Well, it’s official. The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is now underway for its twenty-first year and gamers everywhere are scouring the Internet for all the little tidbits and details of their favorite new video game announcements. While I missed a few of the smaller reveals, I was able to catch most of the press conferences on Twitch’s official live stream of the convention. So for those gamers who haven’t had a chance to check out all the new information pouring out of the convention, here’s a recap of some of the biggest announcements to come out of this year’s series of press conferences.
Electronic Arts (EA)
EA kicked things off this year with their annual press event on Sunday, June 22. Overall, the event was pretty lackluster with only a couple of big reveals and a few tidbits of information regarding some of the gaming giant’s upcoming titles. Among the largest (but not surprising) of EA’s announcements was Respawn Entertainment’s upcoming first-person shooter (FPS) Titanfall 2. In addition to showing off the game’s new multiplayer features, Respawn also touted Titanfall 2’s new single player campaign mode, something the original game was sorely lacking, and a release date of Oct. 28 for PlayStation 4 (PS4), Xbox One, and PC.
EA also took the time to show a brief behind-the-scenes trailer of BioWare’s highly-anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed Mass Effect series, Mass Effect: Andromeda. While the trailer gives us a nice look into the creative process involved in developing a triple-A title like Mass Effect, very little of the actual game was shown and we really don’t know a whole lot more than we did during the revelation of the game’s existence at last year’s E3. Here’s hoping we’ll get a bit more information on the epic sci-fi title in August at Gamescom.
Finally, EA also took a small chunk of time to discuss some of their upcoming Star Wars projects. According to the publishing giant, next year we’ll be seeing another entry in the recently rebooted Star Wars: Battlefront series, as well as an action-adventure game from Visceral Games in 2018 and another project from Respawn further down the road.
Bethesda was second to take the stage Sunday night after EA’s event kicked-off the show. While the company’s second annual E3 press conference had a few gems of its own, it wasn’t nearly as exciting as last year’s event fully detailing the then upcoming and surprising release of Fallout 4. This time around, the developer and publisher announced new information regarding the company’s long-awaited Prey 2.
Originally announced by Human Head Studios at E3 in 2011, Prey 2 was set to be a whole new kind of sci-fi FPS with players taking the role of a former U.S. Marshal who is abducted by aliens and becomes a bounty hunter hunting known criminals across a vast and alien world. It seems that iteration of the game has since been cancelled and Arkane Studios (Dishonored, Dishonored 2) has taken over the project, now a reboot of the series simply called Prey. While very little is known about the new title, a brief teaser trailer was shown that indicates a much darker and more mysterious story than the one Human Head had planned. Expect to see more information about this game (including an eventual release date) as the year progresses.
Of course, the hottest and most talked about portion of Bethesda’s event revolves around Arkane’s upcoming and highly-anticipated Dishonored 2. During the conference, the game’s Creative Director Harvey Smith took the stage to showcase a new trailer for the game and a detailed demonstration of the title’s new gameplay features. Players will now be able to choose whether they want to play as Corvo from the first game or the now grown-up Emily Kaldwin, the new empress of Dunwall and the rest of the realm. Each character will have their own unique set of supernatural powers, creating some very different gameplay experiences. Dishonored 2 is set to release on Nov. 11 of this year.
Ubisoft took the stage Monday afternoon to showcase some of their own announcements. One of the largest parts of Ubisoft’s event revolved around the upcoming Ghost Recon: Wildlands and showed off some of the game’s core multiplayer gameplay as well as announcing a March 17 release date for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
The triple-A publisher also revealed some gameplay footage of the very recently announced Watch Dogs 2, as well as announcing a new snowboarding game called Steep that is set to release in December for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Finally, Ubisoft brought South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker to the stage to discuss their new role-playing game (RPG), South Park: The Fractured But Whole. The new game picks up directly after its predecessor, The Stick of Truth, but sees the kids playing as superheroes (the Coon and Friends from the TV show) instead of fantasy characters as in the previous game. The Fractured But Whole will feature an upgraded combat system as well as increased interactivity with the game’s environment. South Park: The Fractured But Whole will release on for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on December 6.
