June 15, 2019

E3 2019: 10 Things We Learned
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

E3 2019: 10 Things We Learned

It's been another year of big announcements at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo - better known to most as E3 - with some big announcements on upcoming titles, some stunning new trailers, and plenty of surprises along the way.

There has been a lot to talk about this year, but for those of you who have struggled to keep up with all the exciting developments pouring out of Los Angeles over the last week, we've rounded up 10 of the key announcements and talking points at this year's E3...



Microsoft are working on a new console, and it sounds epic

It has been such a packed E3 this year that it's difficult to pick a headline event out of all the big announcements this week, but the confirmation that Microsoft is working on a new console has got to be up there with this year's biggest. Dubbed 'Project Scarlett', the new console promises some very impressive specs, largely thanks to the new, custom-built AMD processor the whole thing is built around. Microsoft say their new machine is four times as fast and powerful as the Xbox One X, offering the capability for 8K resolution and frame rates of up to 120 fps, variable refresh rates and hardware accelerated ray tracing.

If you're wondering what 'ray tracing' is by the way, it's the latest in a long line of jargon buzzwords generated at E3, but it's basically a way of getting light to behave in graphics the same way it does in real life. That might not sound too exciting on paper, but it certainly seems to be getting developers excited and it's being heralded as a great leap forwards in computer-generated graphics. In fact, it's already being put to use in the newly-announced Halo Infinite, which is currently scheduled to arrive at the tail end of 2020 and looks set to be one of the titles that will be available at launch on Project Scarlett.

You can find out more details in the reveal trailer below...


Nintendo announced a sequel to Zelda: Breath of the Wild

There are few game franchises that inspire as much awe and adulation as The Legend of Zelda, and with the latest instalment Breath of the Wild having scooped up just about every award there is following its release in 2017, it's no surprise that one of the most well-received announcements at this year's E3 was the news that a new Zelda game is already in development. And when we say 'a new Zelda game' we're not just talking about a new spin-off or handheld type of thing, but an actual Breath of the Wild sequel.

Part of the reason the news came as such a shock to fans is the fact that Breath of the Wild took more than four years from announcement to arrival, and the gap between its release and that of its predecessor, Skyward Sword, was more like six. There's no release date as yet, and Nintendo were reluctant to even confirm in which year the new game would arrive, but there are reasons to be hopeful that it won't be quite such a long wait this time; the development problems and release of a new console that held back Breath of the Wild are unlikely to be such an issue this time around, and at any rate Nintendo seem confident enough in their progress to have unveiled a new trailer for the sequel, which you can find below...



Keanu Reeves will feature in Cyberpunk 2077

CD Projekt Red's upcoming RPG had already been generating plenty of hype before this year's E3 kicked off, but the hype machine soon went into overdrive with the appearance of none other than Keanu Reeves in a new trailer unveiled this week. Reeves isn' the game's central protagonist, but he role he's set to fill will be a familiar name to Cyberpunk fans: Johnny Silverhand.

For those who need a primer, Silverhand has been one of the series key characters since the original Cyberpunk game emerged back in 1988, but met a grisly end during the events of Firestorm II. While much about his role is yet to be confirmed, it appears that Silverhand may live on as an AI who acts as both narrator and a key part of Cyberpunk 2077's plot. No doubt more details will emerge over the coming months, but for now here's the latest trailer with Keanu in all his resplendent glory...



Everyone loves Watch Dogs: Legion's 'Crime Grandma'

Ubisoft kicked off their presentation this year with a detailed look at their upcoming tentpole Watch Dogs: Legion, a new instalment in the series which is slated to arrive in March 2020. Set in a dystopian, post-Brexit Britain, the latest Watch Dogs instalment features a new mechanic which allows you to recruit any of the game's NPCs and turn them into protagonists.

In a new trailer and gameplay demo unveiled this week we got to meet some of them, including a pub brawler named Lyle and a woman named Lynn who has the curious ability to punch people out of – and into – conciousness. But the one that really seems to have caught everyone's imagination is an elderly, retired police engineer named Helen Dashwood, who has already been affectionately nicknamed 'Crime Grandma'. You can watch her in action below (she appears at 1:35)...



