Doritos’ #MixArcade Showcase Steals The E3 Spotlight

Over 70,000 video game pros and Joes passed through the E3 turnstiles in Los Angeles for the tent-pole global industry event of the year, and although there surely was big business layered throughout the three-day proceedings, the show doubled as a massive party.

Smack dab in the middle of the celebrations, Doritos stormed the downtown skyline at L.A. Live for three consecutive nights with a six-story game and music fortress billed as the #MixArcade as the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Big Boi, Steve Aoki, Rae Sremmurd, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Empire of the Sun and Zane Lowe took turns hitting the 60-foot stage.

“For me, as a lifelong gamer, playing at E3—on a giant arcade stage no less—is a dream come true,” Aoki said. “I believe in making bold statements through music, gaming and on Twitch. That’s why this bold experience hits home.”

From unlocking bonus content to launching special effects, the non-stop party of the week gave fans onsite various control elements of the performances through LED wristbands that lit up red or blue with the simple push of a button. The performances were also available to view via Twitch livestream where fans were also invited to participate.

In between the live sets, the Doritos and EA partnership played a prevalent role, too. Never-before-seen content of the upcoming anticipated game Titanfall 2 was revealed on the #MixArcade stage. The likes of NFL Hall of Fame running back and Rams legend Marshall Faulk also kept the mood loose by bringing Madden 2016 titlist Frank “Stiff” Sardoni Jr. to the stage to flex some of his championship muscle.

In celebration of Doritos’ 50th anniversary, the chips brand also dipped its name into world record books with the distinction of “World’s Largest Arcade Machine.”

“Doritos is a brand that believes in living life to the fullest and embracing bold experiences,” said Jeannie Cho, vice president of marketing for Frito-Lay. “We were honored to combine our heritage of gaming with music in the Doritos #MixArcade at E3 Live, once again putting control in the hands of fans. The gaming and music communities have long been partners on the small screen—now we’ve brought them together on the big screen.”

Cho joined [a]listdaily to further detail how the #MixArcade proved to be the non-gaming brand activation of E3.

Why did Doritos decide the E3 audience was one that it needed to seize?

We believe that imagination and creativity are unlocked when we combine different influences together. The Doritos #MixArcade allowed for an epic live experience by mixing elements of technology, gaming and music together. Building on our heritage of SXSW and the Super Bowl, the Doritos activation at E3 was a canvas for fans to create the ultimate live mix of gaming and music. Doritos also has a deep gaming heritage; we’ve partnered with many gaming brands throughout the years and have a strong connection with the gaming community.

How did the idea for #MixArcade come about? What was it designed to do?

Doritos has long been about epic entertainment and believes in putting control in the hands of consumers. To bring our newest product—Doritos Mix—to life, we created four classic arcade-style games, each inspired by the four pieces in the new product. We wanted to bring the online mix arcade experience to life in a way that mixes different influences to create a unique experience.

With #MixArcade, we built the world’s largest arcade game and introduced it at one of the most influential gaming expos. We provided more access, entertainment and control by giving fans the opportunity to level up their gaming experience by unlocking interactive elements throughout the show via LED wristbands that control various elements of the performances. The #MixArcade was a fully functioning arcade that featured a 30-feet-by-32-feet LED gaming screen for live arcade game play during the day and concert visuals during the evening, a six-foot joystick and an arcade within an arcade featuring a retro (and normal size) arcade room, with games, a lounge area, game demo stations and product samples.

What went into picking the artist lineup?

We selected performers who are all about epic and bold entertainment experiences, since Doritos has a similar mindset. And the lineup was a mix of gaming and music genres with performances that also mix musical influences in a way that brought a unique fan experience each night—specifically EDM, hip-hop and iconic, old-school DJs.

How did you engage with the attendees and community on social channels?

Before the concert began, fans received LED wristbands that lit up red or blue to control various elements of the show with the push of a button from their wrist. Fans could also watch the performances live on our Twitch channel where they actually impacted the show in real time by casting votes in chat to unlock specific effects and be part of the interactive concert experience.

