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E3 Holy Crap!

I promise this is going to be my last post about E3 for now. I’m not going to cover everything because again, there’s way too much, so I’m mostly going to cover what I personally found interesting. I know, that’s not objective, but hey, it’s my blog. Anyway, let’s dive right in.

EA: This was lackluster to put it mildly. First off, they didn’t really show off much of Battlefield V, I feel like they talked about it more than they showed it, and we still got pretty much nothing regarding the single player mode. The big announcement was that multiplayer will have battle royal mode. I have to be honest, I really don’t understand the appeal of battle royal, and I really don’t see what makes it different from previous major multiplayer pvps like Halo or Call of Duty. I realize that’s not the most objective take, but I think Battlefield V probably isn’t going to be my type of game, and that’s fine. I didn’t pay attention during the sport sections, so that also might be unfair because I don’t play sports games.

Command and Conquer is back, but as a mobile game. So… yay? I think C&C fans would probably have preferred an actual game, but I could be wrong. A new Star Wars game was announced, but that was it. I mean literally, the name was announced, and that’s all. No trailer, no gameplay, no information on what type of game it’s going to be; only that it’s called Jedi Fallen Order. I’m going to shock everyone and predict that you will play as a Jedi. The final showing was a longer look at Anthem, BioWare’s new IP. The gameplay looked good, and it eased some of my concerns. The idea of flying around in a giant mech suit with friends is definitely growing on me. It’s tentatively scheduled to be released early next year, and for now I’m choosing to be cautiously optimistic.

Microsoft: I wasn’t expecting a lot from Microsoft, but I have to give them props for really stepping their game up this year. They showed off fifty new games, some previously announced and some not, including exclusives as well as games available on multiple platforms. But their biggest coup was acquiring five studios, including Ninja Theory, for first party exclusives. That is probably the smartest move they’ve made this generation. The other studios in question are Undead Labs, Playground Games, Compulsion Games, and a brand-new studio called The Initiative. Compulsion Games has been working on the indie-turned-AAA game We Happy Few, and while originally announced for Xbox, PC and PS4, I’m wondering if now it’s going to be a Microsoft Exclusive. Exclusive wise Microsoft kicked it off with the announcement of Halo 6, currently titled Halo: Infinite; no surprise there. However, the teaser didn’t show anything other than some warthogs driving and Master Chief standing on a hill. I’m sure we’ll get more info soon since it is their biggest franchise. Gears 5 also got announced, dropping the “of War” part of its title for some reason. Again, not a surprise. What WAS surprising was the two other Gears games that were announced. Gears Tactics, a strategy game set twelve year before the first game, and Gears Pops, a mobile game. Yes, as in the Funko pops: the cute figures with big heads that my friend Stella is obsessed with. Didn’t see that one coming. I can’t wait to find out if this game includes sawing toys in half.

Crackdown 3 has been delayed, which is really news. But they did show off a new trailer. The first Crackdown was something of a surprise hit when it came out. Most people (myself and my brother included) bought it for the Halo 3 beta, but it turned out to be one of the best open-world action games when it came out. Terry Crews seems to be playing an exaggerated version of himself from every movie he’s ever been in this game. And I’m great with that because Terry Crews is awesome.

Multiplatform games, holy crap, there was an absolute smorgasbord of awesome trailers and I wish I had the time to go into depth on every single one. As it is, I’ll go over what I can and recommend checking out YouTube. Most of the trailers are up by this point, and a lot of the major gaming channels have analyses and interviews with developers. From Software’s new game was given a full reveal, and it turns out I was wrong, it is not in fact Bloodborne 2. It’s a brand-new IP, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The blood-soaked contraption we saw back at the game awards? Turns out that’s a close up of the main characters prosthetic arm. Sekiro has you playing as a Ninja, with much faster and more fluid combat. Director Hidetaka Miyazaki has stressed that this is not a Dark Souls game, so we shouldn’t expect a “soulsborne” experience. Still, the combat looks brutal, and I for one can’t wait to see more of it. Metro Exodus also got a new trailer, and it really grabbed my interest. I wish I had more to say, but I still need to play the first two. The gun customization looks comparable to Fallout 4, not so much in terms of style but in terms of variety. Exodus has definitely pushed 2033 and Last Light further up the que in my backlog of games to play. Metro: Exodus is currently scheduled for a February release.

