While there might not have been a lot of bombshell announcements dropped during this year’s E3, there definitely wasn’t a shortage of great looking games to whet our appetite for what’s to come in the next 12 months and beyond.

As with tradition, here are the games featured during the various E3 2017 conferences which got us the most excited!
 


 

Chosen by: William Kirk
Developer: Hazelight
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

I think it’s fair to say this year’s E3 was a bit lukewarm. Although, that’s arguably because everyone is playing catch up and not trying to win over fans with promises of what MIGHT come years from now. Scalebound was a painful lesson for many of us earlier this year – which, after three years of E3 showings, was cancelled without warning. If that never happens again, it’d be too soon.

Don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty of damn good games on show this year. However, what surprised (and excited) me most came from the most unlikely of places; the one conference I’m perpetually disappointed by each year without fail: Electronic Arts. And no, I’m not talking about Anthem – though I’m admittedly pumped for that too. What I’m talking about is A Way Out. I mean, talk about a game coming out of left field! From the creator of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Josef Fares, and his new studio Hazelight, A Way Out is a bold, innovative new title designed entirely around delivering a co-op, story-driven experience. The game is played entirely in split-screen and is best suited to couch co-op, though it will support online play too.

Honestly, I think Josef may be one of the most incredible personalities I’ve seen at E3 in many years – just listen to him here to see what I mean. The way he talks is as if you combined Peter Molyneux with Sean Murray, but with an outstanding game already to his name that instils confidence behind his unbridled passion and enthusiasm. While the industry at large is busy chasing innovation via massive, persistent-world games and virtual reality, Josef is looking to the past and how he can bring a story-driven, co-op experience to the masses that has been intentionally designed around playing with another human being from start to finish. Despite being burned by developers who like to talk big before, I’m going ALL IN with Josef and A Way Out. The game looks amazing so far, and I can’t wait to see more of it!
 


 

Chosen by: Alex Chalmers
Developer: Bioware
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

In spite of what little we know about it, Anthem is something to be pretty excited about if you’re a fan of Bioware. It’s also something of a departure for the Edmonton studio that’s developing it – Anthem is not a traditional role-playing game.

In a similar mould to Destiny and The Division, Anthem is a ‘shared-world’ action adventure game, with an emphasis (at this point) on co-operative play and massive, highly traversable environments for players to explore. Most excitingly, it’s also host to a new world and lore scribed by Drew Karpyshyn, whose writing credits in gaming are extensive, counting Knights of the Old Republic and the first two Mass Effect titles as testimony to his storytelling abilities. After Mass Effect: Andromeda, Bioware fans are starving for characters and a plot to reward their dedication – and, hopefully, Anthem will be able to do that.

As a multiplayer power-fantasy, Anthem is best described as the Iron Man game we deserve but never got, set in a hostile alien world that seemingly influenced by the likes of Avatar and Horizon Zero Dawn. Players are cast as Freelancers, protectors of a human bastion on an alien planet, and as such, they’ll pilot a ‘Javelin,’ which is an exoskeleton fitting into one of four distinct classes. As a game that’s coming after Destiny’s gravy-train, expect deep character progression and class customisation, along with envy-inducing RNG loot drops. It’s also staggeringly pretty – of all the games showcased at the Xbox briefing, Anthem was by far the most impressive showcase of the Xbox One X’s capabilities. 4K or not, I’d warrant that Bioware Edmonton’s use of the Frostbite engine is even more impressive than DICE’s own Battlefield 1. And more importantly, the facial animation is excellent. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another year just to see another tiny glimpse of it.
 


 

Chosen by: Brendan Holben
Developer: MachineGames
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

These days I’m finding myself identifying more and more with BJ Blazkowicz, the protagonist and exceptional Nazi-murder of the Wolfenstein series. We’re both expectant fathers, have the same nickname (BJ), and aren’t overly enthused about bringing a child into a world run by a brutal fascist dictatorship. Fortunately for me, the last bit isn’t currently much of an issue, and luckily for the alternative 1961 timeline where the Nazi’s won WW2 – Blazkowicz is more than capable of handling the situation.

Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) came as an absolute surprise to pretty much everyone, rising above what were fairly low expectations for another tired shooter. The story toed the line between ridiculous and gripping (where a Nazi moon base made absolute sense), with characters that actually felt human. BJ suddenly felt like a real person, vulnerable and tired, and completely relatable. Let’s not forget the greatest NPC in gaming history – Fergus Reid – the foul-mouthed Scot who has the best lines in the game.