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan

Sony Primes World For PlayStation VR Launch

Sony had a heavy burden of expectations going into its presentation at E3 this week. The company has been the clear leader in the latest generation of consoles with over 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles sold. The company rose to the task by delivering an array of game trailers and announcements from its pre-E3 press conference on Monday from the Shrine Auditorium, backed by a full orchestra and chorus conducted by famous TV music composer, Bear McCreary.

Amid the steady showcase of upcoming games came Sony’s big hardware announcement: PlayStation VR will ship October 13, 2016, with a starting price of $399. The company did not clutter up the event with any other retail specifics, but there will surely be different offerings, and a bundle with a PS4 and PSVR seems natural.

Sony’s fall sales picture is really in two major parts, a difficult marketing challenge. First, there are all of the non-VR PS4 games that Sony wants you to buy this fall. Second, there are the PSVR games and experiences that Sony also wants you to buy, with some (such as Resident Evil 7) that can be played both ways. There’s also the task of explaining the difference between a full game and what Sony is calling a “VR experience,” which apparently is a much shorter game that may offer a much lower price point.

Sony made it clear that PSVR is coming out strong. “2016 is a seminal moment in virtual reality,” said Sony Computer Entertainment head, Andrew House. “The time has come for everyone to enjoy VR in their homes. We have the necessary processing power in 40 million PS4s.” After showing the launch date of October 13, starting at $399, House went on to hammer home the value proposition. “We’ll have more than 50 games by the end of the year for PSVR.” That includes some of the biggest Sony franchises as well as some of the biggest titles from other publishers.

Showing VR titles to an audience via standard video is less than optimal, but there really isn’t a good alternative yet. Still, the action shown was impressive. Final Fantasy XV made an appearance with a PlayStation VR experience, which is in addition to the full game that’s coming out September 30, 2016 for PS4 and Xbox One. Resident Evil 7 will appear on January 24, 2017, and the game will be playable all the way through in VR. You can also look forward to Star Wars action with a Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission and Batman Arkham VR among the 50 titles coming this year.

Analysts, as well as fans, were impressed with Sony’s lineup. “As expected the PlayStation VR was front and center (October 13), with a strong initial lineup including a new installment of Resident Evil 7Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission and Final Fantasy XV VR Experience,” said SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen.

Sony delivered a great lineup of upcoming titles and took PSVR excitement to the next level. With over 50 titles to choose from by year end, there should be no shortage of ways to enjoy the PSVR hardware this holiday. Marketing mission accomplished, Sony.

The Hottest Trailers From E3 2016

E3 is the place for amazing video game showcases, demonstrations and trailers. And as Twitter recently reported, gamers really love watching, sharing and commenting on them—making them the best way to build up hype for a game or service.

Now that E3 2016 is over, it’s time to relax and appreciate some of the most amazing videos to be shown at the shows. Here are the biggest and best trailers, for the hottest games, shown at this year’s E3 and EA Play.


ABZÛ will take players on a dreamlike journey into the ocean depths, where majestic creatures and hidden secrets are found.

Agents of Mayhem

Created by Volition, Agents of Mayhem is an offshoot of the over-the-top Saints Row franchise, and players will be able to become superheroes tasked with saving the world. The open world adventure game is certainly one to keep an eye on as we come closer to its 2017 release.

Batman Arkham VR

Battlefield 1

DICE promises to make every Battlefield experience bigger than the last, and it’s proving it with Battlefield 1. In it, players will take control of some the largest war machines ever invented and dive straight into a war that promises that no two battles are ever the same.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Call of Duty takes us to the future of war with Infinite Warfare, featuring stunning sequences that take place in outer space. The scope of war has never been bigger.

Days Gone

Dead Rising 4

The ultimate zombie slayer, Frank West, returns this holiday to face hordes of the undead with a wild array of crazy weapons.

Death Stranding

Many wondered what the Metal Gear Solid creator, Hideo Kojima, was working on now that he’s no longer with Konami. The answer is a surreal-looking horror game called Death Stranding for the PS4. It features The Walking Dead actor, Norman Reedus, as a clear reply to Kojima fans who were disappointed by the cancelation of Silent Hills last year.

