E3 is the year’s biggest gaming event. 3 days of press conferences allows developers to give fans the details about what they’ve actually been doing for the last year. Rumours are put to bed, games are pre-ordered, and each and every year we get to feel like it’s Christmas.
The actual conference is due to start today, but that’s just for people to try out all the new games and get a closer look- all the gossip has already been released. So if you don’t fancy watching all 8 showcases totalling 12 hours, looking at dozens of new games, expansion packs, DLC and new merch, then you’re in luck- we’ve done it all for you right here. Here’s everything you should know about the biggest event in gaming, showcase by showcase.
Oh my lord it’s the one we were all waiting for wasn’t it. Last year’s Bethesda conference was a bit disappointing, so this year they had something to make up for. You can imagine the looks on our faces when Bethesda’s vice president, Pete Hines came on stage and promised to deliver “the best in gaming”- shooketh.
The conference took a weird start when a bizarre heavy metal band introduced the gameplay for RAGE 2, but having “get ready to rage” kinda hyped me up for the next hour and a half. RAGE 2 didn’t disappoint either- the gameplay showcased what seems to be a wider arrange of combat, power ups and vehicles to build upon the hidden success that was the first game. Following this there was more announcements for Bethesda’s smaller titles- Fallout Shelter coming to more platforms, Prey being given new content, and even a second DOOM following the successful revamp of the fast-paced horror shooter.
Not everything is about console play with Bethesda- their Fallout Shelter expansion and the increasing dedication to the online card game Elder Scrolls Legends was enough to satisfy most people- but they went that one step further and announced Elder Scrolls: Blades. This new announcement is a mobile game you can play on the go, building your own city, completing dungeons and improving your armour, just like in any other RPG. You know what this means? That 9am lecture? Its now a 9am Elder Scrolls session. At this point, things were looking pretty damn good, but it still lacked the cherry on top that separates Bethesda from the rest.
Turns out there was cherries, icing, frosting, candles and the lot. Fallout 76, the prequel to the previous Fallout games, was revealed to be an online based, potentially cooperative survival game. Meaning while you can escape the vault on your own and do quests, you can also bump into, and play with, other players- friend or foe. Oh- you can also nuke your friends…
As if SOMEHOW that wasn’t enough, Todd Howard, the studio’s director, just couldn’t resist teasing the fans even more with what we were all waiting for. No one expected them to announce 3 big games at once- but when Howard announced a trailer for the new space based RPG game, Starfield, the audience went into meltdown. A meltdown which was only worsened by the announcement of Elder Scrolls VI. Yeah. They did that. Fallout. Starfield AND a new Elder Scrolls. Any hope I had of getting a first just went out of the window along with my bank account.
Previous conferences have seen Microsoft fall into the pack a little bit. They usually opt to showcase a few games in a lot of detail, but this year they chose to throw EVERYTHING at us. At once. We couldn’t keep up. Help.
A lot of things were showcased in more detail by other publishers- including Fallout 76 and some titles from Square Enix including one set in the Life is Strange universe. But overall, they promised 50 games, including 18 exclusives. Lord be with us and lord be with our student loans.
Halo: Infinite was the big opener. Looks like we’re going to be thrown back into the world of Master Chief. But we can’t give you much information on that, as we didn’t get much, Microsoft moved straight on to the beautiful looking sequel to Ori: The Blind Forest which somehow looks better than the first to the point that it made us forget we’d just been teased with a new Halo game and given nothing more.
There’s so much to say, but after the Division 2, Devil May Cry 5, Dying Light 2, a new Forza and a new Gears of War, things were looking pretty good for Microsoft- their game after game after game approach left little time for the audience to grumble about anything. That spell broke when Crackdown 3 featured in it’s 3rd E3 in as many years. We didn’t find out much else- except we think you can now drive cars on walls, but Terry Cruz’s new look in the trailer just ended up looking like they’d ran out of stuff to show us- PLUS, we have to wait until 2019. A definite low point of the showcase.
