Kicking off the conference was the giant EA, who began by showing off the new story mode to be featured in “Madden 18.” The mode will be similar to the one found in “Fifa 17,” which was also announced to receive a sort of sequel to Alex Hunter’s story in “Fifa 18.” A new “Need for Speed” game was also announced, a series that hasn’t quite had my interest since the original “Need for Speed: Most Wanted.” Probably my favorite surprise announcement was a new game call “A Way Out,” a sort of mash up between the show “Prison Break” and the “Uncharted” games. The game has two characters breaking out of prison in a story-driven experience that has to be played in split-screen with a friend, though the game can be played locally or online. The gameplay reveal for “Star Wars: Battlefront II” was the most anticipated part for myself and many others in the conference, which showed off 30 minutes off live footage in an assault on the capital of Naboo, where Clones and Battle-Droids faced off in their debut for the series. The game is already improving upon the original by including a single-player campaign, free DLC updates and the inclusion of all three eras of “Star Wars,” which opens up the game to a multitude of heroes and planets. The game also ditches the token system for access to heroes and vehicles, and instead has players earn a battle currency in matches which they can use to become a hero such as Rey or pilot a Naboo N-1 Starfighter. “NBA Live 18” was also shown off, and while it still does not look on par with “2K,” it looks to have some serious improvements which may finally produce some competition to its rival basketball sim.
In last year’s conference for Microsoft, Project Scorpio was teased as the next entry in the Xbox One family and would boast the most powerful specs in this console generation and be capable of 4K output. Microsoft revealed in this conference that the console is called Xbox One X and will release on Nov. 7 for $500. A new “Metro” game was announced as well as “Crackdown 3,” which was said to have a release date on Nov. 7 in a trailer that guest starred Terry Crews. Another solid announcement came when the company revealed that the Xbox One family would be able to play a large number of the original Xbox games in an update later this year. “Forza 7” also was announced for fans of the racing sim, releasing fairly soon on Oct. 3 which will go up against Sony’s own “Gran Turismo” game. The highlight of the show for me was “Cuphead” finally getting a release date on Sept. 29 for this year. “Cuphead” is a 2-D platformer in which you fight a number of unique bosses in a delightful art style reminiscent of cartoons made in the 1930s such as Mickey Mouse’s debut, “Steamboat Willie.” A new update was announced for “Minecraft,” showing off a new 4K update coming to the Xbox One X version of the game along with the reveal that the game will soon be crossplay with PC, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and mobile devices. The conference ended with the reveal of “Anthem,” a game in a similar tone to “Destiny” in which you explore big areas with friends and have access to a flight suit that is akin to Iron Man’s. Besides “Cuphead” and “Crackdown 3,” Microsoft has failed to wow and convince me as to why I should own an Xbox One, especially when “Anthem” is not console exclusive and their actual exclusives will be available on PC now as well.
While Bethesda lacked a lot of the big announcements that other developers have, they definitely had the cleanest and best presentation of the bunch. The company took a page out of Nintendo’s playbook and showed off their games in a single video, complete with an animated theme park to transition to each game. The company showed off some of the DLC coming to “Elder Scrolls Online” and their “Elder Scrolls” themed card game, along with showing off “Skyrim” for the Switch which will now include motion controls for the first time. The game will also contain support for the “Link” Amiibo, unlocking his Master Sword, Hylian Shield and Champions Tunic for the player in game; which means two of my favorite games will finally be crossing over for the first time. Bethesda also announced that a version of “Fallout 4” will be coming that is fully playable in VR, which will be interesting to see just how well the game works in that technology. We also got glimpses at the new “Dishonored 2” DLC and the sequel to the survival horror game “Evil Within 2,” which will be arriving in Oct. on Friday the 13th. The last announcement of the conference was the reveal for “Wolfenstein: The New Colossus,” a sequel to the game set in a timeline where the Nazis won WWII. “Wolfenstein: The New Order” is probably one of the best first-person shooters from this generation, leaving me very excited for its sequel’s release on Oct. 27th. While Bethesda really only announced two games, I’d much rather them keep up the trend of only announcing games that are releasing this year, meaning we’ll likely get “The Elder Scrolls VI” next year (fingers crossed).
