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E3 2017

With the arrival of summer comes the welcome return of the annual gaming event, that is the LA-based E3 2017. There are currently around 1.8 billion gamers in the world and the industry is currently one of the fastest growing on the planet. Last year, the gaming industry raked in a massive $91billion in revenue which is around double the revenue of the international film industry.

If you’re a gamer, then E3 will always be on your radar, whether you were lucky enough to be attending or caught up by tuning in remotely. With the arrival of what we refer to as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, comes many of us waiting with bated breath at the thought of a new installment of our favourite franchises, updated consoles and the latest in indie games brought into the spotlight by the big boys.

EA at E3 2017

Saturday saw EA kick off E3 2017, demonstrating the usual host of sports gaming, with fan favourite; FIFA making its usual appearance. Super fans will say that it looks completely different to last year’s edition, but we’re all well aware that FIFA fans are essentially buying exactly the same game each year, just prettier.

Besides the usual Madden, NBA and a new installment of Need for Speed, EA did preview a few pinch-hitters for those of us who want something with slightly more depth. The highly successful Battlefield 1 is getting some amped up DLC, with the first ever multiplayer, playable female characters and nighttime maps in; In the Name of the Tsar

From the developers that brought us Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, we saw previously teased; A Way Out. Taking inspiration from the likes of Prison Break, this parallel gameplay focuses on utilising the same mechanics as Brothers. This vintage themed installment is only playable through local or online co-op, so it looks like we’ll be taking on A Way Out with only our best partners in crime to plot and execute our very own prison escape. And that was pretty much it from EA, besides one last small announcement…

It looks like EA finally listened to the fans because we are at long last getting Star Wars: Battlefront 2, with not only our beloved multiplayer but with a long awaited… campaign mode. Yes, you heard right, we no longer have to endure being shot in the back or force choked by twelve-year-olds online unless we so choose (make of that sentence what you will). Fans were mostly expecting a campaign mode in the previous Battlefront, whilst still manically crying over the opening credits through a muddle of nostalgia and joy, many of us were left slightly disappointed when we didn’t get it. We don’t know a whole bunch about BF2 right now, but we do know that the storyline aims to bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

Microsoft Battlefront 2 E3 2017

 Microsoft at E3 2017

Microsoft launched their E3 2017 press conference, with a long-awaited update on the next hardware installment for the Xbox One, finally unveiling the identity of Project Scorpio, also known as a whole load of new hardware crammed into a smaller box named; Xbox One X. This solid state, liquid cooled beauty aims to offer flawless gameplay in stunning 4K, boasting an 8-core custom AMD CPU to bring us an enhanced AI and smooth out your entire gaming experience. Surprisingly, the X doesn’t come with an elite controller as standard, which some of us expected to see considering this is pegged as the ‘The World’s Most Powerful Console’.

Microsoft not only threw down the gauntlet with the reveal of their new console, they also jammed in a whole host of games, shying away from the usual self-indulgent stage presences, Microsoft opted to show as many game previews as possible.

EA’s answer to Destiny; Anthem, was previewed during both the Microsoft and EA press conference, so this is clearly something they’re trying amp up. It only seems right with any Halo announcements AWOL, it seems like Anthem is here to bridge the gap as a Halo and Destiny hybrid whilst also being everything that Mass Effect Andromeda should have been.

Does the announcement of the much awaited Assassins Creed: Origins come as an Xbox exclusive or did Microsoft simply not have enough AAA titles to pad out their show? There was no mention of an exclusive, so the latter is the more likely the culprit. The usually annual (and sometimes even biannual) series of games took a break last year, so Ubisoft could focus on other projects and deliver a truly unique AC game, that broke away from the stagnant delivery that was AC: Unity. Syndicate definitely brought the series back to life but it was difficult to see where the next installment would land. Ubisoft opted to go right back to the beginning to bring us a prequel of ancient proportions.

Assassin's Creed Origins: E3 2017 Gameplay Trailer

The five-minute gameplay demonstrated the flawless execution of a not so traditional takedown with a bow and arrow, performed by Bayek, the last Medjay, AKA an Egyptian sheriff. We now have a trusted eagle familiar, Senu, who scouts out the situation from above and assists you in your game plan, utilising the previously seen drone system in Far Cry and Watch Dogs. The protagonist appears to have attitude and purpose to his actions, which was missing from (some) past installments. AC: Origins not only brings smooth gameplay but also gifts us with a sprawling landscape set against stunning azure skies and pierced by ominous pyramids. The map system of old has been scrapped in favour of a Bethesda-style compass and quest system, which feels like less handholding than past titles in the series and more of a genuine adventure. AC: Origins looks to be the genuinely different title that Ubisoft have been promising us for so many years, taking lessons and adapting favoured mechanisms from both their recent releases, such as For Honor, and the other big players in the industry.

