E3 2016 has drawn to a close, and just in case you missed it, there was a lot of big news this year. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, often times called E3 for short, is the biggest annual trade fair for the video game industry. All the biggest video game publishers were there: Sony, Electronic Arts, Bethesda, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and many more. E3 is used to promote upcoming games and gaming merchandise. In many ways, it’s the biggest video gaming event of the year.
Overall, there was a lot of great stuff announced at E3 2016, many promising games and great trailers made their debut, and several rumored releases became official. Highlights from all of the major press conferences, demos, presentations, and stage shows were studiously reported by major news outlets, pop culture websites, media blogs. Fandoms, and ordinary gamers, frequently reported and streamed live content, making sure gamers get all the knowledge they need.
By nearly all accounts, Sony dominated this year’s E3, with Kojima, God of War, Resident Evil, and much more. Bethesda revealed a Skyrim remaster, Dishonored 2, and new Fallout DLCs to an eager fanbase. Electronic Arts (EA) showed off its latest sports games and first-person shooters. Ubisoft showed off a brutal demo of For Honor, a VR Star Trek game, and the sequel to Watch Dogs. Microsoft hinted at a powerful new console, their Play Anywhere program, and of course a lot of games. Regarding Nintendo, one word: Zelda.
Now that E3 for 2016 has wrapped up, let’s take a look back at 15 of the most exciting announcements (among many) made this year.
15. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Getting a Remaster; Will Work With Basically All Old Mods
First up, Bethesda announced at E3 2016 that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will get a remaster for PC, Xbox One, and PS4. Even better, the remastered version of the open-world fantasy role-playing game will be fully compatible with virtually all old mods, support all three DLC expansions, and have a complete graphics update. Even more exciting, while Skyrim has long boasted one of the largest and most vibrant PC modding communities of any game in history, console players will no longer be left behind, as the special edition will support mods on console. Skyrim: Special Edition will be released October 28 of this year. Oh, and more good news: if you already own Skyrim and all three of its add-ons – Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn – or own its Legendary Edition, you will receive a free upgrade to the special edition on that date, which we gotta say is pretty cool.
14. The Elder Scrolls Online Announces Update Eliminating World Barriers
This fall, exploring the continent of Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls Online is about to get a whole lot easier, as Bethesda had even more news for the free-to-play MMO based on the popular Elder Scrolls series. The developers are set to make some big improvements. The biggest update is that soon players of the online role-playing game will be able to move freely through the world’s locations thanks to the One Tamriel update. Before, you had to make three characters – one from each faction – to be able to see the entire world map. Now, players will be able to move throughout Tamriel without restriction, regardless of chosen faction. The company has also announced they will be introducing level-scaling to the entire gaming world, ensuring there will always be powerful enemies to fight even for seasoned players. Developers had been talking about level-scaling since last year, but at Bethesda’s E3 event, director Matt Firor made the news official. Now, areas the player is in will scale to their current level, much like areas in current Skyrim DLCs. You can read about the updates to ESO on the game’s official website.
13. Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima’s New Game
Sony sure packed a lot of content into their E3 conference. In addition to teasers for a ton of new games, Hideo Kojima walked on stage to steal the show, and to play the teaser for Death Stranding, his first project since the breakup with his former company Konami. The clip stars Norman Reedus, star of The Walking Dead, who previously worked with Kojima on the canceled Silent Hills. In classic Kojima style, the teaser reveals little but leaves the viewer wanting to know more.
All we know is that Reedus wakes up nude on a beach next to a newborn baby with an umbilical cord that looks artificial. They are surrounded by a bunch of dead fish and crabs. And then…the baby turns invisible and uh…something about ink handprints? Oh, and a cross-shaped scar on Reedus’ belly too. All set to music! Reedus’ character sees floating men approaching in the distance, and the camera pans out to show more beached sea life (including whales) with the same mysterious mechanical-looking umbilical cords. Whatever the game is actually about, fans are no doubt saying “WTF” , while being excited at the same time. One thing is for sure, wild theories about what’s going on in Death Stranding will likely continue for months until it comes out.
