Another year, another E3 event. Game developers and game development companies from all around the globe came together in Los Angeles, California to deliver their conferences, and as could be expected, the global gaming community was treated to a vast amount of amazing gaming news (and, depending on your perspective, some not-so-amazing news).
From Carl Urquhart, here is PixelTome’s brief round-up of all of the major conferences, including videos of the conferences themselves should you wish to watch them again and soak in all of that video game news goodness. We would recommend that you watch them if you are interested in smaller and indie titles, as in this article we have endeavoured to cover the major news, and have not covered every title that was revealed during the conferences this year. Please check out their post-conference shows as well, as they showed each game presented off a little bit more.
Electronic Arts (EA)
First up is EA. EA is, at this point, quite a controversial company, who tend to put a lot of emphasis on DLC and microtransactions. Often the laughing stock of the gaming community, I found myself not completely annoyed with EA at this year’s E3. Yes, there was a some emphasis on DLC, specifically for Star Wars Battlefront II, a game now infamous for the way it handles in-game purchases. However, there was also mention of a few new games, including a new Star Wars game, titled Jedi Fallen Order. The game takes place between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, putting players in control of a surviving Padawan during the Jedi purge.
New instalments to multiple sports franchises, including both Madden and FIFA were also confirmed. Battlefield V was also shown off, with a battle royale mode being confirmed, following a recent popular trend in gaming since the rise of Epic Games’ Fortnite. EA is also introducing a streaming service called EA Access. According to EA’s website, “EA Access is a gaming service that lets you play tons of awesome EA games in a massive (and growing!) collection, try brand new games before launch day and save 10% on EA digital purchases on Xbox One.”
For me, the stand out news from EA was the announcements of Unravel 2, a sequel to a cute, touching platformer in which you play as a little string doll, and have to use your string to traverse the stage (available now) and Anthem which looks like it will make me feel like Iron Man, but in a Final Fantasy type setting.
Next up was Microsoft. As someone who mostly plays on Nintendo consoles and PlayStation, I found myself pleasantly surprised by Microsoft. This year, there was a lot of focus on gameplay, with a lot of new titles shown off. As well as updates for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Sea of Thieves, and DLC for Cuphead (including new levels, bosses, charms, weapons, and a new playable character in the form of Ms. Chalice), Microsoft used their time on the stage to show off several games.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit was one of the most surprising upcoming releases, for instance. This is a short game which takes place in the world of Life is Strange, and acts as a teaser for Life is Strange 2. Equally surprisingly, Battletoads, an infamously difficult side-scrolling game from 1991, is finally being brought back with a new game in the current generation. Crackdown 3 also got some screentime in Microsoft’s conference, with this upcoming instalment being the first time we have seen the franchise since the Xbox 360. Ubisoft’s The Division 2 had a sizeable chunk of time dedicated to it as well, featuring a 1:1 scale Washington DC, making it both authentic and immersive.
Dying Light 2 was shown to feature a dynamic open world, so players can not only survive in this world, but actively change it too. Fallout 76 has been receiving mixed reactions from fans and critics as it is always online, whether you are playing by yourself or not. There has been some concern voiced about how players will treat each other, and the possibility of griefing. I don’t normally like racing games outside of cartoon kart racers, but Forza Horizon 4 could be a laugh with its ‘Crazy Taxi‘ mode. For those of you who never played Crazy Taxi or Simpsons Road Rage, theaim of the game was to pick up and chauffeur as many customers to their destinations as possible before time ran out. Multiple Gears of War games were revealed, including a new sequel, and for some reason, a mobile one where you play as Vinyl Pop forms of the characters. The new sequel, Gears 5, puts players in control of Kait, the first female lead of the franchise.
Halo Infinite promises to lead the franchise in new and unexpected directions. Moving away from numbered sequels to do something different, Halo Infinite is neither a reboot or spin off, and will continue the story of Master Chief. Jump Force is a huge Shonun Jump crossover brawler in which you play as Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and One Piece characters, with Ryuk and Light from Death Note playing some sort of role in the narrative. Also announced were Metro Exodus, Ori and the Will of the Wisps (the much awaited followup to Ori and the Blind Forest) and Seiko: Shadows Die Twice, the new game from Dark Souls creators, From Software.
Whilst slated for not showing many exclusive games, Microsoft did win over many audience members with three particular titles, displaying trailers for the much awaited Cyberpunk 2077, the trailer for which was beautifully cinematic, Devil May Cry V, in which Nero loses his arm and gets a robotic replacement, and my personal favourite, Kingdom Hearts III, showing off the newly announced world based on Frozen, as well as showing off a particularly dark story twist involving fan favourite, Aqua.
Following Microsoft was Bethesda, who started off with Rage 2. How did they introduce this sequel? With a performance by Andrew WK, of which many of the audience clearly didn’t appreciate. Apart from the fairly cringe-worthy start, Bethesda did show off a lot of stuff, mostly in the form of teasers, so sadly, there isn’t a great deal to discuss outside of speculation. They showed off a lot of new footage from Fallout 76 and its online up to 4 player gameplay, alongside announcing Starfield, Doom Eternal, Wolfenstein: Youngblood and The Elder Scrolls VI. New content was also announced for The Elder Scrolls Online and Prey.
