E3 is here again, and as per the norm, all major publishers have mapped out their plans for the next year or two, with a plethora of new games announced to eager attendees and viewers worldwide. This year felt particularly strong, with Microsoft bringing out the big guns, Sony showing remarkable confidence in just four titles and Nintendo continuing their winning streak by showing off both Pokémon and Super Smash Bros.
There were, however, also a few glaring missteps. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at my top 5 titles shown off during the press conferences, along with 5 things that disappointed me.
Top 5 Games
5. Death Stranding
This is a weird one, because even though we were treated to a brand new trailer clocking at over 8 minutes including actual gameplay, we still don’t really know what the heck is going on. I have to admit though, I actually like it that way. We live in an age where movie trailers show off way too much of the plot, giving away important details that could have (and should have) been left for the main event.
With games, it’s slightly different, and I can get why many folks want to see what the gameplay is going to entail with Death Stranding (like, it has to be more than walking across wide expanses of land, right?). So far though, I’m all in on the bizarre world that Kojima and his team are creating. It’s bleak, it’s beautiful and I can’t wait to see more.
4. Cyberpunk 2077
This one has been cooking for a while now, and Microsoft were very wise to end their keynote on a massive high with the first proper trailer for Cyberpunk 2077. Developer CD Projekt Red have always been adamant that they will only show off the game when they are well and truly ready, and boy, does it show!
The trailer shows off an incredible diverse cast of characters across a beautiful futuristic city with a distinct 80s feel to it. It has since been confirmed that the game will be set in the first-person perspective, meaning we are probably in for a delicious mix of elements from Deus Ex, The Witcher and GTA. Bring it on!
3. Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Neither a port or a straight up new title, Super Smash Bros Ultimate takes pretty much everything you love from the series and shoves it all into one package, and I bloody love it. Every single character from past games is available to unlock – from Ice Climbers to Solid Snake – all of which retaining their respective stages.
Not only that, but we also have three new additions in the form of Splatoon’s Inkling Girl/Boy, Metroid’s Ridley (who looks seriously badass) and long-time Mario Party alumni Daisy. With all current Amiibo confirmed to work with the title, this is a game that won’t be leaving my Switch for months.
2. Devil May Cry 5
Another bombshell during the Microsoft keynote was the surprise (sort of) announcement from Capcom of Devil May Cry 5, the first entry to the core series in ten years. Taking full advantage of the RE Engine, fully costumed actors have been scanned into the game to look as realistic as possible. Nero is back, along with series favourite Dante (who looks to have aged slightly) and both will undoubtedly be playable throughout the game.
Capcom seems to have taken a bit of inspiration from Ninja Theory’s DmC, and I must say the game looks to be oozing with style and attitude. If the gameplay ends up matching the gorgeous visuals, it will surely be the most impressive entry to the entire series.
1. Resident Evil 2
Could it be anything else, really? Ever since the initial announcement of a remake way back in 2015, fans (myself included) have been clamouring for new information from developer Capcom. In what was ultimately a very wise move, they have finally shown off the game at a fairly late stage in development, with the survival-horror title set for release in early 2019.
I genuinely wasn’t expecting any kind of release date announcement, so to know that I’ll be re-joining Leon and Claire in the doomed Raccoon City so soon is so exciting! The game takes direct inspiration from Resident Evil 4 and ditches the pre-rendered environments in favour of an over-the-shoulder view, but judging from the announcement trailer, it retains the same level of horror and dread.
And now for the top 5 disappointments of E3…
5. Sony’s weird pacing
Sony’s PlayStation keynote kicked off within an elaborate tent to highlight the hefty gameplay footage of The Last of Us Part 2. After that, they made all attendees move to the more traditional theatre venue for the rest of the conference. Whilst I don’t doubt that this would have been a memorable experience for the folks actually in attendance, it made little sense to those watching from home.
We were forced to sit through an ‘intermission’ of more than ten minutes before getting back into the action, and even then we’d have to endure bizarre musical numbers before actually seeing the games themselves. It was a strange move from Sony, and as a result, the conference felt unnecessarily bloated and awkward.
4. 2018 is a bit lacklustre for Xbox
There’s no denying that Microsoft’s Xbox conference was an impressive spectacle, with the gaming giant showing off a tonne of games, including several enviable exclusives. The problem is, most of them are out in 2019. Heading towards the end of the year, Xbox has Forza Horizon 4, and… well, not much else.
Other significant titles, such as Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Crackdown 3, will be due out in 2019. We don’t know when Halo Infinite or Gears 5 are due out, and there are even rumours that the former could be a cross-generation title with the next Xbox system. 343 Industries have acknowledged that the game is still in early development, so we won’t be seeing it for a while.
3. No bombshells from Nintendo
Okay, I was kind of expecting this, with Nintendo reiterating that the focus of their E3 Direct would be the newly announced Super Smash Bros Ultimate, but the lack of any surprise announcements was still a bit deflating. Nintendo still had a strong showing with the likes of Super Mario Party and Fire Emblem alongside the immediate launch of Fortnite and Hollow Knight on Nintendo Switch, but it felt like a very safe presentation. There is, however, always the prospect of further Nintendo Directs later in the year, so I suppose it does make sense to focus primarily on the more immediate release of Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
2. What on earth are Rocksteady doing?
Distinctly missing from E3 is the British developer Rocksteady Studios, most famous for the critically acclaimed Batman Arkham series. Many, including myself, were utterly convinced that we’d see their next product – heavily rumoured to be a Superman game – at one of the E3 press conferences.
Of course, the existence of such a game may well come to light in the near future, but I couldn’t help but feel a crushing disappointment at the end of Sony’s keynote, knowing it probably wouldn’t be shown at all at E3.
What are you up to, Rocksteady? Tell us!
1. EA’s conference
Oh dear God…