Destiny: Rise of Iron

Detroit Become Human

Detroit Become Human made its big debut at the Sony pre-E3 press conference, and it left quite an impression with its spectacular graphics a sci-fi world that’s dealing with growing tensions between humans and their android servants. Although there is no release date, it promises to include the same kind of moral decision-making that characterized games such as Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Breach

Eidos Montreal announced BreachDeus Ex: Mankind Divided‘s competitive arcade puzzle mode—last week with a dedicated livestream. The mode was revealed amid a number of other announcements, including a partnership to bring some of the cybernetics appendages featured in the game into the real world, blurring the lines between fiction and reality.

Dishonored 2

Bethesda’s pre-E3 press conference gave an extensive presentation detailing the world of Dishonored 2. The game, featuring a fantastic steampunk world populated by supernatural assassins, releases this November for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Eagle Flight

The Elder Scrolls Legends



FIFA 17, the most popular sports game in the world, will take fans on an emotional journey with its story campaign. Featuring a character named Alex Hunter, and a host of real-life football managers, players are challenged to grow their careers from being a relative nobody playing ball on the streets, to becoming one of the most famous players of all time.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Final Fantasy XV

For Honor

Featuring brutal melee combat from three different factions, For Honor promises to deliver a deeply intense experience when it releases on February 14, 2017 (Valentine’s Day). Alpha testing registrations were announced at the Ubisoft press conference, giving prospective warriors something to look forward to.

Forza Horizon 3

When it comes to beauty and speed, few games match what Forza Horizon 3 has to offer. Featuring a huge open world, off-road vehicles, and cross-platform connectivity with Windows 10 PCs, the game is sure to get players revved up when it releases in September.

Gears of War 4

Gears of War 4 made a huge splash at the Microsoft pre-E3 press conference for a number of reasons. The high-action game will be one of the first titles to take advantage of the recently announced Xbox One S’s new features. Additionally, it’ll be one of the first games to support the Xbox Play Anywhere Program, which means gamers will get both the Xbox One and Windows 10 versions of the game for one price. Progress and achievements will also be shared across both platforms. So even though this is the fourth game in the series, it’s first in many other important areas.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Large open worlds was one of the biggest themes at this year’s E3, and Ghost Recon: Wildlands promises to deliver the largest one yet. Featuring a battle with a giant drug cartel, the game will give players plenty to explore and unpredictable moments when it releases next year.

God of War

Gran Turismo Sport

Gravity Rush 2

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

Halo Wars 2

The strategy game based in the Halo Universe makes its return, backed by fan demand. Although the game doesn’t release until next year, Xbox One players didn’t have to wait long to try it out. An early beta was hosted throughout the week, and another one for PC players is expected to start sometime in the near future.

Here They Lie

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Injustice 2


The Last Guardian


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Promoted as one of Nintendo’s most ambitious games, the new Legend of Zelda game will feature the largest game world the company has ever created. Nintendo gave E3 attendees an incredible view of what’s in that world with a show floor booth that recreates the game’s environment in real life.

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Madden 17

Madden will be at the forefront of EA’s eSports plans in the coming year, with a series of Major tournaments totalling $1 million in prize money. EA even hosted a Madden 16 finals tournament at EA Play earlier this week, with a grand prize of $50,000.

Mafia III

2K Games created a spectacular E3 show floor experience to promote its upcoming action game Mafia III. E3 attendees were transported through space and time: 1960s New Bordeaux, a fictional city heavily inspired by New Orleans.

Mario Party Star Rush

Mass Effect Andromeda

NieR Automata


Quake Champions

Given the tremendous success id Software and Bethesda Softworks saw with last month’s release of Doom, it was only natural that they would bring back another gaming classic: Quake. Announced at the start of Bethesda’s pre-E3 press conference, Quake Champions will be a highly competitive game releasing for PCs first. It will also be Bethesda’s first official entry into the world of eSports.


Resident Evil 7


Sea of Thieves

Skylanders Imaginators

Featuring fully customizable characters and the fan-favorite character, Crash Bandicoot, Skylanders Imaginators promises to revitalize the slowing toys-to-life category. Attractive gameplay and characters won’t be the only thing it brings to the table, as Activision Blizzard Studios announced this week that the Skylanders Academy television show will be broadcast on Netflix. So audiences can watch the show, play the games, and collect the toys.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole


Star Trek: Bridge Crew

Ubisoft is embracing virtual reality in a big way, and it’s pushing the envelope with games like Star Trek: Bridge Crew. The game’s announcement came as a surprise, with a video featuring Star Trek actors Levar Burton, Jeri Ryan and Karl Urban, who were all deeply impressed by the experience. This is the first Star Trek game for virtual reality, and it’s easy to become excited over the prospect of boldly going where no one has gone before.