The New Colossus seems to be set not long after the events of The New Order and looks to be predominantly set in Nazi occupied USA. In any other game this scenario would have me groaning, but in the steady (slightly mad) hands of MachineGames, I’m completely on board. My main hope is that The New Colossus has learned from the mistakes of prequel The Old Blood, by keeping the artistic style fresh and delivery as nuanced as the original. The adaptable combat skill tree of the New Order was also a fantastic feature, and hopefully it will return this time around. While the setting and story seem to be pointing at a second American revolution, hopefully it doesn’t put the personal stories that made the first game so great in the corner.
 


 

Chosen by: Nick Ballantyne
Developer: Rare
Platforms: Xbox One, PC

Sometimes E3 brings us the memorable moments we never knew we needed. Whether it be seeing gameplay for a game you had low expectations for or the inevitable aftermath that explained how the hell these guys are eating bananas. I’ll admit that I wasn’t totally sold on Sea of Thieves when it was showed last year. This year, I’m as hype as a shark in pirate-infested waters.

There are plenty of other multiplayer ‘ship’ games, but all of them seem too focused on just running a ship. Guns of Icarus is certainly fun for a while, but the whole game is just ship combat, and that’s not quite enough to keep me invested. Sea of Thieves looks a lot more open, though, with ship combat, underwater discovery, precious booty and plenty of skeletons to keep me occupied. These aspects take the game from looking like yet another ‘ship’ game to something with a bit more to dig for.

The whole trailer was focused around a central theme: Tharr be treasure! I am freakin’ hype to find me some sick booty, laddy. Unravelling clues and uncovering gold? Hell yes! Pillaging tombs and sunken vessels for the shiny dubloons locked within?! Oh my, yes! Peg legs?!?! Oh, I am SOLD! Whether you’re a land lubber detective or master of the seas, there’s not much better than a good ol’ treasure hunt on a ship filled with no-gooders. And hey, if it sucks, I can always just pirate iiiiiis that the sound of undead copyright lawyers? AVAST!
 


 

Chosen by: Bernadette Russell
Developer: Moon Studios
Platforms: Xbox One, PC

Two and a bit years ago I was sent a download code for a new game that needed to be reviewed before the end of the week. I agreed to it because I’d never heard of it, or the independent Moon Studios before, and there started my obsession with Ori and the Blind Forest.

It’s a single-player platformer, but that’s not what I loved about it. Ori was the single most beautiful game I had played in a very, very long time. The painted artwork, emotionally driven characters, Zelda homage, and orchestrated soundtrack that still gets me every time, wove together to make my perfect ten. The downside was it was over in less than five hours, and even with the definitive edition it still wasn’t enough to satisfy me. So, since March of 2015, I have stalked Twitter, Facebook, my emails and the web for any hint of a second Ori game and heard nothing all this time – that was, until E3.

This year, I happened to be covering Microsoft, so with my coffee and blanket keeping me company at 5 AM, I happily sat through the briefing. Suddenly Gareth Coker appeared on stage, sat behind a piano – which is roughly the point I proceeded to lose my shit. Few games can still excite me like that, and after years of E3 and games disappointing me or being less of a surprise than publishers think, this was a huge triumph. I was so excited about the new game, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, that I even woke up my offspring to see the clip. I have since seen and picked apart the footage of the new story so many times I could probably borrow an owl and re-enact it myself. I am so looking forward to being a part of this new story that I might even take a break from replaying the Blind Forest this month and just put the soundtrack on repeat and cuddle my plush Ori.
 


 

Chosen by: Ellis Longhurst
Developer: Spectrevision
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Virtual reality (VR) gaming was the big ticket item last year. We are still continually being promised that it will revolutionise the way we play games and broaden the range of gaming experiences currently being offered. However, it feels like the majority of VR titles have been a bit dull and uninspired with their offerings. Well, like-minded fellows, we seem to be in luck.

Amidst Ubisoft’s onslaught of trailers promising shiny new AAA adventures and much-awaited sequels, crackled a short promotion for Transference. It’s a virtual reality game being developed by Ubisoft and Spectrevision- an indie film cum video game company that boasts Elijah Wood among its executive team.
The vague trailer for Transference promises that players will experience the digitised memories of fictional disturbed individuals through interactive film segments (reminiscent of the game Her Story). In an additional interview (uploaded by Ubisoft US to YouTube), Elijah Wood notes that the Spectrevision team strove to push the boundaries of VR and defy players’ expectations when developing the game. Sounds like the usual PR waffle, I know, but what little we were treated to in the trailer, and the novelty and themes of this game, lend some credibility to the statement.

