Earlier this week, video game publishers and developers showcased their wares at E3, the biggest video game conference of the year. Typically, video game publishers pull out all the stops for E3, bringing in celebrities, making surprise announcements and getting fans excitement for the next year or so of games. This year was no different, as Sony, Microsoft, EA, Nintendo, and Ubisoft impressed both the press and fans. Here's a few of the biggest announcements from this year's E3 conference:
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Nintendo only brought one game to E3, but it was the most talked about game of the show. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a radical new take on the Zelda franchise, one that mixes the puzzles and adventures of previous Zelda games with a Skyrim-esque open world. According to Nintendo, Breath of the Wild will take place in a massive version of Hyrule, over ten times larger than the world seen in Twilight Princess. Plus, players will be able to explore the entire map from the very beginning, which means its technically possible to beat the game without experiencing any of the storyline.
During a lengthy demonstration on Tuesday, Nintendo showed off some of the game's many new features. Link can now climb up walls and sneak past enemies, in addition to jumping at the press of a button (a first for the series). Instead of regaining health by collecting hearts, players will now need to gather and cook food to regain stamina. Even the weapon system has changed, as players can collect weapons dropped by enemies and store them for later use instead of using the same sword over and over again.
Despite the comprehensive look at the game, Nintendo didn't offer a specific release date. Fans have been waiting for Breath of the Wild since 2014, but they'll have to wait until sometime in 2017 to finally play through Link's newest adventure.
The next big shooter is going old school. EA formally unveiled Battlefield 1 at E3, a new first person shooter set in World War I. Although fans of the game knew Battlefield 1 was coming, E3 gave journalists and fans a chance to test the game. While recent Battlefield games have focused on advanced weaponry in the near future, Battlefield 1 features zeppelins, classic fighter planes and trench warfare in supposedly realistic fashion. Part of EA's aim with Battlefield 1 was to declutter the Battlefield franchise by decreasing personalization options and putting the focus back into gameplay and strategy. And judging from all the buzz about the game, it appears that EA's newest shooter will be a breath of fresh air for the increasingly cluttered genre.
Battlefield 1 will come out October 15th, 2016.
No new consoles debuted at E3, but Microsoft did announce "Project Scorpio", a souped up version of the Xbox One. Although it's not technically a new generation of console, Scorpio is a bridge system similar to the Playstation 4 Neo. While Microsoft won't release any Scorpio-exclusive games, the new console will have a massive upgrade in processing power that will allow it to support VR gaming and 4K HD displays.
Hybrid consoles seem to be the short-term future of gaming, a way to create bigger and more visually striking games without having to learn the nuances of a new system. The Scorpio will come out at the end of 2017, so we'll see if gamers will want to trade in their Xbox One for an even more powerful version.
God of War
Sony announced a soft reboot of their popular God of War adventure franchise, moving Kratos away from his Greek roots and into a world of Norse mythology. Set years after the last God of War game, Sony revealed that Kratos (who supposedly killed himself at the end of God of War III to restore hope to the world) was still alive and had a son. A brief trailer showed Kratos and his son hunting, until a troll-like creature attacked them on an icy cliff. Kratos has ditched his signature blades for a magical axe, which can be infused with elemental powers and hurled at enemies. Kratos's son will also have a role in gameplay, helping his father fight and solve puzzles.
No release date is set for God of War, so it's possible we could be waiting a while to see the new game on shelves.
Watch Dogs 2
Watch Dogs was an open world action-adventure game that didn't quite live up to its innovative gameplay system. Set in Chicago, players controlled a hacker who could hack into just about any form of machinery or device thanks to a hyper-connected network system. While the premise of the game was pretty cool, Watch Dogs had repetitive missions and ended up feeling too similar to other contemporary open world games.
For Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft retooled the hacking system so that players can interact with just about anything in the new setting of San Francisco. In addition, Ubisoft gave the new player character the ability to parkour through the city, presumably stealing the idea from their popular Assassin's Creed series. Upgrades were also made to Watch Dogs' driving system, a frequent complaint from the first game.
Watch Dogs 2 will be released on November 15, 2016.
One of the biggest surprise announcements was the announcement of a Playstation 4 exclusive Spider-Man game, developed by Insomniac Games, the developer of Ratchet and Crank and Spyro the Dragon. According to Insomniac, this new Spider-Man game will feature a more experienced version of Spider-Man fighting crime and balancing his hectic life and career. According to Insomniac, the game will feature new elements never before seen in a Spider-Man game, including more refined fighting techniques and improved acrobatics and parkour abilities. The game also features a new Spider-Man suit that was....less than well-received by fans. Expectations are running high, as Insomniac is known for its great games and Spider-Man games have traditionally been some of the best superhero video games around.
No release date was announced for the new Spider-Man game.
Batman: Arkham VR
Sony and Microsoft both showed off some of their new VR capabilities at E3, although there was one game in particular that stood out. Sony announced a new Batman: Arkham game for the Playstation VR made by Rocksteady, the developer of all the good Batman: Arkham games. Unlike past Batman games, Arkham VR will focus more on Batman's detective skills than his combat abilities. Players will have to solve a shocking murder, while literally stepping inside Batman's cape and cowl. According to Rocksteady, Arkham VR is a deeply personal game, one meant to compliment their planned finale, Arkham Knight.
Batman: Arkham VR will be released on October 13, the same day as Playstation VR's release date.