EA Conference Saturday 9th June 2018 7pm
Conference recap (Lloyd):
While EA’s conference is predictable as always, there were some interesting nuggets of information hidden amongst the sports content.
Kicking off EA Play, and E3, Battlefield V really does look quite beautiful. While more is promised for the Microsoft briefing tomorrow, we did learn about the new ability to jump through windows, move some mounted weapons and – yes – Battle Royale. Dice have put a focus on customisation but didn’t go into anything further. We’ll see what the rest of E3 holds!
FIFA 19 up next, and EA have finally managed to snag the Champions League Licence from Pro Evo. Seems like this’ll be the headline addition this year, and will feature in Tournament, Career, The Journey, and Ultimate Team modes. As a big FIFA fan, its nice to finally have this included, but more important was a vague assurance that gameplay has been improved – albeit with no further information. There was also a reminder that FIFA 18 has just received a free World Cup expansion, and the full game will be available as a free trial starting now for a limited time.
Andrew Wilson then took the stage to discuss the company’s vision for subscription-based streaming service for games – nothing concrete, but there is a demo on the show floor. On the subject of subscriptions, Origin Access is getting a “premier” tier allowing for new games to be added on the day of release. I really like this idea, but it doesn’t seem EA Access on Xbox is getting the same deal. Aside from the conference, however, they have added Need for Speed: Payback to the vault on these services.
Vince Zampella of Respawn announced a title and release window for the company’s new Star Wars title – Jedi: Fallen Order is coming holiday 2019, and there will be lightsabers. Personally would’ve loved for them to drop this out of nowhere at next year’s E3 but at least we have a title now.
Sticking with Star Wars, Battlefront 2’s mea culpa continues with a brief admission of “we didn’t get it quite right” (check out my Patch Notes article for more) but also an assurance of more content this year, specifically based on The Clone Wars. Four new heroes (Grievous, Dooku, Anakin and Obi-Wan) and multiple maps (including Geonosis) should sustain the community until an inevitable Battlefront 3 announcement.
Unravel 2 was shown, Yarny looking adorable as ever, this time with added (and optional) co-op. It looks a lot more fluid than it’s predecessor, and it’s out right now!
This year’s EA originals title is Sea of Solitude from Berlin-based Jo-Mei Games. It looks to be an exploration game of sorts based on loneliness and the fight against it. Could be a really interesting title, certainly one to keep an eye on – it also has a beautiful art-style which I can’t wait to see more of.
More sports news, and NBA Live 19 (which I felt sure would be retired again) is out 7th September. This was followed by a nice, cringe-worthy segment about Madden, during which we learned nothing new about the game. It’s out 7th August.
Command and Conquer: Rivals is aiming to bring RTS gaming to your phone and… it didn’t have a great demo in my opinion. A pre-alpha version is available on Android now, so give it a whirl!
The big, headline feature of the conference was undoubtedly Anthem. Teased at the start, and then given a deep-dive a the end of the conference, we got to learn a few tidbits. Firstly, the open world areas are for multiplayer gameplay while the city areas are focused on your story. The world is always changing, and these changes will be seen by all players throughout the world. There are 4 classes of “Javelin” (my goodness they look cool) – Ranger, Colossus, Interceptor and Storm. Each has strengths, weaknesses and individual abilities (presumably much like Destiny’s classes). Visual customisation options will allow you to change your Javelins in interesting ways, but loot-boxes are not part of the game – that said, if there is a cosmetic item you like, you’ll be able to buy it directly from the store. You can also play the entire game in single-player, although this will make things more difficult. The game is also launching on 22nd February 2019 – the same day as Sony’s Days Gone.
And that was EA’s 2018 E3 conference! Big fan of the Anthem deep-dive, although I’d have liked even more details about the loot system. Other than that, Battlefront DLC is great, Unravel 2 stealth-release was cool and Sea of Solitude looks great. What did you enjoy?
Joe: In all honesty EA’s conference bored me to tears. Luckily I missed the first 20 minutes and to be honest I had no desire to go back and watch them after what followed. Sure I was excited at the thought of a new Star Wars game from Respawn and I join in with everyone’s excitement about Clone Wars being added to Battlefront 2, although in all honesty, it feels much like too little too late for that game now. Unravel 2 being released was a nice surprise I suppose and I’m looking forward to our review to see how that turns out. I love FIFA, so the new announcement was always going to please me.
Overall, I think my main issue was the presentation of it all. Everyone was reaching for their pillows when EA decided to switch over to the stage to give us a look at Command and Conquer, while to me all the talk about Anthem was a bit of a snore fest. I used to love when EA had the likes of Peter Moore presenting the games, at least he brought some passion and excitement to proceedings, but now it just feels far too staged. Luckily E3 is only going to get better from now on.
Maybe EA should take a leaf out of Nintendo’s book and throw a video out instead.
Rebecca: It’s easy to see why the EA conference was the first almost as if the plan was to get it out of the way before the more exciting and dominating conferences took too the floor. With an abundance of predictable games, FIFA 19, NBA Live 19 and Madden 19 just to name a few, meant that it was hard to be shocked by this conference. Anthem looks great but it was the fact it’s sharing a release date with Days Gone that got my attention. It will be interesting to see how that unfolds come February next year with. Unravel 2 being out now is a nice touch but for me the star of the show was Sea of Solitude which looks like a visual masterpiece. I love indie games with a messages deeper then they appear on the surface so I will be 100% picking up Sea of Solitude in early 2019 on PS4 with the hope that it lives up to expectations.