12. First Look at Dishonored 2
Bethesda’s E3 conference was not limited to the Elder Scrolls franchise. French developer Arkane Studios debuted the shiny first gameplay footage of the upcoming Dishonored 2. The game will take place in a new city named Karnaca, which is notably less gray than the city of Dunwall, the setting of 2012’s Dishonored. The sequel is set 15 years after the events of the first game. Dishonored 2 lets you play from the perspective of Emily Kaldwin, the Empress of the Empire of the Isles, or Corvo Attano, the protagonist from the first game. All we know about the plot is that an “otherworldly usurper” steals the throne from Emily, throwing the Empire into chaos. So essentially the story of the first installment, but with new environments to explore and new characters to get to know. Oh, and new supernatural abilities, should you choose to play that way. Dishonored 2 will be released November 11.
11. Resident Evil 7 Announced
So, not only was Resident Evil 7 announced during this year’s E3 Sony conference, but the new trailer looks absolutely horrifying, complete with a lyrically-tweaked spine-tingling version of “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” that will be haunting us for days. It will be a first-person survival horror game of course, and will be available on VR if you think you’ve got the courage for it.
RE7 is built on a brand new engine, the RE engine, and will be released on PC, Xbox One, and PS4. The teaser was uploaded as a free demo on PSN, and lots of people have already played through it multiple times, though most players believe there are still many secrets to be uncovered. You play as a cameraman with a film crew that breaks into an old house to shoot a movie, only to become trapped inside. The feel invokes the Silent Hill series and other survival horror franchises. This looks to be the reboot the series so desperately needs and deserves. Resident Evil 7 will be released on January 24, 2017.
10. Days Gone, New Open-World Survival Game
Sony unveiled a few minutes of a brand new open-world survival game coming out for the PS4, Days Gone. The look and style of the new game from Bend Studio has received comparisons to The Last of Us, and even features a post-apocalyptic world where most of the population has been wiped out by a pandemic. You play as Deacon St. John, a drifter and bounty hunter who must survive in the wilderness and battle against millions of Freakers – survivors who have evolved into feral, zombie-like creatures. The new original franchise takes place in the Pacific Northwest, where our former biker protagonist lives on what he calls “the broken road.” Right now, not much is known about the game; as both its release date and whether it will be multiplayer or PVP are still up in the air. Though one thing is for sure, playing as a mercenary in a Freaker-infested world, and the potential of finding out more about Deacon’s backstory and what happened to the old world, will doubtlessly draw in many eager gamers.
9. New God of War, Series Moves to Norse Mythology
Sony announced that a new God of War is coming, and it looks like it will be quite different than its predecessors. News of the game leaked out a while ago, but now it’s official: Kratos will be taking on the Norse Gods and myths in a new game. It’s being billed as a “soft reboot,” and so far the choice to keep Kratos on as protagonist seems to be controversial among fans, some of whom feel his story should have ended. Though it’s not clear what has happened to Kratos since the last game, or what he’s been doing in the meantime, players who enjoyed the series’ bleak and brutal take on the myths of ancient Greece, including the genocide against the Greek Gods in the second and especially the third installments of the original God of War, will probably find something to love here.
In the trailer, Kratos notably lacks his signature Blades of Chaos, sports a full (and very Norse-looking) beard, and appears to have a son. The character is also in a new environment in the icy north, where he and his kid are under attack by gnarled tree creatures, trolls, and what appears to be…wait for it…a dragon! The gameplay has been overhauled and will be radically different from the previous games. Because Kratos left Greece to start over, God of War 4 will feature a brand new pantheon of creatures, monsters, and gods lie in wait for Kratos and his son to slaughter.