Ubisoft was the conference I least looked forward to covering, and while it surprised me a bit in some aspects, I still remain strong in that opinion. “Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle” began Ubisoft’s conference along with a few words from Shigeru Miyamoto himself, the creative mind behind “Mario,” “The Legend of Zelda,” “Metroid,” “Star-Fox” and pretty much every other big Nintendo series under the sun. The game will be a turn-based tactical shooter, very similar to “XCOM,” which is surprising as its a genre “Mario” is not really associated with. The game will be a Nintendo Switch exclusive and something I’ll be keeping a very close eye on, which I did not plan on after the above image leaked a few weeks before E3. Ubisoft also unveiled “Crew 2,” a racing game meant to have players travel across the country seamlessly with friends. We also got a closer look at “Assassins Creed: Origins,” the historical third person game set in Egypt this time around, which was a location many fans had been wanting for a long time. “Far Cry 5” gameplay was shown for the first time, appearing to be a lot more tactical than previous entry’s with the inclusion of new companions. The open-world game will be set in a secluded area of America, where a cult is preparing for the ‘collapse’ of the American government. The sequel to the very popular “South Park: The Stick of Truth” was also shown off, a comedic turn-based RPG set in the “South Park” TV show world. Fans excited for “South Park: The Fractured But Whole” will be happy to hear that the games writing will be headed up by the show’s actual writers, with the game set to release this year on Oct. 17. The conference was ended with a cinematic trailer teasing “Beyond Good & Evil 2,” who’s predecessor was not very successful financially but was a cult-classic.
Sony easily had the second best conference of the show, and while they did not reveal much in terms of new games, they did solidify my view in why I should own a PS4. The conference began with a new trailer for “Uncharted: The Lost Legacy,” the stand-alone DLC starring one of Nathan Drake’s old friends, Chloe and “Uncharted 4’s” antagonist, Nadine. The game was originally supposed to be the DLC for “Uncharted 4” but the project became so big that it will now be its own game, though season pass owners will receive it for free. The company also showed off the first DLC set in a frozen environment for “Horizon: Zero Dawn,” and a closer look at “Detroit Become Human” which did not impress me as much as last year’s demo did. Sony Bend showed off more of “Days Gone,” the open-world zombie game starring Sam Witwer as Deacon, who struggles to survive with his biker gang in the northwest of the United States after the outbreak. “Monster Hunter World” also was unveiled and returns the series to its Sony roots, a game where you slowly build up your weapons and gear to take on a variety of more deadly monsters. A remake of “Shadow of the Colossus” was revealed as well as a version of “Skyrim” which will be fully playable in VR, coinciding with the announcement of “Fallout 4” in VR. A closer look at “God of War” was shown, the game set in Norse Mythology shows a more mature Kratos guiding his mysterious son on a stunning adventure. The game was announced to release in early 2018 and was revealed to be entirely one shot for the whole course of the game, with no camera cuts used at any point. The conference ended with actual gameplay of the new Sony exclusive “Spider-Man” game, which is probably the one I am most looking forward to, especially with it including actual web-physics much like the game-adaptation of “Spider-Man 2.”
Nintendo wrapped up the conference with a 30 minute pre-recorded video in the form of their usual Nintendo Direct. The Direct began by sneaking “Rocket League” into their summer multiplayer sizzle reel, later revealing that the massively popular car/soccer hybrid game will be coming to the Switch with Nintendo exclusive items, and will be cross-play with PC and Xbox One. New “Yoshi” and “Kirby” games were also announced for the Nintendo Switch, with release dates aimed at later in 2018. The biggest surprise came in the form of a simple “Metroid Prime 4” logo fading onto screen, causing the internet to go into an uproar over the return of the first-person adventure game. A closer look at the first DLC pack for “Breath of the Wild” was shown off including multiple armor sets which are callbacks to previous games, the new Master Trials, a hard mode for the game and a map feature that tracks the path that you have traveled for the course of the game. The company also unveiled four new Amiibo based on the champions from the game, suckering me in once again to buy the little figurines, despite not knowing their use as of now. The Pokémon Company showed off their Wii U port of “Pokkén Tournament DX,” a fighting game in the style of “Tekken” which uses a variety of various “Pokémon” with unique move sets. The company also announced that a main series “Pokémon” game is in the works for Switch, in the same vein of the 3DS and GBA titles such as “Pokémon Emerald” or “Pokémon Platinum” which will be a first for the series. Finally, Nintendo ended E3 with a full reveal of “Super Mario Odyssey,” including a look at the games newest mechanic. Mario can now take control of enemies and other objects by throwing his new pal Cappy on to his enemies heads, opening up the possibilities of gameplay significantly. With “Read Dead Redemption 2” delayed to 2018, Nintendo might just have a lock on the GOTY award with either “Breath of the Wild” or “Super Mario Odyssey” releasing in the same year, which is a first for the company. Nintendo had the only conference that genuinely surprised me and while we didn’t get an announcement for “Animal Crossing” Switch, they easily take the award for best show at E3.