While lucky attendees and press reps are still enjoying the many spoils of E3 through the week, the big conferences are over and done. If you read our speculative articles last week, you know that we didn’t exactly hit the mark, but I suppose one out of three ain’t bad. Some developers did a little better for gamers these past few days than others, so let’s get right to it.
The best of show, in my opinion, was Nintendo by a landslide. Now, I would hardly consider myself a Nintendo die-hard, but their showing kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Exclamations and expletives passed between me and my friends as new titles and ports were unveiled in rapid fire fashion.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was a clear point of excitement. Sure, we expected it, but what we actually saw looks like everything I could ask for and more. Every character EVER (plus Ripley — thanks, internet) with costume variations and dozens of stages! It’s no doubt one of the most anticipated titles to hit the Nintendo Switch. All you need to know is it’s Smash Bros. – do we really need to go into more detail? Bonus points to Nintendo if the play speed comes close to Melee, but I’m confident it will be a winner.
Perhaps the most enthralling moment for me was the reveal of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I’ve been a huge fan of the series for years and looking forward to a Switch entry ever since it was even hinted at. Though we won’t see this one hit shelves until next year, what we did see looked to be on a scale unlike any other FE game. Battles looked huge, armies crashing into one another, and the character designs are gorgeous. If they can take the best parts of the 3DS entries and meld them with some of the deeper story beats of Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn, this may be a series-defining title.
No better time than now
I could go on all day about Nintendo’s conference, but I’ll stop myself after this. They unveiled two immediately released games on the Switch eShop yesterday — Fortnite and Hollow Knight! Switch owners have been clamoring for these titles, so the immediate release was absolutely wild! Hollow Knight is one I’ve held off buying on other platforms solely because it looks like the perfect Switch game. I’ve been hoping for a great Metroidvania on the console and I think this will deliver and then some. Plus, it comes packed with all the DLC, so I honestly can’t download this one fast enough.
Fortnite is one we’ve talked about here before (because let’s face it, who hasn’t talked about Fortnite these days?) I gave it a whirl last night in handheld mode and it seems very well-optimized! Everything feels intuitive, runs smoothly, and is set up for cross-play with PC and Xbox (get it together, Sony!) It’s exciting to have a game like this available on Switch and it’s yet another testament to why it’s a must-have console.
Can’t beat Bethesda
On the other hand, we have Bethesda. I’ll be honest, this one surprised me! I found myself a bit burnt out on the Fallout/Elder Scrolls formula, primarily after grabbing Fallout 4 at launch and losing interest at an alarming rate. They really came through this E3, though, with numerous announcements that will have their dedicated fan-base foaming at the mouth.
Enough media outlets have covered Fallout 76 since its big reveal, so I don’t feel the need to go into detail on that one. What I really found most intriguing about this conference as a whole was how…vague the biggest announcements were. And I don’t mean that in a bad way! Something about the mystery has got my interest totally locked in. Not sure if it’s an intentional marketing tactic, but it’s working!
First and foremost, we finally got confirmation of Starfield. Touted as a single player sci-fi experience, we know almost nothing other than a presumable space setting. Starfield has been rumored in places like ResetERA for a little while now, so knowing that it’s actually a single-player title has really piqued my interest in the context of how many games rely so heavily on online play. Plus, after Mass Effect: Andromeda, I feel like the world could use another space RPG to look forward to. Can’t wait to learn more about it!
The other game of note is, of course, The Elder Scrolls VI. With just a title (no subtitle yet) and some really pretty mountains, this announcement still bowled everyone over. I’m certain we’re years away from release and probably at least a year from footage, but this was one of the best surprises of E3 and reignited my interest in other TES properties. With the upcoming release of TES: Legends on PS4, Xbox, and Switch, and the newly announced TES: Blades mobile game, Bethesda really made it a point to round out their biggest IP with news at every angle. It’s even got me going all the way back to Morrowind in two capacities — I just installed the GOTY edition to load up on nostalgia while also installing Elder Scrolls Online for the first time, something I’m very excited about. All of that on top of Rage 2, Doom: Eternal, and more. All eyes are on Bethesda for the foreseeable future!
Tuned to a dead channel
Lastly, Microsoft had a fantastic panel overall this year, but one thing stood out for me. Cyberpunk 2077. CD Projekt Red has been teasing us with this one for a long time now, but finally seeing something from the game engine was the taste I needed to want more. I’m a huge fan of cyberpunk as a genre, so seeing a game that promises to replicate that whole 80s-grit-aesthetic a la Blade Runner and Neuromancer has me fiending. While we didn’t get to see gameplay in the trailer, sources are stating it’s a first-person RPG with shooter elements, character customization, and basically all of the gameplay and quality of life elements we’ve come to expect from CDPR. I really cannot wait for this one — it’s an undeniable day one purchase and I have a feeling it will eat some serious hours.
We’ll be back in a few days to discuss what we weren’t quite as taken with this year, but it was quite a show overall!
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