If you needed anymore proof that E3 is at a breaking point, look no further than Microsoft’s press briefing. The entire main floor was flooded with fan attendees, gleefully draped in jerseys and scarves and whooping harder than any Jerry Springer viewer ever has as Phil Spencer took the stage to begin the presentation. Outside the Microsoft Theater? Hundreds of press still waiting to get through the metal detectors and missing the one thing crucial to their job: being there.
And to be fair, it’s not the fault of either the fans or the industry workers (and some amount of those fans got in every year regardless). If anything, it would be the poor planning that went into the event, but also it was a venue change after years and years of being at the Galen Center, so that’s understandable as well. But it simply highlights the incongruity of the two groups of attendees to E3 now.
Looking past that, there was a decent showing. They hit all the major points we expected but also presented some twists both in those expectations and in things no one saw coming. So let’s get to it.
Here’s what we know based on this trailer: this game exists. That’s about it, which is fair since this was mostly just an engine demo of Slipspace. It kind of reminds me of that original Macworld footage, just throwing some UNSC things onto a wide open Halo plain. But based on the title, I’m assuming it’s going to collide headfirst into Booker and Elizabeth in Columbia.
No release date.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
If you’re not excited for this, you have no soul. We already knew this was probably going to show here since they announced it last year, but it’s interesting to see the subtle shift in art style now. There’s more depth and less painterly quality to it.
Expect it to release on the Xbox One and PC in 2019.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Now we finally know what that esoteric tease was about shadows and dying some number of times and a weird bone gear thing. It’s also an interesting change in art for modern FromSoftware, as in there are more than two colors: black and blacker. This looks like ninja Bloodborne and basically fuck yeah. That action seems all sorts of fucked up in exactly the way you’d want it to be.
Look for it in early 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Todd Howard is a goddamn showman. Sure, that’s not the point of this, but still. The way he introduces this gigantic prequel (four times the size of Fallout 4, apparently) set in West Virginia with a nuanced aplomb in just a short few sentences. Also, the idea that we’re going to play the time right after the bombs drop is alluring. We can get in there before all the bad stuff mutates into worse stuff.
It releases on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 14, 2018.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
This is some indie movie-ass shit and I’m loving it. Dontnod has show a supreme capability for developing hugely engrossing and intertwining personal stories in video games, and this youthful Paper Man-ish premise looks ripe for their brand of emotionality. It’s a bit confusing in structure, but apparently it’s a free mini download that is meant to set up the next major entry into the Life is Strange franchise.
Get it on June 26, 2018, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
There probably isn’t a better person for this role than Terry Crews. His yelling voice is peak intriguing. And hey, we actually got to see the game in action. Or at least we think. After such a protracted and delayed production, there’s a lot of hesitance to pouring more into the anticipation bonfire. We simply need to see more.
Look for it (hopefully) in February 2019 on the Xbox One and PC.
Yeah, that still looks like Metro. Not to be too glib about it, but there’s not much new in this trailer that we didn’t already know or suspect. And let’s be honest: if you aren’t already into these games but know about them, it’s kind of too late for you. You’ll probably never be interested. But for the rest of us, you can sleep well knowing it’s still happening, I guess.
Expected release is on February 22, 2019, on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Kingdom Hearts III
Nonsensical, impenetrable, and somehow charming. This trailer is pretty much the entirety of the Kingdom Hearts franchise as it introduces Frozen favorites and Tangled characters. It also features the weirdest single shot of Mickey Mouse possible, but let’s hope it wraps up the entire Sora arc in a satisfying and totally not batshit indecipherable way.
It releases in Japan on January 25, 2019, and everywhere else on January 29, 2019, on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Forza Horizon 4
Here’s the thing: this trailer was looking real good up until the giant hovercraft showed up. Easily the worst part about any Forza Horizon or any racing game is where you have to drive against a giant set piece thing where it just rubber bands for three minutes and frustrates the fuck out of you. So fuck that, basically, but everything else is hell yeah.
It comes out on the Xbox One and PC on October 2, 2018.