8. Watch Dogs 2
Ubisoft showed off a wide array of games and footage at this year’s E3 conference. They showed a ten-minute demo for Watch Dogs 2, giving a long look at gameplay. You play as a member of Dedsec, a hacker group fighting to take back control from “the establishment.” Taking on the role of a new protagonist, Marcus Holloway, in a highly interactive San Francisco bay area setting. In the game, you are able to hack into any computer systems and electronic devices in the entire open-world city, including hacking people’s phones, cars, computers, and even use remote-controlled drones to spy on your targets. Clearly, the game wants to take in all the latest tech, even including a “3D-printed electro-shock gun.” We’re not sure if that actually exists, but we want one. Overall, the game looks like a much more modern and tech-based Grand Theft Auto world, with hackers instead of gangsters. Anyway, watch the trailer below.
7. A Star Trek VR Game
Ever thought about what it would be like to command and pilot a starship with your friends? Well, Ubisoft also unveiled Star Trek: Bridge Crew, an upcoming VR game where you can do just that. During E3, it was demonstrated by real-life former Star Trek crew members Levar Burton, Jeri Ryan, and Karl Urban, who play as Geordi La Forge, Seven of Nine, and the rebooted version of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, respectively. In case you’re wondering, all of them give the simulation rave reviews. Burton, in particular, seemed thrilled with the idea and noted he did a good job being the engineer. Players can take on all of the traditional roles in running a starship, including Captain, Helm, Tactical, and Engineering. Each player can take over a particular station on the virtual starship, and your ability to work together as a team will determine if your ship rises or falls. Watch them get into a fight with the Klingons in the trailer.
6. Project Scorpio “Most Powerful Console Ever,” New Gears of War, State of Decay Sequel
The biggest news out of Microsoft in a while came at E3 this year in the form of Project Scorpio and the Xbox One Slim. The mysterious Project Scorpio is set to come out during the holiday season of 2017. Few details about Scorpio have come out, and Microsoft’s lips are sealed aside from showing a reel of developers talking about how excited they are to be making games for Scorpio. Microsoft is calling it “the most powerful console ever.”
Microsoft also announced that anyone who buys Gears of War 4 will get it for both PC and Xbox One, and there will be a crossplay between the two. All major Xbox One games will likely have this crossplay feature soon, as part of the company’s ongoing “Xbox Play Anywhere” program. Gameplay from the new Gears of War was showcased, and a special edition of the Elite controller to go with it. Finally, Undead Labs’ surprise 2013 hit State of Decay is getting a sequel for Xbox One and PC. The zombie survival game’s next installment is set to come out in 2017.
5. Titanfall 2, Battlefield One, FIFA 17 and Star Wars
Electronic Arts (EA) has certainly been busy this year, and it wasn’t afraid to show off at E3. First, it showed the debut trailer for its new sports game, FIFA 17. The long-running football game series has been moved onto the Frostbite engine, the same engine that powers Battlefield. The new FIFA comes with an actual story mode. That’s right – an actual single player campaign, with cutscenes and a plot and everything.
Speaking of the Battlefield series, Battlefield One had one of the most breathtaking trailers of any game in the conference. The footage of the military history shooter is absolutely wild, with dynamic weather, realistic action, a huge range of environments and vehicles (including airships, battleships, and armored trains), and of course, large-scale destruction. It goes into open beta this summer.
EA’s E3 2016 press conference was broadcast live over their YouTube channel to show the new trailer for Titanfall 2, which comes to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 28. The first-person shooter now has six new Titans, a grappling hook, and a multiplayer mode, and if I’m not mistaken, a Titan voiced by Peter Cullen of Optimus Prime fame himself. Here’s the single-player trailer. Since then, EA has released a trailer for the multiplayer as well.
And finally, EA is working on more Star Wars games. Visceral’s new Star Wars game is coming in 2018, and Respawn are also working on a third-person action-adventure game from a different, unidentified era of the Star Wars Universe.
