By Chris Casselman
It’s June, and that means E3 is here again! For the uninitiated, E3 is the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo – the biggest video game trade show in North America. While it was originally a way for video game companies to convince stores like Toys R Us and Walmart to buy as many units of their product as possible, it quickly grew into a marketing bonanza targeting video game press and players alike. Every spring you can expect game developers to put their best foot forward and show off everything they’re working on for release over the next year or two.
Here are a few of the big E3 trailers that caught my eye…
*WARNING: Some of these games are rated M for Mature and some trailers may contain language/content that reflects that
Fans have known for a while that Respawn Entertainment has been working on a Star Wars game but until now Respawn had been tight lipped on everything sharing only that it would be a “single-player action experience”. With the mixed reaction from fans over EA’s modern Battlefront games, for gamers it seemed like Respawn was our only hope. At EA’s “Play” event during E3 it’s looking like Respawn is set to deliver the goods. As well as the above trailer, almost 15 minutes of gameplay footage was shown off, featuring the game’s hero, Cal Kestis, a Jedi padawan who survived Order 66 and is fighting for freedom soon after the events of the film Revenge of the Sith. The game is considered ‘canon’ for those who care about such things and features a few known faces, including resistance fighter Saw Gerrera (portrayed by Forest Whitaker in Rogue One). We’re told the story will take us across many different worlds, half of which will be familiar to Star Wars fans and half of which are new to the Star Wars universe. I think the gameplay looks great, and I would expect no less from the company that brought us the Titanfall series and recent battle royale hit Apex Legends. The action reminds me a little of LucasArts’ The Force Unleashed – a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. If I have any gripes about the game at this point it’s that the Archie-looking hero is a little bland, and that droid of his, BD1 (buddy one, get it?) is just a bit too cute. Other than that, well, I’ve already pre-ordered this one!
If you want to check out the game play video (about 14 minutes long) here it is.
When Ubisoft released Watch Dogs in 2014, I paid attention. Reviews were decent but ultimately it didn’t grab me enough to play it. In 2016, Ubisoft released Watch Dogs 2 and although I had heard it was an improvement over the first, it still never seemed like a must-play to me. It looks like for Ubisoft, the third time is the charm with Watch Dogs: Legion because now you can call me very interested. The Watch Dogs games take place in a very near and subtly Orwellian future, one where everything is connected online and freedom and privacy are rare commodities. Your character is part of a hacker underground resistance that uses technology to manipulate the information and environment around them to achieve their goals. What sets Legion apart from the previous entries is that now you can play as multiple characters, dozens from the looks of it. Everyone you contact and recruit to your organization becomes a unique character you can control – and not just ‘unique’ in that they can use a different gun or hack a different type of terminal… It’s all kinds of people, like there’s a GRANDMA character that kicks ass! As the trailer says, “She’s not old, just experienced”. The first two games were in Chicago and San Francisco, respectively. Legion takes place in London and I can’t wait to meet, and play as this eclectic cast of rebellious Londoners.
For more Watch Dogs: Legion check out this 11 minute gameplay walk-through here (Grandma shows up at the 3:46 mark).
There was a time when authors like William Gibson and Philip K. Dick showed us a dark future where faceless corporations ruled over our cybernetically modified bodies and street signs were still lit by neon (probably because they looked so good reflected in the always-rainy streets). Fortunately that future hasn’t come to pass (Blade Runner is set in 2019 btw), and the dark dystopia of the ‘Net is actually just us sharing funny pictures of cats on our cell phones. But that averted future is still a rich setting and it’s the backdrop for CD Projekt Red’s upcoming game, aptly titled Cyberpunk 2077. Polish developer CD Projekt brought us The Witcher series of games known for their vast and detailed open world fantasy setting. Now they’re taking that expertise and putting the player into the shoes of a cybernetically enhanced mercenary fighting for survival in a neon metropolis that looks like it was plucked straight out of Ghost in the Shell. The game was announced a few years ago, but at E3 this year it was revealed that cult-film cool-guy Keanu Reeves plays a role in the game! He even made a pretty endearing appearance on stage at E3 to announce the game’s release date (April 16 2020). Based on CD Projekt’s history and this setting being one of my favourites, this game is a must-buy for me.
I’ll be honest; I was suspect of what this game would be like when it was announced in 2017. Truthfully, we didn’t have much to go on, just an ‘announcement trailer’ which showed little more than the logo of the game and the developers behind it. As more info became available, it looked like it was going to be an online cooperative game, possibly a game-as-service, like Bungie’s Destiny. I couldn’t piece together in my mind how this game was going to work, but finally we got a little more info at E3. The thing is, I’m even less sold on this now than I was before. They showed off a bunch of cinematics but very little of what the actual game is like. So they’ve introduced the story which I really don’t think is very compelling and shown us a look at their take on The Avengers – Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor and The Hulk (sorry Hawkeye, I guess you’re sitting this one out too). Before seeing the trailer, I had seen a still image of their appearance (which is getting a lot of negative attention online right now). I didn’t look at it for long, but my initial assumption based on their faces was, “okay, so it’s a multiplayer game – maybe you play as a regular citizen who has adopted the powers of one of the Avengers, and so has everyone else, that way, you, me or anyone can play as Captain America in the same game and I’ll customize MY Cap to look like ME”. But I was wrong – what I thought were supposed to be the generic faces of the ‘player-next-door’ are actually their hero faces. When you play as Captain America, you play as THE Captain America… Now there’s a joke circulating online (extra points if you get the Spaceballs reference).
I don’t need The Avengers to look like their movie versions – in fact I don’t want them to – but I do want them to look cool, like comic book heroes brought to life! Anyway, this is just their appearance but Crystal Dymanics / Eidos Montreal weren’t able to demonstrate exactly what we’ll be doing in this game. Keep in mind two Avengers films have been released in theatres since this game was announced – I expected something more. This game is low on my hype list and definitely a wait-and-see purchase.
I’ll leave you with a couple of trailers that look really interesting and were not on my radar until this E3. With reveals like these there isn’t usually much to go on, but they look promising.
For Fallout fans who were disappointed with Fallout 76 Obsidian is launching The Outerworlds in October of 2019. It looks like it has that kitschy Fallout vibe, but in space! If you didn’t know, Obsidian developed Fallout: New Vegas as well as a host of other great RPGs.
People Can Fly, the developer who brought us 2011’s in-your-face shooter Bulletstorm and the Gears of War spin-off Judgement, have a new original game that looks like a three player cooperative shooter with guns, magic and big alien monsters.
Then there’s this, a creepy paranormal mystery from Bethesda. I don’t really understand it, but I think that’s why I like it. It certainly looks awesome and scary. Enjoy.
What’s something that caught your attention at E3 this year? Comment below! Want more Dandies’ takes on the hottest geek news? Check out Danielle Cole’s thoughts on the new Disneyland and soon-to-be Disney World Star Wars land, Galaxy’s Edge!