Nicole: First of all, commendable effort from EA for their huge step up from their mess of conference last year. It’s a delight to see fewer content creators and instead, developers talking so passionately about the titles they’ve created. In what was naturally going to be a predominantly sports heavy conference (nods to Madden and Fifa), it was lovely to see a few gems shine through. Sea Of Solitude in particular looks to be a phenomenal title that’s no doubt going to rain hell on my emotions in early 2019. However, my personal highlight had to be EA’s new IP, Anthem. The Q & A was a very efficient way of covering the many questions we’ve had since it’s revealed at E3 2017. In now being given the foundations of the game’s lore and also made aware of how Anthem’s single/multiplayer intends to work, I’ll be eagerly counting down the seconds until it’s release.
Dan: Unoriginal, bloated in the wrong places and predictable. EA’s shining light of the conference was quite obviously Sea of Solitude. A game that looks as though it will be as emotional to play, as it is beautiful to look at. I take my hat off to Cornelia Geppert and her team at Jo-Mei Games. It is amazing that a multi-billion dollar games company relies on a small indie dev to get me, and the rest of internet excited… To be fair though, I am not a fan of yearly releases, FPSs, or DLC. Roll on the rest of E3!
Microsoft Conference Sunday 10th June 9pm
Conference recap (Nicole):
One thing above all else that we can take away from Microsoft’s E3 conference this year was their heavy focus on games – even if the majority are also making their way to Playstation 4 anyway.
Opening Microsoft’s Conference was a gorgeous cinematic trailer featuring vast open land, alive with lavish greens and abundant in fauna. Situated amongst it all – alien architecture. As the sun bounced of off the visor of a Spartan helmet and an all too familiar OST chimed in, it was all to clear what was being teased. Yes, in due course the next instalment of Xbox’s exclusive series, Halo Infinite was announced.
Phil Spencer takes centre stage to really kick the show off, giving us the conference rundown – 50 games, 18 exclusives and 15 world premiers. A roar of cheers from the crowd clearly indicate that this is what Xboxers have been after for some time – GAMES.
Moon Studios’ Ori And The Blind Forest’s sequel, The Will Of The Wisps takes to the screen, showcasing it’s wonderfully unique art style and clever platforming mechanics in a gameplay trailer accompanied by a whimsical, moving OST. No date was set in stone, only that it’s due sometime in 2019.
Next up was FromSoftware with the world premier of Ninja hack ‘n’ slash, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. A title seemingly combat focused with a sprinkle of ninja-esque parkour due for release sometime in 2019.
Up next is Bethesda’s own Todd Howard. Yes, IT’S FALLOUT TIME! Todd announces Fallout 4’s availability on Xbox Game Pass. However, knowing what we’re really here for, he unveils the world premier of Fallout 76. The Fallout series newest installment is also it’s largest one, featuring a map four times of Fallout 4’s. Set in West Virginia, you play as first to emerge from your vault, venturing out into an untamed and distinct wasteland. Expanding on the teaser released prior to E3, new mutated creatures are presented alongside a glance of the environment. The nitty gritty details have no doubt been saved for Bethesda’s conference. But on a serious note, do you have “Country Roads, Take Me Home” stuck in your head too?
The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit is was the next trailer, a game by Dontnod Entertainment set in the Life Is Strange Universe. The game’s premise seems to be centred around a hard done by a kid with a powerful imagination. The game can be downloaded completely free from June 26th.
Terry Crews steals our attention as the eagerly anticipated Xbox Exclusive, Crackdown 3 is showcased. At the end of a trailer jam-packed with jumping, power-ups, a mass of firepower and overall extravagant carnage, a release date of February 2019 is displayed (February 2019 is shaping up to be a very busy month for games, indeed).
A brief interlude from new releases showcases NieR: Automata’s – Become As Gods Edition (enhanced for Xbox One X) jump to Xbox come 26/06/18.
Following this is a more in-depth look at Metro Exodus. Another cinematic trailer shows us the game’s environment and a wider span of enemies (including mutant water dwellers) in more detail than we’ve seen prior. Furthermore, an ability to mod weapons on the go from your rucksack was subtly weaved into the trailer. It’s clear the game resonates the same eerie, atmospheric vibe of its predecessors as you get a taste for exploring the dark, claustrophobic Metro tunnels. Metro is due for release 22/02/19 across PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Kingdom Hearts is announced as making it’s way to Xbox for the first time ever in Kingdom Hearts III in 29/01/19. Following this announcement, Xbox’s multiplayer Exclusive, Sea Of Thieves is given some love with not one, but two new helpings of DLC: Cursed Sails due for a July release and Forsaken Shores in September.
What’s that sound? Screeching tires and engines exerting their full potential? Oh yes, time for Forza Horizon: 4, the next instalment in Xbox’s highly-commended racing series. After a gorgeous cinematic trailer exhibiting the titles’ breathtaking aesthetics, Ralph Fulton from Playground Games struts into the limelight to tell us more. FH4 is set in “historic Britain” incorporating dynamic seasons in a shared open world. Seasons play a huge part FH4 (as demonstrated in the on-stage demo), directly affecting not only the games aesthetic but also the gameplay in turn. In a shared world full of other Forza players, the game introduces a new level of spontaneity complimented by a quick-chat feature assigned to the d-pad, making communicating with players effortless. Furthermore, Xbox One X sports a 60FPS mode for a smoother more alluring experience. FH4 is due for release on Xbox (including Xbox Game Pass) and Windows 10 on 02/10/18.
Phil Spencer returns to stage to shock us with the news of Microsoft’s acquisition of The Initiative (a brand new studio, Undead Labs, Playground Games (Forza), Ninja Theory, (Hellblade, Heavenly Sword) and Compulsion games (We Happy Few). Following the news of the acquisition of Compulsion Games, we get another look at eccentric, unsettling indie survival adventure title, We Happy Few. The title has been in early access since July 2016 but is seeing it’s full release on 08/08/18.