State of Decay 2


PlayStation VR steps into the weird side with Statik, the “virtual reality game about technology, perception and puzzles.”


Tekken 7

Titanfall 2

Titanfall, the competitive sci-fi shooter featuring gigantic robots, returns this October and it will be bigger and better than ever. Not only will the game finally feature a single-player campaign, which many fans have asked for, but it is also making its debut on the PlayStation 4.

Tom Clancy’s The Division: Survival

Tom Clancy’s The Division: Underground

Trials of the Blood Dragon

Released on the same day the game was announced, Trials of the Blood Dragon marries the challenging gameplay of Trials with the neon retro ’80s sci-fi world of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. The result is one bright and insane game.

The Walking Dead: Season 3

Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 is one of the biggest games to be showcased at the Ubisoft pre-E3 press event, and it allows players to turn the city of San Francisco into a hacker’s playground. To promote the game, Ubisoft made it look like their presentation was being hacked by the fictional group, DedSec.

We Happy Few

World of Final Fantasy

Xbox Play Anywhere

Microsoft announced its program to unite gamers across the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC platforms. Digitally purchasing an Xbox Play Anywhere-branded game for one platform automatically gives you a copy for the other. Furthermore, progression and achievements are carried over, so players are free to continue their games from their PCs when they don’t have access to the Xbox One consoles.

Xbox One S

Xbox Project Scorpio

Announced at Microsoft’s pre-E3 press conference, Project Scorpio promises to be the most powerful console ever built. With six teraflops of power running at 60 Hz, the console will support 4K Ultra HD gaming and virtual reality, and give both developers and enthusiasts the console they’ve always wanted.

Why E3 Is Still The Premier Video Game Event

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has come to a close, and even with Electronic Arts hosting a separate EA Play event, and companies such as Activision and Wargaming not having a show floor presence, the show thrived with a number of new partners and exciting products for attendees to check out.

Here’s a breakdown of how E3 is still one of the best entertainment conventions around.

E3 By The Numbers

Despite the absence of some AAA companies, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) revealed that this year’s show drew more than 70,300 attendees, including 50,000 industry professionals and 20,000 fans. It also had over 250 exhibitors with over 1,600 products ready to be seen.

The event was also a tremendous success on social media. The show generated more than seven million posts on Twitter, as well as over 500,000 likes from E3-related posts that went up on Instagram.

Twitch also found major exposure at the event, with over 42 million viewers tuning in to watch E3-related content. Considering how it was the official streaming partner of the show, it no doubt got some hype from the ESA itself, as well as companies that participated in the stream.

With that, the ESA has already announced E3’s return dates, June 13-15 in 2017. The show will once again take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Incredible Showcases

This year’s E3 showcased some of the most impressive booths in the show’s history. 2K Games went all out with its promotion of Mafia III, recreating the city of New Bordeaux (which is heavily inspired by New Orleans) with a roving funeral procession, a booth that resembled a city block, and a food truck that served hungry attendees.

Others, like Ubisoft, Bethesda and WB Games, drew fans in with ambient booth designs. Nintendo pulled out all the stops with its promotion for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, drawing in thousands of fans to its recreation of the world of Hyrule. It was the most popular booth on the show floor, with a consistent line that left a few fans waiting several hours, but none complained about the experience.


E3 was also home to a number of companies introducing their products for the first time. Perhaps the most noteworthy (and somewhat controversial) was Naughty America, which debuted at the show with a booth that showcased the future of virtual reality pornography. The showcase was an instant hit, drawing in thousands of players that couldn’t wait to see just how effective it was.


The Only Place For Everything New

E3’s 2016 show generated excitement for a number of forthcoming titles, including The Legend of Zelda, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Watch Dogs 2, Injustice 2, Mafia III, Dishonored 2, Agents of Mayhem and a number of others, with fans up in arms deciding which ones were their favorites. Needless to say, there was something for everyone.