Transference seems to step away from the jump scares and gore focus of current VR games and into the realms of being a more subtle and sophisticated psychological thriller. Lisa Whalen, CEO of Spectrevision, comments – “we want you to take off the [VR] gear and still feel unsettled.” Blending the techniques used to create psychological thrillers in the film industry with video games and VR… Transference is definitely on my list of games to keep an eye on.
 


 

Chosen by: Shane Smith
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

A visually impressive cinematic trailer followed by an overwhelmed Michel Ancel from Ubisoft thanking the crowd from the biggest stage in video games was one of (if not) the most memorable E3 presentations I’ve ever seen. Long-time followers of the open world, action-adventure game Beyond Good and Evil have been teased with a sequel for almost seven years now, but fans of this beloved cult classic can finally ponder no more as Ubisoft have revealed Beyond Good and Evil 2 – and seemingly for real this time.

While the narrative is still somewhat unclear as the game is still in the early development stages, it’s said to be set in a multi-species solar system called System 3. Basically, the premise is that you and a rebellious crew of space pirates will scrap for resources and battle against evil forces in a vibrant sci-fi adventure. The theme doesn’t steer too far away from the original, but as the first game is a straightforward third-person action adventure, the next entry will be a marrying of different genres. It’s said to be an ambitious, massive “shared universe” with multiple worlds to explore and role-playing mechanics to further develop your crew and spaceship. Throughout the adventure, you’ll allegedly learn new skills, and your crew’s development will depend on your actions and the worlds you choose to visit. As described by Michel Ancel, “You explore, you discover new cultures, those cultures are adapted to the planet, and then you can customise your ship based on what you discover on the planet.”

I have the utmost confidence that it’s going to be an incredible interstellar voyage filled with fascinating characters and unforgettable worlds to discover. It’s easy to see from that E3 presentation that Beyond Good and Evil 2 has been a labour of love for a long time, and I sure am eager, like everyone else, to see this artistic vision come to life.
 


 

Chosen by: Patrick Waring
Developer: Capcom
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

E3 this year was, to be honest, not particularly exciting. Almost everything that might have been so much as a mild surprise had already been spoiled by leaks. Other new games were known about because they were sequels, usually ones that had been teased or hinted at by their developers for the past year and a half. There were, however, a few genuine surprises that actually had my interest in seconds, and one of those was Monster Hunter: World. From the beginning of the event, I was pining for a localisation of Double Cross, hoping against hope that Nintendo would deliver. (As it turns out, they did not.)

From out of left field, Sony and Capcom dropped the news that Monster Hunter World would be releasing on PS4, XBO and, most importantly, PC. A PC version of Monster Hunter, one with seamless areas on each map so there would be no loading. A game that appears to still be a Monster Hunter title in body and spirit, but provides some amazing, much-desired QoL updates. Details at the moment are still leaking through but what we know already sounds pants wettingly amazing.

All the previous weapons are coming back, and everyone gets a new sling weapon to use. You can stealthily approach and hunt your targeted monster, including the use of ghillie suits or hiding in bushes. You have a scout flier you can send out to track down the major monster, among other uses. And did I mention that this would all be on PC? Smooth, fantastic looking Monster Hunter in a more immersive world? I’ll take some of that, thank you very much. My track history with E3 predictions has mostly been… not great. I pick the games that look pretty but end up having some severe problems. This is different, however; this is Monster Hunter. It can’t possibly mess up. Please, Capcom, don’t mess this up.
 


 

Chosen by: Blade Shaw
Developer: Bluepoint Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4

While the general consensus appears to be that this year’s E3 was a bit of a flop, I can only chalk that up to a lack of surprise announcements compared to 2016. However, there was one game that stood out for me amongst the crowd – a remake of Shadow of the Colossus.

Every time a new HD release or remake is announced, you can almost hear the collective puckering of lips across the internet. “Why is X game being remade? It doesn’t need a remake!” is one of a handful of copy/paste comments that rolls around on social media and gaming website comment sections. However, I tend to think of these occasions as a blessing for the younger or uninitiated gamers to the classics of video games. Just like people across the world continue to read authors like Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Tolstoy and more, we’re also now being given the opportunity to revisit some of gaming history’s biggest success stories.

I can’t definitively say that the game won’t be changed, and only time will tell what concessions have been made to streamline Shadow of the Colossus to the gaming world of 2018 (if any). Despite that, I’m excited to hear the stories of young gamers who are being introduced to one of the most philosophical and thought-provoking video games of our generation. Just like we hold films such as Citizen Kane and Casablanca in high regard as pioneers of the industry, I think this re-release of Shadow of the Colossus will cement its place in the pop culture pantheon as a classic and contemporary video game.
 


