Highlights: what E3 2017 left us hopeful for

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo brings in tens of thousands of video game aficionados from across the globe, as they make their pilgrimage to L.A. to get a glimpse of the biggest confirmed announcements made by the most prominent brands of gaming development, publishing, and design.

Microsoft, Bethesda, Nintendo, Ubisoft, EA, and Sony go all-out at E3 conferences, building the hype for their brands, announcing hopefully un-leaked new titles, and even attempting a proper star-studded show for the reveals.

The latter has become infamous for the many technical malfunctions, missed handshakes, muted mics and awkward-smile silences, as live E3 streams often become synonymous with unadulterated cringe (check out some of this year’s compilations, if you missed the recent ‘I went early, Rog’ extravaganza, among others).

The mixed responses to the on-stage proceedings aside, the community was mainly there for the title announcements, so let’s dive into that.

Microsoft opened with the official introduction of the much-speculated Project Scorpio, which was finally re-branded as the new Xbox One X – an ambiguous and controversial project clocking in at a steep $500, featuring no games that aren’t available for PC, and focusing almost exclusively on the coveted 4K, over vital features such as smooth frame rate, for one. It does, however, feature full backwards compatibility.

The titles revealed by the developer were a good mix of sequels, remakes and original projects. The huge world hit that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has become practically overnight is coming to Xbox One in 4K. So are Minecraft and Dragonball Z. Metro‘s new sequel, Exodus, looks gorgeous and thankfully vast, sans the never-ending underground tunnels.

Additionally, Middle-earth: Shadow of War was confirmed for October 2017 release, and a sequel/prequel to the popular time-warp RPG Life is Strange was announced as well.  The sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest quickly became a favourite title reveal for many, in no small part due to its emotional and enthralling trailer.

Some other notable projects included The Last Night, a quirky metropolis platformer, the new promising FPS Anthem, and the latest instalment of Assassin’s Creed, which is to be set in ancient Egypt and explore the creed’s initial formation.

Additionally, the new project Sea of Thieves became a quirky highlight, due to the impressive graphics, humour, and interesting player interface.

EA’s conference focused extensively on their Star Wars: Battlefront II announcement, which the developer has promised will have ‘fixed all the first game’s problems’. These include making all the multiplayer add-ons free this time around.

Another promising EA project is A Way Out, an intriguing split-screen co-op prison escape tale.

Some notable Ubisoft announcements were Far-Cry 5, featuring Boomer the pup, and Transference – an intriguing psychological VR project introduced by Elijah Wood, who is apparently one of its creative directors. The title promises a new, unsettling, possibly meta angle on the entire VR experience.

Ubisoft’s biggie, though, was Beyond Good and Evil 2, a game that’s been promised for over 15 years. It is set as a prequel to the storyline of the original, and promises the same crazy and unpredictable action set in the same unfathomable, hilarious universe as its predecessor.

Some of the highlights of Nintendo’s presentations include the announcement of not one, but two different Metroid projects, two scheduled expansion packs for LOZ: Breath of the Wild, the newest Super Mario instalment – Odyssey, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim‘s imminent release for the Switch.

Sony introduced numerous PSVR releases, including psychological thriller In Patient, Moss – a colourful title with Zelda-esque vibes featuring a mouse protagonist, and, once again – a remastered Skyrim, which is to make its way to all platforms this year.

Additionally, the developers unveiled the new, highly promising God of War, which appears to have upped its own ante on everything from graphics to gameplay mechanics, and showcases a world of impressive clarity and depth.

Sony also announced the new expansion for Horizon: Zero Dawn, treated us to a better look at the post-apocalyptic Days Gone, as well as the upcoming Call of Duty: World War II multiplayer, and informed copious Monster Hunter fans that the title will be making its way to consoles and PC.

Sony’s biggest spotlight, however, was on the announcement of a completely remade, not remastered, Shadow Of The Colossus. The original is already a formidable title, with a universally upheld reputation for being one of the most creative and well-executed projects of all time.

The PS4 remake, coming out sometime next year, is therefore in very safe waters thus far, and is well on its way to becoming a strong success, if its predecessor and the release trailer are anything to go by.

 

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