The final trailer Microsoft showed off was the one everyone was waiting for, Cyberpunk 2077, and it did not disappoint. The trailer was done with the in-game engine, and graphics wise it looks phenomenal. CD Projekt Red have a demo that hasn’t been released to the public yet, but game journalists are raving about it, with some calling it the best game shown at E3. The Devs have confirmed that it is played entirely from a first-person perspective, but that there will be third person cutscenes and driving. I like first person shooters, and since two of my favorite game series are The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, I’m okay with this. I know a lot of people aren’t happy about it, and all I can say is at least wait for the demo before panicking. We still have no release date, but Mike Pondsmith (Cyberpunk’s creator) mentioned “a few years.” I’m hoping it’s sooner than that, but CDPR has said it was made for this console gen, so I think it will probably be out before 2021. CDPR isn’t one to rush things, and this game will take as long as it takes. That said, if this game ends up pulling off only have of what the Devs, and game journalists, are claiming it can do, it could very well be revolutionary.

Bethesda: Bethesda had a pretty good showcase this year, starting with Rage 2. Short version, it looks completely insane. A lot of people have already made this exact comparison, but it’s an apt one. It looks like Doom meets Mad Max. And you know what? I am completely onboard with that, because Doom and Mad Max are two of my favorite things. Speaking of which...There was a lot of speculation that Doom II would be announced this year after the success of the 2016 reboot, and it was; except it’s titled Doom Eternal, not Doom II. Most likely, this was to separate it from the original games. The trailer was pretty short, we got some shots of what looked like Hell and broken skyscrapers while a heavy metal version of the Doom theme played before revealing the Doom guy. Two of the Devs spoke to the crowd, thanking fans for their support of Doom. They promised Doom Eternal would have more demons, a more powerful Doom Guy, and that it would be “Hell on Earth.” I’m taking that as a hint that this game will take place on Earth, with the forces of hell having escaped Mars. Doom 2016 is one of the best shooters in years, so much so that even Yahtzee liked it. So, this is easily on my pre-order list. And speaking of another segue using the same verbiage…

Wolfenstein is getting a spin-off. Two of the Devs from Machine Games (the studio behind the Wolfenstein Reboot) announced Wolfenstein: Youngblood. It takes place in the 80s and you play as BJ & Anya’s twin daughters. Wolfenstein: The New Order was the best shooter I’d played until the Doom reboot, but I still haven’t played The New Colossus yet. So far, I’ve managed to avoid spoilers, and I’m aiming to keep it that way until I can play it. They also said Wolfenstein: Youngblood will be coming to the Nintendo Switch because they want to bring their message of “fuck Nazis” to every platform. Probably the best line of the night. Prey is getting a new bit of DLC. Woo.

Most of the conference was dedicated to Fallout 76, which will be coming out in November. Todd Howard confirmed that it will be online, but after talking about it, my initial fears were eased. It’s not going to be hundreds of people on a single server, it’s going to be about a couple dozen. Fallout 76 takes place prior to all the other games and it IS set in Western Virginia, so the internet called that one. The gameplay revolves around rebuilding society with a group of friends, and honestly, that sounds like fun to me. I may be in the minority, but I really enjoyed the base building in 4, so I’m onboard for this.

Bethesda could have ended the show there, and they would have had a solid E3, but in breaking with tradition, they announced their next two games, neither of which will be out this year. Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI, at which point Todd Howard dropped the mic and moonwalked out the door while the theme from CSI: Miami played over the intercom. So, it’s only in pre-production, but the Elder Scrolls VI IS being worked on. I won’t lie, I think they announced it just to stop fans from continually asking about it, but seeing as I’m an Elder Scrolls fanboy, I’m good with this.

