The Highs and Lows of E3 2019
2019’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3 for short) officially came to an end yesterday. This year’s prestigious games show was jam-packed with cool new announcements, unexpected surprises and various teases that served to prove why video games is one of the most exciting industries to have a vested interest in right now. Sceptics will still say that the need for major publishers to showcase their upcoming releases in a physical space – the LA Convention Centre, in this case – is a little weird and unnecessary in the age of streaming, but the general consensus is one of excitement. And a lot of this is down to E3 being a yearly event where gamers and game-makers alike can get together to share their passion for a brief time.
Of course, in addition to feeling a lot like video game Christmas, E3 2019 wasn’t without its handful of small let-downs. There was nothing that made us want to grab our torches and pitchforks, don’t get us wrong. But there were a few instances where we were left disappointed given much of the speculation and potential upcoming games rumoured going in.
Here we’ll break down the many highs and lows of E3 2019, diving deep into what’s getting the Console Deals team excited about the future landscape of video games.
E3 2019 Highs
Keanu Reeves’ surprise appearance in Cyberpunk 2077
Well here’s something that nobody saw coming. In case you hadn’t heard, John Wick is one of the hottest action film properties right now, giving Mr. Matrix himself, Keanu Reeves, the perfect means with which to kick the asses of many bad guys in spectacular fashion. Combine this with the neon-glitzed open world of CDProjektRed’s upcoming open world epic Cyberpunk 2077, and you’ve got one hell of a mix. This excitement sky-rocketed the moment Keanu Reeves took to the stage during the Microsoft press conference, telling us more about his character Johnny Silverhand and also taking the time to reveal Cyberpunk 2077’s release date: 16 April 2020.
Confirmation of a Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel
We doubt many would disagree that Nintendo Switch launched with one of the greatest games ever made in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It gave us a vast, open-world rendition of Hyrule kingdom to explore, the inventive ability to let Link climb anything and over 100 puzzles to solve via the new Shrine system. That game came out in March 2017 and was so massive that we never thought we’d here about a sequel any time soon. That changed at the end of Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct livestream, where we got an extended glimpse about what the Breath of the Wild sequel might be about. The small scene shows Link and Zelda exploring the underground and coming across something hellish, hinting at a possible Majora’s Mask-esque take on the Hyrule we know and love.
The arrival of new consoles in Holiday 2020
E3 2019 was surprisingly light on hardware announcements overall, but we knew leading up to the event that Microsoft’s Phil Spencer would shed a little more light on what to expect from the next Xbox console. We still didn’t get an official name, but we did get a release window: Holiday 2020. That’s when we can expect the next generation of consoles to arrive under our TVs, with Project Scarlett (the next Xbox’s codename) boasting an AMD ZEN 2 CPU and the Navi GPU architecture. It’ll also support up to 8K resolution and feature a built-in SSD to reduce load times. Sign us up!
Marvel’s Avengers by Crystal Dynamics is a real game
Crystal Dynamics is a developer that’s remained unusually quiet since the release of its last game, Rise of the Tomb Raider in 2015. We knew that we’d get an extended look at its new game, Marvel’s Avengers, which we now know will feature a single-player campaign, co-op gameplay as well as elements of certain live-service games. It’s an odd mix, and one that still leaves us a little confused. But for a first reveal, Marvel’s Avengers looks appropriately bombastic and fun, coupled with a stellar line-up of voice actors that includes the likes of Uncharted’s Nolan North and Metal gear Solid 5’s Troy Baker. Marvel’s Avengers arrives in 2020.
The Witcher 3 is coming to Nintendo Switch
They said it couldn’t be done, but that didn’t stop the techno-masters as CDProjektRed and Saber Interactive from porting one of the biggest fantasy RPGs of all time to Nintendo’s tiny handheld/home console hybrid. The Witcher 3 is coming to Nintendo Switch as early as this year, bundling in all previously released DLCs and content which snuggly all fits onto just one Nintendo Switch game card. Expect a downgraded resolution, but the small amount of footage shown looked promising that this’d be a faithful translation of Geralt’s final outing.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate only £1 for a month
As already alluded to in the intro, streaming looks to be a big part of the near future for gaming. You have Stadia waiting in the wings until release the November, Microsoft itself had Project X Cloud available to try on the E3 show floor, but until then subscriptions are here to tide us over. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate combines the benefits of Xbox Live Gold (online play, free games every month, exclusive offers) and Xbox Game Pass (unlimited access to over 100 games) into one neat package. And, for the first month, it’s only £1 to try out. It’s applicable now to PC as well as Xbox One, making it one of the most easy-to-miss, but not insignificant announcements of the entire show.
E3 2019 Lows
Splinter Cell is a no-show (but Sam Fisher isn’t?)
Splinter Cell is a storied Ubisoft stealth franchise that has remained dormant for a very long time, leaving many people wondering whether we’d see a soft reboot of it make an appearance at E3 2019. Stoking this potential fire was the supposedly drunken tweet of a higher-up Ubisoft exec over on Twitter a few weeks ago, where he allegedly revealed that a team was hard at work on a new Splinter Cell entry. Sadly, if this even was true, we didn’t get to see it this year, though Sam Fisher – the series protagonist – was there as part of a compilation game. The game is a tactics game called Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad but will release exclusively on mobile.
No hardware iteration announcements
The rumour mill has been wildly spinning about the likelihood of Nintendo Switch introducing a Ps4 Pro or Xbox One X style mid-generation hardware iteration. This left us champing at the bit for more details about a possible Nintendo Switch Lite or Nintendo Switch Pro announcement. Alas, both Nintendo Treehouse and Nintendo’s E3 Direct didn’t reveal anything about a potential hardware revision. One could argue that E3 should be a place all about the games and that we’ll hear something imminently – only time will tell if the heavily rumoured new hardware is true.
Not a lot of gameplay shown to the public
E3 being all about games, there wasn’t actually a lot of proper gameplay shown at any of the major publisher’s tentpole pressers. There was plenty of “here’s a game title and some fancy footage” or “here’s a bunch of developers talking about the game you’ll eventually play”, but very little hands-on time. EA, who opted to do a livestream showcase rather than have a traditional press conference, was the one exception. The likes of Microsoft, Square Enix and Bethesda, however, all revealed their upcoming games via pre-rendered trailer packages largely. LA Convention Centre attendees will get to play some of the games shown themselves, but it’s disappointing for those of us watching at home.