The 22nd annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or “E3” – the world’s largest video gaming convention held each June in Los Angeles – once again served as a glimpse into the future of the multibillion dollar interactive entertainment industry.
An estimated 50,000 industry-only attendees from more than 100 countries swarmed the Los Angeles Convention Center and surrounding areas to play games not yet commercially available. Another 20,000 fans showed up.
While some of the buzz at the show surrounded new hardware, such as Microsoft’s surprise announcement of a new console available in 18 months (codenamed “Project Scorpio”), it was the many hundreds of upcoming games that dominated the discussion.
Yours truly spent three thumb-numbing days playing tomorrow’s titles, and the following are some highlights from my vantage point. Feel free to share the games you’re most excited about in the Comments section.
Battle over land, sea and air in Electronic Arts’ epic action game set against the backdrop of The Great War. Up to 64 players can use WWI-era weapons and vehicles – including massive air ships, battleships or an armored train – and experience white-knuckle combat scenarios with dynamic elements to ensure no two battles will be the same.
Battlefield 1 will be available on October 21st for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.
EA also announced its stellar Titanfall 2 will debut October 28, while EA Sports’ ambitious FIFA 17 will drop September 29.
Detroit: Become Human
One of the more memorable games of E3, Quantic Dreams’ Detroit: Become Human is a near photorealistic adventure game that lets you assume the role of various Androids, human-looking robots who perform jobs in the near future, such as a nanny, waiter or nurse. While they’re not programmed to feel emotion, a growing number of them resent being treated like machines. What’s happening here?
Gameplay mostly involves character interaction, exploration, and puzzle-solving.
To be published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for PlayStation 4, Detroit: Become Human will be out sometime in 2017.
Gears of War 4
A new chapter in Microsoft Studios’ third-person sci-fi series, Gears of War 4 is set 25 years after the events of the previous game, and introduces a new mysterious enemy, plus playable heroes, weapons, and combat moves. Take cover, exchange fire, and flank the enemy in multiple modes – including new multiplayer types like Dodgeball and Horde 3.0.
Out October 11, the game is one of the first “Xbox Play Anywhere”-branded titles, which means you buy it once but you can play it on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, with shared progress, game saves, and achievements.
The Last Guardian
Get ready for another stylized and emotional journey, designed and directed by Fumito Ueda of such beloved titles like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. At the start of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s The Last Guardian, a young boy frees a giant feathered creature named Trico, with which he forms a deep friendship as they rely on each other while traversing dangerous lands and unraveling secrets of a far-gone civilization.
Available October 25, The Last Guardian will be a PlayStation 4 exclusive.
Sony’s Horizon Zero Dawn was also a blast to play, and God of War to look at, but both not slated for release until 2017.
Final Fantasy XV
After selling more than 110 million Final Fantasy games since 1987, Square Enix is back with a new installment in the coveted role-playing game series.
Final Fantasy XV fuses a real-time battle system with memorable characters and a gripping story that tells of Crown Prince Noctis who bands with companions to push back against an invading army. The single-player game features an open-world environment and cinematic graphics.
Many years in development, Final Fantasy XV is “finally” coming out on September 30th for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
There were many immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences at this year’s E3. Developed by Rocksteady Studios and to be published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Batman: Arkham VR will be a launch title for PlayStation VR ($399.99) when the new PS4-compatible hardware debuts on October 13.
The first part of the demo had attendees gear up and test out Batman’s suit and accessories, while the second part focuses on Batman’s detective-like forensics work, including the ability to recreate a crime scene to deduce what took place.
Note: Batman VR will be a short virtual reality experience rather than a lengthy game (and hopefully, priced accordingly), but was very, very impressive nonetheless.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Nintendo didn’t have a lot to share at E3, but the Japanese powerhouse went all out on the next The Legend of Zelda.
The latest in the long-running series gives players the freedom to explore an expansive world, tackle missions in the order they prefer, and accomplish those tasks in various ways. Besides exploration and adapting to weather and temperature, the demo we played included combat (with a sword and bow), item collection, puzzle-solving, and navigating the land of Hyrule in many ways.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will launch simultaneously in 2017 for both the Wii U console and Nintendo’s next system, code-named NX.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
It’s good to see Infinity Ward and Activision aren’t resting on their laurels: the next Call of Duty looks extraordinary.
Along with epic battles on the ground, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare lets players hop into a spacecraft and fly off to continue the combat in the darkness of space — a first for the franchise. As a technical achievement, the game doesn’t have any load screens beyond the first one, so you’ll take off from Earth, break the planet’s atmosphere, and engage in frantic dogfights without a pause in the action.
While multiplayer modes won’t be revealed until September, the main campaign features a futuristic story, new weapons, and abilities.
The game is due out November 4 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
By Marc Saltzman
Courtesy of USAToday