Monday featured three big press conferences that promised to deliver a wealth of interesting info for games across multiple platforms. There’s tons to go over, so I’ll get right into it.
The PC Gaming Show
More than anything, the PC gaming show was a parade of trailers. Many developers took the stage to discuss finer details of the games that were being presented, but often these discussions were centered around release dates or development progress (patches, expansions, etc.).
But there were plenty of interesting enough trailers to go around.
The games shown at the Press Conference were a mix of new and familiar titles. And a few of the games – Ooblets, Forza Motorsport 7, Sea of Thieves, The Last Night, and Middle Earth: Shadow of War – had already been touched upon at the Microsoft Press Conference on Sund0y.
Since the PC gaming show covered so many different developers, there were more trailers (and developer discussions) than I can put in one article, but I can highlight a few of the more interesting announcements.
First, there was a trailer for an XCOM 2 expansion. Called War of the Chosen, it will be available on August 29.
There was also a trailer (and gameplay) for the new Battletech game.
We were also treated to a trailer for Total War Warhammer 2, ,which should appeal to some of the more rabid fans of the series here on INN.
The Killing Floor 2 developers announced seasonal content called the Summer Side Show. Along with the announcement came the news that, starting June 13, the game would be on sale and free for a week. So, if you’ve been interested in trying out Killing Floor 2, make sure to play it for free while you have the chance.
Microsoft closed out the show with the reveal of Age of Empires Definitive Edition. This is a complete remaster of the original Age of Empires game with updated graphics and a completely remastered score. For die-hard fans of the genre, this should be a welcome surprise.
The other titles covered were: Shadowverse Wonderland Dreams (expansion), Mount and Blade II Bannerlord, Grift Lands, Lone Echo (VR), Lawbreakers (which enters open beta on June 30), Tunic, Y Lands, and War Groove.
Playerunknown (Brendan Greene) also made an appearance to discuss Battlegrounds, but had plenty to say about the development of the game going forward. During his time on stage, he discussed new features like 2D/3D replays, climbing, dynamic vaulting, more varied weather (which included tweaks to rain, fog, and a sunset map), official mod support, and expanded custom game options. In addition to these features, he discussed two new maps that would be coming out fairly soon. One is a desert map set in Peru, featuring sandstorms and scattered ruins. The other, he described as an Adriatic map with snow and a large cosmodrome set in the center of the play area. Besides that, he mentioned that this month’s update would improve server stability and performance. And, finally, he teased a new, powerful weapon only available through supply drops. As a fan of the game, this was the most exciting announcement of the Press Conference.
A Word from Our Sponsors
Intel sponsored this year’s Press Conference and they took time to make sure everyone knew it. At about the half-way point, they gave a brief presentation outlining everything Intel has a hand in, from game development to the MLG scene. For the most part, the presentation was very much a promo pitch for Intel, culminating in a brief mention of their new i7x and i9 processors.
As of the time of publication, the Ubisoft Press Conference has likely been the most surprising of E3 2017 (with the Nintendo press conference on Tuesday, we’ll see if that changes). With more than a few heartfelt words from CEO Yves Guillemot, two completely unexpected game reveals, and one unlikely guest appearance, I can honestly say I was impressed with what Ubisoft showcased this year.
After some opening remarks from Yves, Shigeru Miyamoto – the creator of Mario – took the stage to announce a collaboration between Nintendo and Ubisoft. Apparently, Miyamoto has been a fan of Ubisoft’s Rabbids characters for quite some time and thought that bringing the strange creatures into the Mario universe would make for an entertaining game concept. The game is called Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battles.
If nothing else, it’s definitely something new. And fans of the XCOM series will likely notice that the game’s battle system is nearly identical. The title will be a Switch exclusive and will definitely bring a touch of variety to the system.
After nearly a year of silence, South Park finally made an appearance at this year’s Press Conference. With two games! The first, of course, was South Park The Fractured But Whole. It was accompanied by a new trailer and a release date: October 17.
The second game is a mobile experience called South Park Phone Destroyer. From the trailer, it seems to offer a similar experience, just shrunken to be available on the go.
The Crew is also getting a sequel, with the announcement of The Crew 2, but Ubisoft made it pretty clear that the second game is going to encompass all motorsports. Set in America, again, the game adds boats and planes to the mix. Hopefully, they’ll pump up the world a bit more with this title. I was a fan of the first game, but the playground built for racing very quickly began to feel empty. I’d be much more interested in the sequel if they could make it feel a bit more alive. For those interested, Beta signup is available here.
Ubisoft briefly touched on Assassins Creed Origins during their Press Conference, but since Microsoft has already done all of the heavy lifting on that front, they quickly switched gears to a a new title directly resulting from one of the cooler mechanics to come from the Assassin’s Creed Universe: ship battles. Skull and Bones takes kicks the concept into high gear.
I can’t wait to see how this ambitious project develops. According to the announcement, the game will be available fall of 2018. For those interested, you can visit their site (and sign up for the beta) here.
An Interesting Concept
Starlink Battle for Atlas a title revealed at the Ubisoft Press Conference that was described as a throwback to childhood memories. The main premise revolves around modular ships that are connected to a player’s game controller. Swapping out parts on the ship changes the configuration in the game.
The game looks really cool, but the modular toy that accompanies it is very gimmicky. And, to get new parts, players will have to buy them at a store, or purchase digital versions. The developer didn’t clarify how much the parts would cost, or whether there was an option to purchase the digital versions without having to spend money, but I’m under the impression that the digital versions would be available via microtransactions.
Surprisingly, Elijah Woods was in the trailer for this one. While I’m not entirely sure what this game is, the trailer was creepy enough that I’ll be keeping an eye out for more information as it becomes available. For now, take a look at what was shown.