However, it was also a show that diversified in its offerings, namely with virtual reality. Everything from Naughty America’s provocative demo to games like Serious Sam VRFallout 4 and Sony’s extensive PlayStation VR line-up drew in thousands of players. Additionally, Microsoft announced Project Scorpio, which promises to be the most powerful console ever, with support for 4K gaming and VR. Virtual reality is starting to settle into a groove, and it will likely continue to play a huge part at E3 in the coming years.

E3 also saw a major push with eSports. Many games are being prepped with eSports adoption in mind, including EA’s Madden NFL 17, Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1, along with Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Bethesda’s Quake Champions. Look for this to become more of a common feature in the show over the next few years, with a greater presence of companies like Twitch and YouTube to spread the word.

That’s a Wrap

This year’s show was busy and jam-packed with games and demonstrations, and it was certainly something that generated a lot of excitement within the community. Next year should be even better.

‘Destiny’ Going Strong With ‘Rise Of Iron’ Expansion

In 2012, Activision struck a multi-year deal with Bungie, the original developers of Halo, to produce an unparalleled first-person shooting experience for consoles, with an original storyline and engaging set-up. The end result was Destiny, a game that arrived in mid-2014 to high praise from both gamers and critics alike, and it became a bestseller with over 30 million registered players.

Bungie has continued to push Destiny‘s story with add-ons, including last year’s The Taken King, which was a major success. However, some players felt that Destiny still didn’t have enough special events and items, so Bungie is looking to resolve that this fall with the Rise of Iron expansion.


Set to debut on September 20 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Rise of Iron promises to expand the universe even further with a new location to explore and new events such as additional Raid and Strike, which players can’t get enough of) and new items to acquire.

Rise of Iron is an exciting addition to the Destiny universe,” said Pete Parsons, CEO of Bungie. “We are continually blown away and inspired by the growing Destiny community’s energy and enthusiasm.”

Activision didn’t have a booth on the E3 show floor this week, but the company still held behind-closed-door sessions. There, Bungie presented how players would rediscover a sense of energy with the add-on, mainly with the debut of a new setting on Earth called the Plaguelands, where they can explore to find new missions and items.

“The trick in keeping players coming back for more within a gaming universe is finding the kind of content that will keep them around for the long-term,” creative director Chris Barrett explained to Game Informer. “Stuff like raids just takes a lot of time to build but we’re excited to try and deliver that stuff for fans, and we’re all players ourselves. I go home and feel the same way: I want to explore a whole new zone and play new raids. We’re excited to get that stuff built and into players’ hands as soon as possible, so we’re always looking to add new events and stuff for players to do. In the past year, we’ve released new updates and events and fixes, and it’s just exciting to be able to release a new expansion with so much good stuff in it.”

Rise 2

But perhaps the biggest expansion will come with the story, which remains a highly engaging part of the Destiny universe.

“The world of Destiny is an awesome place and the fans love it and we’re always looking for ways to expand the game and the lore,” said Barrett. “We’re really focused on this release with telling the best story we can within the game. Our number one priority is making a great new campaign, setting, and adventure for players. We’re not only looking for ways to expand Destiny on the outside but also bring stuff that is found in the grimoire into the game itself. And that’s one of the reasons we’re telling the story of the Iron Lords in Rise of Iron.”

Activision will no doubt promote the game with some a new retail package, as it did with The Taken King, but find some way to overcome potential outrage, since the expansion won’t be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which a large portion of Destiny players still use.

Bethesda Jumps Into ESports And VR

Bethesda was widely praised as having the best event of last year’s E3, where Fallout 4 stole the show and went on to become a huge sales sensation. The publisher didn’t offer anything quite like that this year, but it showed a solid lineup with some interesting twists and turns.

The Bethesda pre-E3 briefing event served to highlight two trends that are occupying an ever-greater mind share among the dedicating gaming audience: eSports and virtual reality (VR). The event led with a cold open into a trailer for the revival of a powerful franchise in Quake Champions, the new version of what id Software studio director Tim Willets praised. “Yes, Quake is back,” Willets said. “The game that defined competitive multiplayer is back, and it’s better than ever.” Willets reminded the audience that Quake was a pioneer for eSports, and is still played in tournaments worldwide.

