What’s being considered a rather tame Electronic Entertainment Expo is now coming to a close, though even a slow E3 is sure to have at least a few standout moments, of which we’ve picked our personal highlights.
Liam | Nintendo Treehouse livestream
My favourite part of an otherwise disappointing E3 was Nintendo Treehouse Live. This stream offered an opportunity to see actual gameplay for Nintendo’s upcoming games, countering the deluge of cinematic trailers that made up most of their Direct presentation and all of the other shows.
I was particularly pleased to hear Animal Crossing: New Horizons will feature the full suite of same-screen, local wireless and online co-op. Being able to work together in real time rather than in shifts, as was the case for me and my deputy in New Leaf, just makes sense and will hopefully alleviate some of the more monotonous management tasks.
Despite having initially dismissed it as a gimmick, the new dungeon creator in Link’s Awakening also grabbed my attention and looks like a fun new addition to an already impressive game. It'd be even better if Nintendo let us share these creations with other players, à la Super Mario Maker, but there didn’t seem to be any mention of such a feature.
Visibly wandering Pokémon in Sword and Shield, at least in the games’ designated Wild Area, was another bit of good news from the livestream. Like many, I’ve come to dread all of the random encounters and so this is a very welcome change.
Chris | More on DOOM Eternal
DOOM as a series always failed to grab me, at least until the 2016 reboot, at which point I became immediately enamoured with its fast, fluid movement which is somewhat reminiscent of Halo. That in itself probably wouldn't be enough to keep me around, but the gunplay is just as smooth and yet incredibly weighty at the same time - then there are the gloriously explicit executions, which never get old.
Eternal boasts more weapons (and associated upgrades), abilities, enemies, executions and environments, taking us all the way from the depths of Hell to the heights of Heaven, like Dante's Divine Comedy with guns and gore in place of self-reflection and enlightenment.
Bethesda have teased that we'll discover the origins of this iteration of the Doom Slayer, and I'm eager to see if we'll be battling against both angels and demons. It's just the kind of silly sci-fi story which never fails to draw me in.
When it comes to multiplayer, I can usually take it or leave it, but DOOM Eternal’s new competitive BATTLEMODE also has me intrigued. Assuming it's properly balanced, the unique 2v1 demons vs. Doom Slayer mode could prove to be an entertaining time sink.
James | Keanu Reeves in Cyberpunk?!
Matrix star and altogether nice guy Keanu Reeves is so hot right now, popping up in Netflix film Always Be My Maybe last week, Toy Story 4 next week and soon the eagerly-anticipated third Bill and Ted adventure.
What we didn't expect, but are oh-so-grateful for, was his spontaneous appearance at the Xbox E3 showcase. He graced us not just in digital form as Cyberpunk 2077’s Johnny Silverhand - keeping up the tradition of him playing characters called Johnny after both Utah and Mnemonic - but in person to the melting of timelines and hearts around the world.
While a celebrity E3 appearance isn't unheard of, it's usually Snoop Dogg smoking a spliff while trying out Battlefield, Elijah Wood trying to convince us of his creepy vision for Transcendence, or some WWE wrestlers hidden under the Microsoft stage.
Keanu was different. A perfect blend of "well obviously he's in it" realisation and a wry smile as the now-iconic silhouette of 2019 Reeves appears through mist, he not only looked the part but brought a level of excitement and enthusiasm not seen anywhere else at the event, besides perhaps Tango Gameworks’ Ikumi Nakamura at Bethesda.
When we look back on E3, Keanu will be a stand out for years to come, because he, as one eager audience member said, is breathtaking.
Rob | Breath of the Wild 2 and Spiritfarer reveals
Oh dear. This year’s E3 was a bit of a moist squib, wasn’t it. Whether it be Sony’s absence, Microsoft’s lack of interesting games - c’mon, we’ve all had enough of bloody Gears and Halo by now - or Nintendo’s sequels and remakes (Link’s Awakening does look lovely, mind), everything had an air of predictability about it.
Still, it wasn’t all bad, and Bethesda probably fared best in my eyes. DOOM Eternal looks to continue the glorious, frantic shooting of 2016’s DOOM, whilst GhostWire: Tokyo’s teaser left me exceedingly intrigued. Conspiracy? Check. The occult? Check. Shinji Mikami? Check. This one can’t come along quickly enough!
Personally, though, the announcements of Breath of the Wild 2 and Thunder Lotus’ Spiritfarer are the indistinguishable highlights.
The former is self-explanatory: I’ve been a huge Zelda fan for as long as I can remember and thoroughly enjoyed running around Breath of the Wild’s rendition of Hyrule, so cannae wait to get stuck into another predictably top-notch adventure. Will it be the Majora’s Mask to BotW’s Ocarina?
The latter is a charming, side-scrolling 2D management game centred around coming to terms with death, where Thunder Lotus’ trademark hand-drawn visuals blend with a melancholic tale of goodbyes. It’s set at sea, you can go fishing, and there’s a sidekick cat. I’m sold.
What was your E3 2019 highlight? Let us know with a comment.
Leaks for games are springing up left and right, snark levels on Twitter are hitting fever pitch and Kingdom Hearts has been delayed yet again; it can mean only one thing - it’s E3 season.
The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo - to give it its full title - brings together publishers and developers from across the world to show of their wares to a salivating public, so let's take a look at what we know so far...
