Every year, the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles becomes the biggest event in video games. The two-day con has stretched longer and longer, starting unofficially on Sunday instead of its scheduled Tuesday, thanks to the giant press press conferences put on by major publishers like Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Bethesda and Activision.
It’s at those giant Apple-like pressers where publishers love to drop their big game announcements, and we’ve gotten a few pretty huge ones this year. Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima unveiled his new game with a very weird trailer. At Bethesda’s presser, Doom developer id Software announced it’s bringing classic shooter Quake back. Electronic Arts kinda sorta talked about its new Star Wars games. The new Zelda and new God of War debuted. Snoop Dogg smoked a blunt. And Microsoft announced not one, but two new Xbox One consoles.
It’s been kind of a big deal, but that’s hardly everything. Here’s a rundown of all that went down this year at E3 2016.
Xbox One “Scorpio” and Xbox One S
There are two—count ’em, two—new Xbox One consoles on the way. Up first is the Xbox One S, a slimmer version of the Xbox One that will be available in August. It’ll support 4K Ultra HD and high-dynamic range (HDR) imaging. It’ll also include a 4K Blu-Ray player, which makes it a good investment if you’re looking for one of those at an affordable price. Look for it at the end of the summer starting at $299.
The “Scorpio,” on the other hand, is coming holiday 2017. Microsoft touts it as “the most powerful console ever,” and it’s geared toward 4K video and virtual reality. We don’t know much more than that, including what Scorpio will cost.
PC or Xbox, Your Games Are Still Good
Microsoft announced a big push for most of its new games called “Xbox Anywhere.” The idea is that if you buy Xbox One games, they’ll work on your Windows 10 PC, and vice versa. That’s cool if you’re a PC gamer, and it opens up the ability for PC players to team up with, or take on, console players.
Team Up with Pirate Friends in Pirate Friend Game ‘Sea of Thieves’
Developer Rare, the studio behind games like Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie, has made a game about piracy, but in a fun way. You team up with your friends to man your ship and sail around blasting other groups of friends to sink their ships.
A New Way to Be Creeped Out in 'Inside’
The creators of spooky indie game Limbo have a new project about a frightening office.
Escape the Thought Police in Drug-Addled 'We Happy Few’
A new trailer for 1960s dystopian survival game We Happy Few shows off the first five minutes of the game. It starts with redacting the news, and it ends with getting belted by a nightstick.
Kill More Zombies in Hilarious Ways in 'Dead Rising 4’
The return to the Dead Rising series is a Christmas-themed zombie-smashing romp through a Colorado town, with all-new insane weapons, like an electrified battle axe and a suit of powered Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 armor.
Despite the fact that it seems Sony has its own upgraded console on the way, apparently code-named “Neo,” it didn’t match Microsoft in announcing it. Instead, Sony used its E3 press conference to demo, like, a million games.
Kratos is a Dad Now, But Not in a Murder His Family Way
God of War protagonist Kratos’s whole backstory is about how the Greek god of war, Ares, made him kill his family in a fit of insane rage. Now Kratos has a new kid—a Viking kid, apparently—and he’s trying to be a decent dad and not yell at the kid or kill him or whatever.
The Maker of 'Metal Gear Solid’ Releases a Weirdo Trailer for His New Game
Hideo Kojima left longtime publisher Konami after Metal Gear Solid V development was cut short and his spooky horror game project with film director Guillermo del Toro and The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus, Silent Hills, was canceled. But Reedus is back for Kojima’s next extremely weird-looking game, Death Stranding.
'Spider-Man’ is Back, in Video Game Form
There’s a storied history of great Spider-Man games in the last decade or so, as well as a few not-so-great ones. Now your friendly neighborhood wall-crawler is coming back under the creative auspices of Ratchet & Clank developer Insomniac.
It Seems 'The Last Guardian; is Actually Real and Will Actually Be Released
After years and years and years being tossed around at E3 shows, a game about a boy and his giant dog-bird monster pal is seeing the light of day. It was even playable at E3!
Hey, Remember Crash Bandicoot?
The spinning Australian whatever-a-bandicoot-is is coming back in a big way this year and next, joining the crew of Activision’s toys-slash-video game franchise Skylanders, and getting three game remasters in 2017.
The Next 'Resident Evil; Goes to Virtual Reality
Developer Capcom is promising a return to the franchise’s “horror roots” with Resident Evil 7, and not only will you play it looking through the eyes of the protagonist, it’ll also support Playstation VR. You can even check out the E3 non-VR demo for the game right now if you’re a Playstation Plus subscriber.