Willets described Quake Champions as “a competitive arena first-person shooter for the PC designed for all skill levels,”underscoring the desire to bring in as large an audience as possible. Id Software knows what delights the fans, as can be seen by the enthusiastic reception for Doom last month. “We know high-end performance is critical,” Willets said. The game features 120 Hz graphics with unlocked frame rates, and is designed for world-class eSports play at every level. As part of the launch plan, Bethesda will be supporting competitive tournaments and leagues, and providing more information at the upcoming QuakeCon in August.

What really made the Bethesda E3 event stand out how it took a step forward into VR by announcing Fallout 4 for the HTC Vive, coming in 2017. This project helps cement Fallout 4 as a leading brand, and will draw more people to the Fallout franchise. Additionally, it positions the company as a technology leader, cements the Fallout brand, and may help drive more people into buying Fallout games on other platforms.

With both Quake Champions and Fallout 4 VR, Bethesda is building up an existing game brand by extending it and appealing to the hardcore gamers who make up the E3 audience. Industry observers were impressed with Bethesda’s lineup.

“Bethesda’s follow-up from last year’s spectacular press event was overall very strong, featuring several titles that are popular with the core gaming audience,” said SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen. “Notably, Bethesda is getting hip to recent changes in the games market: after its success on mobile with Fallout Shelter, it is now also pursuing competitive gaming with Quake Champions. Bethesda has the ability to take an early lead in the VR market as one of the big publishers throwing their weight behind the new platform, following its announcement of Fallout 4 for HTC Vive scheduled for release next year. Provided these titles develop into the success we expect them to, the question who will acquire Bethesda will undoubtedly re-emerge in the months to come.”

Square Enix’s Fantastic Presence At E3 2016

With the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider, Just Cause 3 and Hitman—the latter two recently received major content updates—Square Enix has a lot to celebrate, but the best is still to come. Its diverse line-up of games being shown at E3 this year, ranging from the sci-fi thriller Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to the newest additions to the Final Fantasy franchise, particularly Final Fantasy XV.

Here are the games that have the publisher feeling cybernetically augmented and riding high on a giant Chocobo this week.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

The futuristic thriller featuring a cybernetically augmented man named Adam Jensen, caught in a world of social turmoil and conspiracies, made some big announcements last week before E3 began. Chief among them is Breach, which is an arcade-puzzle mode based in the Deus Ex world, where players are challenged to “hack” data servers using virtual reality to uncover the truth behind the big corporations. The Breach demo has been on display at E3, along with demonstrations from the main game, and attendees have been responding to it positively.

But perhaps the most impressive showcase is the real life Deus Ex-inspired bionic arm, created in partnership with Open Bionics using a 3D printer. Daniel Melville, the first person to use the designer prosthetic, is at E3 to show off the mechanical arm’s capabilities and how Deus Ex‘s fictional future is impacting the real one.

Attendees can control a model robot arm themselves at the Square Enix booth using the Razer Stargazer camera. The mechanical arm, which is in a clear box, will mirror hand gestures in real-time.

Deus Ex GO

Square Enix also announced Deus Ex GO last week—a spin-off game that transforms the Deus Ex experience into a puzzle game for mobile devices. Considering how the team at Square Enix Montreal won the Apple Design Award this week for Lara Croft GO, we can expect some pretty big things to come from the Deus Ex version. An early version of the game is being demoed on the show floor, while the developers have talked extensively about it on the Square Enix E3 livestream.

Final Fantasy

Of all Square Enix’s franchises, Final Fantasy is easily the biggest among them. That’s demonstrated by how there are five different Final Fantasy games being showcased at E3 this year—seven if you count the two Kingdom Hearts games, which combine Final Fantasy elements with Disney characters and environments. Although Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is making history as the first in the franchise to be built from the ground up for mobile devices, Final Fantasy XV is clearly getting the most attention, evidenced by how its E3 trailer features a track remixed by Grammy Award winning DJ, Afrojack.

The developers are promoting the epic combat sequences and superb graphics that characterize the series by delivering a live gameplay demonstration at Sony’s pre-E3 press conference and on the show floor’s live stage. They have also been showcasing the game’s various features, including the flying car, throughout the week on Square Enix’s livestream. However, the most exciting feature of all could be the recent reveal that Final Fantasy XV will support PlayStation VR with a virtual reality experience.