Sony did exactly what they said they were going to do, and mostly focused on The Last of Us Part 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man and Death Stranding. Surprisingly, at least to me, Days Gone didn’t get as much attention as I thought it would considering its coming out in February. The Last of Us 2 looks fantastic. The gameplay looks pretty similar to the first one, but it came off as more brutal, maybe because it was Ellie killing humans with no infected in sight. Naughty Dog has confirmed that Ellie is the only character that you will play as, which I pretty much expected. There’s some worry online that this means Joel is dead, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think he’s going to die in game, most likely in front of us. Because if I was writing this game, that’s what I’d do.

Ghost of Tsushima looks completely different from what I expected. When Suck Punch said it was going to be an open-world Samurai game, I thought that meant it would look like a Samurai tweak of InFamous, which I was totally cool with. It turns out that is very much not the case. Tsushima looks completely different, from art style to the gameplay to the camera angle. The camera is over the shoulder and closer to you then in InFamous. It reminded me of God of War (2018). The combat is nothing like I was anticipating, but that’s a good thing. Strike that, it’s a great thing. The enemies (at least for the demo) didn’t have health bars, so there was no whittling them down. Instead, Jin (the protagonist) cut two enemies down in one stroke each and dodged a blow from the third one before cutting their arm off. Once they’d fallen to the ground he finished them off via impalement through the back. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me, not only because it’s so different from any other game that I can think of, but because it’s accurate. The Katana was designed specifically to kill a person in a single blow. I realize any sword technically could do that, but it’s a very different style to only swing once versus using a sword and shield (sword and board as my friend Ryan calls it). The Devs have said this game is a lover letter to Samurai films and have specifically mentioned Kurosawa as an influence. As I’m a major fan of both Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune, they can just have my money right now. This is one of the games I’m most excited for, and I can’t wait to play it.

Spider-Man, well, looks like a Spider-Man game. I know that isn’t much of a descriptor, but nothing stood out as super new to me. It honestly looked like Spider-Man 2, but more-so with what can be done using today’s technology. I realize that sounds unenthusiastic, but the game does look good. It’s definitely on my “to play” list.

Death Stranding finally got a demo as well as a new trailer, and quite frankly? I still have no clue what it’s about. But it’s got Norman Reedus and its being done by Hideo Kojima, and that alone has me interested.

In addition, they announced a handful of new games that got significantly less coverage: Control, a game done by the Quantum Break Devs, a remake of Resident Evil 2, Trover Saves the Universe, a game from the creator of Rick and Morty, and the one that made me happiest, Nioh 2. Yep, three major Samurai games on the horizon; and it’s not even my birthday.

Ubisoft: The only game I’m really going to cover here is the new Assassin’s Creed. Beyond Good and Evil 2 looks interesting enough that its piqued my curiosity, but we’ve still seen no gameplay, only cinematics. Ubisoft’s biggest game was Assassins Creed: Odyssey, which got leaked a couple of weeks ago. Now I thought Origins was fantastic and was definitely the kick in the pants the series needed. But with Odyssey it looks like AC is going back to a yearly release, which has considerably dampened my enthusiasm. I’m also unclear how it can be an AC game when this is set around 430 BC, close to 400 years before Origins, which is supposed to be the start of the Assassins. I think Ubisoft might need someone to help keep their timeline straight (I’m conveniently available for hire right now Ubisoft). That said, the combat looks good, I like the Greek setting, and you can choose to play as a man or a woman, both of whom are separate characters, so that’s cool. For me this is a “wait and see.” If it gets good reviews, I’ll probably grab it when the price has dropped a bit.

Nintendo: I didn’t watch this, sorry.

That’s all I got for E3, next week I’ll be doing something really different this, I promise. Peace out.

That’s all I got for E3, next week I’ll be doing something really different this, I promise. Peace out.

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