Every year, the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles – the biggest video game event in the world – sees hundreds of developers, publishers, and industry members come together to unveil, showcase, and essentially share their love for games. And every year a plethora of new games and projects are announced; this year being no exception.
News can move fast at E3, and sometimes projects can be overlooked in lieu of a more prominent game, which is why we’ve put together a list of the biggest announcements at E3 2016 so that you won’t miss out on some of the hottest titles of the year.
Here are the 15 Biggest Announcements At E3.
15. Xbox One S / Project Scorpio
Xbox One S is a slimmed-down version of the otherwise bulky Xbox One. It’s 40 percent smaller than the original version, contains an internal power supply instead of an external power brick, and comes equipped with a 4K Blu-ray drive and up to 2 TB of space. But there’s a trade-off – the Xbox One S does not contain a dedicated Kinect port. Limited edition Xbox One S consoles will launch in August 2016, followed by the release of two standard versions priced between $299 and $399.
While the Xbox One S is geared towards casual gamers, Project Scorpio is geared towards gamers who want the “most powerful console” ever. Equipped with eight procession cores and six teraflops, Microsoft is promising true 4K gaming and VR compatibility with Project Scorpio, which is scheduled to release during the Holiday 2017 season, though an official price has not yet been given.
14. Xbox Play Anywhere / Cross-Play
Microsoft is looking to bridge the gap between Xbox One and PC gaming, which is where the aforementioned Project Scorpio comes into play, as well as the newly announced initiative Xbox Play Anywhere. Beginning with this year’s titles such as Gears of War 4 and Halo Wars 2, gamers can purchase a digital copy of a Microsoft-produced game on either Xbox One or Windows 10 and receive a free digital copy for their other platform. This way, say if someone wants to use the TV, a user can save their Gears of War 4 game on Xbox One and continue playing on their PC.
Additionally, Microsoft is on the forefront on cross-platform play, allowing Xbox One users and PC gamers to play with each other despite differences in platform capability. This year alone, games like Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Sea of Thieves, and Scalebound will be cross-play compatible. And it doesn’t stop with PCs; Microsoft has said the Xbox One is “ready” for cross-platform play with PS4. The ball’s in Sony’s court now.
13. Watch Dogs 2
Unlike what Ubisoft did with the first Watch Dogs game (releasing it years after its announcement), the France-based studio is planning on releasing Watch Dogs 2 this year, the same year of its announcement. And it’s not like we weren’t expecting an announcement at E3 2016. During a quarterly earnings call earlier this year, Ubisoft indicated plans to release a Watch Dogs sequel sometime in Fiscal Year ’17, which meant prior to the end of March 2017. And last week, Ubisoft officially unveiled Watch Dogs 2, which is currently slated to release on November 15th, 2016.
Along with new protagonist, Marcus Holloway, Watch Dogs 2 shifts the setting from the financial hub in Chicago to the tech capital of the world – the San Francisco Bay Area. Along with a new trailer and an 11-minute gameplay video, Ubisoft has released a developer video discussing the various upgrades the sequel has compared to the original game, which released back in 2014.
12. Spider-Man PS4
Hot off the heels of a PS4 remaster for Ratchet & Clank as well as the universally acclaimed Xbox One-exclusive Sunset Overdrive, Insomniac Games has announced development on a brand new, PS4-exclusive Spider-Man game, currently dubbed Spider-Man PS4. Spider-Man has a rich history in gaming, having been the subject of some of the greatest comic book video games ever released, but the character, as well as other Marvel characters, have been missing these past few years. No longer, says Marvel Games VP Jay Ong, who is promising a “new era” of “epic” Marvel games.
Along with a suit that seems inspired by various comic book and movie incarnations, Insomniac’s Spider-Man aka Peter Parker (not Miles Morales) has grown to become a seasoned crime fighter. And if those two points aren’t enough evidence, the studio has confirmed that their Spider-Man game is in no way connected to Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming movie, starring Tom Holland as the web-slinger.
11. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Capcom’s Resident Evil franchise, and fans have already been treated to a number of products, such as remasters of Resident Evil and Resident Evil Zero as well as the spinoff game Umbrella Corps. But what fans really wanted was another video game installment, and that is exactly what they’re getting.
Capcom announced Resident Evil 7: Biohazard with a creepy trailer at E3 2016, which is scheduled to release on January 24th, 2017, coinciding with the release of Paul W. S. Anderson’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the final installment in Screen Gems’ Resident Evil movie series starring Milla Jovovich as Alice.
