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A Look at the Highlights From E3 2018

As many of you know, in previous posts regarding E3 I’ve been somewhat of a downer, I even wrote a piece explaining why the event was no longer relevant. Yet, this year my impression has changed. There were plenty of pleasing updates, lots of new games unveiled and plenty of unexpected moments.

Overall, E3 2018 has fired me up and rekindled my love of gaming because if I’m honest, during the last few years my passion for gaming has dwindled (The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of The Wild and Fallout 4 are exceptions to this of course), it’s not that I’ve fallen out of love with games completely because I always be a gamer but rather my priorities have changed, leaving me very little time to indulge in them like I used to.

This years convention awakened the excitement I used to feel, many of the announcements had me giddy with childlike glee and genuinely wondering how I can fit in all this time to game in the near future, especially as many of the games on show were available immediately or relatively soon.

Here are a selection of my highlights from this years event:

 

Bethesda

Bethesda did an absolutely stellar job this year, though in fairness they always seem to put on a good show (ever since their first presentation in 2015 when they surprised fans by announcing Fallout 4 only to subsequently reveal to eager fans that they only had to wait until November of the same year for the games release).

Fallout 76

First up, the game that was on everyone’s mind was Fallout 76, after the original announcement a few weeks ago. The anticipation for a full length trailer, some gameplay and more details was palpable, with many fans and gaming sites speculating about it. As a huge fan of the franchise I was definitely more hyped than some but overall, I was left wanting because it turns out Fallout 76 will be an online only game.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing of course, there is the option to play solo but there is a strong emphasis on traversing the Wasteland with your friends. An interesting addition will be various nuclear reactor sites dotted around the map. If you (or you and your friends) find enough access codes, you can fire a nuke anywhere on the map you like. Bethesda is keen to see what players might do with this option but let’s face it, the map will be obliterated almost immediately because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but humans are destructive assholes.

On the plus side, it is due for release this November and the map is said to be four times larger than Fallout 4. Oh, and the limited collector’s edition includes a wearable, working power armour helmet!

 

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

This upcoming installment of first person shooter classic, Wolfenstein will feature the ability to co-op game as a pair of female twins fighting Nazis in an alternate timeline of Paris in the 80s. I am extremely excited for this release because I miss co-op gaming so badly and it’s been neglected for too long by many AAA titles. I want to play games with my husband again, not have to take turns or work out a schedule for our games console.

Also, I know I already mentioned it but two female protagonists…fighting Nazis…in Paris! It’s as if Bethesda understands me, I’m also hoping that the twins will be Jewish because that would be amazing!

Bethesda also announced a Wolfenstein sequel for the Switch as well as a VR version title in 2019.

 

Elder Scrolls VI

Not very much was shown in this teaser but it has finally been confirmed that Bethesda is working on the next Elder Scrolls installment. During the reveal, we saw some sprawling landscapes followed by the games title.

Despite the lack of…anything, this had a huge reaction from the audience at the presentation as well as an enormous response on social media (including me)! I suspect we might be waiting on this for a while though, perhaps we’ll see it on the next gen consoles?

 

Starfield

Yes, something that isn’t a sequel or a reboot of an existing franchise! I could hardly believe it myself and although very little was revealed, it will be interesting to see Bethesda take a game to space.

This was a teaser trailer at best but the idea of Bethesda working on something new which is also a sci-fi has me pretty hyped. Seriously this is getting weird now, is Bethesda Inception-ing my dreams when I sleep?!

 

Ubisoft

There was a dancing panda (seriously), an appearance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a wonderful moment where Shigeru Miyamoto was surprised and given a gift (the whole thing was rather cute). There were some big announcements and an even bigger surprise during the trailer for upcoming game Starlink.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Perhaps the biggest announcement of the presentation but also to be expected after some reveals earlier this month. Plenty of new details were dropped including a glorious trailer showing off the beautiful landscape of Ancient Greece and the new characters, Kassandra and Alexios in the franchises largest game yet.

A new feature in this installment will be dialogue choices affecting the story outcomes with over 30 hours of storytelling. The philosophy graduate in me squealed when some footage was shown of Kassandra in dialogue with father of Western philosophy, Socrates (Sokrates). Fans will also be able to play as a female character for the entirety of the game for the first time too and she is a badass Spartan woman called Kassandra – who I am already obsessed with by the way.