We got a further glimpse into the already announced Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, a welcome return of Talion and the reveal of new locations and the revival of the fantastic nemesis system that made the open world gameplay so compelling in Shadow of Mordor. The key highlight of the short gameplay clip was the sassy Warmonger Tank named Bruce, who can rip off an orcs head whilst also form intelligent and eloquent conversation – an absolute delight.

Middle Earth Shadow of War Gameplay - E3 2017

We witnessed the return of Metro with the third installment of the franchise, titled; Metro Exodus which looks to follow a more open world approach to the post-apocalyptic FPS, than its linear predecessors. We don’t know much about the storyline but the gameplay presented looks pretty rad with some battling of menacing overgrown rats and an epic bear battle to cap it all off.

Terry Crews seems to be cropping up more and more in the gaming world right now, with him ‘rumoured’ to be voicing an upcoming character in Overwatch in the near future and now lending his talents to Crackdown 3. This open world action-adventure game, where pretty much everything is destructible appeared to be well-received, although some fans who have managed to try it out for themselves have pegged Crews’ entry into the series as pretty much the only new addition to the game, with it feeling too similar to its predecessors.

The second installment of State of Decay brings us the dose of co-operative zombie apocalyptic chaos that we all craved when the first game was released, with a brand new open world and the welcome addition of multiplayer. Remember – friends that slay together, stay together.

Bethesda at E3 2017

With Sunday marking Bethesda’s third E3 press conference, it’s fair to say that this presentation is now one of the most eagerly anticipated of the event. With the past two years bringing us a remastered Skyrim 5, Fallout 4, Dishonored 2, Prey, and who could forget that five bloody minute gameplay preview of Doom, in which we all got a first person view of a demon beating the protagonist to death with their own arms… Oh Bethesda, you treat us well.

Bethesda Doom E3 2015

Let’s just lay down some big names, and with Bethesda in contrast to others, it’s quality over quantity. We’re looking at a new unexpected stand alone Dishonored game in Death of the Outsider, a fan favourite revival in Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, The Evil Within 2 for those of us who didn’t keel over after the first, a breathtaking Morrowind expansion for Elder Scrolls Online and VR advancements for both Fallout 4 and Doom.

So let’s talk about Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus and the fact that it could be the most insane gameplay ever. Yes more insane than being beaten to death with your own arm by a tiny demon wearing a jetpack. Set in an alternate timeline of a 1960’s America or ‘Amerika’, occupied by Nazis, we see the revival of BJ Blazkowicz in a whole new world, with the trailer teasing a whole host of technological advances that we can expect to see during our time in this new era. But possibly the crowning glory is the unforgettable imagery of a character dropping acid and hallucinating a cartoon lizard, whilst a woman, who is heavily pregnant with twins, stabs a Nazi to death in the background… Well, we did say it was bonkers.

Bethesda Wolfenstein E3 2017

Bethesda’s presentation was humble and captivating, much like the brand themselves. Bethesda pride themselves on making content that is different, beautiful, hilarious, terrifying, unusual, challenging and all around awesome. With minimal stage presence, Bethesda presented all their ideas in one great theme park style map, that made the whole experience into a journey with very little self-involved ego stroking included.

Ubisoft at E3 2017

Ubisoft often delivers when it comes to E3, but with Microsoft stealing the thunder of the new AC announcement, it was a wonder what they really had to show in terms of exciting AAA titles. Ever the crowd pleaser, Ubisoft offered up a multitude of games that will satisfy just about everyone. With entries including; Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle for the arcade fans to Skull and Bones, a naval battle game, to take on Sea of Thieves shown earlier in the weekend by Microsoft. The big players came in the shape of Far Cry 5, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Beyond Good & Evil 2 and of course Assassins Creed Origins.

Far Cry 5 gave us a look into a crazy, evangelical town, that’s been shut off by cultists who are extremely hostile to the outside world. With Outlast 2 that featured a similar theme of creepy, backward hick town, still fresh, the hype for similar games is still lingering. With Far Cry 5 offering an open world approach accompanied by a trusty canine to maul your foes, it looks like it could be a whole load of southern-style, entirely aggressive fun.