Steep, the Ubisoft skiing/snowboarding game will be getting an expansion. It’s called Road to the Olympics and is an officially licensed PyeongChang 2018 product. It’s a cool tie-in that looks to include a bunch of content.
And, finally, there was a pretty cool song and dance number to announce the yearly installment of Just Dance.
Near the end of the show, Ubisoft displayed a gameplay trailer for the upcoming Far Cry 5. What was shown at the Press Conference gave us a deeper look at how the game would play and the NPC mercenaries that would accompany the game’s main character.
After the last two installments, I’m hoping that Far Cry 5 has more to offer. The previous two games were fun, but the series has been extremely formulaic for a while now. At this point, a slight change in the right direction could make the series fresh again. And that’s something I think the series sorely needs.
The final reveal of the night was an extended trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2. According to the teary-eyed developer that announced the game, it’s been well over a decade since the first game was released. And the new one looks like it has the potential to be very good.
After the trailer, the developer called Yves Guillemot to the stage to thank him for his support of the game. And Yves, after thanking the two for all of their hard work, called all of the Ubisoft employees present to come to the stage. He closed the show with his work family standing behind him. It was a touching moment that really drove home how special of an event E3 was.
After Microsoft’s announcement of Assassin’s Creed Origins, I was unsure that Ubisoft would have anything especially interesting to talk about at their press conference (especially considering the lackluster showing at the EA Press Conference on Saturday). But Ubisoft brought its A-game to E3 this year and had more than a few unexpected surprises up its sleeve!
The last Press Conference of the night was Sony, and after a robust showing by Microsoft, I was interested to see how they would respond. The show opened with an impressive performance by a Middle Easter/Asian quartet. Their music was accompanied by an intricate water show and led directly into the first trailer of the night.
Coming up with a witty subheading, or saying anything hopeful about Uncharted The Lost Legacy strikes me as difficult because I can’t seem to get excited about more entries in the series. The fourth game in the series gave gamers a fantastic end to a beloved franchise. The new game looks like it will be just as high quality as the others, but I question whether we need any more Uncharted. Or if I’ll care enough about the characters (because, to be honest, I never really cared for Chloe).
A not-so-distant Horizon
As soon as I finished Horizon Zero Dawn, I wanted more. The game was fantastic and scratched all filled a void that I never knew existed. Then, Sony showed this trailer.
Horizon Zero Dawn The Frozen Wilds is coming later this year and I can’t wait to see how this expansion will fit in with the current narrative.
Sony First announced Days Gone at E3 2016. It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about the game, but this year they had some gameplay to show off.
Personally, I’m not much on zombies, but this looks interesting. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out to see how this develops.
March of Games
Sony continued the presentation with a brief glimpse of Monster Hunter World.
Then, a remake of Shadow of the Colossus that looks fantastic.
Then, Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite. Along with the trailer, they announced that the demo would be available on the Playstation Store the night of the conference (June 12).
Following that, there was an extended trailer for Call of Duty World War II, available November 3.
Sony then launched into new VR content that would be available soon.
There was, of course, Skyrim VR.
Then, a title called Star Child
Followed by a horror game called The Inpatient.
A Final Fantasy XV fishing game called Monster of the Deep FFXV.
(I guess this means there’s a market for this?)
A game called Bravo Team that looked a lot like the shooter games you can find in any arcade.
And, finally, an interesting looking title called Moss.
Near the end of the show, Sony switched back to some of their heavier hitting titles.
First, they showed off an extended look at God of War. The preview was definitely intriguing and I can’t wait to see how the game plays.
Then, there was Detroit Become Human.
I am a huge fan of Heavy Rain and I was super excited when I saw the first trailer for this game. I’m even more excited now. There was no release date announced for the game, so I doubt we’ll see it in 2017.
Destiny 2 also made an appearance.
The trailer seems to hint that there will be a far more robust story in the second game. And, as expected, Sony has managed to secure exclusive content for the PS4 and PS4 PRO, in hopes of making their platform the preferred place to buy the game.
A “True” Exclusive
Sony ended the show with a game that they called a “true” Playstation exclusive: Spider-Man.
Insomniac has been working on the game for a while, but they finally have enough of it ready to show gameplay. I have to say that I was very impressed with what they showed. The game looks like it runs well and it’s definitely fun to look at. Fans of Spider-Man will also notice a comic-book flair to the way the character moves and speaks. Hopefully, we can expect even more from the full game, which will be available next year.
During this generation of consoles, Sony has held a solid lead over Microsoft. Many more people own a PS4 than an Xbox, and Sony’s E3 Press Conference seems to show that they know they have a solid lead over the competition.
There were plenty of decent trailers during the Press Conference, but that’s all Sony showed during the one-hour showcase. There was no developer commentary, and an announcer only stepped onto the stage twice to speak. Past that, their livestream was lacking sound for the first fifteen minutes of the show, meaning everyone tuning in via the web missed out on everything before the Days Gone gameplay.
What’s more, many of the games Sony showcased this year won’t be available until 2018. And I’m sure that many of those won’t drop until the end of next year. That being said, we’re looking at a lean rest-of-the-year for Sony. With that said, I’m not sure Microsoft’s monster, Xbox One X, will be enough to close the gap. And Sony knows it. I’m just sad Sony let that fact show during its one chance a year to shine for its fans.
At the end of the night, I was shocked (yet not) at how the three E3 Press Conferences played out. The PC Gamer show was predictably dull, the Ubisoft show was unexpectedly fresh, and the Sony show failed to impress. I had hope that Sony would pull a hat trick and wow everyone with a third year of trailer after trailer of AAA blockbusters, but instead they decided to rest on their comfortable lead in the console wars.