The Xbox giant, Microsoft, kicked things off Monday morning with their annual E3 press conference. As far as actual games go, there was a small handful of reveals announced, including a release date of February 21 for the upcoming real-time strategy (RTS) game, Halo Wars 2. The software giant also took time to talk about Rare’s upcoming pirate adventure game, Sea of Thieves. From the gameplay shown, it seems players will be able to embark on numerous adventures with their friends in an open multiplayer world. No official release date for Sea of Thieves has been announced at this time.
The most exciting parts of Microsoft’s press event were, of course, the two “new” consoles that were officially announced. The first of these new consoles, called the Xbox One S, is a slimmer version of the current Xbox One that will be 40 percent smaller that the current system and will feature an internal two terabyte hard drive and a new wireless controller with an increased wireless range and new textured grips. The Xbox One S will release sometime in August.
The second of Microsoft’s “new” consoles is going to be a higher-end version of the current console, and is currently codenamed Project Scorpio. Not a whole lot is known about the future console at the moment, but Microsoft’s Xbox division head, Phil Spencer, revealed that Project Scorpio is being designed with 4k visuals and virtual reality (VR) compatibility in mind. No release date for Project Scorpio has been announced at this time.
As with their press conference last year, Sony started things off at E3 with a bang. To kick off their conference, Sony released a trailer that simultaneously revealed and showed some gameplay from God of War 4. The video depicts an old warrior—who appears to be Kratos from the original trilogy—teaching his young son how to hunt. This game appears to be a drastic departure from earlier entries in the series, with this one revolving around what appears to be Norse mythology instead of the Greek mythology of the previous entries. Apart from that, hardly any information is available about the game at this time.
After many years of silence and secrecy, Sony Bend has finally revealed their next game, called Days Gone. Like with God of War 4, very little is currently known about this game, other than that the gameplay footage demoed at the event presents a post-apocalyptic world very reminiscent of Naughty Dog’s masterpiece The Last of Us.
Sony’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated The Last Guardian also received a new trailer and finally a release date of October 25 of this year. I, for one, can’t wait to finally get my hands on this game after all these years!
Virtual reality was a constant theme at this year’s E3 and Sony may have brought out some of the most anticipated content for it yet with the unveiling of a whole bunch of games for their upcoming PlayStation VR. The system itself finally received a release date of Oct. 13 and a price point at $399. Games announced for the system at Sony’s conference include Resident Evil VII: Biohazard, a sci-fi FPS called Farpoint, an add-on for Star Wars: Battlefront featuring space combat, a VR experience in Final Fantasy XV, and a new Batman Arkham game from Rocksteady Studios.
Sony also announced that remastered versions of the first, second, and third Crash Bandicoot games will be coming to PS4. In addition, Insomniac Games revealed a new Marvel Spider-Man game coming exclusively to the PS4 (it won’t tie-in with the upcoming movie or the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and legendary game director Hideo Kojima revealed his mysterious new project, called Death Stranding, which will star Norman Reedus as the as yet unannounced protagonist. No release dates were available as of this writing.
Nintendo was the last company to take the stage, if only in a figurative sense. As with previous E3s, Nintendo opted out of hosting a traditional press conference. Instead, a live Nintendo Treehouse event was held online on Tuesday and showcased gameplay from the upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon games, as well as the hotly-anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Breath of the Wild will feature a true open world that will be 12 times the size of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and will feature a number of changes to the gameplay. For instance, Link can now jump anywhere at will and must now cook food to replenish his health. The game will also feature a rest ability that allows the player to advance the in-game clock. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will release on the Nintendo Wii U and the NX in 2017, though no specific date has yet been announced.