From keynote press conferences by Sony, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Microsoft to exciting trailers and demos from smaller developers, this year’s E3, held from 14-16 June in Los Angeles, left gamers salivating. The new PlayStation 4K or Xbox Project Scorpio consoles weren’t there, but there were still plenty of surprises.
The new ‘God Of War’
The Sony press conference started with a video of a boy in the woods, which puzzled many until one of the most familiar faces in gaming, Kratos, emerged from the shadows. The crowd went wild—instead of just a trailer, Sony launched into a full-fledged gameplay demo. Kratos, now a dad and sporting a beard, is somewhere in the frozen north, taking on the entire pantheon of gods from old Norse mythology. After what he did to the Greek and Roman mythology, we’re excited about this game, the eighth installation in the God Of War series and the first in more than three years. A release date is yet to be announced.
‘Call Of Duty’ back on track
When the trailer of Infinite Warfare, the latest installation in the popular Call Of Duty series, debuted in May, it quickly became one of the most downvoted videos on YouTube. Call Of Duty fans just did not like the direction the game was going in; until E3, when Infinity Ward revealed a new trailer that lets you jump into a space fighter involved in a vicious dogfight in space. This is followed by an edge-of-the-seat, on-foot attack as you eject and fight your way right to the heart of a space destroyer. The new trailer finally had people hopeful and excited about the new Call Of Duty, which is scheduled to be released in November.
A Kubrick-esque indie
At every E3 there is that one game that surprises you. We Happy Few is an indie game that has shades of the classic Stanley Kubrick film, A Clockwork Orange. Set in the fictional dystopian town of Wellington Wells, We Happy Few has you playing a townsman who has somehow escaped the controlling effects of a pill called Joy, which makes everyone who takes it see the world through rose-tinted glasses. Your objective is to leave town, but as the chilling trailer showed us, the townsfolk don’t take kindly to people who are not on their Joy. The game has been developed by Compulsion Games, which used a Kickstarter campaign to fund the initial development, and it is scheduled to be released this year on Xbox, Windows, Mac and Linux.
Single-player option in ‘Titanfall’
The original Titanfall was an exciting game featuring jetpack jumping and giant robots. Sadly it was a multiplayer-only affair, and the hype around it did not last long. At E3, the sequel was revealed, and it had some hair-raising action. Titanfall 2 not only has many more features in its multiplayer mode, it also introduces a single-player option. In the single-player mode, you can explore the bonding between a non-pilot rifleman and a Titan (the robots that pilots control in the game). It is an interesting take on the interaction between humans and artificial intelligence. Titanfall 2, developed by Respawn Entertainment, is expected to be released in October.
‘Watch Dogs’ seeks redemption
Developers Ubisoft Montréal, a studio of Ubisoft Entertainment, had managed to create a real buzz around the original Watch Dogs, a first-person shooter in which a hacker seeks revenge on the people responsible for the assassination of his niece, before it released in 2014. Gamers had been impressed with trailers and previews, but when the final product came out, it was a considerable mess. At this year’s E3, a sequel, featuring a new protagonist and a different setting, San Francisco—Chicago was the setting of the earlier version—was released. In Watch Dogs 2, the player is at the forefront of a rebellion against the centralized operating system (ctOS), an all-powerful surveillance system. You can drive and ride various vehicles around San Francisco, and also use parkour to get from one place to another. You can shoot, of course, and hack.
Like the original, the game features a colourful cast of characters, especially the mysterious companion known only as Wrench, who wears LED goggles that emote over a mask. Watch Dogs 2 already looks like it’s on the right path to righting the wrongs of its predecessor. It will release in November for Xbox, PlayStation and Windows.
A new zombie game
At first glance, everything about Days Gone reminded us of Naughty Dog and Sony’s action horror game, The Last Of Us. Days Gone, developed by SIE Bend Studio, is a zombie apocalypse game set in a world that has moved past its zombie outbreak and is now stable. You play a bounty hunter who has to go deep into the zones filled with mindless “freakers" that move startlingly fast—with speeds similar to the zombies in the Brad Pitt thriller World War Z. Not to mention that they move in massive crowds. The demo showed the hero running frantically through an abandoned mill away from a never-ending horde of zombies and ended with him backed into a corner, fighting for his life. A release date is yet to be announced.