Xbox - Sunday 10 June, 9pm
Microsoft are mixing things up this year and are moving their event to the Microsoft Theatre to focus on partners and fans alike. Mike Nichols, Chief Marketing Officer, stated that they moved their event in accordance to the increasing attendance numbers. For those of us not lucky enough to be attending in person (so, everyone really) they’ll be showing off games on their streaming service, Mixer.
While Crackdown 3 has been delayed until February, it’s not all bad news, as Forza Horizon 4 is expected to make a debut appearance, while we'll also get more on Battlefield V's updated War Stories mode. Additionally, Microsoft are said to be focusing on their core franchises with a rumoured new title in the Fable series and three supposed Gears of War games, including a standalone battle royale game, a real-time strategy title and a traditional sequel.
Bethesda - Monday 11 June, 2.30am
Bethesda has promised its biggest, longest and most packed showcase ever according to the company’s Marketing VP, Pete Hines. They have confirmed that Todd Howard, director of Bethesda Game Studios, will be discussing “The Making of Fallout 76”, the newest addition to the franchise and undoubtedly their biggest game in terms of hype right now.
With rumours that the title will be moving away from traditional single player mechanics by introducing multiplayer survival elements, and the recent teaser trailer suggesting a time period closer to the titular nuclear fallout (which means an unexplored, undeveloped world without Deathclaws, Super Mutants or the Brotherhood of Steel) fans are very eager to see what lies ahead for this franchise.
Square-Enix - Monday 11 June, 6pm
Fans hopes were dashed today when Square Enix confirmed that Kingdom Hearts 3 will not be released this year - however, they did confirm a release date of 29 January 2019. With Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Big Hero 6 being included in the long-awaited next instalment of the beloved franchise, the game will at least make an appearance (it’s only been thirteen gruelling years…). Joining it will be Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the concluding chapter in Lara’s story, as well as the potential of more from the Final Fantasy VII remake. The real question here is: will it be Lara Croft, Sora or Cloud that steals the show?
Ubisoft - Monday 11 June, 9pm
Ubisoft’s slate this year is filled to the brim with new releases including The Division 2, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Beyond Good and Evil 2, Transference, Starlink: Battle for Atlas, For Honor, The Crew 2, Skull and Bones (although delayed) and potentially a new Splinter Cell title. Not only that, Ubi have been working alongside James Cameron for an Avatar game, so we can expect to see more on that. It’s also expected that Far Cry 5 DLC will be mentioned during their press conference alongside everyone’s conference highlight - a new Just Dance game.
Sony - Tuesday 12 June, 2am
Shawn Layden, CEO of SIEA, has already stated that there will be no new hardware appearing in their conference slot, but he has confirmed that Sony’s presentation will focus on Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding and Spider-Man. Sony’s presentation will include new trailers for all four exclusives. First revealed in 2016, The Last of Us Part II will focus on Ellie’s quest for revenge, whilst Marvel’s Spider-Man will see Mary Jane Watson being introduced as a playable character.
Nintendo - Tuesday 12 June, 5pm
Nintendo have just announced a pair of new Pokémon games in Let’s Go Pikachu and (predictably) Let’s Go Eevee for Switch. Let’s Go contains some Pokémon Go elements, including the original 150 pokémon, so has everything going for it. We can also expect Mario Tennis Aces, Super Smash Bros. and Splatoon 2, plus we'll most likely see games such as Metroid Prime 4, Yoshi for Switch and possibly the Pokémon Switch RPG. All that is missing now is Animal Crossing for the Switch too.
Rampant speculation is all well and good, but we hold ourselves to a higher standard at Pass the Controller, so here’s some more things we’re pretty likely to see more from.
Warner Bros Interactive recently confirmed HITMAN 2 with their announcement trailer. Many fans will be glad to know that they have moved away from the episodic release format and will instead launch the sequel as a complete package. According to the press release, HITMAN 2 will feature highly detailed sandboxes, with “breathing environments” to explore as our favourite assassin, Agent 47, returns to the screen, but this time to uncover the truth about his past.
Atomic Heart, a sci-fiction horror FPS, is set in an alternative universe Soviet Union. Fans will play as a special agent who goes AWOL after being assigned a mission, from there the player has to restore peace and order in the motherland. Atomic Heart was crafted by Mundfish and is described to be a crossover between Bioshock and Fallout. If this is accurate, it could potentially be a game changer. Not much else has been confirmed on the storyline as of yet, but the teaser trailer alone looks very promising, with a picturesque environment to explore and an array of terrifying enemies to evade.
We Happy Few by Compulsion Games has come a long way since it’s reveal back at E3 2016, but it’s been a slow and painful uphill struggle with constant setbacks and delays. Compulsion Games released their final cinematic teaser trailer, which showcased brand new mechanics, new quests and a hostile character who Arthur supposedly knows. Guillaume Provost, Creative Director at Compulsion, stated that they added new engaging content that ensures the gameplay will be around 20 hours long in single player campaign mode. Fans will finally get their hands on the full release towards the end of 2018.
Overkill’s The Walking Dead game is a stealth, role playing co-op multiplayer game set to launch in autumn of this year. The game will not be following the TV series and instead will feature new characters with a different storyline, based loosely on the comic series. Fans will have a choice of four players, Aidan, Grant, Heather or Maya and with each character comes their own special skill set. But ultimately, teamwork is the only way you’ll survive in the post-apocalyptic world dominated by walkers. If one thing is for certain, it’s not the dead you should fear, but the living.
What title are you excited for the most at E3 2018? Tweet us @pass_controller, get in touch via Facebook, or sound off in the comments below.