E3 is back again for another year, and there has been some shocking and satisfying reveals and announcements over the course of the event. With that in mind, I’ve decided it’s high time to take a look back at some of the biggest and best E3 reveals we’ve ever had. Maybe, just maybe, fans will be gifted some presentations this good over the course of the event.
10. Xbox Kinect Shocks All (2009)
It may be easy nowadays to dismiss the Kinect as a failure for Microsoft, but that doesn’t change how exciting it seemed when it was unveiled as “Project Natal” back in 2009. Showcased through three demos (including the somewhat terrifying Project Milo), the Kinect looked like it could revolutionize gaming as we knew it. With its ability to track four players simultaneously, and with Kinect controls being incorporated into titles like Burnout Paradise, fans were excited for what was to come. It’s a shame the reality of Kinect never lived up to expectations.
9. Reggie’s Debut (2004)
Nintendo’s E3 2004 press conference was arguably the best they’ve ever had, revitalising the company with big announcements, and the debut of fan-favourite Reggie Fils-Aimé. Having only started working at Nintendo a few months before the conference, Reggie’s introduction of “My name is Reggie. I’m about kicking ass, I’m about taking names, and we’re about making games” helped to showcase Nintendo’s new bold direction, while also cementing Reggie himself as a legend amongst gamers everywhere.
8. Xbox One Backwards Compatibility (2015)
At the time of this announcement, Xbox fans were clamouring after backwards compatibility features for Microsoft’s newest console at the time, the Xbox One. And, after a disastrous launch for the console, players were still cautious about the Xbox brand. So, when Phil Spencer took to the E3 stage, it was no surprise that the crowd erupted. Given that backwards compatibility has become a strong point for the Xbox One over the years, this announcement set Microsoft up for success for years to come.
7. Todd Howard and Fallout 4 (2015)
Although a new title in the Fallout series seemed inevitable after the successes that were Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, but by the time 2015 rolled around, the lack of news was starting to get concerning. Fans certainly didn’t expect that Bethesda, through golden boy Todd Howard, would not only announce and showcase Fallout 4 at E3, but would also let players know that the game would release at the end of that same year. Where most companies choose to announce games when there still many years away (I’m looking at you CD Projekt Red), Howard and Bethesda had the confidence to give fans a taste and promise that there would soon be much more.
6. The PlayStation is $299 (1995)
The first E3 brought us one of the greatest cases of one-upmanship in gaming history. Sega chose to reveal their brand new console, the Saturn, completely out of the blue during their showcase – and it came with a hefty $399 price tag. So, in what would become an iconic moment for PlayStation, Steve Race (president of SCEA at the time) took to the stage to utter a single figure: “299”. The applause he received from the audience was an indicator of the damage would do in that console generation, as the original PlayStation would proceed to dominate the market at a pricing $100 lower than its biggest competitor.
5. Final Fantasy VII Remake Becomes Reality (2015)
Many thought that this announcement was never going to happen. Long considered a pipe dream, most Final Fantasy VII fans had admitted defeat by 2015, acknowledging that there was little hope of Square Enix remaking the iconic JRPG. Yet, against all expectations, on the PlayStation show floor, we saw Cloud, Barrett, and Midgar again, in what looked to be an absolutely stunning new remake. Although fans would end up waiting another 5 years until the game actually released, this moment tapped into a well of hopes and dreams to bring fans exactly what they always wanted.
4. Twilight Princess – and Miyamoto (2004)
Nintendo’s E3 showcase in 2004 is widely regarded as one of their best ever, and this reveal may be the biggest factor in that reputation. After negative fan reaction to the cartoon style of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, showing a trailer for a brand new “mature” Zelda title had fans eating out of Nintendo’s hand. The game that would eventually become Twilight Princess looked beautiful from the first second players saw of it, and to cap it all of, series creator and game development legend Shigeru Miyamoto himself appeared on stage with a replica Hylian Shield and Master Sword, as well as his trademark grin, to bring even more joy to the crowd. Despite their previous E3 shortcomings, this announcement proved that when Nintendo get it right, they can compete with anyone.
3. Half-Life 2 Demo Blows Minds (2003)
it says a lot about the ingenuity that was on display in the Half-Life 2 tech demo that went on display back in 2003 that it still outclasses many modern game previews. Full of incredible moments that showed off the game’s physics engine, as well as plenty of cinematic points that gave the game an excellent sense of drama, this demo gave fans a look at what games had the potential to be. Half-Life 2 would go on to be a masterpiece, but its road to stardom began with this reveal.
2. Halo 2 Trailer Tricks The World (2003)
The engine that this (in)famous Halo 2 trailer was running may have turned out to be completely unachievable on Xbox hardware, but it’s impossible to dispute the impact that this reveal had. The original game had been a huge success for developers Bungie, and fans were eager to see Master Chief return for another outing. So, when E3 2003 finally gave players the reveal they had been waiting for, the reaction was as expected: incredible excitement. And, despite setbacks during development, Halo 2 would go on to deliver an experience for the ages when it released a year later.
1. Metal Gear Solid 2 Changes Everything At E3 (2000)
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty made its debut at E3 in 2000, and in doing so, changed gaming shows forever. For the duration of its 10 minute preview, the newest stealth action offering from Hideo Kojima had fans on the edge of their seats, with thousands of fans downloading the trailer to watch themselves at home. Not only was the game itself revolutionary, but the way it stole the show change the nature of E3. Developers now knew that, if they nailed a reveal presentation, they could generate huge amounts of interest in their title long before it released. Metal Gear Solid 2‘s reveal was as much a landmark for E3 as it was for the series itself.