E3 has changed so much that you can’t just slap medals on blockbusters.
Our mission was to honor the top games and virtual experiences at the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo running on Unreal Engine when we partnered with Epic Games for our Unreal E3 Awards by GamesBeat. But narrowing down exactly who would get one of our 11 awards was more of a challenge than we initially thought it would be with the wide variety of titles using the engine. We looked at online battle games, platfomers, adventures, fighters, space shooters, and more this week, coming from major publishers as big as Microsoft and Square Enix and down to indie teams of just a few members, such as The Astronauts.
One thing’s for sure: Gone are the days where games made with Unreal Engine would be limited to first-person shooters.
Virtual reality made up a large number of the games we considered for awards. It’s difficult to hone in on one or two choices when all of the VR experiences on show here are varied and experimental. To not hand out some kind of recognition to games this new and exciting feels kind of wrong. Maybe we should have come up with more award categories for VR.
Our awards honored achievements in visuals, graphics, gameplay, narrative, and creativity, among others. After a lot of footwork and late-night brainstorming, here’s what we came up with for our Unreal E3 Awards by GamesBeat:
Everything Is Awesome
It just feels good
Abzu: Abzu is an underwater diving adventure from Journey’s art director. Exploration of the watery environment is key here.
High-fidelity graphics look too good to be true
Gears of War 4: The next in the line of the Xbox-exclusive shooter series is being prepped for Xbox One.
I Like the Way You Move
Adr1ft: This first-person space horror title saw its inspiration in a Twitter controversy.
360 Degrees of Amazing
Pushing virtual reality forward
Eve: Valkyrie: One of virtual reality’s oldest games, Eve: Valkyrie serves as a showcase for the platform.
Through the Looking Glass
New VR experiences
Fire! Fire! Fiiiiireeee!111
Love at First Sight
Best new IP
Mighty No. 9: The Kickstarter success story from Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune is fully prepped for release this fall.
All the Feels
Best emotional experience in a game
Hellblade: The newest hack-‘n’-slash from Ninja Theory features an emotional story that follows a woman’s journey into hell.
The least expected game to use Unreal
Gigantic: Motiga’s free-to-play online battle game borrows some elements from team shooters.
That one E3 thing that everyone will be talking about
Shenmue III: The Dreamcast epic returns following a massively successful Kickstarter, which raised $2 million in less than 10 hours.
The small team that showed up in a big way
Ashen: This stylistic fantasy-exploration game was featured in Microsoft’s E3 press conference lineup.