Art by Major Sniper.
Monday was a busy day at E3. The PC Gaming Show sprinted through a bevy of games, Ubisoft knocked it out of the park with a few high-profile offerings, and Square Enix wowed with some info about the Final Fantasy VII remake gamers have been chomping at the bit to see.
PC Gaming Show
While PC has been the platform of freedom for years, it’s interesting to note that the Epic Games Store logo was plastered on nearly every screen, with a large reminder that they’re powering this year’s PC Gaming Show front and center. They even made sure to lead in to one game with a prominent commercial for the controversial storefront. But that didn’t stop the thirty or so games they showcased from being spread across a number of virtual store fronts.
Evil Genius 2: World Domination
The PC Gaming show opened with a trailer for the sequel to Evil Genius. It’s been a long time since the first game, but it was interesting enough that I was excited to hear about a sequel. Anyone interested in the chance to win closed beta access can sign up at evilgeniusgame.com
Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines 2
I know plenty of people who have been waiting a long time for this game. The wait will end Q1 2020.
This game is coming to the Epic Games Store (first) in 2020. It expands on the first game, by increasing the player scale by 2.5 to 64 total players. They’ve also added horses to beef up battles and have completely revamped combat, movement, and animations. It looks crisp and should appeal to anyone who enjoys a good medieval beat-em-up.
Midnight Ghost Hunt
This game immediately reminded me of Prop Hunt from Gary’s Mod. While that was a source of inspiration for this game, Midnight Ghost Hunt allows the “props” to fight back. And if the humans don’t win in time, and the clock strikes midnight, there’s a reversal that turns the hunters into the hunted. There will be a closed beta later this summer. Anyone interested can sign up for it at midnightghosthunt.com.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall
I spent a fair amount of time playing Age of Wonders III, so I’m fairly excited about this game. The sci-fi setting looks awesome and if what was shown is any indication, it should be better than the previous offering in the series.
This was a surprise. It’s been a few years since the announcement that Shenmue 3 was in development, but I didn’t expect to see it at E3 this year. I definitely didn’t expect to get a release date – November 19th. The only disappointing thing about the announcement is that Shenmue 3 will be an Epic Games Store exclusive.
The showcase for the next title in the Borderlands franchise was lighter than I expected. Creative Director Paul Sage took the stage and give a quick overview of Moze, the gunner class in the next game (she’s a mech pilot…). He talked about how grenades have more than one effect now. He mentioned that class mods grant skills. And he talked about how artifacts add special effects to movement. He detailed the guardian system (which is basically the new Badass system). Finally, he provided exceedingly vague answers to fan questions.
I came away from the presentation underwhelmed, which is disappointing, considering Borderlands is one of my favorite franchises.
I have to mention this game because it looks hilarious and the developer described it as “GTA if you were a shark”.
Baldur’s Gate 3
No new information was provided about the game and no new footage was shown. The developers gave a few snippets of info on how they heavily modified the D&D 5e system to fit their needs, but otherwise, we’re going to have to wait for more. As far as a release date – the devs said “when it’s ready”.
For those that can’t wait, a tabletop prequel called Baldur’s Gate Descent into Avernus will release on September 17th.
Besides all of the games mentioned above, quite a few others were touched on at The PC Gaming Show:
- StarMancer (beta access at playstarmancer.com)
- Mosaic (coming 2019)
- Unexplored 2 The Wayfarer’s Legacy (open access now on Fig)
- Mutant Year Zero: Seed of Evil (July 30th)
- Conan Unconquered (May 29th)
- Moons of Madness (Halloween 2019)
- Conan Chop Chop (September 3rd)
- Last Oasis (September 3rd)
- Zombie Army Dead War 4 (2020)
- Remnant From the Ashes (August 20th)
- Griftlands (Alpha available July 11th)
- Planet Zoo (November 5th)
- Songs of Conquest
- Per Aspera (2020)
- Ancestors (August 27th)
- Auto Chess
- ChrisTales (2020)
- Terraria Journey’s End (expansion)
- Telling Lies (coming soon)
- Warframe Empyrean (full reveal July 6th)
- Genesis Noir A Cosmic Adventure
- El Hijo
This year, The PC Gaming gaming show felt somewhat lackluster. There were plenty of games announced, but all of the larger titles I was hoping to hear much more about were only highlighted by a trailer and a talking head mentioning details that have already been covered by every gaming site exhaustively over the past few weeks. And even though we weren’t beat over the head with it, the constant reminder that the show was hosted by the Epic Games Store, and that more than a few of the games are going to be exclusive to that virtual storefront, gave the show a sour note.
I never know what to expect from Ubisoft’s E3 conferences, and since they already announced Ghost Recon Breakpoint, I was wondering what else they might bring to the show. What could they bring? Fortunately, Ubisoft seems to always have something up their sleeve.
Watch Dogs Legion
I was not a fan of Watch Dogs 2. To me, the game felt like a disappointing sequel to the first outing. When the trailer started rolling for the next game in the franchise, I was getting similar vibes. It didn’t seem fresh, and the dystopian was turned up to 11. Then, they revealed the twist. Legion has no set main character. Apparently, every single NPC in the game is fully simulated. They are all unique characters that are fully voiced and animated, with personal back stories. And you can recruit any one of them that interests you.
In practice, this sounds absolutely amazing, but I can’t wait to see how it actually plays out in the finished product. If they manage to pull it off, this might be a really cool experience. One that comes out March 6, 2020.
