E3 2016: All the news, trailers and first impressions from the show

E3 2016
E3 2016

Update: That's a wrap folks! E3 2016 is now (mostly) behind us, with the conferences of each of the major publishers and console makers out of the way. We've updated our hub with our thoughts from Nintendo, as wall as some overall impressions from the show.

E3 2016 was perhaps the most confusing E3 we've ever attended. For the first time since the ill-fated Sega 32x we're seeing console manufacturers offer substantial upgrades to their existing consoles before the beginning of the next generation.

Sony remained tight-lipped about its new console, the Playstation 4.5, at the show this year, but Microsoft went all in at its press conference where it revealed both the Xbox One S and the Xbox Project Scorpio, and it's been fair to say that some confusion has followed.

Both consoles are 4K, but only the Scorpio is native 4K while the One S upscales content. Microsoft is claiming that owners of the original Xbox One won't be left out in the cold when it comes to new releases, but it's hard to see how games will manage to take advantage of the new hardware without being held back by the old.

The console news may have confused, but there were plenty of VR announcements to whet our appetite for the new medium. As well as all new VR games like Star Trek: Bridge Crew we also got VR announcements for existing franchises like Resident Evil and Fallout, not to mention Star Wars...

Star Wars VR

But don't let all the news of new hardware mislead you, there were still some massive games in appearance. After spending two years in hibernation, Nintendo's new Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild put on a really impressive showing, and we also saw new entries in the God of War series and Dead Rising 4.

But what was lacking this year was any massive announcements of entirely new franchises. Sony gave us a lengthy demonstration of new zombie shooter Days Gone but it all looked a little too similar to The Last of Us.

We did get the news of a new Spider-Man game from Insomniac studios though, which despite being limited to a trailer was still enough to get our hopes up.

Overall E3 2016 was a bit of a dip compared to the insanity of 2015. We may have gotten to see some tantalising new footage from a number of already announced games, but there were no new reveals on the scale of last year's Final Fantasy VII remake or Shenmue 3.

That's not to say E3 was by any stretch a bad show in 2016, but with a wealth of new hardware set to come out over the next twelve months, there was a slight sense that some of the bigger players were holding back announcements to wait and see how it's all going to play out.

Activision and EA may be withdrawing their support for the show, but if 2016 proved anything it's that there's life in gaming's biggest conference yet.

Nintendo, playing it safe with Zelda

Nintendo's decision to focus its E3 2016 showing almost entirely on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may have seemed perplexing at first, but after having gotten a chance to try out the game for ourselves it's become a lot easier to see where Nintendo were coming from with the decision.

Breath of the Wild appears to be everything we want out of a Zelda game in this post-Skyrim world. It's open-world, filled with collectables, and also features voice acting for the first time in the history of the series.

Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

While it was great to get such a deep look into the new game in a stream that lasted over five hours, it was hard not to miss the much more succinct Nintendo livestreams of yesteryear which managed to pack the same amount of information into a single hour.

Alongside Zelda we also got streams of a new Paper Marrio, a Dragon Quest VII remake for the 3DS, and new Monster Hunter and Mario Party games.

Those of you with keen eyes will notice two things about that lineup. First is the fact that in typical Nintendo style the list involves a lot of sequels to some very long-running series, but secondly, and more worryingly, just one of the above games is for Wii U. The other three are all for 3DS.

Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

The disparity comes back to the fact that this year's E3 felt like one in which companies were holding off for new hardware. In Nintendo's case this is likely due to the Nintendo NX which is due out in March next year, which we imagine has a lot of its top development studios busy working on launch titles.

But the result was that Nintendo's showing at E3 2016 outside of Zelda was very disappointing. Include Zelda and its performance looks better, but we'd still have to give Nintendo a "must try harder" for its effort this year.

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.