Sea of Thieves Content
It’s so dang hard to not root for Sea of Thieves. Everything about it is oh so very close to being lovable but from a lack of content to odd design choices to weird mechanical omissions, it’s just never got there. As they keep adding content, however, they might inch their way into the end zone. The megalodon was nifty, after all, so we’ll see.
Cursed Sails lands in July and Forsaken Shores in September.
The Division 2
Name a more fucking heinously tone-deaf video game than this. A civil war erupts in the streets of the United States following an attack on Washington from foreign agents as the military pulls back and civilians are left to riot and perish? Yeah, FUCK YOU. No shit “America is on the brink of collapse.” Fuck you.
Expect it to be more offensively on-the-nose on March 15, 2019, on who the fuck cares.
We got into this a bit with EA’s press conference on Saturday, but here we get a glimpse into the story side of things. There seems to be a studied authenticity in a possibly queer representation, which is incredibly cool. But also it looks like more Battlefield, sooooooo.
Release date of October 19, 2018, on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
There’s a lot to wonder about this game that isn’t shown here. The Crystal Dynamics entries worked because it played with the nonlinear format rather well and brought a refreshing perspective on the murderous toolset and refused to let Lara become a tomb raider in lieu of tearing down the structure of such a title. Here it seems to be poking at the concept of enduring peril versus conjuring it, which is interesting. But then again, we’ll have to wait and see.
Expect it out on September 14, 2018, on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Well, if EA wouldn’t do it, someone else will.
Look for it in 2019 on the Xbox One and PC.
Devil May Cry 5
So I guess Ninja Theory’s DmC just didn’t exist, huh. That’s pretty fucked up seeing as how it was a damn good game. The attitude also feels a bit…off here for some reason that I’m still trying to sort out. I mean, it looks good. It just isn’t jiving completely with me.
It has a release window of spring of 2019 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Comes out in 2019.
Ummmmm WHAT. In a genuine surprise announcement in an E3 full of leaks, we have a game that is smashing together what feels like every single mainstream anime character in existence into a single game. Look. At. That. Shit! That is truly buckwild, even if you don’t watch anime, you sure have to know Goku and Naruto don’t belong in the same universe. Wowie zowie.
It’s expected to release in 2019 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
We saw this last year at the PC Gaming Show during E3 and here we see it again, landing on the Xbox One presumably with the help of indie publisher Finji. And guess what: it still looks charming as hell. It’s a fox that’s living and breathing Zelda at its core and what more do you need to know. That action looks super effing rad.
No release date yet.
Dying Light 2
Crazy cool that Chris Avellone is heading the narrative in this game, but also the first Dying Light was enough of a heartbreaker for me that I don’t know if I want to get back into that sort of game again. The gameplay, though, does look a bit more Mirror’s Edge to me than before, so who knows. I’m willing to be disappointed again.
No release date yet.
Also no, but less of a stringent no and more of a fuck off with anything related to Funko Pop figures, the most aesthetically displeasing creation since the Minions and Rabbids.
Now we’re talking. I honestly thought I could do without another Gears game ever again, but seeing this, just one more ought to do it. I’m just gonna have to brush up on the thread here because I’m not entirely sure where we left off. She’s part…Locust? Or something else? Gosh it’s been so long. But looks pretty interesting either way!
It’s coming to the Xbox One and PC in 2019.
Just Cause 4
I’m glad this is happening. Just Cause 3 wasn’t a terrible game, but it wasn’t even close to being the game it could have been. Poor mission design and repetitive side tasks and stiff gameplay led to an underwhelming experience in a gigantic open world full of fun toys. But look at Rico ride right into that tornado. Now that’s the sort of shenanigans that we could all use more of.
The release date is December 4, 2018, for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Okay, yeah, now we’re into the real shit. This trailer is full of stuff. All those codes are (or were, really) working redemption codes for The Witcher 3. And they snuck in a message laying out their development and marketing ethos entirely. And the game looks fucking rad. The future design, the worldbuilding, the crunchy electro beats, the dramatic neo-noir lighting and class feuding. This is what I fucking live for.
Anyway, it should come out on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC at, uh, some point in the future.