In my “What to Expect from E3 2018” article, I tried my hand at guessing what you’ll see at the numerous press events that began June 9th. I was definitely right in some areas, and wrong in others. Here’s a look at the most newsworthy announcements of E3, the biggest week in gaming.
Games to Watch out for in 2018
E3 offers an opportunity to look ahead at the rest of this year in gaming, along with sneak peeks into early 2019 and beyond. Thankfully, we got some release dates for games long listed as “2018” that will be officially in our hands within the next six months.
- Fallout 76 is an online survival game with a massive post-apocalyptic world (four times larger than Fallout 4) where you’ll find other players as friend or foe in your quest to understand a new world in future West Virginia. Coming November 14th, 2018
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes the rejuvenated action-RPG series all the way back to Ancient Greece (about 2400 years ago) for a colourful and vibrant adventure set before all the previous Assassin’s Creed games. Yes, you can finally live your own “This is Sparta!” kick as of October 5th, 2018
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the definitive version of Nintendo’s all-star multiplayer fighting game, features every single character the past four iterations of the game featured, as well as a few new faces including long-requested Ridley from the Metroid games. Smash with up to 8 players on December 7th, 2018
- Starlink: Battle for Atlas seeks to re-energize the “toys-to-life” genre made popular by Skylanders and the now-defunct Disney Infinity, with a focus on space battles. More on this later in the article, but you can play on October 16th, 2018
- Also keep an eye out for Overcooked 2 this August, Super Mario Party in October, and Just Cause 4 and Forza Horizons 4 in December
What About 2019?
Thanks in part to the April-March fiscal years of many companies, a large number of big games tend to release between January and March. This growing trend continues with a significant amount of release dates revealed at E3 for games you’ll be playing in the first few months of 2019.
- Kingdom Hearts III finally arrives January 29th, 2019, 13 years after the last game in the series. The Japanese RPG-Disney mash-up takes players to the worlds of Frozen, Tangled, Toy Story, Pirates of the Caribbean and more
- Anthem from EA and BioWare brings a “shared-world” approach to the shooter plus RPG genre, arriving on February 22nd, 2019. EA showed off the impressive visuals and gameplay mechanics, and yes for BioWare fans this game can be played entirely single player as well
- The Division 2, from Ubisoft, will bring players to Washington DC for its unique take on multi-player “live service” shooters, will arrive on March 15th, 2019
- Crackdown 3, originally announced for release in 2016, will finally arrive in February 2019 (or so we can hope) featuring power armour, big explosions and futuristic weapons to play with
- Despite highlighting some major games, Sony’s press conference didn’t feature many firm release dates (or release windows), but it can be assumed The Last of Us Part II will be available in early 2019
- Also arriving in 2019, but lacking release dates for now, include Anime fighter Jump Force, anarchic actioner Rage 2, Microsoft sequel Gears 5 and Ubisoft’s pirate sim Skull and Bones
Some of the biggest surprises of E3 came through Microsoft’s non-stop flurry of trailers, including the long-anticipated Devil May Cry 5 and the return of the Master Chief in Halo Infinite. Microsoft also ended their press event with a trailer for Cyberpunk 2077, a first-person action-RPG from the makers of The Witcher 3. Despite a lack of a release date, the cinematic trailer reminded fans that yes, this game exists, and you’ll be able to play it someday!
My favourite surprises actually game from the Ubisoft event, which showcased the developer’s growth in the last few years to become a lot more fan- and consumer-friendly. Part of this was a showcase of Beyond Good & Evil 2, a game I know won’t be released for another few years but at least will better connect with the 2003 original’s story and also happens to still exist. Best of all, however, was the great reveal of Star Fox joining the fight in Starlink: Battle for Atlas, bringing Fox McCloud and his Arwing ship exclusively to the Nintendo Switch version of the game.
Bethesda’s very strange press event provided great detail on a few games, including the surprising mobile RPG Elder Scrolls Blades. The biggest surprises here, however, were the very brief official announcements of Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI. While I expect the sci-fi Starfield to be ready to play in 2019, I think TES VI is still a few years away.
Speaking of Bethesda, gaming practices are constantly changing, with a growing focus on games that feature predatory in-app purchase and gambling tactics. While many developers announced they would be dispensing with loot boxes and paid DLC, this seemed more like a short-term solution as companies find new ways to convince players to part with their money – after they’ve already paid to buy the game in the first place. Look for these practices to crop up in games like Anthem and Elder Scrolls Blades in the future.
A lot of games shown lacked release dates or even release windows, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it allows developers to avoid promises they can’t keep. However, Sony’s conference (which its own strange, glitchy spectacle), highlighted a number of games like Death Stranding and Samurai art-film-game-thing Ghost of Tsushima with no mention of when gamers can expect to play. We can start to expect more and more games to go this route, as more resources, time, energy and money go into making each game a cinematic masterpiece of its own.
That wraps it up for my look at this year’s E3. There are a lot of games to get excited about but I’m most looking forward to getting my hands on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Kingdom Hearts III. Let us know what got you excited from this year’s E3!