4. Gravity Rush 2
Gravity Rush was a surprise hit in the United States and Europe, and if the gameplay trailer is any indication, the sequel is poised to be even greater than the first in just about every way. The teaser for the PS4-exclusive title features 30 impressive minutes of PS4 gameplay, including vastly improved flying and flipping mechanics. Gravity Rush 2 looks to improve on the original, with more vibrant colors and environments, more variety in the NPCs, engaging battles, and a destructible world to boot. While the first game was built as a PS Vita exclusive but was eventually available on the PS4, the sequel will make use of the power of the PS4 from the jump. Kat, the main character, now has new flying attacks, including three types of flying kicks. Gravity Rush 2 looks and feels alive, and even though it didn’t have much of a presence at the E3 conference this year, it has all the signs of a smash hit.
3. Mass Effect Andromeda
Few fandoms are as eager and fanatical as that of the Mass Effect series. Since the conclusion of the original trilogy (and its controversial ending) fans have been chomping at the bit for a soft reboot to the series. Now, with Mass Effect Andromeda, that wish is soon to be granted. The teaser reveals few details about the actual plot. Why BioWare is withholding information so close to the publication of such a highly anticipated game is anyone’s guess, but the game uses the Frostbite engine, which explains why it looks so absolutely gorgeous.
What we do know is that Andromeda follows a group of explorers trying to find a new home. The game will feature all new characters, planets, and a new galaxy to explore. It’s worth noting the trailer shows a female protagonist. Though the player may get a gender choice if the past installments are any indication, it is refreshing to see BioWare put emphasis on the female option for its first official footage.
2. New Fallout 4 DLCs and VR, PS4 Getting a New Spider-Man Game
Bethesda revealed some pretty big news about its popular post-apocalyptic open-world RPG series at this year’s E3. For starters, Fallout will be coming to VR in 2017. That’s right: a virtual reality version of Fallout 4 (yes, the whole game) will be released from the HTC Vive. They also teased a number of new DLC packs coming out later this year. First up is a sneak peak at the Contraptions workshop expansion, which will let you build all sort of….well, contraptions. Next is the Vault-Tech expansion to build underground vaults, and also to become the most hilariously evil Overseer of all time. It outright says in the trailer you can build your own vault and “experiment on dwellers,” (their words, not ours) so why not? This DLC seems to be based on the hugely popular Fallout Shelter mobile game, which they also announced they are updating. But wait, there’s more! Finally, we have the Nuka World DLC, which lets you build and run your own amusement park and lead gangs of Raiders.
Equally exciting was Sony’s big announcement that there would be a new PS4-exclusive Spider-Man game from Insomniac studios. Spidey shows up with classic Peter Parker narration, followed by plenty of agile jumping and web-slinging. Though it’s hard at this point to tell what is a cinematic cutscene and what is actual gameplay, long-time fans of Spidey’s mythos are already saying this is the Spider-Man game they’ve been waiting for. Easter eggs in the teaser include a sign saying “Osborn for Mayor,” and the dragon masks of the thugs of Mister Negative.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
There were many earth-shattering reveals and teasers at E3 this year, but perhaps none was so highly anticipated as the new Legend of Zelda game. Nintendo pulled out all the stops to plug their latest project, due to come out on NX and Wii U next year. All morning and all afternoon, Nintendo demoed the new open-world Zelda game, Breath of the Wild. You can watch over an hour of gameplay right now. Testers who have already played the game have described it as terrific and ground-breaking for the ever-popular Zelda series.
In the new trailer, you can see Link as he wanders around vast open areas, jumping, climbing trees, mountains, and castles, diving into water and swimming, cooking a dish, hunting, cutting down a tree to create a bridge, pushing boulders down on enemies, setting grass on fire with a torch, and much more. If the everyday slice-of-life stuff is that engrossing, we can only imagine what the quests and main story will be like.
Nintendo says they designed this game to rethink the conventions of the Zelda series, and it seems they have done just that with the new open-world gameplay, and being the first Zelda game with high-definition resolution and voice acting. This could very well be the title that redefines Nintendo. All this combined comes together to give The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild the top spot.