The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2018 was the 24th Electronic Entertainment Expo, during which hardware manufacturers, software developers, and publishers from the video game industry presented new and upcoming products to the attendees, primarily retailers and members of the video game press. Yes, it’s THE place for gamers, a convention where PlayStation, EA, Xbox, Ubisoft and more compete to show off their latest games and announce new ones.
Let’s look at some highlights from the event…
Wargame Battlefield V includes female soldiers for the first time. The Last of Us Part 2, one of the biggest forthcoming games for PlayStation 4, stars a lesbian teenager, shown kissing her girlfriend at a party. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey features a choice of male or female main character to adventure through Ancient Greece. Gears of War 5 stars a female character called Kait Diaz. All of these are firsts. In many of the blockbuster games at E3 this year, female characters weren’t concessions or co-stars, but center-stage. The games industry has a long way to go if it wants to address the gender imbalance in its workforce, but embracing female players and protagonists is a significant step along the way.
The emphasis at E3 is usually on new games, some of which we won’t see for years – but one presence was inescapable at the show. Fortnite is one of the most popular games in the world right now, and developer Epic Games had a huge booth at the show, announced a version of the game for Nintendo Switch, and ran a 100-player tournament featuring celebrities and pro players, with a $3m charity prize pot (the grand prize was won by celebrity player Ninja and DJ Marshmello). It was also confirmed that the game now has 125 million players around the world.
Sony comes up with 4 different games
The PlayStation press conference was a little different this year: instead of a barrage of trailers for new and upcoming games, Sony chose to show extended footage of four big games for PlayStation 4. People at the conference were ushered through film sets themed around each game, whilst those watching the live-streamed broadcast at home were able to enjoy the footage in a somewhat more comfortable setting. The four games were The Last of Us Part 2, which juxtaposed an intimate party in a church with a distressingly violent survival sequence; Death Stranding, a mysterious and very expensive-looking arthouse game from Metal Gear Solid mastermind Hideo Kojima; Ghost of Tsushima, a stunning samurai action game; and a new Spider-Man game coming this September.
Fallout 76 transforms the series into an online multiplayer survival experience
Bethesda decided to officially unveil the existence of the next Fallout ahead of E3, but it saved all of the juicy details for the show. Fallout 76 represents a big shift for the post-apocalyptic series. It’s an always-online, multiplayer survival game that launches in November. It’s also a game that might not be so friendly — especially since some players will be able to get their hands on nukes. And while the thought of a new Fallout was exciting for some, especially those who really dug into the lore, other fans found themselves uneasy about the future of the franchise.
Microsoft shifts the focus back to games
Microsoft has had a successful run of hardware with the Xbox One X and Elite Controller. But the company hasn’t done so well when it comes to actual games to play. (Delaying Crackdown 3 didn’t help.) At its E3 showcase, Microsoft tried to right that wrong, and it focused almost entirely on big releases. There was a new Halo, new Forza, new Battletoads, and a trio of Gears of War games. Even better: Microsoft unveiled a new publishing push to bring even more games to the platform.
Smash Bros. is back with a bang
We knew a new Super Smash Bros. was on the. Called Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the Nintendo Switch game will feature more than 60 characters, including every single one from the series’s history — plus a few newcomers like fan-favorite Ridley. Each one is being tweaked with a redesigned look, a faster move set, and in some cases, a controversial new butt. It’s been a big effort from the team behind the game. “I speak from the depths of my heart when I say it’s a lot of work,” director Masahiro Sakurai told The Verge.