Another cinematic trailer signifies the arrival of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. The trailer bleeds into some heavily scripted in-game footage which really has the game flaunting the same finesse as displayed in it’s predecessor, but with a few tweaks. Set in an overgrown, post-apocalyptic rendition of Washington DC the gameplay predominantly shows more of the same. To summarise, if you didn’t take too kindly to the first title, it’s unlikely it’s sequel will entice you. The Division 2 will see a release 15/05/19.
Ashley Speicher then talks about upcoming additions to Xbox Game Pass including ESO and The Division which are available now before mentioning all future Xbox exclusives will also be available via the service. Furthermore, the service itself will see enhancements with Fast Start allowing you to start games twice as fast.
After a montage of indies and less profound titles that are making their way to Xbox and Game Pass, it’s time to unravel the mysteries of Shadow Of The Tomb Raider. In a cinematic trailer, we’re offered some insight into Lara’s upcoming adventure in the final instalment to the Origins trilogy. We see Lara in some intense action sequences, we get a taste for the newly implemented underwater combat, see our heroine traversing a treacherous environment but most importantly, there’s plenty of puzzle solving and Tomb Raiding. Shadow Of The Tomb Raider will be available on 14/09/18.
Next up are two console launch exclusives. Stepping in for Skate 4 which didn’t see an announcement is Session, an intricate Skateboarding title down to shifting the weight of the player and MMORPG Black Desert.
D-demons? Capcom? Could it be? Well, IT IS! Moving onto one of the most action-packed announcements of the conference was the unveiling of DMC 5, a sequel to DMC4. Nero has adopted the Dante-ish personality of the DmC reboot and finally made his comeback. Hideaki Itsuno (Capcom) and Matt Walker (DMC Producer) waltz on stage to a cheering crowd of ecstatic fans to confirm they’ve heard their cries and have created what they believe to be the best DMC title yet.
Lurking in DMC’s shadow is some Cuphead DLC featuring a handful of new characters to the stress-inducing run and gun Xbox exclusive. Following that, an anime brawler from Bandai Namco titled Jump Force, incorporating a bundle of familiar faces you can play as all possessing different abilities.
One very surprising addition to Microsoft’s line up was the showcasing of Dying Light 2. In a trailer that talked about terrors of the night, demonstrating fluent first-person parkour in a post-apocalyptic setting, it became increasingly clear what game this was. Chris Avellone (Techland) emerges on stage to explain that Dying Light 2 is everything you’d expect from a sequel but with a few new variations. Dying Light 2 features an elaborate new choice system that affects how the city setting appears and functions. A demo showcased explains the system in greater detail.
Following Dying Light 2’s announcement are announcements for Just Cause 4 (04/12/18) finely displaying the same insanity the series is renowned for and Gears Of War’s nifty collaboration game with POP! Funko (2019).
Xbox continues to milk the Gears Of War franchise in an emotional cinematic preview of Gears Of War 5, including an abundance of characters the series holds most dear. It’s due for release in 2019.
Xbox’s conference closes with a sneak peek of Cyberpunk, an RPG developed by CD Projeckt RED. Cyberpunk is an adaptation of a board game set in a dystopian city. No release date was announced alongside this tease.
Overall, a great conference on Microsoft’s behalf. It was delightful to see a focus on content as opposed to an overload of hardware. I was thrilled to see Metro, DMC 5 and Dying light 2. I am however concerned with the number of game releases due in February. Hopefully, some delays can spread out some potentially great content over the year. What were your thoughts on the Xbox conference?
Joe: There is no denying that Microsoft’s conference was one of its best in years. There was plenty of games announced, although perhaps it was the announcements away from the games that really made the headlines. Who saw a Ninja Theory acquisition coming? Not me. It’s a fantastic move by Microsoft and with the other five studios, including a new one in L.A, you can tell the company means business when it comes to future support for Xbox.
While, rather disappointingly, Xbox doesn’t have a lot to look forward to in 2018, apart from of course the amazing looking Forza Horizon 4, there is at least new titles for the future, such as Gears of War, Halo and Crackdown. If only there was some new IPs too, although at least we finally got a look at Cyberpunk and what an end to the show that was.
Good job Xbox, now over to you Sony.
Rebecca: After a rather slow start to E3, Microsoft, who up until now have been notably quiet compared to other developers took the floor promising to showcase 50 games, 18 of which would be Xbox Exclusives and 15 World Premieres. However, as these games rolled out it was clear that out only a few of the bigger titles were Xbox exclusives the rest of the exclusives were smaller indie games. Of these indie games Below from ID@ Xbox caught my eye as I had already played that at EGX Rezzed a few months ago. Other highlights for me were We Happy Few, (developed by Compulsion Games, one of the five developers bought by Microsoft Studios) which looks to be a vision of a George Orwell inspired dystopia, since we will be seeing We Happy Few on PS4 I will be throwing money at this game come its release date. The Cuphead DLC looks great, even though I haven’t been fortunate to play Cuphead I have stated many times that this game makes me wish I owned an Xbox. So for those who do, please pick up the Cuphead DLC on my behalf when it’s released in 2019. Finally I was blown away by the World Premiere for what I assumed was, just another zombie game but was surprised to learn it was Dying Light 2, a sequel to the 2015 parkour zombie game that wowed the world, myself included. With the promise that Dying Light 2 will focus on choice based gameplay which will shape the world as well as strong parkour elements stitched together with rich day and night cycle implemented in the first game I was sold and I’m eager to hear more about Dying Light 2 through the continuation of E3
Lloyd: Phew, what a rollercoaster. I’ve been vocal in my disappointment towards the Xbox brand this generation – for all of the hardware positivity, there aren’t any compelling reasons to own it. This E3 doesn’t fix this, but it affirms the company’s commitment to gaming with new studios and a surprising focus on several Japanese titles. Of the exclusives, Horizon 4 looks incredible (set in good ol’ Blighty) and Crackdown 3 looks much improved. Gears 5 looks to be a shakeup for the franchise (Gears Tactics looks great too). All in all, Microsoft promised games and they delivered – one of their best conferences.