Be Batman Again Thanks to Virtual Reality
The developer of the Batman: Arkham Asylum series of games are back at it, but this time, you’ll see the world through Batman’s eyes in virtual reality, and presumably pretend-punch the Riddler and whatnot.
'Here They Lie’ is Full of Unsettling Monsters and People in Animal Masks
It’s a Playstation VR horror game and it looks as unsettling as VR horror games usually do. It’ll also include “life and death moral choices.”
It’s the Zombie Apocalypse But You’re in a Biker Gang in 'Days Gone’
You might be all like, do we need more zombie games, and the answer is “Yes if they’re good.” Have you ever been a biker in the zombie apocalypse before? Nope, you haven’t. And the protagonist is played by TV and film star Sam Witwer (who was once a kick-ass Jedi in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed), so it might have some story chops, too. You can also see Days Gone in action here.
Do Some Android Detective Work in 'Detroit: Become Human’
What started out as a tech demo from Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls developer Quantic Dream has evolved into a game that appears to be about being an android private eye in a Blade Runner-style world. Here’s hoping the writing can back up the premise.
Good Thing Those Astronauts Thought to Bring Along Some Guns in 'Farpoint’
It seems like you basically wind up on a planet that looks like Mars and is inhabited by gross aliens. And you shoot them with a gun controller Sony has made to go along with Playstation VR.
Here’s What 'Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’ Will Actually Be Like
Shooting dudes, but in space.
Electronic Arts chose to skip E3 this year and have its own, off-site “pretty much but not technically E3 so they don’t have to pay the ESA” event. It also dropped a bunch of new game info in its yearly press conference.
'Titanfall 2’ Has a Story Mode This Time
The EA-published shooter made by former Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare developers, Titanfall was a pretty solidly awesome game, if you could stomach the $60 price tag for a purely multiplayer game with no campaign story mode. That big criticism has been remedied in Titanfall 2, as the announcement trailer above reveals.
'Battlefield 1’ is Pretty Intense
It might be a little weird to talk about one of the most horrific, needless wars in history in the same terms that games use to describe things like visiting distant planets, but then again, Battlefield 1 is looking pretty impressive.
'Mass Effect Andromeda’ is Still About Exploring a New Galaxy
A few more details on the next entry into BioWare’s massive space opera.
Yup, 'Madden’ Again
It’s another year and another Madden game.
Yup, 'FIFA’ Again
Just like every year. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world so people must enjoy these yearly FIFA games.
'Fe’ is EA’s Token Annual Indie Game
It’s got an interesting art style with weird creatures. Quota fulfilled.
There are More 'Star Wars’ Games Coming, Including 'Battlefront’ in VR
It’s not really anything we didn’t know, but EA went ahead and at least mentioned its upcoming Star Wars games. And Battlefront developer DICE is working on something related to that game for Playstation VR.
Ubisoft surprised some folks by going beyond its usual stuff—Watch Dogs 2, Ghost Recon and other returning franchises—to bring out a few virtual reality offerings. Seems like lots of developers think VR is worth pursuing, which is great news if you like wearing things on your face, but bad news if you’re prone to motion sickness.
Wait, Maybe 'Watch Dogs 2’ is a Comedy Like 'Hackers’
Ubisoft showed off some gameplay from its new hacker action game set in San Francisco, Watch Dogs 2. And the tone of the presentation almost seemed to suggest that Watch Dogs 2 will be a lot more easy going and a lot less intensely serious than its predecessor, which would be an awesome change.
The Next 'South Park’ Game Skewers Superhero Movies
Ubisoft has previously teased South Park: The Fractured But Whole (read the title aloud), but with show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone on stage during its press conference, the company dished out a ton of new information about the game. It’s about superheroes, with tons of very on-point referential humor about Marvel and DC’s various movie franchises.
'Steep’ Lets You Try Snowboarding Down Crazy Mountains Without Breaking Your Neck
Toward the end of the press conference, Ubisoft showed off Steep, a new extreme sports game about flinging your body down snowy mountains. There’s snowboarding, skiing, and even flying with wingsuits, plus the occasional bone-crushing slam into a tree at high speed.
Players Can ‘Make It So’ in VR With 'Star Trek: Bridge Crew’
Easily the best part of Ubisoft’s conference was the presentation of Star Trek: Bridge Crew, a Playstation VR game in which players take on the roles of characters from Star Trek TV shows to do things like raise shields, hail approaching ships, and jostle around wildly when bracing for impact. But it wasn’t the game that was the best part, but the reunion of several Star Trek actors from over the years, headed by the very excited LeVar Burton of Star Trek: The Next Generation. People should pay him to promote more games, even non-Star Trek ones.
