Another year, another E3, and with it a slew of new titles across all the major platforms. It’s an exciting start to the Summer as all the speculation and new releases get some bones, although with an increasing trend of showing off titles that won’t be around for years to come.
This year I was mostly left to catch up on what had already happened versus seeing it live. In a way it’s a little more sad as you don’t get to be part of the immediate reaction to the oft exciting news, but seeing it on the backend does give you a fuller picture of what exactly is being released, when it will be, etc.
So for this year, I thought I’d just start running down some of the major announcements, or at least the ones that I am most hyped for. I’ve hopped onto the Nintendo bandwagon with the Switch, which has been a new change from the previous console generations when I was firmly Playstation or Xbox (but always PC!). Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of what we saw.
CDProjekt Red’s next endeavor after the highly acclaimed Witcher series (to which I gave high praise here), Cyberpunk 2077 is a first person, role-playing, cover-based shooter based on a tabletop RPG system from 1988.
We got a look at the game’s aesthetic, which received heat for being less Bladerunner and more Outrun/Vaporwave (perhaps closer to Hotline Miami, reviewed here). Personally, I think the game looks amazing, and I think the cyberpunk/colorwave niche needs to be properly explored, and these guys are some of the best in the business.
While we don’t yet know the release date for the game, we can assume that it will be packed full of content. CDPR is not known for skimping on its base game or its DLCs, with Witcher 3 packing an almost entirely new game into some of its expansion packs.
Furthermore, we can trust CDPR to properly dig through the source material and give a fair shake to the lore of the original system. While I am not familiar with the pen and paper progenitor, I know that CDPR does a fairly faithful rendition of the underlying material, and they do not shy away from any controversial material, despite its more mature themes.
I have to say, Cyberpunk might be my most anticipated title that’s being discussed. CDPR did such an exquisite job in crafting the Witcher trilogy that they have my full faith in crafting the next best thing.
Kingdom Hearts III
I’ve written about this one numerous times (most recently here), and I remain completely interested in when we will finally see another “main line” game in this strange mashup series. While we have had plenty of spin-offs and side games that flesh out the Kingdom Hearts universe, its been awhile since we’ve had Sora, Goofy, and Donald in a main line title fighting alongside Disney and Final Fantasy characters.
We now have a release date, next January, so we know they have made significant progress. Originally we were shown very little, but now we got to see a Frozen, Monsters Inc., Wreck-It Ralph, and Toy Story set of worlds for the new title. I’m super excited to interact and see what each of these have to offer, particularly the Toy Story space.
From what we’ve seen, the game will have updated graphics and seems to continue the story focus on Sora and his battle against Organization XIII. The whole story is famously convoluted, although if you just want to get up to speed on how to play through the deluge of titles across multiple platforms, I wrote a post for just that here.
Let’s hope that this go around will iterate favorably on the series, just how (in my opinion) Kingdom Hearts II really brought the full strength of the series, even though the first title set up the ideas.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate
This was a big one for a lot of people. We got a teaser that this was coming (posted previously here), but now we got a look at the roster, the graphics, and some of the gameplay.
The big announcement here is of course the massive roster that will be included in the Switch release. Snake returns after a long absence, which leaves an open and interesting question as to how Nintendo worked out getting him into the game on the legal side. I’m happy however it happened.
We also got a look at several of the newest stages, which look awesome. However, I was more interested in the remastered versions of classic stages, which played right into my nostalgia (Nintendo knows how to do this all too well).
It also looks like Nintendo is changing and tweaking some of the gameplay mechanics to cater somewhat to the competitive community. After Melee, Nintendo took a step away from this niche with Brawl, which had “floatier” characters and lead to the Project M community. Even after the WiiU Smash 4, many players remained on the Melee circuit. Depending on how the controller scheme actually plays out with the Switch (it looks like Gamecube controllers will be usable), we could see a competitive community return to a new Smash title.
I just hope that it will be easy to get an adapter, and maybe they will release new Gamecube controllers. I also hope they get the full roster available without too much DLC, and that, while I like the nods to the competitive community, the game still allows for the classic 1v1v1v1(v1v1v1?) couch co-op that solidified the series popularity on Gamecube and N64. Online multiplayer will also need to be polished.
Oh, and also Ridley is now a character…
Bethesda had done some teasing up to E3, with the announcement of a new Fallout title, which was neither Fallout 5 nor a mobile game like shelter. The ambiguity surrounding the game was only slightly cleared at E3, even though the game is suppose to release later this year.
From E3, it looks like the game will be set in 2076 America, specifically West Virginia. You once again emerge from a vault after nuclear war, and once again you must survive the unforgiving landscape.
Gameplay-wise, it looks like a traditional Fallout game, although the entire game will be online, with no NPCs and instead it will be fully staffed with other online players. How exactly they do this, while still maintaining quests and a storyline, is slightly confusing and feels like a Warcraft style MMORPG without explicitly saying its an MMORPG.
Furthermore, they’ve said their will be base building that will be short of a mini-city. These buildings will supposedly not be at risk, and will be removed from the game when you log-off. Further, players are restricted to one server and instead will log-in, log-out across servers but in the same world. This is another area that needs some clarity.
When this was first announced, I thought they might be leaning more towards a pure base building game, really building on that side element of Fallout 4. Instead, it looks like the base building will be secondary, and the game will focus on first player tasks and combat. VATS will also be in the game.
Overall, I’m not quite sure how I feel about the game. I need to learn more and my caution mostly stems from the disappointed that accompanied my playthrough of Fallout 4 (good game, but short of expectations for me). With a beta preceding the full release, hopefully Fallout 76 will shakeup the genre and the formula that’s become slightly old through the fourth installment.
Super Mario Party
Another title that is scheduled to come out later this same year, Super Mario Party continues the once-vaunted series onto the Nintendo Switch. Taking the Super moniker over a numerical iteration, the game looks to return to the magic of the N64 series and away from … the cars of the recent past.
What we were shown were people playing the game across multiple Switches and using the joy-cons one per person. This is an interesting twist for consoles, utilizing space across two units to make the game playable in what may be split screen with four players.
The game appears to retain its bright, colorful fun and take place on a game board with mini games played between turns. If this game is a return to form for the series, I could see myself playing many rounds of this with friends that are open to easy to pick-up Switch titles.
Elder Scrolls VI / Starfield
These were merely teasers and we hardly know anything about either of them other than that Bethesda is working on something.
Elder Scrolls VI, which would follow-up the re-re-re-released Skyrim, would seemingly take players through the familiar experience the series has provided. All we got was a teaser trailer that didn’t show any gameplay or confirm location. I have high hopes that this game will be awesome, but a bigger curiosity of which systems this will release for. Will Switch get a piece with the Skyrim port as the predecessor?
Starfield is up for pure speculation, and Reddit et al will surely be frothing over every little detail they manage to find related to its patents or developers little quips. Regardless, we know that Bethesda is looking to create its own unique IP for the first time in a long while. Soon it will be Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Starfield titles. We also know that this game will be based in space. If this turns out to basically be Skyrim in space, its an insta-buy for me.
Another title that I’ve posted multiple times about (like here), the newest Kojima title remains fairly mysterious. It’s got all kinds of insanity and nonsensical (for what we know) images that have been leaked or shown. We did get to see that it looks like an action game, potentially in a similar vein to Metal Gear, in an open world environment.
We also got some “explanation” of how the game’ story is set-up, involving the connection between life and death, going to the upside-down a la Stranger Things, and a rain called Timefall that interacts with objects it touches. All of it sounds very, very interesting, but I’m more interested in a release date – which was not provided.