Square Enix unveiled a first look at Marvel's Avengers

For any Marvel fans in attendance at this year's expo, one of the undoubted highlights will have been the unveiling of an upcoming game based on Marvel's Avengers in a presentation by developers Square Enix. Due to arrive in May next year, the new action-adventure will feature all of your Marvel favourites from Iron Man to Thor, although they might look a little different to how your used to seeing them.

That's down to the complications associated with securing image rights for some of Hollywood's highest-paid stars, rather than any comment on teh game's graphics - which look pretty impressive - but the new-look avengers certainly proved one of this year's big talking points at E3. You can check out the reveal trailer for yourselves below...



Animal Crossing: New Horizons gets a new trailer, but is delayed until 2020

Nintendo Switch owners have been pleading with the Japanese gaming giant to release a new version of Animal Crossing ever since the console first hit the shelves in 2017, and although a new Animal Crossing game for the Switch was eventually announced via Nintendo Direct in September last year, with an unspecified release date of sometime in 2019, this week's events have been a bit of a mixed bag for those waiting.

On the upside, the title has been confirmed as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and a new trailer was unveiled at E3 this week, which you can find below, but the bad news is that its release date has now been pushed back to 2020. No doubt that will come as a disappointment to the game's fans, but Nintendo says that they made the difficult decision to delay the game because they wanted to ensure that their development team, who have been working all hours to get the game finished, are getting a proper work-life balance. If only every employer felt the same way...



Doom Eternal gets a new trailer and is coming to Google Stadia

After successfully rebooting the Doom series in 2016, a sequel was always on the cards and, sure enough, its follow-up Doom Eternal was announced by Bethesda at last year's E3. This year we were treated to a closer look at the upcoming title with a new story trailer and some more details about the game, including the news that Doom Eternal will be available on Google's new Stadia platform.

You can find the new story trailer below, which will have to tide you over until the game arrives on November 22nd this year.


Linda Hamilton will appear as Sarah Connor in Gears 5

When Terminator: Dark Fate arrives in cinemas later this year, it'll be the first time that Linda Hamilton has reprised her iconic role as Sarah Connor since James Cameron's 1991 sequel Teminator 2: Judgement Day. As it turns out, cinema screens aren't the only place you'll be able to see Hamilton in action as Connor, with the news that the next instalment in the Gears of War series is set to be a crossover event with the Terminator universe. 

A new trailer unveiled by Microsft and the game's developers The Coalition shows Hamilton in action, while Microsoft revealed that as part of the new game's crossover with Terminator: Dark Fate, players will be able to take control of either Sarah Connor the famous T-800 model terminator, played in the films, of course, by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The game is due to arrive in September this year, in the meantime you can get a look at Hamilton in action in the new trailer below...



We got a first look at LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

TT Games unveiled the sixth game in their LEGO Star Wars series this week and offered a first look at The Skywalker Saga, which takes as its basis all nine films in the Star Wars saga, and if you're thinking 'hey, if you've played one LEGO Star Wars game, you've played 'em all', then you might want to take a look at what they've done here.

The newly revamped and rebooted LEGO Star Wars series represents a complete rethink of the usual formula, all powered by a brand new game engine. The result is, quite simply, the best-looking LEGO game we've seen yet, and from the trailer below it looks like heaps of fun too.



Final Fantasy 8 Remastered is coming

If there's one game franchise that rivals Zelda for sheer, unadulterated fan adulation then it's perhaps Final Fantasy, and fans of the series were treated to a double dose of good news this year. First of all we got an update on the Final Fantasy VII remake, which is being built from the ground up and is due to arrive in March next year, with some updates on the different editions that will be available at launch.

On top of that there was also the news that its follow-up Final Fantasy VIII, first released in 1999, is getting a full remaster from the folks at DotEmu. If that name sound familiar, it's probably because they are the same people who have been involved in developing the new Streets of Rage reboot. You can take a look at the first footage from the newly remastered version in the trailer below...




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