Bethesda Conference Monday June 11th 2.30am
Conference recap (Nicole):
Despite a relatively cheesy conference, Bethesda have complied a conference choc-a-block with content fans of their most successful franchises will love.
Good ‘ol Pete Hines comes on stage to start building the hype with Rage 2. After a few bitter jokes regarding the leaks on behalf of a certain retailer and a live showing of metal track well-suited for Rage 2, a trailer gets well underway. Rage 2 possesses a very Borderlands-y/ Mad Max sort of vibe being based on bandits in post-apocalyptic world devoid of any law. The trailer transitions into some pre-alpha footage that boasts some of Rage 2’s bonkers gameplay in a mission. Rage 2’s first person shooter experience is fast-paced action rife with insanity. It looks to centre around swapping between an assortment of weapons, lethal grenade options (including knives that pin people to walls) and using special attacks including a ground slam of sorts. Also presented in the trailer is what is presumably a “rage mode” which increases your damage output for a short space of time. “If you can see it, you can drive it” is one of the features within the game, with heavily geared up vehicles being scattered throughout Rages’s open-world, all ripe for the taking. We also see some neck and neck in combat in the footage provided. Also slipped into the trailer is a sneaky look at Rage 2’s collectors edition which includes a Ruckus The Crusher talking head. Rage is due for release Spring 2019.
After some talk regarding TES: Legends, Bethesda’s strategy card game, Matt Firor takes over to talk about The Elder Scrolls Online. Matt goes on to talk about the thriving community within ESO and the success of the Summerset expansion. He continues to announce their upcoming DLC’s including a dungeon expansion called Wolf Hunter with it’s focus being werewolves and a new story addition called Murkmire in which players will get to revisit Black Marsh. Murkmire delves deeper into Argonian lore by request of the dedicated fans of the MMO. The content is due later this year.
The next trailer exhibits a hellish rendition of what one was a city. Fallen buildings, bodies grotesquely bound to structures whilst streams of lava run amongst a wreckage stained with a deep devilish red. As the trailer plays we see an ensemble of demonic creatures lurking amongst the ruins. HELL YES (pardon the pun), it’s Doom Eternal. Hugo Martin and Marty Stratton hop on stage to talk about the sequel to Bethesda’s devilish shooter. Developers have worked hard to ensure Doom Slayer packs more of a punch, that the catalogue of demons have doubled in variety and that hell has made it’s way to earth. More Doom Eternal details are to be unveiled at QuakeCon in August 2018 which can also be watched online.
Next up we jump to a video that talks about heaps of new content for Prey in honour of it’s year anniversary. In a free update that’s live as of now are three new modes: Story mode, New Game + (a big request from fans) and Survival mode – a more intense challenge for more committed players. Furthermore, Moon Crash is also available right now. It’s an infinitely replayable DLC in which hazards, enemies and loot alter each time you play. Susan Kath and Ricardo Bare take to the stage to discuss a further DLC called Typhon Hunter due for release later in this Summer. It’s essentially a game of hide and seek in which a player must take on five others who play as mimics, allowing them to disguise themselves as everyday objects. Prepare for a myriad of jump-scares, fair warning.
Need another Wolfenstein fix? Well, Bethesda’s got you covered as Jerk Gustafsson and Jens Matthies from Machine Games take the helm of the show to talk about a sequel called Youngblood. This new addition to the series tells the story of B.J Blazkowicz twin daughters. The girls must take up the torch in their fathers stead as to continue to mow down an onslaught of Nazi’s in an alternate future in which they reign without mercy. The Machine Games representatives go on to explain that Youngblood is a both a single player and a co-op experience in which you are able to play as both twin daughters should you fancy. Youngblood looks to be the flip side of the coin to The Old Blood installment of the series, possibly indicating a similar length of game. Youngblood is due out sometime in 2019 but until then, you can take your fight against the Nazi’s on the go in Wolfenstein II that’s seeing it’s Switch release on 09/06/18.
Pete Hines follows up the Prey and Wolfenstein announcements with some VR content including Wolfenstein Cyber Pilot in which as a hacker you get to hack Nazi robots and turn their own machines against them. Pete Hines then sensing the excitement brewing in the crowd passes the show over to Todd Howard who finally gives us a taste of what we’ve been waiting for. Although a person from the crowd calls out Todd Howard, he’s sadly not what we’ve been waiting eagerly on the edge of our seats for.
After a Skyrim for Alexa gag video, we finally get to see what Fallout 76 is all about. As mentioned in Microsoft’s conference, Fallout 76 is set before all prior releases in a map four times the size of Fallout 4’s, home to an ensemble of very different enemies. A combination of trailers, previews, Vault-Tec videos and the glorious voice of Todd Howard, we learn that 76 is an online experience in which you journey in a wasteland with only a dozen of your fellow vault dwellers. Although this is the case, you are still able to play alone, jump between dedicated sessions or join your friends without losing any progress. As in any multiplayer, you’re bound to get players behaving in a hostile manner and killing you on sight, but Fallout 76 ultimately encourages that you work together in order to achieve a more enjoyable experience. The acquisition of nukes scattered throughout the map will entitle you to immeasurable firepower in sticky situations and once unleashed will change the world for a while and allow you access to new and different resources. Moreover, Fallout 4’s rigid and frustrating base-building mechanic has had an overhaul and now allows you to build absolutely anywhere in the map.