Final Fantasy XV is scheduled to release on September 30 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Square Enix’s show floor booth also features a 6-foot tall Fat Chocobo (the iconic bird from the game) statue to promote Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward. Attendees are invited to ride it for a photo opportunity.

Lara Croft

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Tomb Raider franchise, so of course the world’s most iconic adventurer is going to have a presence at E3, especially since Rise of the Tomb Raider released to high acclaim last fall for Xbox One and in January for PC. Square Enix has been engaging fans across its social media channels for months with behind-the-scenes content and Lara Croft trivia. For example, she appeared in a 1997 issue of a magazine called The Face wearing outfits designed by Gucci, Jean Colonna and Alexander McQueen. Last week, the company gave away two Tomb Raider II golden mask replicas, with more prizes and contests to come.

The Tomb Raider celebration continued from on from E3 this week, with some retrospectives shown on the Square Enix E3 livestream. Attendees can stop by the booth to receive a limited edition, custom engraved medallion sporting the 20-year celebration logo. Fans are also being asked, “what does Tomb Raider mean to you?”And are invited to submit videos detailing fond Tomb Raider memories and how the game influenced their lives. Square Enix is also hosting a community fan art contest, which ends tomorrow. Winners will receive $1,000 each, and their works will be featured in a special print art offering later this year.

Nintendo Transforms E3 Booth Into Living ‘Legend Of Zelda’ World

This E3, Nintendo is all about The Legend of Zelda. Despite announcements for several other titles like Pokémon GOPokémon Sun/MoonPaper Mario and more, the company’s booth is dedicated entirely to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. For the first time in the franchise, Breath of the Wild allows players to explore Hyrule in an open-world environment, so Nintendo wanted to bring that experience to the E3 floor.

Second in size only to Sony, Nintendo’s 30,000 square foot booth takes fans “outside” to explore the world of Hyrule. The floor is covered in real grass, there’s a stunning mural, life-sized props, statues and more. Ambient nature noises fill the air, and each location was treated with a sort of “smell-o-vision,” such as burning logs next to a fire pit and pine next to trees. Every 24 minutes, the booth transitions from day to night and vice versa; immersing explorers into matching colors, sounds and shadows.


This is the first time that Nintendo has dedicated an entire booth to one franchise.

“We just wanted to create an immersive experience in the booth and dedicate everything to the one game by replicating the experience happening in the game,” Charlie Scibetta, senior director of corporate communications at Nintendo, in an interview with GamesBeat. “It’s an open-air adventure. You can feel one with nature. You can hear the sound of wind in the booth. We have fans. We have real grass. Everything is to scale. We wanted to go big with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”

Guests attending E3 were met with high walls depicting images and characters from The Legend of Zelda, but could not see inside the booth, itself. Those lucky enough to make it through the long lines were treated to either a 15-minute gameplay demo or entry into the massive booth for photo ops. In this way, Nintendo catered to both the dedicated and the curious to explore their interactive play area.

The Legend of ZeldaBreath of the Wild is scheduled for launch in 2017 exclusively for the Nintendo Wii U and NX.


‘Mafia III’ Transports E3 2016 To 1960s New Orleans

When EA announced that it would not appear at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year, choosing instead to host its own EA Play event (which took place earlier this week), many wondered who would step up to fill in the void. The answer turned out to be 2K Games, which came in ready to promote its big hit for the holiday 2016 season: Mafia III.

Taking place in the 1960s, Mafia III puts players in the shoes of Lincoln Clay, a vengeful man who finds himself fighting a war against the Italian Mob after they wipe out his entire crew during an ambush. But the tale of revenge isn’t a simple one, as Clay vows to wipe them out financially first with the help of rival mob bosses.

The trailer provides a better idea of how closely the team at Hangar 13 is working to recapture the era of the ’60s in the game, including an authentic soundtrack with selections from Credence Clearwater Revival and other artists. But 2K didn’t stop there. The publisher went all out to recreate the city of New Bordeaux (loosely based on New Orleans) on the E3 show floor, complete with buildings and a variety of activities for attendees. These include catching beads thrown from second-floor balconies; getting their fortunes read by tarot card readers; and listening to a live band with a lot of ’60s influence.

