You'd think the week leading up to E3 would be a quiet one. If you thought this, you would be wrong. All this gaming news is here, JUST FOR YOU!
Oculus shows off why it will be a titan in VR
Oculus held their own press conference this week to show off a ton of amazing things.
First up, the actual headset. It will be a real thing, and is coming to consumers Q1 2016. It will come packed with a wireless Xbox One controller and a tracker that you plug into your PC that looks a bit like a small microphone. Oculus has partnered with Microsoft (hence the XB1 controller) which will help them work together to integrate more VR into parts of Windows 10 - such as optimizing Direct X 12 for Oculus.
Next, the games. Oculus has assembled a wide variety of developers, boasting a solid lineup of great looking VR games. While essentially every game in the lineup is standard gamer fare and would be uninteresting in a "new console" sense, the fact that these are for VR makes all the difference. The line up of titles includes:
Eve Valkyrie - A space sim dog-fighting game that looks set to be the flagship experience of VR. It truly looks amazing.
Chronos - A 3rd person medieval adventure game with dungeons, swords and dragons. Standard fantasy RPG, but in VR.
Edge of Nowhere - Made by Insomniac, this game looks to be one of the more interesting ones. Set in an icy tundra, it is a 3rd person action adventure game about a man searching for someone and finding a a whole ton of NOPE DON'T GO THERE THAT THING IS HUGE. Reminds me a little of The Thing.
Damaged Core - A first person shooter by High Voltage
VR Sports Challenge - Sports minigames. Like playing an actual sport without the exertion.
Esper - Imagine you had telekinetic powers.
AirmechVR - an RTS that looks in the same vein as the Dark Reign games, but prettier.
Lucky's Tale - a 3D action platformer, essentially in the same vein as Super Mario 64. People who've been trying out the demo of this game have been going nuts over it.
Interestingly, Oculus has also partnered with Harmonix (Rock Band) and Square Enix (Final Fanstasy, Tomb Raider), among a plethora of other developers, to build VR experiences with Oculus.
Oculus' storefront will be known as Oculus Home. It looks very much like an experience akin to Steam, but less crowded. You will have access to your games straight up, as well as access to purchase others. A stream will appear on the right hand side of the screen, showing a feed of what your friends are up to. When viewing games for purchase, you will be instantly transported into the world of the game to have a look around, which seems cool. The store will be available through the Rift in what would be presumably the boot up menu, but will also be able to be managed separately in 2D on your computer - this way you will still be able to interact with friends, make purchases, manage downloads etc.
Once everything is seemingly all wrapped up, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey walks on stage and introduces... Oculus Touch.
Oculus Touch won't be available to consumers at launch, but is Oculus' answer to input in VR. It looks to be a controller containing two separate pieces, which have an array of buttons, joysticks and most importantly sensors that can track your hand movement, allowing for the input of pointing, thumbs up and waving into the virtual space.
Oculus' strategy surrounding the Rift seems to be solid as well - they are focusing solely on gamers. Oculus knows that it's original fanbase will cross over heavily with hardcore gamers, and they will be the ones most excited about VR.
Game Announcements Galore
It seems that most companies don't want to wait until E3 to announce their new titles and would rather have a day to themselves, rather than get overshadowed by the competition. This week brought a metric ton of new game announcements, which is always exciting!
Mirrors Edge Catalyst - The Mirrors Edge franchise is finally getting a new game, but not a sequel, which is actually kind of nice for a change. No details yet on whether it's a reboot/prequel/something else, but fans have been hanging out for years for this.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection - As is customary for big franchises these days, the Uncharted series (read: 1, 2 and 3, not the Vita game) are getting a graphical bump and are heading to the PS4. For non PS3 owners, this will be a great chance to check out these critically acclaimed first party titles. (Interesting side thought - does the fact that it is called "The Nathan Drake Collection" mean Nathan won't be the star of Uncharted 4?)
Hyrule Warriors 3D - the surprisingly good mashup of the Zelda franchise and Dynasty Warriors style combat is now coming to the 3DS! Nintendo have announced that two characters from Zelda: Wind Waker will also be playable in this version.
Platinum Games new game - an announcement of an announcement here: Platinum Games, creator of the Bayonetta and Wonderful 101 Series', are working on a new title, exclusively for the Wii U.
Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice - Sega still isn't giving up on Sonic yet. A new 2D sidescroller Sonic game will be coming to the 3DS.
Skylanders: Superchargers - Surprising no one, Activision announced a new Skylanders game. The new Skylanders will feature vehicles, such as cars and planes.
Legend of Legacy - Already out in Japan, this 3DS JRPG is getting localized for the west. it will include "several gameplay adjustments were made to enhance the gameplay" due to feedback from Western audiences.
Ratchet and Clank PS4 - A new entry into the series is slated for 2016, based off an upcoming movie.
Everybody's Gone To The Rapture - A spiritual successor to Dear Esther, this game is coming exclusively to the PS4 August 11.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - This emotional amazing game is headed to PS4, Xbox One, iOS & Android by Christmas this year.
Other stories on the web worth reading
Let’s Talk About Gwent, Baby
The lovely Tegan of Geek Bomb talks about the addictive and hardcore game within a game, Gwent, from the Witcher 3.
The Trials Evolution Riddle Has Been Solved And It Is Truly Unbelievable
Trials games are known for their crazy difficult courses and hilarious ragdoll physics, but this secret riddle is insanely mind blowing. 3 years of work from fans, and the ending result literally made me say "Oh my God" out loud.
Ambitious New Vegas Modders Rush To Finish Before Fallout 4
A mod for Fallout: New Vegas on the scale of Falskaar Skyrim has been in the works for years, and looks amazing. Will it make it to V 1.0 before Fallout 4 is released?
Editorial: Why We Write: On Game Critique, Influence, and Reach
A great piece Austin Walker of Giant Bomb about the influence people, and more specifically game critics, have and do not have over game development.
New game releases & DLC
Steam Sales - PC/Mac/Linux
Lets be honest - its the week leading up to E3 and the Steam Summer Sale is on. It would be madness to release games right now. That said, there is literally thousands of games on Steam that are on sale right now - you should definitely go check that out.