Todd goes on to talk of Bethesda’s eagerness to see how a multiplayer could be implemented in the Fallout universe. In knowing how buggy their games can be and in having never attempted a multiplayer of this sort before, a Beta (Break it Early Test Application) fans can participate in by pre-ordering the game will come about sometime before Fallout 76’s release. A charming special edition of the game is unveiled including a glow in the dark map (that Todd is particularly thrilled about), a wearable T-51B power helmet with a functional light, Fallout figurines and a few other nifty goodies. Fallout 76 will be released 14/11/18.
In-keeping with the Fallout vibe, Todd talks about Fallout Shelters’ success and it’s subsequent jump to Switch and PS4 (following the trophy list leaks) available as of right now.
Todd moves onto The Elder Scrolls franchise and talks us through The Elder Scrolls: Blades. Blades is game which translates the same Elder Scrolls experience and beauty alike onto a mobile device that can be played both portrait and landscape (great for those boring meetings eh Todd). Blades incorporates a building element in which you can build up and change the appearance of your town and visit the towns of your friends too. TES: Blades is an ambitious game that hopes to progress from mobile onto other platforms including VR with aspirations of cross-platform play to be implemented eventually. Pre-orders can be made as of now.
Todd rounds up the show by talking about their plans for next-generation, Enter Starfield. Starfield is a concept that has been circling Bethesda for a long time coming and is now finally becoming more than just a vision. It’s a brand new franchise and Bethesda’s first entirely original franchise in 25 years. It’s a single-player adventure presumably space-centric as gathered from the brief teaser trailer.
The only thing missing from Bethesda’s conference line-up until now has been a new sequel to the whimsical and widely loved title, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and as Todd goes onto talk about Bethesda’s plans for next gen, we are treated to an end of show tease. A vague yet stunning cinematic for The Elder Scrolls: VI has the audience in awe as Todd departs centre stage. This next Elder Scrolls game is set to make it’s way to next-gen sometime after Starfield sees a release.
Despite being cringe-worthy at times, Bethesda’s conference was brimming with flashy new content for the majority of it’s franchises. Doom Eternal sporting an assortment of new demons to tear apart, Fallout 76 featuring an online world that doesn’t compromise the single player experience, new Wolfenstein content to slaughter Nazi’s in and teases for next gen content including a new IP and Elder Scrolls 6? Would you like to cut my purse some slack Bethesda…?
Joe: Elder Scrolls 6. I could sum up how I feel about Bethesda’s conference with just those words. Sure it’s a while away but really it’s all I need to make me a happy gamer. Still, in the meantime, we have Rage 2, which looks great, DOOM Eternal and of course Fallout 76.
I just love what Bethesda is doing with Fallout. I have to admit to being worried about the all online part, however by only having a handful of players in each game session, as well as the ability to play with friends, the developer really seems to be taking a responsible approach. Even better is the fact that you’ll never lose progress and of course that you can still play on your own without taking away from the experience.
Bethesda’s show was a little odd, especially when the rocker came out and everyone looks awkwardly on, wondering what was going on. I quite liked it, but hey, it’s good to party. The Skyrim for Alexa was a great way to poke fun at itself too.
Overall I thought it was a pretty decent conference.
Rebecca: At last years E3 conference I was wowed by the announcement of The Evil Within 2 so I found this year’s conference a little lacking. As someone who isn’t a fan of Fallout or Elder Scrolls I was left feeling as though the conference was missing that special something. Rage 2 looked impressive but once more not really my thing, DOOM Eternal also looked great with a variety of monsters and an impressive looking trailer. Prey was announced to have new content dropping and although it may be the only game I have played from tonight’s setlist I there was nothing that Arkane studios could do to entice me back to the franchise. Their segment revealed that Prey would drop new updates (again) and an upcoming DLC called Moon Crash is on the way where every experience is completely different. Bethesda offered up a great conference for those anticipating the release of Fallout 76 and Elder Scrolls 6 but for me, it was just another chance to hear Country Roads whilst watching a trailer for a game I not too fussed about.
Lloyd: A conference of two halves – a tepid opening featuring a lot of updates to existing titles (although Rage 2 looks great) and a second half filled with hype from Doom Eternal and Fallout 76. That said, its weird to have had Starfield AND Elder Scrolls 6 within minutes of each other, but at least they didn’t end on a mobile game which was my worry as it dragged on.
Square Enix Conference Monday June 11th 6pm
Conference recap (Nicole):
In a surprisingly short conference, we learn a lot more about the upcoming Tomb Raider title.
The show starts with a video introduction from Square Enix CEO, Yosuke Matsuda who explains the showcase will include not only upcoming releases, but also their latest news.
Square Enix pull out the big guns (or more specifically some dual-wielded pistols) right off the bat, as we get another look at the roundup to Lara’s Origins story, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider. We cut to a nail-bitingly intense cinematic scene in which Lara is trying to level a plane in a perilous snow storm that’s ferrying both herself and Jonah. The storm tears the plane apart and the pair are separated as they begin hurtling towards the ground. Daniel Chayer-Bisson goes on to provide some insight into the game’s premise explaining that Lara must battle through a brutal jungle setting in order to prevent an impending apocalypse. Although Lara has grown in both strength and confidence over duration of Shadow Of The Tomb Raiders’ forebears, she will still be outgunned and out numbered by the forces of Trinity. Lara will have to use the skills she’s acquired during her time in the jungle as to overpower Trinity and achieve the ultimate goal of saving the world.
