By Michael Mendis
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, is the one of the biggest gaming conventions in the world; every summer, many of the biggest companies in gaming gather together in Los Angeles to hold press conferences and share their upcoming games and other technology with each other and with the world. E3 2016 took place last week and there were a number of new games announced and new trailers released to the public.
Here at Gospel & Gaming, we’re dividing our E3 coverage into two parts: this part will be focused on the games shown off at the convention, and the second part (coming soon), will cover our reactions to some of the hardware announcements.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at just a few of the games highlighted during the press conferences...
Anticipation is high for the new World War 1 era Battlefield game. The Battlefield name is very well established, but the older setting helps the game stand out from the hordes of shooters taking place in modern and futuristic settings, and the graphics on display are second to none.
Speaking of futuristic shooters, Respawn is hard at work on a sequel to Titanfall, the fast-paced FPS on Xbox One and PC. Titanfall 2 (which will also appear on PS4) expands on the formula established in the first game, with a single-player campaign, new mechs and mech weapons, and even more mobility options.
EA showcased an interesting looking indie game at last year’s E3 (Unravel, which we reviewed), and this year they brought another one: Fe, a colorful, atmospheric 3D platformer starring a small woodland creature. In an E3 dominated mostly by big AAA franchises (including a large amount of sequels), a small game like this stands out and is worth keeping an eye on.
The original Prey game released in 2006 was saw decent success, but the long-in-development sequel wound up being canceled when the game failed to come together to Bethesda’s satisfaction. Bethesda then turned to Arkane Studios (creators of Dishonored and the upcoming Dishonored 2) to reboot the sci-fi FPS series. We don’t know much about the new game at this point, but it looks creepy and mysterious, and it’s coming out next year.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
Skyrim was one of Bethesda’s biggest successes of the Xbox 360/PS3 era, so it comes as no surprise that they’re bringing an updated version to PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The visuals have been given a fresh coat of paint, and mods are readily available for players on all platforms. This may not be a brand new game, but it’s likely to be a big hit nonetheless.
Developer Arkane’s 2012 stealth game Dishonored was a hit, and the series is set to receive a sequel this holiday. This time you get to play as one of two characters: the original series protagonist Corvo, or Emily Kaldwin, the girl who you rescued in the first game and who is now a young woman who can fight on her own. Once again you’ll have the option of going through the entire game without killing a soul, but as the following trailer demonstrates, violence is an option. Parental warning for violence in the trailer.
Final Fantasy XV
When it comes to Japanese RPGs, no name is bigger than Final Fantasy, and Square Enix is betting big on Final Fantasy XV, the long-in-development title that is finally set for release this September. This new game features some noticeable breaks from tradition for FF games, including fast real-time combat (not unlike that found in the Kingdom Hearts series) and a semi-realistic art style.
Gears of War 4
First announced at last year’s E3, Gears of War 4 is Microsoft’s biggest game of the 2016 holiday season. It features a new set of main characters (including JD Fenix, son of former series protagonist Marcus Fenix) and it looks to offer more of the over-the-top monster slaying that Gears fans are familiar with, though with a few new weapons and enemy types.
Forza Horizon 3
The Horizon festival travels down under in the latest installment of Microsoft’s popular racing series. The arcade-y counterpart to the more realistic sim Forza Motorsport, Forza Horizon 3 adds seamless drop-in/drop-out co-op to its tried-and-true formula of open world racing.
First announced at last year’s E3, we finally got to see some gameplay of the new title from Keiji Inafune and Armature Studio. The mix of third-person shooting and platforming action gives it a Ratchet and Clank vibe, and makes it an intriguing new title for Xbox One and PC.
Sea of Thieves
The next game from storied developer Rare, Sea of Thieves is a colorful Pirate game with a heavy emphasis on social play. The new gameplay revealed at E3 shows off several groups of players sharing some grog, learning how to sail giant pirate ships, and engaging in ship-to-ship combat.
The new game from Boss Key Productions and Cliff Bleszinski (best known for his years at Epic Games as lead designer of the Gears of War series) is a fast-paced FPS with a ton of mobility. This multiplayer shooter has you soaring through the air while wielding plenty of big guns, and looks to tap into the same kind of action and excitement that you’ll find in games like Titanfall and Quake.
Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord
The strategy action-RPG Mount & Blade was released all the way back in 2007, and while it has received an expansion since then, a new full game is in the works. This E3 the development team at Taleworlds Entertainment brought some new footage showing off the updated siege gameplay.
Ghost Recon Wildlands
After a substantial demo at last year’s E3, Ubisoft comes back this year with another extended look at Ghost Recon Wildlands, an open-world military game that tasks you with bringing down a drug cartel that has taken control of Bolivia. The new demo shows of more of the game’s co-op campaign as the team sneaks into a camp to extract a high-ranking cartel member.
Watch Dogs 2
The follow-up to 2014’s open world game sees you playing as Marcus, a member of the Anonymous-style hacking group Dedsec attempting to overthrow a corrupt, big-brother-esque government. The game takes place in San Francisco, and the demo below showcases Marcus' ability to use his hacking skills to tackle challenges in a variety of ways, from activating cell phones to remotely driving cars. Ubisoft is also touting seamless drop-in and drop-out co-op with other players you meet in the open world.
Steep is a new game from Ubisoft that seeks to tap into the thrill seeking adventure of racing down the snowy mountains of Europe, and features a variety of sports including snowboarding, skiing, paragliding, and flying with wingsuits. You can set up challenges and share your favorite races, stunts, and crashes with your friends.
God of War
Sony Kicked off their conference with a new entry in one of their biggest franchises: God of War. The game (simply titled God of War) takes place sometime after the events of God of War III and Kratos now has a son. There are some dramatic gameplay departures from the previous games in the franchise, namely the close, over-the-shoulder camera and new RPG mechanics.
Sony made a big push for their virtual reality headset at their conference (something we will talk about more in our coverage on hardware), and one of the games to showcase their new technology is Farpoint, a sci-fi FPS set on a mysterious, dangerous alien world. The success of gaming VR with the general public will ride in large part on the quality of the games made available for it, so if a game like this (a new IP in a familiar genre) makes some waves, that could go a long way to help convince gamers to shell out money for new technology.
Horizon Zero Dawn
We got some new gameplay footage at E3 for Horizon Zero Dawn, the upcoming action-RPG from Killzone developer Guerrilla Games. In addition to more robot-hunting action like we saw last year, we also got a look at some other gameplay mechanics, including a conversation system, crafting items, and taming robots so you can ride them into battle. It’s my personal favorite game of E3 2016, and I can’t wait for it to come out early next year.
Few names in gaming are as big as Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Now that Kojima is no longer with Konami and no longer making Metal Gear games, he’s joined up with Sony to create a new IP called Death Stranding. At this point all we really know is that it stars Norman Reedus (of Walking Dead fame) and that it’s weird and a bit creepy; we don’t even know what kind of game it is. Kojima’s track record is so incredible, though, that even a teaser like this is enough to catch the attention of the entire industry. Parental Warning for the video below, as it contains some nudity.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Nintendo has significantly scaled back its E3 presence this year -- they didn’t even have a conference or a pre-recorded Digital Event as they have in years past -- but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the new footage they’ve shown of the Zelda game coming out for Wii U and Nintendo’s upcoming console (codenamed NX). The game now has a full title, and Nintendo has livestreamed a whole lot of gameplay footage, showing off the game’s exploration, puzzle solving, and combat. The video below is just a brief trailer for the game as a whole, but you can see plenty more via Nintendo’s YouTube channel.