In true Nintendo fashion, the Japanese gaming giant waited for all the other games makers to play their cards before doing their own thing, which just so happens to be the now industry standard Nintendo Direct format.
We got news of a new Super Mario game, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and even a solo Princess Peach game on the horizon, as well as snippets about the DLC expansion for Pokémon Scarlett and Pokémon Violet.
What were your highlights? Let us know on our Discord, but in the meantime here are a few of the things which stuck out for the team.
Pikmin 4, Super Mario RPG and Sonic Mania | James Parry
I've said before that I'm excited for the Pikmin 4 next month and, not to bury the lead, what we saw at the direct was all so much fun.
The ability to go out at night and take the risk of being attacked by extra nasty baddies is a fun and interesting wrinkle to the formula.
The game looks beautiful, the bright colours popping and your cheerful Pikmin friends pottering about in the oversized, giant scale words you get to explore are full of exciting things to discover and mechanics which look simple but are tricky to master.
Elsewhere there was Super Mario RPG, a game that totally passed me by way back when and could be an easy in to the turn-based RPG genre that I'm woefully under-experienced in.
On top of that, we had news of another Sonic game, Sonic Superstars, was revealed. This time it's a new 2.5D experience, letting you charge through the levels as all of the big four, and bringing the series' visual style a little more up to date with a more modern approach, compared the recent, and very popular, Sonic Mania.
It'll be interesting to see if the new expansion for Pokémon will be enough to push it to the top of my "got-to-get-back-to-that" pile. So far it doesn't look as fun as previous add-ons.
Well, we’ve made it to the other side of the fun of games being released into the wild at long last, apart from Annapurna’s own showcase at the end of the month, and my my, do we have a lot to talk about!
Whichever platform you prefer and whatever genre floats your boat, it feels as though there’s something for you from the various showcases and publishers. Plus, it was great to see celebrations from all the developers, including writers and community managers, who got to reveal what they’ve been working on, in some cases since before the pandemic hit.
So, what’s your highlight been? Is there a game you can’t wait to play? Let us know in our Discord.
Star Wars Outlaws, Microsoft Flight Simulator and Starfield | Liam Andrews
I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s showcases, as they have given me plenty to look forward to, especially the Ubisoft event, with Star Wars Outlaws going right to the top of my most anticipated pile.
I remember this game being announced a while back, and because it was being developed by Ubisoft Massive, the studio behind the two The Division titles, I just assumed it would be a game like those (enjoyable looter shooters) rather than a solo offering. It looks great, and I’m really glad the game has some form of space combat as well as ground-based missions. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora also looked good and is one I’ll be keeping an eye on.
From the Xbox showcase, I was very happy to see missions and objectives being added to Microsoft Flight Simulator, which will hopefully add some much-needed structure and purpose to gameplay (I got a bit bored just cruising around aimlessly). The rescue missions really reminded me of the old search and rescue games I used to enjoy on PC in the 90s, and I’m looking forward to trying them.
Lastly, Starfield was definitely the star of the whole Summer Games Fest. I was not expecting such a deep dive into what the game had to offer and was almost tempted to stop watching for fear of spoiling things for myself. It looks like the sort of generation defining game that could be around for as long as Skyrim, and I for one cannot wait to play it.
Clockwork Revolution, Dungeons of Hinterberg and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 | James Parry
Like Liam, I was impressed with Star Wars Outlaws - though it’s hard to shake comparisons to the Jedi series in terms of its format. Hopefully the galaxy is big enough for both of these franchises to find their place.
Elsewhere I did chuckle as The Crew has decided to have a play in the Forza Horizon ballpark with The Crew Motorfest, more of interest to me was The Division: Resurgence, until I realised it was a mobile title, which left me with updates to two established franchises in the form of Sea of Thieves: The Legend of Monkey Island and Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, both attempting to derail my carefully constructed timetable for gaming this year.
In terms of new news, there were fresh franchises from some of Xbox’s studio acquisitions including South of Midnight and Clockwork Revolution, the latter of which has a BioShock aesthetic which is reassuringly familiar, but with a time-travel element which could make it particularly fun to explore.
Dungeons of Hinterberg is also looking pretty snazzy, and great to still see smaller games getting some attention amongst the big boys in this competitive industry. The game has some great Devil May Cry vibes to it but with a light, almost cel-shaded style, which I’m excited to explore after the fun of the under-appreciated Hi-Fi Rush.
We did already know about Fable, but we’d only seen a logo so far, so it was nice to see a bit of footage, even if only a few slithers of it could really be considered gameplay. The team has emphasised they want to hold onto the British humour from the origins of the series, so here’s hoping they can pull it off.
Finally, tucked away in the darkness in the Xbox Showcase was the follow-up to Hellblade, a series I’m not familiar with but the cerebral, singleplayer adventure which Senua’s Sacrifice: Hellblade 2 promises is intriguing.
As we enter the hole where E3 used to be we can expect a series of announcements from console makers and publishers and first out of the gate was PlayStation with their annual Showcase event last week.
We all expected Spider-Man 2 news (more on that in a bit), but what else did Sony bring to the show to delight, dazzle and demonstrate the exciting experiences they have in store for us.
We've picked a few of our own, but what was your highlight? Let us know on Discord.
Alan Wake 2, The Talos Principle 2 and Immortals of Aveum | James Parry
First things first, Foamstars, from Square-Enix, is the most shameless rip-off of a game – in this case, Splatoon – that I had seen for a long, long time. I wouldn’t mind so much if it had anything new to bring to the table, that’s how genres are made after all, but it seems pretty clear this is just a shameless cash grab.
Spider-Man 2 was the blockbuster everyone expected to appear at the Showcase, and the talented team at Insomniac didn’t waste any time in blowing our spider-socks off. I particularly enjoyed how the Venom suit was completely unexplained, putting us in the same shoes as Miles and Ganky.
You already know about Spider-Man though, so instead onto one of my most anticipated upcoming games Alan Wake 2. While I haven’t finished the remastered release, not only have I really enjoyed what I’ve played, but am always transfixed by anything Remedy decides to put out. Yes, even Quantum Break.
It must be the way Sam Lake approaches storytelling, but the idea of taking another journey into the Wake-averse with a new protagonist is particularly exciting, because not even Alan Wake likes Alan Wake as a character.
Elsewhere we were given a glimpse at heavy-hitters like Assassin’s Creed Mirage (looks fine, nothing particularly stood out) and Talos Principle 2 (looks like a narrative web I’ll get lost in). It’s a shame we still aren’t seeing more gameplay trailers for things even if they are only a few months out from release, but making games is hard so I get it.
One game which stood out, even when it sneaked out in the form of an EA press release a few months ago, was Immortals of Aveum. The main character has a similar vibe to Jayce from Arkane: League of Legends and the magic FPS vibe seems interesting, especially with some Gina Torres in there for good measure. Will be keeping an eye on that one.
Finally, there were a handful of indie titles which had the “this looks interesting, but it’s not for me”, including Sword of the Sea, The Plucky Squire and Neva. While they might not grab me to play, it’s great to see a variety of smaller titles find their way onto the platform and all show a consistent level of quality. It certainly bodes well for PlayStation’s continued market dominance in the near future.