We move onto some gameplay showing Lara “becoming one with the jungle” and using a stealth approach to gain an advantage against enemies that outnumber her. We see Lara toying with her enemies from the treetops as to turn them against each other and dwindle the numbers. We also see her trusty bow in action, a new rope arrow attack that allows her to suspend and strangle her enemies from branches and button prompts that indicate when Lara is able to strike a fatal blow from above with her knife. Daniel explains that Shadow Of The Tomb Raider will flaunt new and interesting traversal techniques for negotiating it’s captivating new setting including grappling and wall-running. New swimming mechanics allow for full underwater exploration and survival but most importantly, this new Tomb Raider installment is crammed with new and far more dangerous tombs to raid. A gameplay montage rounds up TR’s time in the spotlight displaying some snippets of Lara’s journey in becoming the more iconic rendition of Tomb Raider she’s renowned for being. Shadow Of The Tomb Raider will see it’s release on 14/09/18.
A string of trailers brings to light the Under The Moonlight FFIV patch 4.3 (details of which can be found here) and a Monster Hunter World and Final Fantasy IV mashup with a short clip showing off an adorable little Palico and Rathalos swooping in for an attack. This mash-up is due this Summer.
Moving on we learn a little more about The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit as Michel Koch and Raoul Barbet (creative directors of Life Is Strange) appear on screen to talk about the game in some more depth. The game is a new story about a boy named Chris which is set in the Life Is Strange universe (as shown in Microsoft’s conference) and although it will pave your way into Season two, is not actually Life Is Strange 2 itself. The pair go on to say that Captain Spirit is their way of introducing players to the many stories from the expanded universe of Life Is Strange and throughout will be nods to other parts of the series. The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit will be free to download on PS4, Xbox One and Steam on 26/06/18.
The conference progresses into some more trailers in which we are presented with Dragon Quest XI: Echoes Of An Elusive Age, a game that shows off a beautiful world to explore and multitude of monsters to defeat. It’s releasing on the 04/09/18. Following this is a teaser for Babylons Fall, a game by Platinum games coming sometime in 2019. Square Enix go on to show us NieR Automata’s Jump to Xbox in the Become As God’s Edition including all previously released DLC, available as of 26/06/18 and Octopath Traveller a JRPG that’s also hopping platforms but instead to Switch on the 13/07/18.
Just Cause 4 makes an appearance as one of Square Enix’s bigger reveals after only a brief showing during Microsoft’s conference. The footage presented shows Rico Rodriguez partaking in the same flamboyant action the series is renowned for accommodating. Just Cause 4 takes place in a fictional rendition of the South American country of Solis, the “largest and most breathtaking world” the developers have created to date. Solis is hiding so much history and so many secrets, all of which are just waiting to be uncovered by players. Gabriella is the game’s antagonist spreading fear and oppression across a country that is rather beautiful at a first glance. Extreme weather conditions are newly introduced into Just Cause 4, bringing with it a whole new level of destruction and crazy physics. These dangerous weather conditions include towering tornadoes and colossal bolts of lightning and cause as much as a threat as they open up opportunities for the player. Vehicles have seen an overhaul consisting of new additions including cranes and car transporters but also handling enhancements across bikes and cars alike. Rico’s grapple had a little freshen up, it can now be fully customised and has been made more intuitive for newcomers to the series whist opening up new opportunities for veteran players. The grapple now has more tethers than it’s ever seen before, it can deploy rocket boosters and air-lifters, a new feature, all constituting the unbeatable sandbox experience the franchise is famous for. Just Cause 4 introduces a new story in which the stakes for Rico have never been higher, especially in a game that has seen an A.I revamp. Just cause 4 is due for release on 04/12/18.
Teased next is The Quiet Man, which essentially shows a deaf man kicking the ass of a pair of obnoxious gangsters. No info is given other than there is more to come in August this year, so we’ll have to wait and see what this is all about.
The widely anticipated Kingdom Hearts 3 rounds up things for Square Enix. Featured in the footage is an ensemble of new and interesting characters from the Disney universe. The gameplay reel gives us a taste for the KH3 combat, special moves and a closer look at the games enemies. KH3 is to be released 29/01/19.
Square Enix’s conference was awfully short and I felt disheartened in having expected so much more. It would have been nice to have seen representatives of developers take to the stage to talk about some of the titles in more depth. Although Shadow Of The Tomb Raider looks like it’s incorporating a great deal of new and interesting gameplay mechanics, my dubiety still remains firmly present. With underwater exploration already adding to what is no doubt going to be open-world anyway, I fear there will be far too much deterring focus from the story. I don’t want to be picking my brains whenever I come back to a main story mission, figuring out where I left off. What are your thoughts on Square Enix’s conference?
Rebecca: Well I will be the first to admit that I was disappointed with Square Enix’s half an hour long conference. It felt a lot less interactive and personal as Square Enix threw out game after game with little insight to development, progression and the nature of each game. Shadow of the Tomb Raider which is undoubtedly one of Square Enix’s most anticipated games kicked the show off when it may have been better suited as a finale piece to prevent the show dragging as it did once Lara exited our screens. Kingdom Hearts 3 was also highlighted once more but its been less than 24 hours since we saw the exact trailer so the shock value was missing. Overall Square Enix failed to impress me and were it not for Tomb Raider I may not have even tuned in.
Lloyd: Square’s conference felt entirely unnecessary – Shadow of the Tomb Raider had been shown elsewhere, as had Kingdom Hearts, and they weren’t the only ones. In having a conference, I think Square created an expectation that we’d see something from Final Fantasy VII Remake or their Avengers title – seeing neither left the conference as somewhat of a disappointment for me.
Ubisoft Conference Monday June 11th 9pm
Conference recap (Rebecca):
Ubisoft opened their conference with the intentions of turning heads and making a mark which, they succeeded to do. The first game reveal of the night was Just Dance 2019 and its announcement was introduced by a huge dancing panda and a collective group of colourful eccentric characters. Although Just Dance revolves around the same repetitive formula Ubisoft succeeded in making the game look exciting and refreshing without showing an actual gameplay.