Any fan of South Park and the previous game has been waiting for ‘The Fractured But Whole’ since the initial teaser in 2015. We were told the end of December 2016 which was pushed back, and this was after a load of us got a taste of the gameplay at the likes of EGX. We’ve now seen a whole new trailer, during the Ubisoft E3 2017 briefing, which hilariously pokes fun at likes of X-Men and the rest of the superhero genre. In true South Park style, it’s entirely crude and childish and full of off-colour jokes… exactly what we were hoping it would be and more. SP:TFBH gameplay drops players into thoroughly uncomfortable situations, which will absolutely be shunned and sniffed at by any unsuspecting parents who might happen to walk in on their kids playing the game, due out in Autumn.

After almost 15 years, we were graced with the final reveal for Beyond Good & Evil 2. With glimpses of a vertical city and the introduction to a storyline set prior to the previous game and the birth of Jade, the protagonist of BGAE. We’re immediately immersed into a mismatched city, teaming with religious iconography and futuristic technology. As the fast-paced trailer throws us head first into the sprawling landscape, it’s instantly a vast contrast to the first game which initially served us a smaller home, with a much bigger world beyond. The developers promise maps that are diverse and different, with travel within and beyond a bustling city into the country and even into space, the promised scale of this game is simply extraordinary. An emphasis on character development aims to engross the player in the culture and history that forms this world and promises an emotional journey to anyone looking to get lost in this science-fiction adventure.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 doesn’t look to be hitting the shelves anytime soon with the game quoted as being at ‘very much at day zero’ and development barely underway. This theatrical trailer may seem like a bit of a tease, but it’s good to see that Ubisoft are taking their time with this title, the last thing fans want to see is another bunch of characters with terrifying, semi-rendered faces like the ones that haunted our dreams following AC: Unity.

Ubisoft Assassins Creed Unity Glitch

Sony at E3 2017

Sony’s presentation opened with a captivating performance from a traditional sitar player and band, whilst a cascading waterfall poured down behind them and an intricate light show danced across the water. This unique opening sequence launched the audience into a standalone Unchartered named The Lost Legacy. This chapter looks to allow players to play as Chloe Frazer, a fan favourite from the original adventure, to search for a treasure cache known as The Tusk of Ganesha.

Since 2016, PlayStation has taken over as the platform for exclusive and advanced content for Call of Duty. The much anticipated COD: WW2 will be a nostalgic, 10-year reunion with the time period, for long-standing fans of the franchise. Playing as a soldier from the US 1st Infantry Division, the game covers a whole host of monumental WW2 events including the D-Day Normandy landings and the Battle of the Bulge.

Apparently, it wouldn’t be an E3 2017 press conference without a post-apocalyptic themed game, and for Sony that comes in the form of an open-world action game; Days Gone. Last year, we got our first glimpse of the horde pouring over rooftops and cars, whilst a lone survivor barricaded himself inside barns and tumbled out of skylights whilst cutting into the scores of undead with a hail of gunfire. If nothing else the game is beautifully presented with rustic outbuildings and sprawling woodland, with aesthetics that immerse the player entirely into a breathtaking world juxtaposed by the blood-thirsty people and creatures perilously hunting the protagonist, during his motorcycle journey.

Other big names that joined the Sony conversation include; Destiny 2, the sequel to Bungie’s highly successful multiplayer shooter, a robot revolt in the form of Detroit: Become Human and God of War, that threw us headfirst into the world of Norse mythology, accompanied by a somewhat emotional story of a father learning how to bond with his young son.

With a truly unexpected announcement coming in the form of the PS2 favourite; Shadow of the Colossus, no-one really expected such a glorious and spectacular trailer that truly does the game justice. Other Sony entrants this year include a web-slinging Spider-Man adventure with some rather epic fight mechanics, Monster Hunter: World, a brand new installment in the form of an RPG that looks to have a multiplayer online option and following on from its highly successful launch earlier this year, comes Horizon Zero Dawn DLC, with an expansion entitled; The Frozen Wilds.

Nintendo at E3 2017

Nintendo managed to bring a welcome sparkle of nostalgia to their short but sweet E3 2017 presentation. With the recent launch of the Switch, Nintendo looks to have upped their game with offerings such as Skyrim 5, soon to be available on the new Switch device, alongside fan favourites such as Rocket League that will operate cross-platform with everything but PS4 and will feature brand new toppers including Mario and Luigi hats.

