E3 is one of the largest events for the video game industry. Despite E3 being a chance for investors and journalists to get their hands on demos of upcoming software and hardware, what started as a convention is now a household name.

Companies from all over come together to share some of their greatest gaming developments, or at least tease at whats yet to come. It’s a chance for companies to announce new projects, and showmanship is not something that a lot of the big companies like to skimp on.

Perhaps some of the best announcements, however, are those that are unexpected. A lot of the greatest announcements at E3 had little to no leakage before hand, making them fresh and exciting for investors, journalists, and gamers that were all eager to hear the news.

The Last Guardian

the last guardian E3

Rumors that Team Ico would be starting development on another game surfaced often after the critically acclaimed Shadow of Colossus. However, the concept of the game was a mystery to everyone on the outside. E3 2009 was the game’s first formal unveiling, with a trailer of over 4 minutes showing off some beautiful graphics.

After that though, the game was thrown into a bit of oblivion and wasn’t seen again until 6 years later. Perhaps this alone would be enough to make some people cut The Last Guardian from a list like this, but the game had something going for it that not a lot of others did.

The Last Guardian was not an established franchise, and it certainly isn’t banking on the nostalgia that Nintendo has. Instead, The Last Guardian got gamers excited because it genuinely looked like something different, and something that they would want to play. Yes, Team Ico being behind it certainly helped (not to mention the very successful PlayStation 2), but that wasn’t what captured gamers hearts for 6 years.

Interview after interview was requested regarding the game, but most were declined. Both PlayStation and Team Ico shut up about the project pretty quickly. E3 articles and ‘what to expect’ guides mentioned the game every year, including 2015 – when the game would finally be unveiled once again.

Re-announced at E3 2015, The Last Guardian’s graphics are still impressive… but a little lack-luster compared to some of the other titles releasing nowadays. Either way, The Last Guardian will remain in gamer’s hearts as the game they waited years for, if nothing else.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

super smash brothers. melee e3

It’s hard not to adore a good crowd reaction when it comes to E3. The sudden yells as everyone realizes what’s being shown off, the anticipation – and then the baited breath as we wait to see whether or not a there will be a release date.

Super Smash Bros. Melee was the second title in the ever popular Nintendo franchise, and it was first revealed at E3 2001 to help hype up the Nintendo Gamecube. Melee managed to squeeze even more characters into an already fantastic fighting game, making it a highly anticipated sequel.

The presentation Nintendo gave began with the Gamecube, and some of the great titles that they’d begin expanding on. Could you even imagine the Gamecube without Super Smash Bros. Melee? One of Nintendo’s more iconic ‘failures’ spawned some of the most classic Nintendo titles, or at the very least helped to establish a franchise.

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Donkey Kong Country Returns E3

There are so many great announcements – typically from Nintendo, it seems – that we’ve had the privilege of seeing at E3 over the years. But who could forget, in 2010, Reggie saying “If you listen closely, you can hear it coming!” Only to have Donkey Kong’s theme start playing through the convention hall. It took the crowd a few seconds to recognize the music, but once they put two and two together they were astounded to see that Donkey Kong Country was going to be a thing once again. And that’s when the applause started.

Donkey Kong Country Returns was the first addition to a game series that hadn’t been touched since 1996. The franchise had instead branched off into some great titles, including Donkey Kong 64, Donkey Konga, and Diddy Kong Racing.

The wait was long, but it was certainly worth it for fans of the franchise. Perhaps one of the more shocking announcements from Nintendo, Donkey Kong Country’s reveal holds a very special place on this list.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

twilight princess e3

Prior to branching off into what is best described as a panicked, and rushed, reveal of games in recent years, Nintendo was pretty tricky at E3. At least that is what they would like to keep thinking.

After all the announcements were (seemingly) over at E3 2004, Nintendo had just one more game to show off. The first realistic Legend of Zelda game: Twilight Princess.

The demand for a realistic Legend of Zelda title had been around for years, and with the graphic capabilities lacking in that department; Nintendo often opted for a more stylistic look for the Legend of Zelda franchise. Once the graphics had caught up, however, nothing was stopping the gaming giant from giving the fans what they wanted.

It’d take Nintendo a decade to get another more ‘realistic’ looking Zelda released, with Legend of Zelda for the Wii U set to release in 2016. This isn’t to say that the Legend of Zelda franchise has ever looked really bad, on the contrary Skyward Sword was stunning. It just never was the realism that the fans craved for.

Shenmue III

shenmue III e3

Okay, I’ll admit that I’m still a little bitter about this announcement. Those who knew me closely constantly heard my “Maybe Shenmue III will show up at E3!” joke. Every year. Of course, the year that I failed to make it(2015), the game was finally announced.

Although fans will claim they have waited a long time for titles like Fallout 4, or The Last Guardian, you truly don’t know pain until you play a franchise growing up and have the second game end with someone catching a cherry tree petal.

With no guarantee on the game whatsoever, it was close to 14 years that fans waited to even see the possibility of a Shenmue III. Bad sales initially put the franchise on the table, but Sony was willing to look past that and see a sequel that the fans really wanted.

Sony shared the stage with Yu Suzuki’s Kickstarter project for Shenmue III, breaking several Kickstarter records in the mean time.

Perhaps the most shocking announcement E3 will ever see, Shenmue III’s video starts with those darned cherry blossom petals beginning to fall. And suddenly the words appear: Shenmue’s Story Was Left Incomplete…

According to several publications, people were crying in the audience. And believe me, I was about to cry as well when I figured out what had been announced. The end is in sight for fans of the Shenmue series, as the game launches in 2017.

It may not be the complete end however, as Yu Suzuki thinks he could make several more games in the franchise. (Let’s just hope they don’t take 15 years to get released.)

Did we miss any of your favourite E3 announcement? Let us know in the comments!

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