Whatever This Bird Game is, It Sure Looks Weird
Going hard on VR stuff, Ubisoft brought out Oculus founder Palmer Luckey to play Eagle Flight, a multiplayer virtual reality game in which you fly through an overgrown city as a bird, trying to do things like snag a dead rabbit and keep it away from the other team.
'For Honor’ Is All About Figuring Out the Best Way to Bury Your Ax in a Guy
Sword-heavy combat game For Honor is back, pitting Vikings, samurai and Medieval knights against each other. At its presser, Ubisoft laid out a lengthy video that shows what it’ll be like to crush your enemies as a Viking.
Oh Hey, Remember 'Ghost Recon: Wildlands’?
You’d be forgiven if you don’t. It’s a big cooperative shooter about taking down drug lords.
More 'The Division’ Stuff is On Its Way
Ubisoft has been having a helluva time with Tom Clancy’s The Division, with server downtime, player exploits that allow cheating, and people generally not having a lot to do in the game. At E3, Ubisoft laid out upcoming content plans for the game, including “Survival,” which is apparently The Division but in a blizzard.
Coming off the success of Doom, Bethesda made a couple of big announcements, but its slate of games is pretty small. If you like Fallout 4, Dishonored and Skyrim, though, you’re going to be happy.
'Dishonored 2’ is Looking Like an Appropriately Souped-Up Sequel
The first Dishonored, from back in 2012, was a strong stealth game about sneaking up on people and stabbing them or sneaking up on them and sending a pack of supernatural rats to devour them. Whichever. We got lots more details about the sequel, which includes new powers, two potential protagonists, and a lot of murder.
After Reviving 'Doom’, id Software Looks to Bring Back 'Quake’
It was a big year for id Software, which finally dropped Doom, a game that’s been in development for quite a long time. It’s gotten critical acclaim and made a lot of players happy, so it looks like id is riding the wave with Quake Champions, another resurrected shooter from yesteryear.
So It Turns Out that 'Prey’ Sequel is a Thing
Way back after the successful release of Dishonored, a rumor circulated that developer Arkane Studios had taken over work on Prey 2, a game about being a bounty hunter in an alien city. It looked cool, but business trouble between developer Human Head and Bethesda seemingly killed the project. Now Prey is finally back, except it’s completely different from both the demo video of Prey 2 and the original Prey, in which a young Native American guy got abducted by aliens. So, uh, whatever.
Soon You Can Buy a Prettier-Looking Version of 'Skyrim’
If you play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on PC, you’ve probably used mods to greatly increase the visual fidelity of the game, as well as add all kinds of stuff, like Randy Savage dragons. If you’re playing on Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, though, you’re stuck with dated graphics—until the remastered version of Skyrim comes out, that is.
Nintendo always pre-records its reveal videos for events like E3, and while its show floor experience was dominated by next year’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there were a few interesting tidbits mixed in for this year’s conference.
The Nintendo NX is Coming March 2017
Finally, something concrete: the next console from Nintendo, the NX, is on its way in the spring of next year. But being Nintendo, the company didn’t really say anything else about the machine. So that’s great.
That New 'Zelda’ Game is Looking Cool Though
If you’re not at E3 this year to actually play it (and why would you be), you can at least see a bunch of new Zelda footage, including the trailer above and the game in action as well.
Hate Your Friends? Invite Them to Play Yet Another 'Mario Party’
A new title in the huge franchise of frustrating party games, Mario Party: Star Rush, is on its way to Nintendo’s 3DS.
'Pokemon’ is Coming to Your Phone in 2017
Pokemon Go, a phone game that shows you pokemon running around in the real world, isn’t new, but Nintendo showed off how it’ll play and gave it a release date for iOS and Android.
More 'Paper Mario’
Nintendo’s Paper Mario series takes its ubiquitous Italian plumber and turns him into a 2D piece of paper, switching out his usual run-and-jump gameplay for the stuff of role-playing games like the Final Fantasy series.
That’s All Folks
That’s E3 2016 in the bag, and it was actually a pretty impressive one. If the games on offer this year were any indication, the future is looking pretty virtual, and there are a few games that will finally see the light of day when, for a while there, it seemed like they never would.
Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer and the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel and The Space Hero’s Guide to Glory. He was hoping the latter would help him get Han Solo hair, but so far he’s been unsuccessful. He lives with his wife and annoying cats in Los Angeles.
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