There were some promising gems though, the Dark Souls inspired Sekiru: Shadows Die Twice will be enough for those of us who don’t spend out Saturday evenings in the LCR, but instead it dying in video games, and Bandai Namco showcased Jump Force- a ambitious anime based cross over. These displays from Japanese companies are symbolic of Microsoft trying to win back the trust of major developers. Combining this with the reveal that they’d made major financial investments into 4 popular games companies, this may be enough to bring them back into competition with Sony… Maybe…
Just as the show was ending with a promise to deliver the best of gaming on Xbox- Microsoft fell victim to a ‘cyber attack’ from CDProjektRed, in which they announced their new game Cyberpunk2077- what looks to be a futuristic story game with a similar look to Watchdogs. We’re excited.
EA’s E3 (say it three times fast) always struggles to capture your imagination. You know what they’re going to announce. A new Fifa. A new Madden. Likely a new NBA game. You get it. They always have a tough sell because as much as us students will binge FIFA until the end of days, we do also like other things (shock). Despite that, EA still managed to shine.
4 Star Wars films have been released in the last 3 years. There’s Star Wars merch, 2 Star Wars Battlefront and countless Star Wars Lego games. It’s missing one thing- and EA promised to delivered it. An immersive game set in the Star Wars universe. We don’t know much about Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, except you can play as a Jedi, likely a surviving padawan, and experience a dark single player story. Delicious.
On top of this, EA announced that Battlefront 2 will be taking on the Clone Wars, and Yarny will be returning for Unravel 2. This was all more than we can usually expect from EA, but then building on the Indie hit of Unravel, Sea of Solitude was also announced. It’s made by German Studio Jo-Mei Games and looks to tackle mental health problems such as loneliness and depression in what appears to be a reasonably scary way- definitely one to watch. The sport game box appears to be being slowly broken by EA.
The biggest thing about EA’s showcase was us finally getting that long-awaited release date for Anthem. The space-based campaign game has long been in the making, and it’s producers, Bioware, have a track record of producing quality games of a similar genre which are well worth the time of day (you can be less embarrassed about the 100+ hours you spent on Mass Effect now). It appears the different suit’s will form the games various playable classes, and the squad based gameplay saw the player character sending barrage of missile after missile on to something called a ‘Titan.’ With the release date being 22nd Feb 2019, you should be able to finish it just in time for exams.
For their first time on the conference line-up, Square Enix managed to cause a stir this year at E3 with news and gameplay from several major titles as well as a surprise announcement. Some fans may have felt underwhelmed with the lack of content on the upcoming Avengers game, a collaborative project with Marvel that gamers and super-hero buffs alike have been anticipating for a while, but with a first look at Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s stunning gameplay, featuring Incan temples and a crueller combat system for Lara, many of us were given another thrilling story-driven game to look forward to.
From there. Square Enix didn’t stop giving. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, a story following Chris, a boy who dreams of being a superhero in the familiar, decrepit town of Arcadia Bay, is set to be a hit with fans of the Life is Strange universe. We were also given release dates for the remake of Final Fantasy VII and additional content of Kingdom Hearts 3. But the big shocker of the showcase was the reveal of Just Cause 4 and its brand-new Apex Engine. With creative directors stating that ‘the stakes for Rico have never been higher’, we saw hints of an epic story in a chaotic world of incessant natural disasters. It’s just what fans have wanted from the fourth title in the series.
Ubisoft’s conference opened with an explosion of rainbows, sequins, and a hip pantomime panda for the new Just Dance 2019 before flinging us into the trailer for the vastly anticipated Beyond Good and Evil 2, the deep space opera with a collection of strange and compelling characters which, from what we saw, could be a hit with designers and creators thanks to a partnership with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HITRECORD. If that wasn’t enough, we were given a first glance at the breath-taking Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. This time Ubisoft takes us to Ancient Greece for a more vibrant, open, and traditional RPG than the previous Origins. The creative directors promise a story and setting dictated both by the period’s intellectual prowess and its belief in war-mongering gods, finally moulding around whether we choose to play as one of two differently gendered characters, Alexios and Kassandra. The Division 2 was also a big announcement of the showcase, offering a thrilling tale set in a very chilling, dystopian Washington DC after an outbreak of a deadly virus. The game screams the same anti-establishment angsts we saw in Farcry 5 when it was released last March, but instead of being tongue-in-cheek, The Division 2 strikes in a way that is disturbingly more realistic. With news of an added ‘raids’ mode and a collection of original, episodic DLC’s that are entirely free, it has potential to be hugely entertaining.
