Now all the announcements are done and the ray-tracing-enhanced cats are out of the proverbial bag, it’s time to look back at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3, for you youngsters).
We’ll share our own top picks in next week’s Team Talk, but in the meantime, here’s a few themes we noticed from Microsoft, Square Enix, Ubisoft and other talented developers.
Re-releases are big business (and not just Switch ports)
From Death Stranding: Director’s Cut to the welcome return of those playful primates in Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania, there were plenty of ports and franchise revivals this year.
One unexpected return was Advance Wars, which is having its first and second games bundled together for a Switch release in December. We last heard from the series way back in 2008 on the Nintendo DS, so a return to the cult classic is long overdue.
We also saw more from Diablo 2: Resurrected, a remaster of the beloved base game and its Lord of Destruction expansion coming 23 September. Continuing the hellish theme, the acclaimed roguelike Hades is also coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X|S soon.
Squad-based survival is so hot right now
We met a lot of new co-op survival action games at E3, some of which look rather intriguing. Apparently, the urge to fend off waves of varying enemy types still holds strong.
Probably the most exciting of these was Redfall, a vampire-hunting shooter from Arkane Studios which closed the Microsoft and Bethesda showcase. The Anacrusis and Contraband also made brief appearances at the Xbox event, with the latter described as “a co-op smuggler’s paradise”.
Back 4 Blood also debuted a new trailer there, though later got its own platform courtesy of the Warner Bros. showcase. Put together by Turtle Rock, who were responsible for the original Left 4 Dead, it looks familiar with a few fresh ideas thrown into the mix.
Then there’s Rainbow Six Extraction for a more considered approach. Whether or not Ubisoft’s latest will alienate fans of the competitive tactical shooter series remains to be seen.
Game Pass is everywhere
Xbox has been banging the Game Pass drum for a while, but this year really saw that bet start to pay off. 27 of the 30 games shown at the Microsoft showcase are joining the subscription service, many of them on launch day.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon immediately joined the back catalogue and there’s even more Game Pass love to come in the future. Titles like artisan indie Sable and horror game Scorn, which draws inspiration from H.R. Giger, are just a couple of notable upcoming inclusions.
Most impressively, the likes of Xbox console exclusive Starfield (from the Skyrim and Fallout devs) and the Halo Infinite campaign are also coming day one. As for Halo Infinite’s multiplayer, that will be free to everyone as standard.
Indies get their time to shine
Wholesome Direct, Devolver Digital, Summer Game Fest and yet more events gave plenty of opportunities to indie developers this year.
Games like Soultstice, Far: Changing Tides, Immortality and many more might not have made as large a splash if PlayStation and EA had decided to show up. ID@Xbox was full to the brim with offerings as well, highlighting titles such as Tunic and Somerville.
The future looks bright for these underdogs, which now more than ever are fighting for attention amongst the big boys and girls.
What was your main takeaway from E3 this year? Let us know in the comments.
The gaming world’s seasonal hype fest is almost upon us, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.
There’s no in-person events once again, but a slew of digital get-togethers have been announced from the likes of Ubisoft, Square Enix and Microsoft, with the latter now also including the gaming juggernaut, Bethesda.
The show is more of a collection of smaller showcases than ever before, with Koch Media, among others, kicking things off with their Primetime presentation on 11 June at 8pm.
All of this means there will definitely be announcements over the next week or so, and we have a few ideas of what we can expect – first realistically and then our wildest hopes and dreams. Leave your own rampant speculation in the comments.
The cat’s already out of the bag where Elden Ring is concerned. Many people, myself included, have seen the leaked gameplay footage. It looks great, though FromSoftware and Bandai Namco claim it isn’t representative of quality. What better way to prove that than with an official first look at E3?
Based on the blurry and reportedly outdated leak, Elden Ring looks to be channelling FromSoftware’s past work heavily. Considering that the Japanese developer is responsible for several of my all-time favorites, that’s quite alright with me. Throw in lore from Game of Thrones’ George R. R. Martin and it could easily prove to be a showstopper!
Dragon Age Legendary Edition
I’m still working my way through Mass Effect Legendary Edition at the moment. It’s a good time, though more than anything it’s making me nostalgic for another BioWare classic - Dragon Age: Origins.
DA: Origins trades blows with Dark Souls as my favourite RPG, and with the former having launched first, it doesn’t seem fitting that only the latter has a remaster. Since the Mass Effect remasters are performing well, here’s hoping that Dragon Age will step up to the plate next. It’d certainly be a step in the right direction where winning gamers’ favour back is concerned, for both BioWare and EA.
Rumours of an upgraded Switch have been intensifying over the last few months, but it’s looking increasingly likely that the hype could be justified. Lots of industry insiders are pointing to a Switch Pro or Super Switch (personally, I like the moniker ‘New’ Nintendo Switch) getting a reveal either during or just before E3, and I’m leaning towards agreeing with them.
As much as I adore my 2017 Switch, I think I would be tempted to upgrade should a new and improved model become available, but it has to be a significant improvement: I’m talking a framerate boost and improved visual fidelity for all games, not just a bezel-less OLED screen and even better battery.
Titanfall 3 & Battlefront 3
We already know Battlefield 2042 has received a new reveal trailer this week, but I’d like to see EA show some love to some of their other FPS series. It would be great to hear something about Titanfall 3, even if it’s just an announcement, and the same goes for Star Wars Battlefront 3.
While this will of course be Battlefield’s year in the spotlight, I think there’s still room to show Battlefront and Titanfall fans something, even if it’s just a teaser, without stealing any thunder.
Since the game was originally due to shop with the new Xbox Series X|S, there’s little doubt we’ll see more of Master Chief’s return at Microsoft’s showcase. Surely it will be a “Holiday 2021” release window, but what might we see beyond a date in the diary?
Perhaps developers 343 Industries will give us an in-depth look at a level of the campaign, or, in a break from convention, maybe there’ll be a glimpse at the free-to-play multiplayer element, which no doubt MS hopes will be their next big money-spinner. How will it show off the Series X’s power?
While one strategy reveal has already been leaked, in the form of a Marvel-themed XCOM from Firaxis, the upcoming return of Age of Empires has got me keen to return to more new real-time strategy.
The Red Alert series may have ended on an odd note, with its camp presentation and unmissable live-action cutscenes slightly getting the better of it, the core of the game is solid – Allied and Soviet armies destroying each other with opposing armies filled with bombastic characters.
While it might not be best-placed for the console crowd (though with keyboard and mouse support, who knows?), this is a series ripe for resurrection.
What are your E3 predictions? Let us know.