Taking place on an abandoned plantation in rural America, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard takes the franchise back to its roots, focusing more on survival horror rather than action, as recent installments have been doing. Which means no quick-time events and more puzzle solving. Additionally, Sony has announced the game will be fully compatible with PlayStation VR.
10. PS4 Neo / PSVR
After months and months of rumors, Sony finally confirmed last week that they will be releasing an upgraded PS4 supporting 4K gaming, codenamed PS4 Neo (or PS4K), though they elected not to show the console at E3 2016 nor offer any further details than what was rumored. Just like Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, the PS4 Neo will not replace the PS4 but rather be a complementary console geared towards more hardcore gamers.
While Sony didn’t show off the PS4 Neo at their pre-E3 conference, they did devote a hefty amount of time to their new PlayStation VR headset. In addition to Resident Evil 7 being compatible with PSVR, Sony announced exclusive PSVR titles, such as Batman: Arkham (which is stated to be about 60 minutes long) and Star Wars Battlefront (which consists of one X-Wing space mission). These are only two of 50 titles expected to launch with PSVR when it releases this fall for $399.
9. Star Wars
Shortly after Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, the Mouse House shuttered the company’s internal gaming studio, LucasArts, and subsequently announced a partnership with EA, who was given a multi-year exclusive publishing license. EA quickly put its top studios – DICE, BioWare, Visceral Games, and now Respawn Entertainment – to work on making new Star Wars games, of which the first title, DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront, released last year to coincide with the release of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Although no new games were announced at E3 2016, EA announced plans to release the expected Star Wars Battlefront sequel in Fall 2017, and revealed early footage of Visceral’s currently untitled Star Wars game, which is scheduled to release in 2018, thus hinting at an annual Star Wars game release schedule. As for 2016, fans have Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars: The Old Republic DLC to look forward to. With nearly half-a-dozen games in development, it’s clear that Star Wars isn’t going anywhere.
8. Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Ubisoft unveiled a wide slate of new games, including some new IPs. One of those new IPs is Star Trek: Bridge Crew; a new virtual reality game set in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek universe on the Starship Aegis. The game’s mission is to explore the vast reaches of space, looking for a new home for the Vulcans that were displaced when their world was destroyed in Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot.
To demo the VR game, Ubisoft got Star Trek veterans LeVar Burton, who played Geordie La Forge on The Next Generation; Jeri Ryan, who portrayed Seven of Nine on Voyager; and Karl Urban, who portrays Dr. Leonard McCoy in the current Star Trek universe, to play the characters. And with their backgrounds, it was an enjoyable experience for them as well as the fans.
To coincide with the release of Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond (the third installment in Abrams’ rebooted universe) as well as the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise (which began in 1966 with Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek TV series), Star Trek: Bridge Crew will release this fall on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive.
There has been a lack of extreme sports games in the gaming industry, especially those set in the snow, but that’s about to change. Another one of Ubisoft’s new IPs is Steep, an open-world title geared towards extreme sports enthusiasts, with a focus on alpine settings, inspired by studio Ubisoft Annecy’s proximity to the Alps mountain range.
The issue with extreme sports games is the absence of the thrill factor. How can a game replicate the rush people get when skiing down one of the steepest mountains in the world? You can’t – or, really, couldn’t. With Steep‘s new technology and focus on VR, there’s a chance gamers will be able to virtually experience extreme sports in the comfort of their living rooms.
Ubisoft’s goal with Steep is to allow players to “defy” the odds and “master” the world’s tallest mountains by either using skis, wingsuits, snowboards, or by paragliding. It is currently slated to release in December 2016, though an exact release date has not been announced.
6. Dead Rising 4
As the subject of several video games, such as Day Z, Left 4 Dead, and Dying Light, as well as The Walking Dead, one of the most watched shows on television, zombies have become a staple in the entertainment industry. Microsoft knows this, which is why they have partnered with Capcom to develop a new installment in the famed Dead Rising franchise, of which the last installment, Dead Rising 3, released three years ago as a launch title for Xbox One.
Dead Rising 4 is set 16 years after the events of the first game and features the return of photojournalist Frank West, the series’ original protagonist. Set during the holiday season, Dead Rising 4 ups the stakes (and the fun) for players, by having thousands of zombies onscreen as well as virtually unlimited possibilities for customization.
