Electronic Entertainment Expo focuses on new games for new hardware

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LOS ANGELES — The Electronic Entertainment Expo kicked off this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center with new games from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Last year’s E3 was a launchpad for new video game platforms in Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. The theme of this year’s show is new games for this new hardware.

Microsoft’s presentation at the Galen Center on the University of Southern California’s campus devoted 90 minutes to showcasing new games. More than half will be exclusive to the Xbox One.

“This week we share a common purpose with our friends at Sony, Nintendo and the developers and publisher in our industry,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox for Microsoft. “That purpose is to showcase the passion, creativity and potential behind the fastest growing entertainment in the world: games.”

Highlights included blockbuster titles such as “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.” The roughly 10-minute demonstration showed combat on a large scale that has become the series’ calling card. The event also found room to showcase smaller but impressive indie titles such as “Cuphead” by Studio MDHR and “Inside” by Playdead Games, best known for the 2010 hit “Limbo.”

Sony’s two-hour show was also game-centric, as it announced roughly 20 new games. In-game footage of the upcoming “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” was shown, as was a remastered version of “Grand Theft Auto V” coming later this year for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Sony carved time to discuss entertainment aside from gaming. Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis took the stage to promote his upcoming show “Powers” based on his comic series. Subscribers to Sony’s PlayStation Plus service will receive free access to the first season.

For the second year, Nintendo prepared a prerecorded video presentation that fans could livestream online. The presentation included 13 upcoming games for the Wii U and 3DS, all of which will be exclusive to the Nintendo platforms.

The most anticipated of those games is “Super Smash Bros,” due to be released later this year. A tournament was held during E3 at the Nokia Theater across from the convention center.

When asked about the three press events, CNN.com games and tech writer Larry Frum acknowledged the central theme.

“This is truly the year when the games themselves will dominate the coverage,” Mr. Frum said. “I felt [Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo] had holes in their catalogs, but I’m also convinced that independent game developers will be able to fill the gaps and provide content that the companies didn’t focus on.”

Big titles that will be available on multiple gaming platforms are on display on the show floor. One of the most popular titles is “Batman: Arkham Knight,” the fourth game in the “Batman: Arkham” series. This will be the first game in the series that has a fully controllable Batmobile. The game features the quality combat, action and story that the series has made famous. “Arkham Knight” marks the return of series creator Rocksteady Games; the team was not involved in the last title, “Batman: Arkham Origins.”

The video games’ premier event was another success for 2014 with hundreds of promising games on display that are coming later this year and into 2015.

Max Parker is The Game Guy at communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com. Twitter: @GameGuyPGH.

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