Every year, E3 is full of surprises. Whether it’s the reveal of a sequel out of nowhere or the return of a long-lost franchise, each year always manages to bring something that turns heads and really creates a ripple in this industry.
However, when it comes to figuring out which surprises were the most vital, there are a number of things to consider. For instance, the shocking depth of Alien: Isolation and the joyful return of the THQ brand (under Nordic Games), announced on the final day of the show.
When it comes down to it, though, it’s all about being surprised, and games did a lot of that this year. Here are the ten most noteworthy surprises from this year’s show.
10. Dead Island 2
We’re not sure if it’s the track playing in the background, or the fact that the jogging douche-canoe gets what he deserves turning into a zombie, but the Dead Island 2 trailer is nothing short of magical. With a new development team in place – and a much funnier approach than the original – this will be a sequel that lives up to the hype.
9. A peek at Mass Effect 4
While the game wasn’t officially announced at E3 this year, we know that BioWare is hard at work on a new Mass Effect game. The above video, which played during EA’s press conference, confirms it with very early concept art, and the team explaining the drive that goes into creating great stories. Besides, we know this one will burn down the house once it’s announced next year, right?
8. Phantom Dust
When Microsoft announced during its pre-E3 press conference that another old favorite from the Xbox days would be making a comeback, no one had any idea just what the company had in mind. Now we know – it’s a return to role-playing form with a remake of Phantom Dust, featuring wonderfully designed characters and a whole lot of magic to go around. This one can’t get here soon enough.
7. Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s co-op factor
Assassin’s Creed: Unity looks like the most stunning game in the series to date, taking place during the gritty French Revolution. However, looks aren’t everything. During its press conference, Ubisoft confirmed that the game will feature four-player online co-op missions, so that friends can jump in and lay siege to enemies as a group. We’ve seen it in action – and it’s sweet.
6. LittleBigPlanet 3
Sackboy will make his debut on the PlayStation 4 later this year with the much-anticipated LittleBigPlanet 3, which not only lets you create new levels, but also import classic ones from the PS3 versions of the game. For good measure, it also comes with four-player multiplayer, so you can bring some friends along to keep the good times rolling.
5. Rainbow Six: Siege
Some people expected a new Beyond Good and Evil; others, a side-scrolling Prince of Persia. Instead, Ubisoft brought back the Rainbow Six franchise with Siege, an action-packed team-based first-person shooter revolving around various rescue missions, including rescuing hostages. Although the demo was far too brief when it was shown at the Ubisoft press conference, it left us wanting more.
Nintendo had plenty of games to announce at this year’s E3, but one of the most innovative was definitely Splatoon. Bringing third-person shooting tactics with a dynamic paintball flair – and plenty of strategy to boot – this game could really make a splash come this time next year. Word of advice, don’t wear white.
3. The return of Grim Fandango
It’s always terrific to see an old franchise make a fresh return, and that’s exactly what’s happening with the LucasArts favorite Grim Fandango. Tim Schafer will team up with the folks at Disney to recreate the game for PlayStation 4 and PS Vita, right down to the very last chuckle. Hopefully we’ll see more of the LucasArts library get this kind of treatment.
2. Crackdown 3
Heads up, agents! After spending a little time off, the high-flying gunmen will be making a return in Crackdown 3 for Xbox One. Though no gameplay is featured, the trailer definitely paints a remarkable picture, allowing you to go as far as to bring down an entire building to stop a drug lord. Can you imagine doing something like that in co-op? We sure can.
1. The new Legend of Zelda
It’s amazing how a game can completely take over a show without even making any sort of presence there. Metal Gear Solid 2 did it years ago, and this year, The Legend of Zelda got the job done, with hints of an all-new game in the series coming sometime next year. We’re dying to know more – and see what those exploding arrows can do for us.