Ubisoft wasted no time rolling trailers out one after another in quick succession, so it wasn’t long until the second game of the night had its turn in the spotlight. Beyond Good and Evil 2 showcased an extended cinematic trailer with beautiful graphics and visuals which wowed me. The trailer also revealed that Jade, (a character from the first Beyond Good and Evil) will feature in the sequel this pinch of information reveals that there may be a stronger connection to the first Beyond Good and Evil 2 than originally expected. Two members of the Beyond Good and Evil 2 team Gabrielle Shrager and Guillame Bruner arrive on stage to talk more about the game. announcing that a mystery artefact draws the crew face to face with their greatest foe. There is still no release date for the game but its collaboration with Joseph Gordon-Levvit’s company HitRecord suggests that the interaction between gamers and Beyond Good and Evil will keep players occupied creating art until Beyond Good and Evil 2 does come to consoles.
Next up Rainbow Six Siege with the announcement that the community currently has 35 million players and with that support from the community upcoming events were announced. As well as these three champions events spanning out from August 2018 to Feburary 2019 a documentary called Mindest was mentioned.
After an insane introduction which included developer Antti Ilvessuo arriving at the stage on a Motorcycle and then dramatically diving head first onto a stand on stage Trails Rising was announced. The game features multiple iconic locations, arena’s and obstacles for players to overcome and in February 2019 Trails Rising will be released for all consoles including the Nintendo Switch.
The Division 2 was next showing off two brand new trailers and the received bountiful applause with the announcement that raids will be coming to The Division 2. Obviously, Ubisoft have learnt from previous mistakes as they also stated that there will be three DLC’s dropped in the game’s first year, all of these three being free to download.
As the show reached its middle point Ubisoft brought back the entertainment with a performance by Critical Hit accompanying the trailer shown behind them off Mario Rabbid’s Kingdom Battle: Donkey Kong Adventure. As expected from the title this quirky game is a crossover between the beloved (albeit insane) Rabbid’s and Donkey Kong. The game is releasing in just two weeks, on the 26th of June.
Finally, it was time to unveil some footage from the much-awaited Skull and Bones, which has remained almost silent since its reveal at last year’s E3 conference. Great detail has gone into the trailer with stunning graphics highlighting the intrepid life of a pirates out at sea. It was revealed that Fortune’s will play an important role in the game as they reveal secrets in the huge open world. Weather and trade routes will also be key to pay attention too as all of these factors will alter the behaviour of other pirates, traders and escort ships. We still don’t have a release date for Skull and Bones, all that we know is that it looks stunning and we can expect it in 2019.
Next was Transference, a VR game that looks extremely unnerving and unsettling, it incorporates film narrative with the interactive medium of video games. The story will unravel as you switch the perspectives of your family members to unravel an unsettling truth. Players can expect to see more of Transference later this fall when its due for release.
Knotting together Nintendo and Ubisoft once again Starlink: Battle for Atlas was the next game to be revealed. This space exploration game will be released on the 16th of October for all consoles with an exclusive Star Fox tie in for those playing on the Nintendo Switch.
A new For Honor expansion was announced, it’s titled Marching Fire and will introduce new factions and four new fighters. On top of this reveal Roman Campos-Oriola, the Creative Director of For Honor unveiled a 4V4 multiplayer mode called Breach. This setting will be completely focused on the castle siege.
The Crew 2 rocked up to mention that there is a beta opening on the 21st of June ahead of it’s release. That same open beta can be pre-ordered now.
Finally, the moment that we have all been waiting for since the Assassins Creed leaks emerged a mere few weeks ago. The extended trailer for Assassins Creed Odyssey showcases the story of the game and a new feature which allows you to choose your character either Alexios or Kassandra, and new dialogue options allow the player to determine their own story through narrative choices. We were treated to another trailer, this time a lengthy gameplay trailer which presented the gorgeous city of Mykonos and the fluid battle system. Overall Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is setting up to be a stunning experience and with its release date announced as October 5th 2018, its not long before we can experience it for ourselves.
Lloyd: One of the best conferences so far, Ubi put on a show. They had my attention with the dancing Panda that opened the show and I was with them the whole way through. Last year’s surprise package “Skull and Bones” looks a lot more fleshed out (get it?) and the addition of Star Fox in Starlink was a big surprise. Somehow, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey looks better than Origins although I was hoping for a “one more thing” at the end of the conference and was left disappointed. Surely Splinter Cell next year?!
Sony Conference Tuesday June 12th 2.30am
Conference recap (Rebecca):
Sony knows that it’s one of the most anticipated conferences to showcase games at E3 and in previous years we’ve had a good showing, however bad presentation let down the incredible games that we did eventually get to see in this years showcase.
The Last of Us Part II kicked off the night and presented a fantastic gameplay trailer which effortlessly reeled off the conclusion of the games second extended trailer. Ellie, who is now a young adult is a capable hunter and the gameplay Naughty Dog presented shows her wielding machete’s knives and archery with ease. Melee combat has been elaborated on since the first game and now arrow variants mean extend the level of customisation which was built upon in the initial game. The graphics look undeniably stunning and incredible detail has been added to every environmental factor giving The Last of Us Part II depth of immersion which was not present in its 2013 predecessor. Unfortunately we still do not have a release date but it’s clear to see that The Last of Us Part II will do nothing but gain attention and turn heads until then.
Sony takes an intermission here which instead of giving keen gamers an insight to the games breaks up the conference. Its almost as if the post-show has arrived early, however once Sony gets back into the swing of things it regains some fluidity.
