Photo from Final Fantasy 7 Remake

After E3 2014’s overdose of angry scruffy white men, E3 2015 was a marginally more open and diverse affair. More game publishers than usual held their own press conferences this year, including the first-ever E3 press event from Bethesda, best known for their Mass Effect and Elder Scrolls RPG series. Nintendo confirmed a same-sex relationship option for their next Fire Emblem game. And more publishers showed off games featuring women, as well as mobile games, which are played by more women than men. There’s still a decided lack of racial representation, but this year’s E3 showed that most game studios are starting to listen.

  Another first this year was the PC Gaming Show, presented by PC Gamer magazine and PC hardware maker AMD. Presented in the format of a talk show, the PC Gaming Show showed off footage from upcoming PC games and expansions to existing ones. Though this included some bigger publishers, it also gave smaller studios without the clout to host their own events a chance to show off new game footage that otherwise would have been trampled by the Holy Console Trinity of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

  RPGs, both Western and Japanese, dominated the show this year, with big announcements from Bethesda and Square Enix. Bethesda announced Fallout 4, the next entry in their 50s-styled post-apocalyptic RPG series. A limited edition with a working replica of the game’s Pip-Boy was announced and immediately sold out everywhere. The hype even caused sales of Fallout 3 to skyrocket on Steam. They also announced Mass Effect: Andromeda, which continues the sci-fi RPG series in a new galaxy with a new set of characters. Both series are notable for letting you play as whatever gender, race and sexual orientation you want.

  The other huge RPG announcement was made not by publisher Square Enix but by Sony, effectively “winning” the show for the Playstation 4: Final Fantasy VII Remake, which is exactly what it sounds like. The JRPG that introduced a generation to spikey-haired emo boys is being remade in HD with modern graphics. The original game has been available on Steam for two years now, and that version will be available for PS4 as well as iOS soon, but it has not aged well, making the remake a blessing for anyone who wants to experience the story again without cringing at the PS1-era graphics.

  Mobile games based on existing titles were treated with almost as much importance as their “real game” counterparts. Bethesda’s mobile sim Fallout Shelter was available for iOS as soon as it was announced, though Android users will have to wait a few months. Square Enix showed a trailer for their mobile game Kingdom Hearts: Unchained Key as a lead-in to Kingdom Hearts 3.

  After the fuss caused last year by Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity, which let you play as not one but four different scruffy white dudes (and no one else), this year they showed off Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, which lets you play as either of a pair of male and female twins.

  In the aftermath of GamerGate, game designers are starting to see just how important representation is, not just for those being represented but for the toxic culture fueled by its absence. E3 2015 gave us a lot to look forward to.

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