 

Chosen by: Lliam Ahearn
Developer: Polyarc Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4

Moss is the VR game I’ve been waiting for; a full realisation of Playroom VR’s Robot Rescue. This is a third-person action-platformer blended with a first-person puzzle game; contextualising camera control and creating a mechanical and emotional relationship between player and character. The application of platforming to a VR platform isn’t as immediately obvious as something like first-person shooting, but Robots Rescue made it unequivocally clear to me that this is a well that runs deep. Discovering secrets by peeking up at ceilings or around tight corners elevates the discovery of hidden areas in platformers, while a spatial understanding of an environment is communicated so much more naturally. Robots Rescue was a game-changer to me, yet there was so unsatisfyingly little to play. Moss is finally coming to do the concept justice.

Outside of the VR potential, though, Moss looks wonderful as a video game. Adorable protagonist Quill is the cutest hero this side of Iota, and taking her through puzzling dungeons is about the best thing I can think of. Some of the perspective and shape manipulation based puzzles shown are giving me strong Captain Toad vibes, but mix in platforming and some sword fights, and you’ve got something especially neat. These are conventions so definitive of video games to me, yet things that don’t often meet these days. Moss is taking all the things I want a game to be, letting me play inside its world, and letting me do it with a mouse that I can’t wait to be best friends with. Thanks, Moss.
 


 

Chosen by: Harry Kalogirou
Developer: New team lead by Kensuke Tanabe
Platforms: Nintendo Switch

If you don’t include last year’s controversial spin-off title Metroid Prime: Federation Force, it’s been seven long years since the last Metroid game. It’s not the first time the franchise has been on hiatus, and after an extremely underwhelming 30th anniversary, fans have been clamouring for a new title in the franchise. It’d be a blatant lie to say I wasn’t a part of that group, because, just like many others, I’ve had my fingers crossed for something, anything Metroid to be announced. After numerous leaks and speculation, Metroid fans went into Nintendo’s E3 presentation cautiously excited for the bounty hunter to make an appearance, and she finally did.

After a painfully long, ominous video of space, the Screw Attack logo slowly starts to form, as a four is unveiled, only to be moved off to the right by the signature Metroid Prime logo, followed by a small message stating; “In development for Nintendo Switch”. The Metroid Prime main theme playing in the background in the meantime, which brought back so many fond memories. The game probably won’t be released until at least the very end of next year, but the sheer comfort of knowing that another entry into the Prime series exists is enough for me.

To say I’m simply excited for this game is an understatement. It’s being headed by series’ producer Kensuke Tanabe, working alongside a “talented new development team” to ensure the quality of Prime 4 is of the other games, if not better. It’s exciting to know that Tanabe is heading the project, and I’m curious to see what this new development team will bring to the table. In the meantime, we have the excellent looking Metroid: Samus Returns to hold us over until Prime 4 releases, which seeks to remake the original Metroid II for 3DS. It looks great, and if you haven’t looked at it already, definitely check it out.
 


 

Chosen by: Kit Fox
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Mario Odyssey might seem like too obvious a choice when you find yourself talking about this year’s most anticipated games, but I can’t deny, the game looks damn fun. I’ve been waiting for another good romp through the Mushroom Kingdom, and, aside from maybe that one where you turn into a cat, there’s been few memorable, lasting games since Mario Galaxy on the Wii.

Now we’re about to get a crazy new adventure into who-knows-how-many new worlds, tossing our portly plumber’s hat around, taking over anything and everything like some weird Italian cordyceps fungus. No doubt Toad would be proud. Heck, if Mario Odyssey is at all like it’s Greek namesake and contains even the tiniest sprinkling of Homer, then we’re in for a wild ride. Seriously, they’re called ‘epic poems’ for a reason. Nintendo could even do a prequel. Hashtag Mario Iliad for 2020!

All joking aside, no matter which way I look at Mario Odyssey, the trailers and teasers I’ve seen so far have filled me with the same unbridled, childlike joy that I only seem to get from Nintendo games and that’s a testament to their design philosophy. Where other games and franchises go gritty, add sexiness, reboot themselves, or go with any number of other gimmicks, Mario throws a hat and moustache on a Tyrannosaur and convinces me this is what I’ve always wanted. The kid inside me really can’t disagree. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey were the only reasons I needed to grab a Nintendo Switch and if you’ve been holding off for whatever reason, you’ll probably be wanting to get one now.

Wahoo! Let’s a-go!
 

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