Every year, the world’s gaming press jets off to Los Angeles to be wowed by Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and all the top games developers, who lay out their plans for the future of the industry.
This year there was a big push for virtual reality, with the big players throwing their weight behind the nascent technology in a big way. The war between Xbox and PlayStation continued, with the former focusing on hardware updates (see right) and the latter pushing its exciting roster of new titles.
There was also a welcome – and slightly baffling – return to gaming by industry legend Hideo Kojima, the Japanese designer who was forced out of games developer Konami just as he was completing his magnum opus, Metal Gear Solid V (see below). With the event now in full swing, here’s a round-up of our favourite announcements so far.
Playstation VR – formally known as Project Morpheus – has been around for a while but we finally have a release date and price, as well as a much better idea of what it will run. Although it’s helluva expensive, Sony predicts shortages of units as gamers clamour to get their hands on one. As the VR market prepares to hit the mainstream, this looks like the best entry-point. £349, 16 October
If you’ve ever fantasised about creating a Rainbow Road-themed controller, then you’re in luck, my friend. Microsoft has launched a scheme allowing you to customise the colour of virtually every aspect of the pad (a bit like Nike lets you do with its trainers). You can also get your name engraved on the front. $79, September
When God was handing out looks, the Xbox One was on its tea break. Derided as the fugly sister to Sony’s svelte PS4, a thinner, more attractive Xbox One has long been on the cards. It will arrive soon, packing a slightly faster processor and, for an extra fee, up to 2TB of storage space. And it will be “robot white”. £249, August
Hideo Kojima is one of the most influential games designers in the world. He last year parted on bad terms with long-term employer Konami and now he’s released the trailer for his first solo title, Death Standing. And it’s predictably bonkers. It features a naked man waking up on a beach strewn with dead fish. He finds a baby but it turns to oil in his hands. People are floating in the sky. And I would kill you to play it. Release date: TBC
The Arkham series has been one of the most reliably brilliant franchises of the last decade. But wouldn’t it be even better if you got to put on a real-life mask and use your actual fists to keep Gotham safe? Arkham VR appears to focus on the investigative elements of the series; how good the combat will be remains to be seen. Release date: TBC
Hitting deadlines is hard, but few of us miss them by seven years. That’s how long we’ve been yearning to play Last Guardian, and the wait will soon be over. You play a boy trying to escape from somewhere or other with the help of a giant bird/cat thing. And it looks incredible. Roll on October. Release date: 25 October
Horizon Zero Dawn combines pre-historic and futuristic elements to create a world that looks a bit like Far Cry Primal crossed with the Transformers films. It takes place after the apocalypse when humans live primitive lives and robots scuttle about like dinosaurs. The gameplay looks fast and smooth: this could be a winner. Release date: February 2017
This reboot of the popular Greek mythology-inspired series shifts its focus to Norse gods – and fatherhood. Yes, the notoriously bloody franchise now sees you looking after a little boy. No doubt he will help you as you run around platforming, solving puzzles and killing lots and lots of things. Release date: TBC
I’ve learned to be wary when promised games in which your decisions have a significant impact on the story. But this near-future world of cops and androids, with a Blade Runner kind of vibe, is enough to let me dream again. Let’s just pretend Heavy Rain (by the same developer, Quantic Dream) never happened. Release date: TBC
Another guaranteed VR crowdpleaser, this Star Wars Battlefront title was revealed to be an X-Wing mission from the creators of the Burnout series. It looks like heaps of fun – putting Nintendo’s Star Fox in the shade – and even better, it’s free for owners of Battlefront for the PS4. Now you just need a PlayStation VR. Release date: TBC