E3 is a long event that exists to get people excited about videogames. If games don’t get you excited in a general way, then let me tell you this: E3 features multi-hour conferences from some of the biggest publishers in the videogames world that help you figure out exactly what to get excited about.
I’m saying this with a little bit of sarcasm, but also seriously. E3 press conferences exist to tell players about things that they might be interested in, and it’s mostly about throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. So let me tell you the ten major things that seem to “stick” for me from the vast amounts of E3 coverage that I watched in order to report back to you, dear reader.
Look, I really don’t know much about the Madden franchise’s player story mode. While I’ve played a few sports games in my day, Madden isn’t really one of them. But EA was selling the story mode for the next version of the game, Madden 18, with some big talent and some bit promises. I am on-record about my unrelenting fascination with Spike Lee’s version of the sports game story in NBA 2k16, and while I don’t think that Madden 18 is going to have monologues from ghosts or Spike Lee interrupting fake documentary footage, I do think it’ll take the journey from high school to the peak of play seriously and make it interesting. Also, Mahershala Ali is going to be in it.
I’ve been a fan of Bioware games at every major stage of their development, from the proto-company and its isometric RPGs, to Knights of the Old Republic, to Mass Effect. While I am certainly not the committed superfan that others are, I genuinely enjoy engaging with the things that come out of the creative talent that Bioware has consistently attracted for something like 20 years. Now they’ve made Anthem, and I don’t think I like the look of it. It seems to be cutting out all of the things that I have enjoyed about Bioware’s games for so many years in favor of streamlined online cooperative action that seems more World of Warcraft or Destiny than Mass Effect. I’m skeptical.
Until Dawn is one of my favorite games, period, and when it came out I was shocked both by how much I loved it and by how little I knew about it already. I’m ambivalent about how much the announcement trailer tells us about Hidden Agenda, but the gist of it is that you and your friends can sit around and play a mystery game together. You can vote on outcomes, and you can have secret goals that other players don’t have. What does that mean? Who knows! But I trust the Until Dawn team to give me that rad spooky action.
Look, I am not the most excited about the new God of War game. I once saw someone put out someone’s eyes from the first-person perspective in one of those games, and ever since then I’m been a little checked out on the faux-edgy violence that they seem to be all about. The new God of War trailer shows a little more action, a little less violence, and some more story context for why the Greek Kratos is all the way up in the world of the Norse gods. In any case, that game is coming at some point.
The unholy minds at Ubisoft and Nintendo have come to the conclusion that the next mode of existence for the Rabbids, a kind of Minions-like species of clowning rabbit people that spun out of a Rayman game, and Mario, who is a Mario that spun out of a Donkey Kong game, is that they should do battle with one another across a warped mushroom kingdom. They gave Mario a gun (and you won’t believe what he did next!). This is looking like it’s a tactical combat game with a lot of running around and shooting, and I will say that I never expected that. Given that it’s an Ubisoft game, there’s a 50% chance that Mario invades a narco-state in the sequel.
We live in a tumbling nightmare of existence in which all things tend toward complete disintegration. That can happen a lot of places, but my favorite place where we constantly tread toward the end times is Minecraft, and now you can play that game of blocky jumps and tree punching in glorious 4K. This means you can finally play Minecraft on an IMAX screen and have it look decent. You can finally play it in the planetarium like you’ve always wanted. And you can also play it on your 17 inch computer screen. Wowee!
I’ve spent the past little while yearning for a driving game with a deep, engrossing story. I know that’s a weird thing to say, but while I sort of enjoy the driving simulation of games like Project Cars, the reality is that I would like to play some semi-scripted driving games where I do incredibly cool car stuff. What can I say? Part of me just enjoys that Fast and Furious/Gone in 60 Seconds fury. I want to live my inner Nic Cage and my inner Dominic Toretto at the same time. Need For Speed: Payback looks like it’ll allow to do at least some of that. The worst thing that can happen is that I will drive some cars very good.
I’m a sucker for Moebius-looking stuff across the board, and the Beyond Good and Evil 2 trailer has that distinct “French comics of the 1970s” look that I just can’t get enough of. The trailer also contains a monkey who drops the F-bomb like ninety times, but I guess we just have to assume that the science fiction future full of talking animals probably has a wide array of possible curses. This monkey has found his personal favorite curse word. Despite only being a CGI teaser thing, the concept work on the game looks great, and this is something to look forward to.
Well we’ve been to the Holy Land, Renaissance Italy, Turkey, and Boston (among a million other places), and so we’re finally in the weird world of ancient Egypt in the new Assassin’s Creed game. I am the world’s most infinite apologist for these games. I love them. I will play the heck out of this game, and I might even love it. The E3 footage that we saw suggested that this game is a little closer to Far Cry in how it simulates NPCs and wily animals like hippos, so I’ll be curious to find out how far this strays from the normal creed of assassins.
I constantly hear praise for Wolfenstein: The New Order, a game from a few years back that reinvigorated the franchise. It is an alternate history game where you fight off the Nazis who won the Second World War. Unlike many other Videogames People, I thought it was just “fine,” a game that I was happy to play once and then forget about for a while. The New Colossus, the sequel to that game, seems to be more of the same, and if you liked The New Order, then you will probably like this game that takes the liberatory murdering-and-gunning to the heart of America in a bid to get rid of Nazism once and for all.
Cameron Kunzelman tweets at @ckunzelman and writes about games at thiscageisworms.com. His latest game, Epanalepsis, was released last year. It’s available on Steam.