The Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) was this past weekend and this “comic-con for games” feels a lot like Christmas to many gamers, myself included. However, as with most annual celebrations, E3 goes through it’s ups and downs, some years are good, some are bad, leaving many gamers wondering. How does this year stack up? What makes this year stand out from the rest? What games should I be looking forward to? Who ‘won’ E3?
And most important of all;
What were the big surprises?
5 – SQUARE ENIX
Square had much to offer this year including a new Tomb Raider and Just Cause 4. However the big ticket item on everyone’s mind was their new Kingdom Hearts title, Kingdom Hearts 3.
Although Kingdom Hearts 3 had been shown off plenty of times at E3, both at Microsoft AND Sony’s conferences, Square Enix still had more to show. Adding Pirates of the Caribbean to the ever growing roster of Disney movies gracing this highly ambitious game.
Perhaps the best part of Kingdom Hearts 3 at this year’s showcase was a release date of January 29th, 2019. Making long time fans of the series more ecstatic about the game than when it was first announced at 2014’s E3.
4 – SONY PRESS CONFERENCE
Sony started out a little different at this year’s expo. The giant amphitheater and swelling orchestra that typically serves as the stage for Playstation; gave way to a large tent and atmospheric lighting this year. All of this to showcase one of their leading titles receiving an upcoming sequel; The Last Of Us Part II.
However, that is not the big surprise players were given at Sony’s conference. After the gameplay reveal of The Last of Us, audience members were moved to the usual large amphitheater and shown many more gameplay showcases of previously announced titles. Many of which were games previously revealed, only now with release dates. None of these, however, were what surprised us at this conference. This time, it wasn’t a major Playstation title.
It was Control
A game that was teased with only a hint of story and less than 2 minutes of gameplay, Control is a game we know nearly nothing about. That, however, doesn’t stop it from being so very enticing. The trailer shows a few snippets of gameplay akin to that of Quantum Break, set in a strange world that is constantly shifting like a dream sequence in Inception. The main Protagonist appears to be a female lead in possession of telekinetic-like powers. So far it is set to release some time in 2019
Though we don’t know much about this title, it is still massively intriguing, and that is part of the reason it is Playstations most surprising game during their press conference. Of course, part of what makes this game so enticing, is the mystery that we know next to nothing about it.
3 – ELECTRONIC ARTS (EA)
EA has many titles to be excited for, with their upcoming Battlefield 5 and Anthem games, as well as content updates for Battlefront 2 that may prove to bring fans back to the franchise after the recent micro-transaction debacle. However, none of these titles are the most surprising, nor are their popular sports games going to make this list. No, but there are two games that were shown at EA’s conference that not only surprised, but delighted many gamers.
The first is Unravel Two. A sequel to the much beloved 2D platformer following a cuddly character made of yarn, aptly named Yarny. The first game saw many unique changes to the platforming genre due to the use of Yarny’s ability to use his yarn to create trampolines, swings, pulleys etc. The second game introduces a new character. A blue yarned companion to contrast Yarny’s red wool. These two characters are linked together by their yarn and offer even more creative ways to traverse the world of Unravel. You may choose to play on your own, controlling the two characters independently, or you can play in couch co-op with a friend! And with couch co-op games becoming much fewer and far between, it is a welcome sight.
However, the announcement wasn’t the only thing that made this title such a surprise. The release date was also shown as coming very soon. In fact, the release date was, quite literally, the day OF announcement. Making this title playable right now on all platforms.
The 2nd surprise title shown is titled Sea of Solitude. A game with the newly popularized “minimalist” art style. It follows a young girl who is alone in a world engulfed by water. This character however, has turned into a monster due to her own negative feelings consuming her humanity. It is up to you to explore the world with this girl and learn to manage the feelings that come with loneliness, in order to restore her human form. The game has yet to be given a release date, but it’s take on mental illness and it’s approach to addressing them is a refreshing experience that many will love.
Although, if you’re looking to scratch your itch for titles akin to this one, might I suggest RiME. A wonderful puzzle adventure game following a young boy after a shipwreck. Hopefully that title will satiate your hunger until Sea of Solitude is released.
2 – BETHESDA CONFERENCE
Fans of Bethesda were more than pleased with this year’s showcase. Delving deeper into their games such as Prey, Elder Scrolls Online, and their mobile games, as well as showing new footage for games announced just a few weeks ago like Rage 2 and Fallout 76, The end of Bethesda’s conference was a sight to behold.
Bethesda has enjoyed the fact that they only announce games at E3 that are coming out between then and the next year’s showcase. However this year, they broke from tradition. At the end of the already impressive showcase, Bethesda revealed two games that fans have been waiting years to hear about.
The first being Starfield, the first new IP for the Bethesda Games Studio in 25 years. A single player open world RPG set in space. Whether this is our space, or someone else’s, we have yet to find out, however if the game is anything like their Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchises, it will blow all other Sci-Fi RPGs out of the water.
The second being Elder Scrolls 6. A game everyone was anticipating, yet no one was expecting. The last installment in the franchise being Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, which was released nearly 7 years ago, and fans have been wanting a new game for the past 6 and a half years. The short 20 second trailer simply revealing “Elder Scrolls VI” over a gorgeous landscape was all that we got, but I’m sure it was enough to keep us on our toes for the next 2-3 years. Though hopefully it won’t be as long as that.
Bethesda had an amazing showcase, and it actually PAINS me to place them in second. The only reason they are not first however, is because they held no release date for their most surprising titles, and the Number 1 spot, had one release date. It’s only a year, but it’s more of a date than the new Elder Scrolls or Starfield games.
1 – MICROSOFT PRESS CONFERENCE
Microsoft truly stole the show this E3. Though they expanded on a few titles, including having Todd Howard from Bethesda come and talk about their Fallout 76, they had a few titles fans were not expecting.
First up was at the start of the conference, where Microsoft showed off a brand new game engine they’ve deemed the Slip Space Engine. A wonderfully rendered showcase of the new engine’s power turned surprising however, when it was revealed to be a brand new game in the Halo franchise dubbed Halo Infinity. Though not much was shown other than a glimpse of the Master Chief and the halo ring he was on, simply the confirmation of a new Halo game was enough to get fans excited for the newest installation in Microsoft’s flagship franchise.
On top of this, Microsoft showed off another new game in an old franchise. Gears of War 5. Set with a release date sometime in 2019, the title received a bit more reveal. Showing a major conflict and motivation for one of the main characters, Kait Diaz, in a cinematic cutscene that seems to take place at the beginning of this new game. Fans of the franchise are excited to fight against the Locusts again, and with the reception of the previous game, Gears 5 is shaping to be a majorly popular addition that is set to release some time in 2019.
The biggest surprise however, was at the end of the Microsoft conference. As Xbox lead Phil Spencer was wrapping up to send everyone away, the lights cut out, and the screens began to glitch. On popped a trailer of the much anticipated Cyberpunk 2077. Made by the same studio that made The Witcher series, Cyberpunk 2077 is a game exploring the world and its technology in the year 2077, and all of the problems that technology brings. A first person RPG of the future, this game is sure to please many gamers of this generation, however, they’re going to have to wait “till it’s ready.”