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet
This was a strange announcement. Rob McElhenney came on stage to announce a TV series for Apple TV + about game developers. He apparently worked with Ubisoft on making sure that all the details of the development process were authentic. It looks…interesting…
Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Ubisoft didn’t really provide many new details about the game at E3, though they did have Jon Berenthal come out to present the game. Besides that, Ubisoft announced a new community program called Ghost Recon Delta Company. It will give fans of the series a place to discuss and share, and allow direct discussion with the studio. The game is set to release October 4th, with the beta going live on September 5th.
The Division 2
From June 13-16, The Division 2 will be free for everyone to try out. This all-access demo is ahead of Episode 1 of the game’s second year. Releasing in July, it brings Division agents to the woodlands around the D.C. area. Then, this fall, Episode 2 brings the Pentagon, and a second raid, to the game. Finally, in early 2020, Episode 3 drops. There was a trailer, but it didn’t really explain what the Episode was going to be about, though I’m sure players will understand.
Finally, Ubisoft announced their own subscription service on PC. It will give the earliest access to premium editions of their latest games, and grant access to 100+ titles in their catalog. The service will release in September 2019 and it will be coming to Google Stadia in 2020. While I’m a fan of Ubisoft, I’m not sure how much of a value their subscription is going to be considering all of the other options available. Unless Ubisoft plans to keep their games exclusive (which they haven’t made clear), it seems like players would eventually be able to partake of them elsewhere for far cheaper.
As always, Ubisoft had plenty of smaller titles to announce:
- Adventure Time comes to Brawlhalla (June 10th)
- Siege’s 13th season – Operation Phantom Sight (June 10th)
- Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad (preregister at elitesquadgame.com)
- Just Dance 2020 (November)
- For Honor SHadows of the Hitokiri event (June 10th – 27th)
- Rainbow Six Quarantine (early 2020)
- Roller Champions (pre-alpha demo access on Uplay June 10-14)
- Gods and Monsters (February 25, 2020)
Bringing the Noise
So, I’m pretty excited about what Ubisoft showed at E3 this year. I knew about Breakpoint, but I’ve been looking forward to playing it since the initial announcement. Wildlands was excellent, and I expect Ubisoft will have made many improvements in the sequel. Most surprising was the announcement of Watch Dogs Legion. While the second game in the series didn’t live up to my expectations, I feel like Ubisoft is doing everything they can to breathe more life into a series that already has plenty going for it. I just hope that this time around, it’s as fun as the reveal makes it seem. But besides these two games, I’m pumped about all of the little extras Ubisoft is bringing to each of it’s games.
To be honest, there was only one thing I wanted to see from Square Enix this year. Say it with me – Final Fantasy VII Remake footage. They didn’t disappoint, but they also brought plenty of other stuff to the show.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
After 22 years, Final Fantasy fans are finally getting the remake they’ve been asking for. According to Square, the remake is beefy enough to fill up two Blu-Ray discs. It’s also split into two games, the first of which expands on the story of Midgard.
Like Final Fantasy XV, battles are real time action with strategic command-based abilities. Dealing damage causes an ATB bar to charge. Once full, the player can enter a slowed-time state much like Wait Mode from FFXV. This is where recognizable skills can be used. Additionally, players can rotate through party members to command each regarding which skills to use.
The demo will be playable at E3 and the game will release on March 3, 2020. There’s also a First Class Edition at the square store that features a figure of Cloud on a motorcycle. It looks like a collector’s dream.
Square Enix Music
This was an interesting announcement that was boiled down to a single trailer. Apparently, Square Enix is going to be making music from it’s games available across a host of streaming services. Fans of their games should have a blast listening to tunes from all of their favorite games!
Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers
Shadowbringers is the third expansion to Final Fantasy XIV. It releases July 2nd and contains enough new content to be an entirely new game!
Before the Square Enix Conference, I’d never heard of this game before. But based on the trailer and some of the details given by the developers, I’m very intrigued to see how it turns out. Outriders is a dark modern shooter with a strong story. It takes place in a post apocalyptic world and what was shown of the gameplay looks to be very interesting. Best of all, it’s designed for 1, 2, or 3 player drop-in/drop-out co-op.
This game was announced a while ago, but we finally got some concrete info about it at the Square Conference. Marvel’s Avengers stars Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, and Iron Man in an all-new original story. It can be played solo or in 4-player co-op and will be supported with regular, new content at no additional cost.
It releases May 15, 2020.
Square announced plenty of other games during their show, some of which we’ve seen elsewhere already. But, as usual, there are plenty of RPGs on the list:
- Life is Strange 2 (June 10th)
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition (winter 2019)
- Octopath Travelers (now on Steam)
- The Last Remnant Remastered (June 10th on Switch)
- Dragon Quest Builders 2 (July 12th)
- Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of the Elusive Age – Definitive Edition (fall 2019)
- Circuit Superstars (coming 2020)
- Batallion 1944 Eastern Front (on Steam now)
- Kingdom Hearts 3 Re:Mind DLC (winter 2019)
- Dying Light 2 (spring 2020)
- Romancing SaGa 3 (coming soon)
- SaGa: Scarlet Grace Ambitions (coming soon)
- War of the Visions Final Fantasy Brave Exvius (now in development)
- Oninaki (August 22nd)
- Final Fantasy 8 Remastered (coming 2019)
In the right corner
Overall, I was pleased with what Square showed. I’d heard a lot of uncertain rumblings about the Final Fantasy VII Remake over the past six months, but to see it in action really puts my mind at ease. And now that there’s a solid release date, I think that lets fans breath a sigh of relief. Otherwise, it was standard fare for Square Enix. Lots of RPGs are coming out, with a few remasters. There were even a few surprises. But at the end of the night, I was happy with what I saw.
Tomorrow I’ll have info about the final press conference of E3 – Nintendo. Stay tuned!