I adore ancient history so Ubisoft have outdone themselves, with ancient Egypt last year and now ancient Greece! I can’t wait to explore this map in October and I’m really hoping they’ll include an educational mode much like the one seen in Assassin’s Creed Origins.

 

Starlink

Ubisoft showcased an intriguing trailer for upcoming toys-to-life game, Starlink: Battle For Atlas only to shock the audience immediately after with a second part which revealed Nintendo fan favourite Star Fox will feature in this title.

This led to surprise appearance from Shigeru Miyamoto who had been sitting amongst the crowd. It was wonderfully endearing as Ubisoft’s Laurent Malville presented him with a replica of the Starlink ship, prompting a charming response from Miyamoto (who seemed genuinely touched) in French with “trés bien” and “merci”.

 

Beyond Good and Evil 2

This title is one I’ve been anticipating since I completed the first game because I adored it, however this announcement was mostly Ubisoft announcing their Space Monkey Program after teaming up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s company [HitRECord].

Accordingly to Gordon-Levitt, “[HitRECord] is a place where people all over the world work together on short films or music or art — all kinds of projects” and Ubisoft are inviting the community to create content for Beyond Good and Evil 2 in the form of music and artwork.

This was met with outrage on social media initially until Gordon-Levitt responded on Twitter that fans will be compensated and that this won’t be a case of artists working purely for exposure.

 

Microsoft

This was definitely one of Microsoft’s stronger E3 presentations in over a decade with a record number of games being showcased. Microsoft boasted 52 games, 18 exclusives,15 world premieres and talk of their next-gen console currently in development.

Halo Infinite

Microsoft teased fans initially with a short trailer for a new Halo title featuring fan favourite Master Chief. Naturally, not much was shown by 343 Industries upcoming title other than some very pretty visuals and Chief’s familiar helmet but it definitely caused a storm on social media and had fans excited.

 

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Yay! *Brand new game klaxon alert* A new Japanese themed action RPG from Software (who brought us the Dark Souls franchise) due for release in 2019. As much as I turn into a fangirl whenever a game series I like announces a sequel, nothing makes me happier than seeing brand new AAA titles at E3.

I can’t wait to see more on this game and I don’t know if you know this, but Japan is my jam!

 

Gears Of War 5

The biggest news for this franchise is that players will adopt the role of Kait Diaz, who in the trailer ignores the chain of command to take on a mission of her own. Marcus Fenix will still be present in the game, seemingly as an NPC, though I’m sure more on that will be revealed in time as the game is due for release next year.

I hope The Coalition will take a leap and give us something new, rather than a carbon copy of the previous four games. I’m glad we’re seeing more female fronted titles this year, God knows I’ve played through endless stories entered around grizzly, stubbled men in my lifetime.

 

Devil May Cry 5

Considering Devil May Cry 4 was released in 2008 (I’m ignoring the DmC reboot from 2013 here, as that was based in an alternate timeline), I’m surprised it’s taken decade to announce the fifth game in the series! Capcom fans have long adored this franchise and personally, I have such fond memories for the second and third games.

Developer Hideaki Itsuno, who has helmed the franchise since the second game came onto the stage during the Microsoft press conference and gave an incredibly sincere speech about how much the series means to him and how long he’s spent working on the game. He also showcased the new trailer as well as showing fans some actual gameplay. Nero’s look has changed slightly but the thing everyone was waiting for was revealed at the end…and yes, Dante is back!

 

Cyberpunk 2077

CD Projekt Red’s Kyle Rowley explained to fans that this long awaited title, first announced six years ago, is not a first person shooter. Rowley affirmed that it is an RPG with some shooter elements.

Players can choose between a male or female customisable character called V and despite the fact there is a class system in the game, you don’t choose it right away like you do in similar titles.

Overall the game sounds intriguing and the trailer revealed bright, vibrant visuals and a sprawling city full of futuristic tech and brute violence amidst a stylised punk aesthetic. There’s no release date as yet but hopefully we’re not waiting another six years!

 

Sony

Considerably less on show than Microsoft but size isn’t everything with Sony showcasing arguably some of the most anticipated titles in gaming!

The Last of Us Part II

Originally announced at PlayStation Experience in December 2016 with a few trailers last year, fans have been waiting patiently to see more and Sony’s E3 presentation did not disappoint as they kicked off with a look at Naughty Dog’s upcoming game.