2K also had a roaming New Orleans funeral making its way through the halls, with a big bang to back them up throughout. Additionally, Mafia III was promoted outside of the show floor with a food truck serving authentic New Orleans cuisine, including jambalaya and alligator tenders.

It’s a step above for 2K’s usual marketing. Mafia II was well promoted when it released in 2010, but it didn’t get the kind extravaganza its sequel is getting at E3. 2K had no problem making its booth take front and center in the South Hall on the show floor, and it befits the publisher that has put out hit franchises such as NBA 2K, Borderlands and Grand Theft Auto.

In fact, the booth gained huge buzz on social media as well, with a couple of examples below:

Although the publisher’s other games–WWE 2K17 and NBA 2K17–got little promotion compared to Mafia III, there’s no question that 2K has made a huge impression at E3 this year, which could resonate to the fall when Mafia III releases on October 7 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Toys-To-Life Market Finds Second Wind As ‘Skylanders Academy’ Comes To Netflix

Some analysts were worried about the “toys-to-life” gaming market when Disney discontinued its line of Disney Infinity products earlier this year, effectively shutting down its own game division in the process. However, Warner Bros. and Activision’s are still forging ahead with their respective games, indicating that there’s still plenty of life left in the genre.

Both companies put a huge push into their respective Lego Dimensions and Skylanders brands this week at E3, assuring that their latest releases will appeal to millions of fans additions and features to their toys-to-life releases.

Although Activision doesn’t have an official booth on the show floor, it still made waves with the upcoming Skylanders: Imaginators, set for release this fall across various consoles. The game features the possibility of creating custom characters in the game, an innovative touch for the Skylanders brand that gives it a great deal of longevity.

Activision also revealed a nostalgic boost for the game by announcing the debut of Crash Bandicoot in Skylanders. Crash was an iconic character for Sony back in the ’90s, appearing in a trio of platforming games for the Sony PlayStation, along with spin-offs like Crash Bash and Crash Kart Racing. His return will assuredly bring in plenty of retro players to Skylanders. There is no release date for the character, but he’s expected to appear sometime withing Skylanders’ launch period.

Skylanders ties in with a much bigger picture, as Activision revealed this morning that the previously announced animated series, Skylanders Academy, will be premiering this fall on Netflix. The toys-to-life game and show will no doubt have plenty of cross-promotional support.

“Over the last five years, millions of families around the world have welcomed Skylanders characters into their homes. Now, they’ll be able to watch their favorite characters come to life on Netflix,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “We couldn’t have found a better home for ‘Skylanders Academy‘ and look forward to sharing our extraordinary characters with Netflix audiences around the world.”

“‘Skylanders Academy‘ gives us the opportunity to approach narrative storytelling with the same level of quality and excellence that millions of Skylanders fans have come to expect from the game,” said Activision Blizzard Studios co-president Stacey Sher. “We’re inspired by our fans’ excitement for these characters and have worked hard to bring these characters to life with stories our fans will love.”

Warner Bros. opted to take a different route with Lego Dimensions. Instead of releasing annual installments of the toys-to-life game, requiring customers to purchase newer editions, it has instead opted to extend its current Lego Dimension line with more playsets inspired by popular franchises including the new Ghostbusters film, Mission: Impossible, Lego Harry Potter and others. The trailer below provides a great idea of what’s coming.

But Warner Bros. isn’t limiting itself to recent franchises. The company is also taking advantage of nostalgia by reaching into its film and TV archives and releasing Lego Dimensions sets based on popular ’80s franchises. These include The A-Team and Knight Rider—two TV shows that were big hits over 30 years ago—along with iconic films such as The Goonies (with the character Sloth) and Gremlins, featuring Gizmo the Mogwai. Both of these characters are featured on large banners in the show hall, evoking fond memories of these classics.

Lego Dimensions Season 2 will kick off sometime this fall, and will no doubt continue to bring in players that helped make the new franchise a best seller to begin with.

Even with Disney Infinity out of the picture, these two publishers are doing whatever it takes to keep people playing with their toys. It’s a practice that’s bound to pay off with savvy marketing and business partners, including Toys ‘R Us, which has once again signed on to partner with Activision to support Skylanders, and will likely get an exclusive line of toys when they this fall.