It’s the first day of LA’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (or computer, video and mobile game trade show), but there’s already been some big news: a Final Fantasy 7 remake, a demo of The Last Guardian (long-awaited, considering production started circa 2009), and sequels for the usual suspects – including Hitman, Tomb Raider and Star Wars: Battlefront (you can read more coverage over on IGN).
But none of the above are things that got our gaming juices flowing – these are reserved to three very special announcements…
1. FIFA 16 brings on the girls
After the success of Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, and the fact that almost 150,000 women play in football leagues and cups, it was only a matter of time before EA Sports’ FIFA series took notice. With over 20 years making FIFA games, the 16th installment still has room for a few firsts, as it sees sportswoman Steph Houghton (captain of Manchester City and the national women’s team) as a playable character, along with her team-mates. Other women’s teams to feature include the US, China, Mexico and Spain. It may seem like a long time coming, but according to the BBC Newsbeat article, women weren’t as interested in football back in 1993 (when FIFA’s first game was released), with a much lower statistic of just 10,400. Sadly, not everyone is welcoming the change.
2. The fans get behind Shenmue 3
Crowd-funding projects – particularly in the realms of gaming – are nothing new, but if Sony’s Shenmue 3 isn’t a record-breaker for surpassing its fundraising goal on its first day, then it ought to be a real contender. Just a few hours after setting up a Kickstarter campaign, it raised its $2m target – but if the first game is anything to go by, they’ll need a lot more to launch the title – Shenmue was, at its 1999 release, the most expensive video game ever made (reported figures for the production budget vary from almost $100m with today’s inflation, to a more modest $67m).
3. The Xbone goes back in time with backwards compatibility
Microsoft’s 8-gen console, the Xbox One, hasn’t quite kept up with its rival, the Sony Playstation 4, in terms of sales (who have sold almost double the amount). But all that could change with the announcement that there’ll be at least 100 playable Xbox 360 titles – with Mass Effect among them – on the console’s latest version, due in time for Christmas. Owners of Xbox 360 games need only place the disc in the Xbox One to trigger a playable download.