E3 2016 Recap: This Year's Most Exciting Games And Tech

E3 is now mostly over, at least for those of us watching along at home, and we've been following both from afar and through Lifehacker editor Chris Jager who has been on the floor in LA for this year's E3. Here's our roundup of the top tech and gaming news to come out of this year's event.


Microsoft

Microsoft definitely showed the most this year in terms of both hardware and software, though people still aren't convinced. Right off the bat it came out swinging with the announcement of the upcoming Xbox One S, a slim, improved version of its original Xbox One. Chris got up close and personal with the shiny new hardware on the con floor, giving us a bunch of new pictures of the upgraded console:

Xbox One S photos
Xbox One S photos
Xbox One S photos
Xbox One S photos

But the Xbox One S wasn't the real showstopper that Microsoft planned on pulling out this year — that title was reserved for the still mysterious 'Project Scorpio', the next step in Microsoft's console journey. It is a step towards a PC, boasting ridiculous specs for a console and full compatibility with all Xbox One content and accessories.

Some people still aren't convinced on the Scorpio and Microsoft's talk about ending the trend of console generations, however. Chris caught up with Microsoft Studios' head of publishing to ask a few questions about exactly what Microsoft is trying to pull here.

Microsoft included a few nods to VR, but didn't announce any hardware or software of their own, nor did they expand on the Hololens that was showcased last year. It's possible they are setting up Project Scorpio to be compatible with existing VR hardware, however.

Also announced were changes to Microsoft's online gaming platform, Xbox Live, revealing the upcoming addition of clubs and groups for players to be able to create communities within the platform.

On the game front, Microsoft was pumping out exclusives for the Xbox One, showing more on its anticipated monster-hunting dragon game, Scalebound. Xbox favourite Gears of War also got some show time, with a new trailer and some gameplay from the future windswept world of Sera.

One of the favourites for most people from Microsoft was Rare's Sea Of Thieves, a pirate co-op game which looked like, essentially, a pirate sim. A little surprise for Aussies, Forza Horizon 3 was announced to be set in our sun-kissed country, featuring landmarks like the Twelve Apostles and beautiful Yarra Valley.

You can read more about Microsoft's presentation here.


Sony

Perhaps surprisingly, Sony gave no mention of the 'PS4.5' during their presentation, but they came out strong with games galore. Oh, they also scored their entire presentation with a live orchestra, which is nothing short of ridiculous.

Among its games was a whole section for its upcoming PlayStation VR platform, confirmed with a release date of October 13. Games announced for the platform included a Batman VR game, a Star Wars Battlefront 'X-Wing Experience' and a really odd trailer for the Final Fantasy XV VR experience. They didn't expand too much on the hardware itself, however, preferring to lead with a strong list of launch games for the highly anticipated VR platform.

One of the games that Sony surprised us with during their presentation was a new God of War game that was curiously just named 'God Of War', though I would be tempted to add "the next generation" thanks to its inclusion of Dad-Kratos. Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare surprised us all with a trailer and gameplay that was considerably... not Call Of Duty, and a surprising amount of time was spent with a new zombie survival game, Days Gone.

A gameplay demo of the anticipated Horizon: Zero Dawn didn't disappoint, though some of the best parts of Sony's presentation were the things we have never heard about before. One part of it, for example, revealed that the PlayStation VR's super creepy Kitchen demo was actually part of the trailer for a new Resident Evil VII, taking the series in a far more horror-oriented direction. At another point in the presentation, Hideo Kojima was given a no less than rockstar introduction, striding in to epic music and his own personal light show to introduce Death Stranding, the new game which Kojima and The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus will collaborate on.

The presentation was chock full of games, games and more games and this roundup only scratches the surface. You can read more from Kotaku here.


PC Gaming

While the PC stuff tends to come out at more tech-oriented conferences, the PC Gaming show still revealed a good handful of games, as well as some new hardware from AMD.

AMD's Lisa Su showed off the Polaris line for the PC Gaming Show, revealing both the RX 460 and RX 470 for the first time. It also displayed the capabilities of its Summit Ridge CPU, though not with anything too useful for figuring out the metrics.

VR got some time in the spotlight, with a Serious Sam VR game announced during the PC Gaming Show. Killing Floor: Incursion is another VR title that was showcased, while this year's unique shooter SUPERHOT will also be getting a VR port.

The PC Gaming Show was a haven for interesting little indies, with titles like Observer, from the makers of this year's horror title Layers of Fear, and a new take on an apocalyptic survival game in Overland. Dual Universe looks a bit like No Man's Sky (which wasn't showcased this year, so close to its hopeful release) but as an MMO, which looked quite promising with seamless travel between planets.

You can catch the rest of them here.


And The Rest...

EA led the proceedings with its pre-E3 'EA Play' event, which included a longer look at Mass Effect: Andromeda and a whole lot of SPORTS. Okay, there were some admittedly interesting things going down with FIFA 17, but I tend to tune out for most of the EA Sports news.

EA also tried to pull an Unravel again with a new indie developer showcasing his cute exploration game, Fe. It's part of a larger program called EA Originals, founded after the success of Unravel for EA to lend their strength to smaller devs making cool games. EA also gave us heaps of Star Wars, because Star Wars. Because it's all franchised, of course, it was all laid out in a three-year plan.

Bethesda announced Fallout 4 in VR, and a return of Quake in the form of Quake Champions, which no one quite seems sold on yet. The shining moment of Bethesda's conference was the in-depth gameplay preview of Dishonored 2, however.

Ubisoft brought out Aisha Tyler's irreverent comedy as usual, and that tone only continued with a preview of the South Park game sequel, the Fractured But Whole. Ubisoft's For Honor is looking surprisingly interesting, with many comparing it to what Ryse could have been. Assassin's Creed took a bit of a back seat this year, though there still was some discussion about the upcoming movie.

Need an easy place to catch up on everything that's come out of E3 2016? Check out Kotaku's round up of all the games and hardware showcased at the event, or Gizmodo's collection of every single trailer from E3 2016. And, because you can't have a livestreamed event without a few hiccups, here's a cringe compilation with the best of E3's awkward moments.


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