Perhaps the biggest let down of this year’s E3 was Square Enix. With a video presentation, clearly inspired by Nintendo’s ‘Directs’, voice actor Keith David narrated the video, introducing each trailer. Apart from a new game called The Quiet Man (which looks really weird), and some gameplay from Shadow of the Tomb Raider, they didn’t exactly reveal much. Even the Kingdom Hearts III trailer didn’t reveal much new that the one Microsoft showed hadn’t already, apart from a cameo from Remy out of Disney Pixar’s Ratatouille. There was some new content for Final Fantasy XIV shown, alongside new footage of Octopath Traveller, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, Dragon Quest XI and Just Cause 4, but that was about it. Sadly, Square Enix didn’t really show anything groundbreaking.
Ubisoft followed Bethesda’s examples, with not one, but two musical numbers, the first of which was used to introduce Just Dance 2019. The second was used as part of one of the presentation for a game currently linking Ubisoft to Nintendo, Mario Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (the Rabbids crossover). The Donkey Kong DLC was shown off alongside a performance headed by veteran video game composer, Grant Kirkhope.
On top of this, they showed off new title, Starlink: Battle for Atlas, in which Fox McCloud from the Star Fox series will be starring, at least in the Switch version. They even invited Shigeru Miyamoto, who created the Star Fox series, on stage to give him a commemorative Arwing statue. Another title shown by Ubisoft was Beyond Good and Evil 2. Whilst the footage shown was cinematic, the game itself has caused quite a stir among fans, with a lot of hype now surrounding the title. However, we may be waiting a while as the beta is to be launched by the end of next year. More of The Division 2 was shown, For Honor has been confirmed to receive new content, and several new titles were shown off, including The Crew 2, Transference, Trials Rising, and Skull & Bones.
Perhaps the biggest title of their conference, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, although many fans are now confused on how it fits into the franchise canon. With more focus on action than in previous titles, fans are split down the middle over this title. It is also said to be going full RPG, with consequences determined by your actions.
Sadly, for me at least, there is no news on a new Rayman title.
PlayStation (Sony Entertainment)
The penultimate presentation was brought to us by Sony. Sony did not disappoint. Although they had Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 to show (groan), they also showed off a lot of other stuff that fans have been eager to see. Among these titles was Death Stranding, which had a brand new trailer. I am pleased to say that this title looks just as disturbing as before, if not more-so. Thanks for the nightmares, Kojima.
Spider-Man‘s new trailer revealed some of the key villains. Alongside Mister Negative, the Kingpin, and the Green Goblin, players will be up against the Sinister Six, a group which includes Shocker, Rhino, and Scorpion. Resident Evil 2 is getting a remake. However, unlike some remakes which aim to be as close to the original as possible, like the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy and the upcoming Spyro Reignited Trilogy, RE2‘s remake will feature new interpretations of classic scenes. The Last of Us: Part II got a fair amount shown off, both in the cinematic field and the gameplay field. The gameplay shown had the player in control of Ellie rather than Joel, and the cutscene shown focused on Ellie and a rather passionate kiss with another girl. Whilst some are calling out Naughty Dog for so-called pandering, I’m happy to see more character development.
God of War fans will be pleased to know that Kratos’ latest game will be receiving a New Game+ mode. For those who are unaware what New Game+ means, it usually involves replaying the game on a harder difficulty, but keeping all equipment and upgrades that you have obtained along the way. Again, my highlight was Kingdom Hearts III, which received yet another trailer, this time showcasing the return of the world based on Pirates of the Caribbean, tset during the events of At World’s End, and featuring ship battles.
Last to go, Nintendo, as per the norm, did everything via their signature Nintendo Direct format. There was very little in terms of games we didn’t already know about, with those games being Daemon X Machina, a stylised game featuring mech suits and a dystopian land (something we see a lot of, but this looks pretty metal), Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the latest title in a series which keeps growing more and more popular, and Super Mario Party, which seems to have finally gotten rid of the widely disliked ‘everyone in a car traveling together’ mechanic of Mario Party 9 and 10.
Several titles were shown off a little more than we have previously seen, including Mega Man 11. It looks and sounds amazing, but I am not sure how I feel about the voice acting, being someone who loves the silent side of Mega Man that Super Smash Bros. 3DS & Wii U utilise.
Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon Let’s Go, Eevee! were presented to us by Reggie Fils Aime himself. He not only showed us a bit of the game, but introduced the PokéBall Plus, a PokéBall themed Joycon peripheral which will contain a Mew when purchased. Mew can be sent to the Let’s Go games and the PokéBall allows players to walk their Pokémon. Some DLC for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was also announced. Xenoblade Chronicles fans will be pleased to know that Shulk makes an appearance.
The two biggest news items from Nintendo were Fortnite landing on the Switch, and, of course, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The new Smash game, as well as the previously announced Inkling, will feature every single character from Smash history, and newcomer Ridley, from the Metroid series, with at least a couple more characters to come. Daisy also joins as a Peach clone, or as so-called clones are now officially recognised as, Echo Fighters. Finally, many core mechanics are getting revamped.
Who or what won E3 for you? Personally, no single company won this year in my eyes, but specifically Kingdom Hearts III and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate got me the most excited. We’ll bring you more news on some of these titles as it comes, but for now, please follow PixelTome over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay updated on when we post.