E3 2017 is in full swing and, as usual, the firehose of news and trailers makes it hard to keep track of the announcements that matter. While Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are the headliners, the big publishers usually unveil a glut of games too. In case you don’t want to sit through the corporate-speak and celebrity cameos to get to the good stuff, we have rounded up the biggest announcements from EA, Ubisoft and Bethesda.
This year, Electronic Arts (EA) leapfrogged everyone else by holding its EA Play conference on the Saturday before E3 kicked off and, as expected, it was spotted with sports and Star Wars. We were treated to a lengthy look at the gameplay in Star Wars: Battlefront II, and EA detailed its rather refreshing approach to DLC for the game: it’ll all be free, with seasonal updates to keep players hooked long after launch.
As promised, Need For Speed Payback was detailed. There’s more than a dash of The Fast and The Furious movies in its DNA, and that’s helped by the fact that the gameplay trailer was heavy on the cinematic style.
But EA’s most intriguing reveals were the more out-of-the-blue ones. A Way Out is a brand new story-driven game, tasking two players with coordinating a prison break through a split-screen view. Teamwork and timing seem to be the order of the day. Anthem, meanwhile, is Bioware’s new IP, and it looks like a heady mix of Destiny’s raid structure with Horizon Zero Dawn’s giant monsters and combat.
Bethesda’s brief but satisfying show on Sunday night was framed as a tour of a theme park called Bethesdaland. That clever structure gave the publisher a way to run through announcements for existing games, as well as whip the covers off two projects “under construction” – which, as we predicted, turned out to be sequels to The Evil Within and Wolfenstein.
Bethesda is putting plenty of eggs in the VR basket: Fallout 4 and Doom will be entirely playable on the HTC Vive, and as later revealed during Sony’s conference, Skyrim will be coming to PlayStation VR. The motion controls on the latter look a lot like the Nintendo Switch port too, which Bethesda also demonstrated in more detail.
In the midst of a fairly unsurprising event, the biggest surprise was probably Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. We expected some DLC for Dishonored 2, but this new standalone adventure occupies the murky middle-ground between add-on and full game, and it’s due as soon as September.
The publisher finished off with its two big reveals. The Evil Within 2 was shown off through a dark, surreal trailer that feels like a bad dream. It’s hard to figure out what’s actually happening and how the game might play, but it certainly succeeds in setting the tone.
And finally, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus brings the alternate-history fight to Nazi-occupied America. The eight-minute trailer outlines the classic shooter gameplay we’d expect from the franchise that started it all, wrapped in a story with the same blend of emotion and character that made The New Order so surprisingly engaging.
Ubisoft kicked off its press conference with a crossover that would have been surprising, had it not been dumped all over the internet a few weeks ago. Even so, we finally have confirmation that the ridiculous Rabbids will invade the world of Mario in an RPG that looks like a better game than it has any right to be. We were also treated to news on The Crew 2, South Park, Far Cry 5, Assassin’s Creed and the perpetually-in-development Beyond Good & Evil 2.
In the first few minutes of the show, legendary Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto emerged from a cloud of smoke with a Bullet Bill gun in hand to “reveal” Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. At a glance it sounds like an empty corporate handshake, but the gameplay video shows what appears to be a deep tactical RPG in the vein of XCOM. Exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, it’s due in August.
Next up was confirmation of another poorly-kept secret: Assassin’s Creed: Origins. As the rumor mill suggested, this year’s entry is a prequel set in ancient Egypt.
The franchise’s influence can also be seen in the newly-announced Skull and Bones. It’s almost like the naval combat of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag has been spun off into its own game, and that’s definitely not a bad thing.
Far Cry 5 looks like a hoot as well, as players spark a revolution against a doomsday cult that’s taken over rural Montana. A gameplay trailer shows off a mix of stealth, shooting and bossing around allies like a sniper, fighter pilot and a dog buddy named Boomer.
Like its predecessor, The Crew 2 gives players an open-world version of the United States as a motorsports playground, but this time it throws in some new toys, in the form of boats and planes.
For its third year at E3, South Park: The Fractured But Whole got a new trailer that didn’t really tell us anything new. However, the unexpected news out of the franchise is that a mobile game with a similar combat style is in the works.
And finally, Ubisoft wanted to remind us that there’s still life in Beyond Good & Evil 2. The sequel to the cult classic was originally announced back in 2008, and apart from the odd screenshot and teaser trailer over the years, the team has been largely silent.
After insisting just last month that the game wouldn’t be shown at E3, Ubisoft has gone and thrown a bone to ravenous fans. There are still no details on gameplay or a release date, but we do know it’s a prequel and at least have confirmation that the project is in active development.