A cinematic cutscene showed fans Ellie, living life like a relatively normal teen, enjoying a festival, dancing and sharing a kiss with her girlfriend Dina, this passionate kiss cuts back and forth between a stealth scene where Ellie is rather brutally slitting an enemies throat.

Regarding the kiss, it looked visually stunning and I’ve not seen any other game that has been able to capture a kiss so perfectly. I’m looking at you BioWare…learn to animate kisses, damn it!

This series is all about story so it’s unsurprising that the snippet showcased was brief. One thing’s for sure, Naughty Dog proved with the games predecessor that they know how to make outstanding character-driven survival exploration games and I can’t wait for this!

 

Death Stranding

Talk about hype, this upcoming project from the bizarre, ethereal mind of Hideo Kojima looks bat-shit crazy and I am living for it! After some initial trailer shots, fans were shown some actual gameplay! It appears that Sam (Norman Reedus’ character) is a delivery man of sorts, unlike the trained fighters or elite specialists we come to associate with gaming protagonists. This means gameplay will be incredibly different to anything else out there.

Very little could be ascertained about the story but Sam appears to traverse multiple difficult terrains in bad weather conditions in order to make deliveries. One of these seems to be a baby in a synthetic womb that at one point Sam wears like a backpack. He also appears to be saving people who have been taken hostage by some kind of mysterious entity or force. Overall, I feel like I know even less than I did before but I’m all aboard the hype-train.

The only real downside for me is that Kojima-san himself wasn’t there to showcase the game. Though, he’s probably off somewhere taking more beautiful photographs of Mads Mikkelson.

 

Kingdom Hearts 3

This was also showcased during Square Enix’s presentation (which I gleaned very little from) who also revealed the games release date of January 2019 a few days earlier and it’s about damn time!

This game has been in the works for 12 long years. It was revealed that two of the new worlds to explore in the game will be Disney’s Frozen and Pirate’s Of The Caribbean.

Not much was revealed about story but then, The Kingdom Hearts games are known for their convoluted plots and out of the ordinary Disney mash-ups. Personally, I’m intrigued to find out more as I’m definitely a fan of Sora and co.

 

Nintendo

 

With many of their games already announced before E3 at their own conferences, Nintendo didn’t have much to report but kudos to them for the level of detail they went into for one particular title, even if it did seem to take up the bulk of their presentation.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

I really enjoy the Smash Bros. series and I’m all for having a decent amount of characters to choose from but the majority of Nintendo’s keynote E3 presentation felt like a roll call of every single character at Nintendo’s disposal. There are 65 characters in total and Nintendo spent far too long on each one in my opinion.

Perhaps it was due to a lack of announcements like, oh I don’t know, Animal Crossing? Where on Earth is this game, Nintendo? Either way, I shouldn’t be complaining about an in-depth analysis of each character and their signature moves at a convention where very little is usually shown, but it felt unnecessarily long and if you watch the footage of the show I’m sure you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

Metroid villain Ridley was teased at the veeeery end in a cool cutscene and while that might be exciting for some fans, I was more concerned that he appeared to kill Mario. Seriously, did no one else notice?

 

Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu!/Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee!

This is Nintendo’s attempt to incorporate Niantic’s incredibly successful app, Pokemon Go into a Switch compatible game and while this isn’t really aimed at my demographic, I really like the concept. I was a bit disappointed that Nintendo didn’t really show us anything we hadn’t seen last month at the Pokémon 2018 Video Game Press Conference.

However, I included it in my round up because I’m 100% jealous of those children who will get to use an actual pokéball to play the game with legendary Pokémon Mew as a starter because that’s insanely cool.

 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I’ve never played a Fire Emblem game and I’m not quite sure why because everything about this series appeals to me. The reveal trailer showcased some new features including the ability to zoom in to ground battles and to start them in a top-down strategy game mode. There also appeared to be an emphasis on free-roam style exploration.

My main takeaway from the trailer however was just how beautiful the game looked, of course the game is graphically superior to its predecessor but the combat sequences shown in the trailer appear to draw on the same animation style that can be seen in the cutscenes. The game is due for release in spring 2019 – a period in which, I will no doubt be living in poverty unless some of the games revealed at E3 push back their releases!

 

So, that’s my round-up of this year’s E3 which involved plenty of surprises alongside some expected reveals and for the first time, a plethora of female protagonists! What were your favourite presentations and what games are you most excited for? Let me know in the comments section below.

 

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