E3 is always the time for big reveals and shocking announcements, but this year appears to have a significantly higher number of them. Here are 10 of the best surprises to be sprung on audiences at this year's E3.
Fallout Shelter Drops the Bomb
Seeing gameplay for Doom and Fallout 4 was a thrill in itself, but the really shocking reveal came when Bethesda suddenly announced Fallout Shelter, a mobile game where players get to build and manage their own Vault colony. As Overseer, players are responsible for Vault expansions and keeping the residents happy. Fans might have been happy with the announcement by itself, but Bethesda stepped things up a notch by revealing that the free-to-play game would be available that very evening, right after the press event. We've been hooked on it ever since.
Xbox One Looks to Backward Compatibility
Xbox 360 owners who are still on the fence about upgrading found some extra incentive during the Microsoft press conference, where it was announced that the Xbox One will soon support backward compatibility. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the entire Xbox 360 library will be compatible, but Microsoft promised at least 100 games will be available by the holiday, including retail discs. The games will be fully compatible with Xbox One features, including cross-platform play with those still playing with a 360, along with Windows 10 features like game DVR and (presumably) streaming.
Coincidentally, Microsoft also announced that a full compilation of game developed by Rare, called Rare Replay, will release on August 4th. The retro flashback includes classics like Battletoads, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Banjo-Kazooie, and Perfect Dark, all playable on the Xbox One.
Final Fantasy 7 Being Remade
Fans have been demanding a remake of Final Fantasy 7, one of the most popular games in the series, for years. At this E3, they finally got their wish with a short teaser trailer indicating that the game will be remade for the PS4 using high-end 3D graphics. Although there aren't any specific details on how deep the remake will go, the promise is enough to warrant big cheers. Now we just have to wait for details to trickle in until the remake's anticipated launch in 2017.
Insomniac Heads to the Edge of Nowhere
Insomniac, famous for games like Ratchet & Clank, the Resistance series, and Sunset Overdrive, diversifies its offerings again with the announcement of Edge of Nowhere. It's a platforming adventure built from the ground up to support virtual reality using the Oculus Rift. Details about the game remain a little scarce, but it takes place in the Antarctic mountains, where the players search for a missing expedition team. While doing so, things take a turn for the surreal as monsters start appearing. Players will need to survive using makeshift weapons while trying not to slip into madness. So, basically, it's a Lovecraftian story in VR.
Microsoft Playing the Entire Field of Reality
The first consumer-oriented virtual reality headsets will hit the market soon, and it looks like Microsoft is hedging its bets for which will come out on top. The Oculus event revealed a partnership between the VR company and Microsoft, which goes so far as to ship wireless Xbox One controllers alongside the headset. Other promises included how Windows 10 would be designed around the Oculus experience. Then, less than a week later, Microsoft announced a partnership with Valve and the rival HTC Vive headset. Although there aren't any clear details on the second partnership, this comes in addition to the promotion of its own augmented reality headset, HoloLens. Clearly, it doesn't matter what reality you prefer to play in. Microsoft wants Windows 10 to be a part of it.
South Park Gives Us a Fractured But Whole
The Ubisoft press conference held a number of great surprises, but the one that truly stole the show was the unexpected announcement of South Park: The Fractured But Whole, a sequel to The Stick of Truth. It looks like fans will be casting aside the swords and sorcery fantasy in exchange for a superhero theme, but there's little doubt that the new game will offer plenty of fart moves to pull off.
Shemmue 3 Gets Kickstarted
The Sony press conference held plenty of big news, but one that seemed to come out from nowhere was the sudden announcement of the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter campaign, which was launched live onstage. Since then, the crowdfunded sequel managed to surpass its base goal in one evening. At the time of this writing, the game has successfully gained over $3.5 million, with plenty of time left to reach those final stretch goals. Not bad for a game series that has been MIA for 14 years.
Call of Duty Partners with PS4
Times are definitely changing. When the Xbox One was first revealed in 2013, it seemed clear that Microsoft had a tight relationship with the Call of Duty series, given that the console would continue to enjoy a one-month exclusivity period for DLC content. This arrangement continued through 2014 with Advanced Warfare, and it seemed like Xbox and Call of Duty would be forever associated with each other. We got our first clue that something had gone wrong with the relationship when there was no Black Ops 3 reveal at the Microsoft press event. Then audiences learned later that evening that Call of Duty had changed teams and was now giving map pack exclusivity to the PS4, along with first shots at the multiplayer beta. Breaking up the bromance is a huge win for Sony, and it must have stung a little when the PS4 was called the "new home" for Call of Duty.
The announcement did come with its share of controversy, especially with the #XboxOrWeRiot hastag, where pro-gamers and Xbox fans raged against the platform switch.
Kingdom Hearts 3 Makes An Unexpected Appearance
Given how it's been almost a decade since Kingdom Hearts 2 released, it seemed like Square Enix would and string fans along indefinitely. That finally came to an end at the Square Enix press event, where Kingdom Hearts 3 was announced and accompanied by a gameplay trailer. The trailer has it all, including an unknown figure discussing details about the Keyblade War, and how he might be able to change events in the Light's favor.
The Last Guardian Finally Makes an Appearance
It seems rumors of The Last Guardian's demise were exaggerated, because the game made a huge showing at the Sony press event, along with a lengthy look at its early gameplay. The game looks great, despite suffering from numerous delays and complications. Fans of games like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus can look forward to another breathtaking adventure coming their way in 2016.