While franchise fans will have to wait until December 2016 to play Dead Rising 4, they won’t have to wait too long to get their zombie fix. A Crackle-produced movie based on the franchise released last year, Dead Rising: Watchtower, with a sequel, Dead Rising: Endgame, scheduled to release next week – on Monday, June 20th.
5. Days Gone
While Dead Rising 4 is an Xbox-exclusive game, PlayStation users won’t be alienated from the zombie genre, for Sony Bend and Syphon Filter have partnered for the PS4-exclusive game Days Gone, starring famed voice actor Sam Witwer (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Being Human) as the protagonist Deacon St. John, a “drifter and bounty hunter who rides the open road.”
Depicted as a cross between Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, and The Last of Us, with hints of I Am Legend, Days Gone is set two years after a global pandemic that killed most of the human population and left millions of the survivors in a feral state (called Freakers). Like many of Sony’s other games, Days Gone is a narrative-driven game, as is evidenced by the gameplay video unveiled during the studio’s pre-E3 conference – which showed off two of the aforementioned Freakers: Newts (children who were turned into Freakers) and Horde (Freakers who act as one unit).
4. Injustice 2
After filing for bankruptcy in 2010, Midway Games’ Mortal Kombat team was acquired by Warner Bros. Interactive and rebranded as NetherRealm Studios. The studio went straight to work on a rebooted Mortal Kombat game, which released in 2011. And needless to say, it was an outstanding success, which eventually led to the studio taking advantage of Warner Bros.’ extensive library by developing the DC Comics fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us in 2013.
Last month, a rumor surfaced suggesting an Injustice sequel was in development, though NetherRealm didn’t confirm the game until last week, saying it will release sometime in 2017. And while Injustice 2 retains the core aspects of the first game, the sequel drastically improves on the franchise’s concept.
In addition to having the biggest roster ever, players will be able to customize and level up their favorite superheroes and supervillains. As evidenced by the trailer and short gameplay video, characters now have multiple armor variants, including Kryptonians like Superman and Supergirl, which is strange considering they’re supposed to be impervious to human weapons.
Human Head Studios all but confirmed Prey 2 shortly after the first game released in 2006, but it wasn’t officially announced until 2011. And although the studio revealed intricate details about the game, and showed off an impressive gameplay demo at E3 2011, Prey 2 fell into development hell. Years went by with rumors of delays and cancellations, but publisher Bethesda Softworks refuted virtually all of them.
A few weeks ago, rumors began spreading about Bethesda re-announcing Prey at E3 2016 – which is exactly what they did, so it wasn’t a surprise; but what was surprising was the state in which Prey was unveiled. The game is no longer a sequel but rather a re-imagining based on the concept of the original game, akin to what Bethesda did earlier this year with Doom and what DICE did last year with Star Wars Battlefront. Instead of being developed by Human Head, Prey is being helmed by Dishonored developer Arkane Studios and will release sometime in 2017.
2. God of War
One of the biggest surprises of E3 2016 was the announcement of God of War 4. Developer Sony Santa Monica was confirmed to be working on the game in 2014, though nothing was ever officially unveiled until this week. On Monday, Sony began their pre-E3 conference with a live orchestra and then dove straight into a live gameplay demo of the new installment.
Although the new God of War game takes place after the events of God of War 3 and features an older, bearded Kratos, it is not enumerated God of War 4. And while many aspects of the game will remain the same as previous installments, some changes have been made, notably the switch from a bird-eye view to an over-the-shoulder camera angle. Also, the studio is looking to capitalize on the open-world trend by having open, explorable environments in God of War; however, the game will stop short of being truly open-world.
1. Death Stranding
Two years ago, Sony and Konami announced production on Silent Hills, the ninth installment in the famed Silent Hill franchise, which was to be directed by Guillermo del Toro, co-directed by Hideo Kojima, and star The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus. The studio released an interactive teaser, appropriately named P.T. (abbreviation for Playable Teaser), effectively showcasing the potential for Silent Hills‘ level of horror. Unfortunately, the highly-anticipated project was canceled the following year, with Konami all but ending their relationship with Kojima.
During Sony’s pre-E3 conference on Monday, Kojima returned to the stage – exclaiming “I’m back” – and unveiled a first look teaser at his new project, Death Stranding, starring Reedus in the title role. The only person missing, then, is del Toro. Other than the brief in-engine trailer, which eerily resembles Silent Hills, nothing is known about the title – not even a release date. But with Kojima at the helm, should we even be surprised?
Any big announcements that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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