Ten years on from the last proper Metroid Prime game, Nintendo teased the release of the new exclusive Switch version. With no gameplay to show, we know this isn’t likely to bear fruit for a good while, but shortly after the presentation, news broke that the 1991 Gameboy favourite, Metroid 2, would be released as a 3DS exclusive, in its final form of Metroid: Samus Returns.

Nintendo E3 stage

Other announcements included new content for the infamous The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, in the form of two expansion packs, with The Master of Trials due for release before the end of June. The Champions Ballad looks to ship nearer the end of the year and is teased to focus on Zelda and the four champions who fought and perished over 100 years ago. We don’t know a whole bunch about the storyline but it looks like this DLC could take us back 100 years, to a pre-calamity Hyrule.

To celebrate the series 25th anniversary, Nintendo is releasing three Kirby games as well as teasing a new, co-op side scrolling addition, which looks to be scheduled for release in 2018. What would a Nintendo presentation be without possibly the most famous face in arcade gaming? Super Mario Odyssey; is quoted as offering players a ‘core’ Mario experience within a strange, sandbox world with Princess Peach once again in the clutches of Bowser.

The presentation revealed several more titles for the Switch, with a brand new Yoshi game, hack-and-slash adventure; Fire Emblem Warriors, RPG Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and a new, but scarcely disclosed RPG Pokemon game that doesn’t look like it will be released anytime soon.

What didn’t we see at E3 2017?

It’s been two years since a brand new, open-world game from Bethesda and many of us were hoping for at least a tease of a new Skyrim installment. We’ve been gifted with VR capabilities for some of our favourite titles, but with this hardware still receiving mixed Marmite-style reception, we thought that Bethesda would have given us just a taste of things to come. Way back in 2013, Bethesda filed for a trademark on Starfield, which caused an awful lot of chatter across the gaming world… That’s pretty much all we know right now, but we’re all still holding our breath for a space themed open world RPG, comparable to Skyrim and Fallout, set in space and maintaining all those Bethesda quirks along the way.

After those supposedly leaked images of a laptop screen on a subway train, in Montreal, that supposedly displayed a new Tomb Raider title, we all were sort of hoping for a glimpse into Lara’s next adventure. Back in May, Square Enix stated that it would be a ‘quiet E3 for Lara’, but we’ve all learned never to trust the words of these developers. After all, there has historically been so many cases of toying with our emotions when it comes to release dates and new installments… this is why we have trust issues! We could be looking ahead to Gamescom in August for more news on ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’, so for now, we’ll just sulk and pout.

It isn’t often that Master Chief is MIA from E3, but this year 343 stated that there would be no Halo related announcement from them, besides the Halo Wars 2 DLC. There was every possibility that it could have been a ruse, what with developers purposely misleading us in the past, we couldn’t help but wonder if a theatrical trailer would crop up during the Microsoft conference. It seemed even more likely with the launch of the newest Xbox, we expected for the defining icon that is chief to push that brand new machinery to the limits with a new installment, but to no avail.

Sony would have ruffled more than a few feathers by basically omitting any information regarding Death Stranding, The Last of Us: Part Two and the Final Fantasy VII Remake from their press conference. Kojima may have already mentioned at the start of June that the mysterious pet project; Death Stranding, starring Mads Mikkelson and Norman Reedus, would be missing from the Sony conference, but we still don’t even know what the hell the game is about. The unsettling trailer leaves us with feelings reminiscent of P.T., and through cobbling the cryptic imagery together with what little information Kojima has provided, we’re still not that sure of what to expect, except that it intends to go beyond a traditional action RPG.

Let’s not even mentioned Shenmue 3… actually let’s do! Cast your mind back to E3 2015, one of the biggest names in technology, Sony, asked all us little guys to back the new Shenmue title with our own hard earned cash, on Kickstarter to get the development of the game off the ground. Still, the Kickstarter was funded insanely quickly and despite the fact we know this title is likely in the early stages of development, we could have done with an update of how they’ve been spending those Kickstarter funds, besides Yu Suzuki and Andrew House rolling around in Scrooge McDuck-sized piles of money.

Sony certainly has some explaining to do to the fans. Metaphorically, we’re currently standing at the front door holding a rolling pin whilst our misbehaved Sony, who snuck out drinking all night with his friend Kojima and Naughty Dog, drags its sorry carcass up the garden path. None of them have much to say about where they’ve been or what they’ve been doing, but they promise that it will all be worthwhile in the end.

E3 2017 was definitely a mixed bag, with some fans feeling that they hadn’t seen much new this year and others desperately emptying those penny jars to cover the sheer number of titles they just simply can’t live without.

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