destiny's gameplay.
This new title looks like a first-person shooter fused with a massively multiplayer online game. Players will dispatch enemies with some inventive weapons and abilities, while at the same time collect loot drops, manage skill trees, and meet up with other gamers within a persistent world. Best of all, Bungie's signature style appears to permeate the post-apocalyptic landscape, which is filled with bizarre creatures and intricate environments. If the designers can pull this off, we may be looking at the beginnings of a new genre so far as consoles are concerned.
Release Date: November 2014 The game market tends to feel flooded with grim shooters most of the time, which is why Knack is such a welcome standout among the other next-gen titles.
This action platformer features anime-inspired visuals, colorful environments, and gameplay reminiscent of Katamari Damacy. Players will take control of the titular creature, who can absorb thousands of objects to grow to the size of a building and then drop them all to shrink down again. He'll even be able to take on different forms and gain new abilities, depending on the objects he picks up. It's the sort of concept that could only be pulled off by a beefier console, which is why the game will launch exclusively on the PS4. It probably also helped having the lead architect of the PS4, Mark Cerny, as the game's director.
Release: Spring 2014 As the inaugural title from Respawn Entertainment, a game studio founded by key staff behind the original Call of Duty, Titanfall carries some understandably high expectations. Luckily, given the gameplay shown off at Microsoft's press conference, it looks fully prepared to meet them.
Set in a sci-fi universe, players will take on the role of a soldier with access to an armory of futuristic weapons and gadgets. This will include jet packs and invisibility cloaks, but the main draw is the titans, giant armored mechs that players can call down to the battlefield and pilot.
The developers presented a demo of the game's multiplayer that bore a striking similarity to Call of Duty's, but with more frenetic action and variety. Based on what's been shown so far and the talented pedigree behind it, Titanfall is practically guaranteed to become a favorite among online players.
Release Date: Nov. 19, 2013 Ubisoft's Watch_Dogs has come to represent the next generation of games ever since it stole the show at E3 2012, and even a year later that reputation has remained.
As a hacker in a sprawling city where almost every device is online, players are handed an amazing amount of freedom to tap into any gadget to gather intel, cover their tracks, and locate targets. A demo at Sony's press conference showed the main character, Aiden Pearce, guiding an accomplice to safety through security cameras and triggering a blackout to evade police, proving we still have plenty of surprises left to see from this jaw-dropping game.
Add in some multiplayer elements that will allow players to jump into each other's cities to help or hinder their efforts, and you've got the makings of some truly unique gameplay when Watch_Dogs is released near the end of this year.
Release Date: TBD Essentially the Xbox's answer to LittleBigPlanet, Project Spark hands players the tools to craft their own game with an incredible level of customization.
As Microsoft Studios demonstrated, gamers will be able to use voice commands, Kinect motion controls, and even SmartGlass on a tablet to create an environment from the ground up and fill it with enemies, power-ups, landmarks, and anything else they want. More importantly, you can even modify the AI of almost any object. At Microsoft's press event, the developers demonstrated this by having a rock follow a character around like a pet.
Even those are just basic features though. With a little more time and ingenuity, it's possible to build any type of game you can conceive of, from a fantasy RPG to a simple card game. And if you don't want to bother with designing anything, you can always download the countless creations made by other players instead.
Release Date: 2014 Ubisoft knows how to end its presentations on a high note, so it saved its ambitious online title for the end of its press conference.
The Division casts players as members of an advanced military force trying to maintain order in a pandemic-stricken New York City. But that's not even the most intriguing part. Along with the usual AI enemies and NPCs you might expect, other squads of players will populate the open-world environment, who you can join or attack for supplies.
Ubisoft's preview also demonstrated how other players can offer assistance by guiding an in-game UAV with a tablet to locate enemies and supply equipment to teammates. This idea of contributing to a game at any time through a smart device, even if you're not in front of a console, is a trend that seems to be taking hold in the gaming industry.
These are just some of the titles we've seen so far, and developers are sure to reveal more interesting games before the year is out. The Xbox One and PS4 are yet to be released, but the next few years are already promising to show gamers some truly innovative experiences.
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