The lead into E3 2019 had me sceptical. Both Sony and EA were not officially attending, and other developers decided to produce video presentations to announce their new products rather than delivering the standard conference we are used to.
But, whilst there were some disappointments (the lack of gameplay for Halo Infinite and Bethesda’s presentation), E3 still amazed me and the rest of the gaming community! There were so many great games shown off that made me hopeful the next year of gaming will be fantastic. Here I want to celebrate my favourite, more unexpected E3 2019 moments!
Watch Dogs Legion
I did not expect the third Watch Dogs instalment to be my game of E3. When the first Watch Dogs game was revealed in 2012, it looked like any other generic open-world game. Now it seems as if Ubisoft has learned from their mistakes and has improved upon the series, introducing a brand-new style of gameplay. Set in an authoritarian London, Watch Dogs Legion focuses on DedSec, a resistance group attempting to overthrow an oppressive police state. However, you do not play as just one character from this faction. You are everyone in the entire resistance.
Every NPC you see is a playable ‘recruit’, whether that is an old woman, policeman, or teen footballer. The catch is that whilst every NPC is playable, permadeath is enabled. Once the NPC dies they cannot respawn, so you must choose another member of the resistance to continue as. I am incredibly excited by this new game direction as it does not focus on some overpowered and unkillable leader, giving a well-needed change to an over-saturated genre.
The LEGO Marvel series is a guilty pleasure of mine. However, since I first played it, I have been craving a proper Avengers game. Square Enix teased the development of an Avengers title at the previous E3, and so going into this year’s conference it was one of my most anticipated titles. The cinematic trailer shows off the Avengers team in a new storyline that starts with a disaster during an ‘Avengers Day’ in San Francisco. The production team promised that they would not be re-hashing the Avengers storyline from the Infinity Saga. They also laid out a roadmap of free character updates, without loot-boxes; a rare occurrence in the modern ‘live games as a service’ model.
Despite Square Enix showing no official gameplay at E3, leaked footage from a closed-off demo, as well as journalists’ impressions both emphasise the strong fighting mechanics, filling me with a large amount of hope for this game will follow in the footsteps of the amazing Spiderman PS4.
The Last 10 Minutes of the Nintendo Direct
After a rather lacklustre start to 2019, Nintendo needed to bring the big guns to E3. The Direct started off with more gameplay shown for Luigi’s Mansion 3 and other already announced titles. Just as I was losing hope for any big reveals, Yoshiaki Koizumi, Executive Officer at Nintendo, gave fans a detailed look at the much-anticipated new Animal Crossing game entitled Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
New Horizons is set on a desert island and appears to be much more complex than previous entries in the series. Players can now utilise crafting mechanics to create both tools and furniture, which can be placed anywhere on the map rather than just inside their house. What impressed me the most was the inclusion of local co-op, allowing up to four players to play simultaneously on one console. This solves one of my main issues with Animal Crossing because since it is so popular, I know that many students filled with nostalgia will want to try it out and can now join in with the fun, rather than just watching another person play.
What I was not prepared for was the final twist announcement of a sequel to Breath of the Wild. The latest Legend of Zelda title is undoubtedly my favourite game from the past five years. I am ecstatic to see that it is receiving a sequel rather than just a spiritual successor in the form of another unconnected Zelda game, leaving me to decide that Nintendo held the best conference at E3 2019. Whilst the game is surely a long way from being released, there are still a plethora of upcoming games to get excited for over the next twelve months!