PC Gaming Show
PC Gamer hosted a show dedicated to smaller, often PC-exclusive games from a wide range of studios and developers, and while several of the titles were clearly falling to the hype of big battle-royale style games like Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, there were many that promised a lot of fun and originality. Coffee Stain Studios opened the show with Satisfactory, an open world, science-fiction adventure blended with one of factory construction and strategy, imitating games such as No Man’s Sky while also those like Factorio. We saw a string of rather morbid titles, from the ‘funny’, ‘creative’, yet ‘dark’ Star Control Origins to Crytek’s beautiful monster-hunting game, Hunt: Showdown. One particularly grisly game to look forward to is Overkill’s The Walking Dead, which presents a disturbingly realistic version of a franchise that’s already been award-winningly portrayed by Telltale, who themselves released details on their long-awaited final season of their Walking Dead storyline. In the first episode we can expect more from the increasingly brutal Clementine as she protects A.J. out on the road, but whether they continue to survive is another matter as their forced to find sanctuary at an abandoned schoolhouse. As the conclusion to a string of heart-breaking, choice-driven games, it is sure to bring plenty of tears to the eyes of its fans.
Sony’s two-in-the-morning showcase may have been at an awkward time for British viewers but there was no let-down for those who stayed up to watch, especially with the second announcement of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part 2. The trailer, featuring an in-game cutscene and a few minutes of some gorgeous cinematic gameplay, reintroduced us to an all-grown-up Ellie, who entertains both a blossoming relationship with the beautiful Dina and an immense violence against a new group of savage enemies. Whilst not much was given away story-wise, what we see was extremely promising.
Three more intense and visually outstanding narrative-driven games joined the Last of Us Part 2 to make up most of the showcase. Suck Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima is set to be a beautiful, action-packed, Ancient East-Asian epic about a lonely warrior fighting against a Mongol army, while Insomniac’s Spider-Man wonderfully captured the energy of the franchise in its gameplay trailer. Kojima’s Death Stranding presents the familiar face of Norman Reedus in a chilling science-fiction thriller where a man, accompanied by a baby floating in a tub of golden fluid strapped to his body, and a protector who likes eating bugs, travels a desolate landscape haunted by a legion of ghouls. If Kojima’s previous works are anything to go by, we should expect the game to be even weirder on release.
Last but not least came Nintendo. After last year’s announcement of the Switch, there were expectations that they would continue to pile the pressure on Sony and Microsoft in the battle of the consoles. They didn’t. Their press conference was a different form to everyone else’s, and while there were a couple videos at the start hinting about things such as Fortnite being made playable on the Switch, and more information on the new Pokemon game’s Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee and Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu, there was ultimately nothing spectacular.
Nintendo fans were left begging at the lack of an Animal Crossing game and following the success of the app earlier this year, you’d really think there would’ve been something more. Instead, we were treated to over 30 minutes of the new Smash Bros, and honestly- it was boring. Instead of offering highlights, or the best bits, they introduced us to each and every new character individually to the point where it became ridiculous. Then they proceeded to play and chat about Smash Bros for the next half an hour. There’s a reason why other showcases don’t linger on individual games too much, and there’s also a reason why Nintendo are failing to compete with Sony and Microsoft.
Sadly, that is everything. Big games from each and every showcase left us stunned throughout the last few days, and we finally got answers to those questions that we’ve been pondering forever. The actual conference ends in a few days for everyone who is over there, but for now we can sit back, relax and panic about how we’re going to afford all these new games.