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 briefly takes the stage with the announcement that it will feature some of the classic maps from other COD games. And that Black Ops 3 is now available for free for PS Plus users. Prior to tonight showcase Sony unveiled an appetiser for E3 where they announced treats from upcoming games such as their release dates or even new reveals. Quickly they reel them off again now, these recaps include Tetris Effect, Days Gone, Ghost Giant, Twin Mirror and Beat Saber. Following these recaps Sony then unveiled the trailer for Destiny 2 Forsaken.
Now the main show starts, I will be the first to admit that I was confused to be the two separated sections for the Sony showcase and it felt strange how disjointed their were. Nevertheless the ‘actual’ conference moved into extended gameplay Trailer for Ghost of Tsushima to wow the audience with the games stunning graphics. Ghost of Tsushima which still does not have a release date showed the games stealth and action abilities and how they can combine.
A brand new game was announced next, Control which is developed by Remedy games is a new IP which requires you to alter the physics of an environment as its core factor. Control will be released in 2019. Jumping straight into the next trailer we finally had more information from the illusive Resident Evil 2 Remake. The announcement was paired with a trailer which features incredible graphics and an over the shoulder play style. The full game will finally be released on the 25th January 2o19.
Now its time to revisit Kingdom Hearts 3, the game that has been featured in most of this years E3 conference. For Sony’s conference we got a brand new gameplay trailer which showcased the ship from Pirates of the Caribbean and some gameplay action out at sea.
Now the moment that we all have been apprehensively been waiting for, more Death Stranding. Death Stranding has become notorious for its wacky out there trailers and this extended trailer was no different. it is undeniable that Death Stranding is beautiful, the trailer mapped out the vast world, showing Norman Reedus travelling across a variety of landscapes from rolling rivers to crumbling hills all while carrying questionable items for delivery. We also got an exclusive look at some of the fellow characters we will meet on this questionable journey. Death Stranding may have an strange and complicated plot but no there is no denying that its going to be huge come release.
A surprise from the show was Nioh 2 which came rather unexpected to Sony’s press conference. The short reveal trailer showed another terrifying boss and a dramatic fight between the warrior and the fiery demon. This game has been confirmed to be a true sequel to the 2017 hit and is currently in development.
The finale of the show came in the form of an extended trailer for Spider-Man, one which highlighted the story elements in the form of an extended trailer and then showcased the fluidity of the game play as footage from Spider-Man was shown. It appears the Spider-Man will use combat similar to the style of Batman Arkham Night, the footage see’s Spider-Man fighting his greatest foes so we can expect more insane fights come September when the full game is released.
So that’s it for Sony, whilst the games were great the intermission meant that the conference felt disjointed and muddled. Also the lack of indie games was a miss for me and I felt as though Sony could have mentioned the development process of what to expect for some of these anticipated titles.
Lloyd: As with Rebecca, Sony’s conference felt a bit of a mess in terms of setup. That said, what they showed was impressive. Resi 2: Remake looks amazing, and it’s out sooner than anticipated, while TLOU2 gameplay was sensational. That said, Spider-Man stole the show for the third E3 in a row for me – my one hangup about the game had been a lack of villains, but I’m now so ready for September!
Nintendo Conference Tuesday June 12th 5pm
Conference recap (Rebecca):
Nintendo Direct kicked off with Daemon x Machina, a gun-dam wings style fighting robot shooter. Combined with the thrash metal rock music this was one strange opening to the Nintendo conference, but a slew of new titles followed.
Next was Xenoblade chronicles 2 which showcased a in game footage and the breathtaking world the game is set in, this JRPG will be releasing in September 2018. A exclusive look at the Pokeball plus was shown next along with some of its abilities. Players will be able to transfer Pokemon from Pokemon GO! to their game, allowing keen Pokemon hunters an edge at the start of Lets Go Pikachu/Eeve. The game version will be launching on the 16th of November.
Its’a me a’ Mario! Super Mario Party has been confirmed and will launch on October 5th on the Nintendo Switch. A selection of party games were shown and all of them look like they will cause competitive yet fun feuds between friends. Definitely a game to keep an eye out for come fall 2018.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses had a brief trailer showing the basics on the game, it will be release some time in spring 2019. Predictably Fortnite was up next with the reveal that the download for Fortnite would be free to download on the Switch from today! although most people could see that announcement happening it’s still a nice treat that it’s available right now.
Nintendo then showcased a selection of indie games including the much anticipated Overcooked 2 which will be released on August the 7th. Killer Queen Black coming 2018 and Hollowed Knight which is available today and includes previous DLC. Octopath Traveller will be coming June 14th and players can carry the file from their demo over to the main game, Octopath will be an exclusive for the Nintendo Switch.
Before the finale we saw a flurry of more indie games including, Starlink, Minecraft, Arena of Valor, Sushi Striker, Dragon Ball Fighter Z and many more. After this it came the game that everyone was waiting for. Super Smash Bros time.
This 2018 edition will be fittingly called the ultimate edition and will feature every character who has ever graced an arena in Smash Bro’s as well as the highly anticipated new character in Metroid’s Ridley. This section of the conference was over fifteen minutes long with Nintendo announcing individual character perks and new moves for their respective final smashes. The full game will drop on the 7th December 2018, promising a expensive Christmas for Super Smash fans.
Lloyd: Nintendo’s conference was short, concise, and packed right up until the Smash Brothers section, which I appreciated. I now know that October, November and December are going to be expensive with Super Mario Party, Pokemon: Lets Go and Smash Brothers respectively. That said, Smash launching 3 months after Nintendo’s Online service was a surprise. Oh, and I can now play Fortnite on my Switch!
Nicole: No Animal Crossing. Enough said.
** This post will be updated accordingly over the duration of E3**